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Singer: Looking for opinions, experiences

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  • Singer: Looking for opinions, experiences

    Hey Everyone! brand spanking new here....Long time singer in a band now looking to go solo. Forgive me if this has been debated to death on this site . read some things regarding solo guitarists, keyboardists etc but nothing for strictly singers but here's my question....

    Do any singers out there perform with tracks only? As someone who doesn't play guitar (i do play drums however) not sure what options I have to do some solo gigs. I've done some research on the topic and it seems its more widely done in Europe but not sure about stateside. Just to add context, my music genre is 50s, 50s and 70.s covers and (mostly rock n roll, motown stuff). Certainly many bands use tracks to fill voids and produce a richer/fuller sound but not sure about solo singers.

    Would love to get feedback on ideas, successes, failures of anyone who has gone this route.

    Thanks...The Newbie

  • #2
    There's a fellow in my area that does a Sinatra tribute with only tracks, Good voice and very good with the crowd.


    • Hit Man
      Hit Man commented
      Editing a comment
      skymarshall....i have heard of a few Sinatra types doing such a thing as well as a few Elvis guys which are more tribute types acts i guess. Not sure if that matters or not. I think given the genre I want to do (heavy on the 50's and 60's type stuff with some 70s and 80's thrown in) it may be doable. Back in the day (before my time) most people went to see someone like Bobby Darin, Sinatra, Elvis, or even the doo wop groups of the time, more for the singing/vocals and less focus was on the band. Could that same concept translate when using tracks....that's my big question. Thx for your input!
      Last edited by Hit Man; 07-26-2018, 10:58 PM.

  • #3
    I know of a guy that does this at nursing homes. I also remember someone doing this in the early '80s with a gadget connected to his tape machine called a vocal eliminator.

    I gotta ask, why do you wanna go solo? If you're an exceptional singer, another possibility is finding a musician to accompany you (with or without backing tracks).


    • Hit Man
      Hit Man commented
      Editing a comment
      Fair question as to why I want to go solo....The group of guys i have been with for a number of years started to slowly fall by the way side. Not because of inner conflict or anything like that but rather for a number of other circumstances i.e health issues, moved to be closer to family etc. Our once in -tact 5 piece now has just 2 originals myself and one other. The problem is finding quality replacements that share a similar vision. The lack of committed musicians (at least in my area) is slim and I/m not sure i wanna keep dealing with trying to find a few quality needles in the haystack.

      To your point however, I am exploring the duo option as I think that would be a pretty cool change of pace. With that said I want to find the right fit for the project which could (and most likely will) take time. And my current band, I don't see it going much further at this point. So my thought was to possibly do a solo deal in the interim just so I can be out doing what I love.
      Last edited by Hit Man; 07-26-2018, 11:50 PM.

  • #4
    Hi Hitman and welcome to this group. I live/work in a seaside holiday area and the vast majority of performers are solo vocalists that use backing tracks.
    Like all performers some are great others considerably less so. This is not always due to the quality of their vocals but often due to both the poor standard of the backing tracks and in some cases almost non-existent stage craft.
    I once watched a guy with a tremendous voice, never once engage with the audience and frequently turn his back for a minute or so whilst he fiddled with a laptop to play his next track. He also sang, very well, Hotel California. But when it reached the final, long, guitar solo he muttered to himself " well that's enough of that " and cut it off midway. Such a shame as with some advice he would have been a good act.
    Good luck with your endeavours.
    Cheers Steve


    • Hit Man
      Hit Man commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Steve...thx for the welcome and the input. Sounds like its a pretty acceptable form of entertainment for your location and if done right could be a fun en devour.To your point if I were to give it a go, no doubt quality tracks would be priority one but stage presence is equally important. As a singer I think (or hope) I have the stage presence needed but unlike the example you mentioned in your post, start to finish would have to be a first class presentation. I wouldn't want to put myself out there any other way.

      I think if I were to proceed with such a venture there are certainly more considerations that would have to be looked at; i.e. types of venues best suited for such entertainment, hourly rate etc. Having always been in a band that is more rock oriented it will be different........Appreciate your input.
      Last edited by Hit Man; 07-27-2018, 10:23 AM.

  • #5
    Hit Man.. as you said, showmanship is far more important than anything else. If you can't sell your act to the audience, it won't make any difference how good the tracks are. I have seen umpteen singers trying to do that type of act, and, frankly, none of them really knew how to work an audience, cover for a glitch, etc. You have a distinct advantage from having what I will assume is several decades of stage experience. That should help immensely.
    I would suggest, though, that you not try to go with the el cheapo karaoke tracks available today, have your tracks either made for you, or find the best tracks designed for solo vocalists that are readily available. The last thing you want to do is sound/look cheezy.
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting ', what a ride!'

    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

    Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick


    • #6
      daddymack....thanks for the input. You are correct in your assumption regarding my years in the business. And to your point about QUALITY tracks, I have been looking around for just that. It really has to be done right from the beginning or forget it .As you know, word travels fast and a few shows will sub par music do to poor sound quality = no gigs. Thanks for weighing in on the topic!
      Last edited by Hit Man; 07-29-2018, 05:29 PM.


      • #7
        Hi Hit Man,

        We had one guy around here who used to pretend to play piano and sing. He didn't have a clue about the piano, and finally gave it up and started singing to tracks. He had a nice voice, and did very well. Unfortunately he had a heart attack.

        I understand why you want to go solo. The same reason my wife and I went duo.

        When I met her we were in different bands. Our bands broke up about the same time so we joined forces with a piano player. Later we were in a 5 piece band.

        In the 5 piece band we first lost the bassist. Out of work for almost 2 months. Some time later we lost the drummer. Auditioned a few and this girl with a small set who kept great time, played tastefully, and as a bonus sang backing vocals. What a find!!!

        We got to our first gig, it was a country club dining room for a wedding reception, and it was so full, they pulled back the accordion pleat wall divider and set us up in the lounge. The new drummer said, "God will never forgive me if I sing in a bar" and I said, "Got will have to forgive me for homicide if you don't play in this bar."

        The next day I bought a 4 track reel-to-reel tape recorder and started making tracks (I play 7 instruments).

        My wife and I had our first gig in 1985 and we're still gigging.

        I would think it would be musically ideal to find a duo partner with as much dedication as you have, but that might not be an easy task, and you still would have to depend on another, so I get the solo thing.

        I make my own backing tracks, so I can't help you with Karaoke tracks, but I'm sure there are some good ones out there.

        My take, since you obviously won't be playing an instrument, dress well, engage with the crowd, and be incredibly entertaining. Use no instrument to your advantage, dance, move around, or whatever you are comfortable with.

        And good luck.

        Insights and incites by Notes
        Bob "Notes" Norton
        Owner, Norton Music
        Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
        The Sophisticats >^. .^< >^. .^<


        • Hit Man
          Hit Man commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi Notes_Norton....Thx for the info and the story about the drummer and God,,,good stuff! Sounds like your path isn't too different than mine and your right, finding a duo partner would be ideal and I plan on keeping that goal as my desired situation. However given the feedback I have received thus far I am more and more leaning towards giving it a go until that ideal situation presents itself.

          The norton music link will be a valuable read (much appreciated) and I also found your comment about using the fact that I won't be playing an instrument to my certainly don't hear that often but good food for thought. Thx for the input and info!

        • Notes_Norton
          Notes_Norton commented
          Editing a comment
          You're welcome.

          There will always be some who will dis you for not gigging with a 'real' instrument, but don't let that bother you. As guy who plays sax, flute, guitar, bass, drums, wind synth, keyboard synth, and vocals, I know that voice is the most difficult instrument that I play.

          There are a lot of people that I call Karaoke Jocks, singing along to karaoke type tracks. I don't mind the competition, unless they severely undercut the prices of other acts of the same size. That bugs me somewhat. But what can I do, times change.

          Fortunately we are still working steadily, but because of the KJ folks that severely undercut everyone else around here, I haven't been able to raise my rates in about 15 years.

          Don't sell yourself short, and you shouldn't make local enemies.

      • #8
        There's a fellow muso in my area that sings and does tracks. One night I was playing in a bar with a duo or trio and he came in and saw the singer say "take it Olaf" (my name). The next night some of our band's crowd was back to see him sing and when a solo in the track came up he said "take it Olaf". He brought the house down with that comment. A very personable and funny guy, and an interesting back story as well.


        • Hit Man
          Hit Man commented
          Editing a comment
          Shaster..... That's a great story and I agree that showmanship will play a big part in the success of such a project. Thanks for the vid clip as well !