How to Become a Famous Singer

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Is your wildest dream singing for thousands of adoring fans? Do you have pipes made of gold? If you’re a talented singer and ready for the spotlight, it’s time to start thinking about launching a career as a vocalist. Whether you’re an aspiring pop star or hoping to headline a Broadway musical, there are a few things to keep in mind as you lay the foundation to become a famous singer. Follow the steps below and you could see your name in lights—and hear your voice around the world!

1. Practice your vocal technique.
To become a famous singer, practice is the first step. And the second step. And the third, and on and on. Whether your singing career is confined to your showerhead or you already have a few performances under your belt, you will need to continue to strengthen, maintain, and be familiar with your instrument. After all, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice—at home, at karaoke night, or out on the street for anyone who will listen!

2. Take care of your voice.
As a vocalist, your instrument is also a muscle—meaning it requires regular, consistent exercise. And like any part of your body, your voice is also prone to injury. As you familiarize yourself with what your instrument needs, try out the potions and remedies favored by professional singers: light teas, honey, lemon, and ginger. But whatever you do, don’t overexert yourself! Yelling, screeching, or singing without proper breath support will jeopardize your ability to sing or even speak. Your voice is your money maker. Don’t go for broke.

3. Find a vocal coach or voice teacher (or both!).
Speaking of breath support, every successful singer you’ve ever heard has worked with a vocal coach or teacher. As professionals, they are familiar with proper vocal technique and can help you apply what you’ve learned to your repertoire. Plus, they can help you work through any specific issues you’re facing—whether it’s extending your vocal range or shifting seamlessly between different registers. Many professional vocalists say their coach knows their voice even better than they do. A teacher’s expertise comes in handy when your instrument is fatigued, or when you’re prepping for an upcoming singing gig or audition. Find one you trust and who believes in your talent.

4. Seek out auditions and casting calls.
As an early-career singer, you likely don’t have a manger or agent on your team (yet!). That means you’ll have to find musical theater auditions and singing gigs on your own, at least at first. Consider signing up for an online casting platform like Backstage, which posts new casting calls and auditions for singers daily. A subscription to Backstage can be helpful in other ways, too—check out Call Sheet for listings of agents and managers when you’re ready for representation, or browse advice and tips specifically tailored to aspiring singers.

Another option to consider is auditioning for “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent”—although the competition will be fierce, both shows have famously launched the careers of then-unknown singers like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Could you be next?

5. Share your work and develop an online following.
We’re living in the digital age where anything can be shared online. On the one hand, this means it’s easier than ever to launch a new endeavor and connect with other like-minded artists. On the other hand, it means there is a lot of competition. As you hone your technical singing skills, find an outlet to share and promote your brand as a singer.

Do you write your own rock songs, or are you a pop cover artist? Singer-songwriters often use YouTube and Soundcloud to distribute their work, while others have launching careers on Instagram or TikTok. Use social media to spread your work far and wide. Look at the flourishing careers of hardworking talents like Todrick Hall, Karmin, and even Justin Bieber, who backed up their artistic vision with relentless digital promotion of their work—and perseverance. Most such success stories began with a camera, a singular talent, and access to the web.

6. Follow your heart.
Are you looking to be the next Barbra Streisand? The next Beyoncé? Or even the next Luciano Pavarotti? As with any career, you have to follow your passion, set specific goals, and carve out your own path. Look at the journeys of your favorite singer idols and work as hard as they do! But keep in mind, no two careers can be the same. Be patient. Persevere. Pay attention to your instincts, work with the people who will help fulfill your vision of singing success, and whatever happens, don’t be afraid! (And breathe. It helps your diaphragm!)

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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