Non-singing songwriter

Building an Audience For Your Songs If You’re a Non-Singer

It’s hard to build audiences for songs, if you mean sending your songs “out there” for others to hear and appreciate, and then building a fan base for yourself that way. Songs on their own, standing simply on their own strength, may be excellent, and producers might build their careers around finding great songs. But audiences usually need to know personalities (singers or bands) in order for songs to really succeed. A good song that you’ve written for someone else has a better chance of building a fan base for that singer than it does for you.

That kind of success — where you work as a songwriter and not at all as a performer — really requires you to be working for producers or other industry personnel, partnering often with others to create songs that other singers are going to want to record.

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And it’s hard to build an audience or a fan base that way. Audiences will always associate the song with the singer or band, and not usually with the songwriter.

Building an audience for your songs, therefore, usually means building an audience for you as a performer. Your songs become a vehicle which presents you to the world. In that sense, the quality of your songs becomes a part of the entire package, all of which need to be good: your songs, your singing, your production… you.

If you’ve been writing songs, but you find it hard to get much or any attention for the work you’re doing, it may be time to present yourself as the singer of those songs. You may feel that you have a horrible voice, but there are ways to improve your vocal abilities.

Here are some thoughts and tips regarding making yourself a better performer of your own songs.

  1. Don’t assume that your voice needs to be trained in the traditional sense of that word. Many pop singers have taken voice lessons, but those sessions often deal more with important issues such as relieving vocal stress, warming up properly, increasing vocal range, and so on. If you’re a lousy singer, it may have more to do with improper technique, and those issues can often be solved relatively quickly.
  2. A good voice doesn’t need to be a beautiful voice. Karen Carpenter was renowned for the amazing beauty of her voice, and it brought The Carpenters considerable fame and fortune. But there are many singers that have, shall we say, less than polished voices (Dylan? Neil Young? ), but they’ve built huge careers. The reason? The singer presents music with an honesty and integrity that audiences love. The fact that the voice is rough around the edges just makes it seem that much more real.
  3. Singer - songwriter at the pianoPractice pitch-matching. If you find it hard to sing in tune, one of the easiest and best first steps is to play a note on a guitar or piano and sing the note, trying to match the pitch. Record yourself doing this, and listen to the recording afterward. Try singing well-known melodies along with the recording, and then try singing those melodies with just you — no instrumental backing.
  4. Take lessons. Get in contact with a college near you, and ask if they have a music program, and any senior voice students who might be able to give you a few lessons. Be specific about what you’re looking for — that you want to be able to sing your own songs, and be sure they know the genre you work in. A few lessons may be all you need to improve your technique.
  5. Sing every day. And listen to yourself a lot. Record yourself and listen carefully. Just like improving with anything, it’s important that you identify what it is you don’t like, and then work, issue by issue, to make things better.
  6. Singer with Electric BassBe courageous. Confidence makes you a better singer. Singing as if you love what you’re doing is one of the best ways to get an audience on side.

Remember, this is not about becoming a great singer, as such. It’s about learning to use your own voice as a way to build an audience base for your songs. By improving your performance skills, you give the audience more than just songs to relate to… You give them you!

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

Thousands of songwriters are using the materials from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook Bundle to improve their songwriting technique. They’re discovering their own hidden talents, abilities they never knew they had. Now, it’s your turn!

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  1. I’ve found that the more you sing songs you’ve written, ( practising them to really get them down so you could perform them in a convincing, meaningful way ) that they will almost evolve to remove an awkward lyric choice with something smoother, or move seamlessly into a bridge that you’ve been raking your brains to find. I’ve found that practising those songs say 50 times before you ever perform them publicly gives me the confidence to present the song without worrying about bad chord changes or lyric glitches, it comes out relaxed and more likely to convey the intended message. The idea behind performing is to enjoy yourself and to have your audience enjoy themselves,. Preparing yourself well when you practise as though you are actually performing before a live audience forces you to deal with things you might normally think are not important. Things like mics, water bottle location, spare guitar(tuned and in a stand near at hand) if you break a string, getting there early so you are familiar with the room and the sound system etc. Removing unknowns helps to insure you will not be nervous over small things that go wrong, that become issues at the last minute, things that prevent you from enjoying yourself. Live performance is live, things go wrong sometimes, eliminating the things you have control of will enable you to concentrate on your songs. If something does happen, hey no problem. Your audience will also appreciate it. Now about the voice …… Neil said to a famous Canadian producer (maybe David Foster) who commented that he might be a little flat in a part of a song being recorded ………Hey man that’s my style!! But I sure Neil did his best to eliminate all the other things he could control by being prepared so he could give his take honestly of any song he wrote and performed!

  2. Pingback: Building an Audience For Your Songs If You’re a Non-Singer - The Hit Songwriting Formula | The Hit Songwriting Formula

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