Profesional singers/vocalists

  • User Deleted

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    Does anyone out there like me do this as their main job?

    I would like to hear from anyone who has had problems with agents abusing the act.

    None payment of gigs,DCharging you a fee and adding VAT and then finding out the agency has done the same to the venue so in effect have doubled up thier fee, when the act get low paid. Bad publicity etc.

    • 28th Oct 2008
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  • Vikki Lyons

    Actor

    Just starting to try to get into it.

    So any tips?? As a Pro?

    p.s - sorry to hear you are being screwed over!

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 1
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i don't work as a singer, but i used to work with a lot. and i know their agents used to do the very same thing.

    sometimes it would work the opposite way, an agent would agree a fee more than double what the act would be willing to charge- making the act look greedy.

    another thing i found was that the agents would book an act without even checking their availability. sending out the publicity material and then having to cancel when they find out the singer cant make it. but blaming the act- again making them look bad. lol

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 2
  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    It does seem to be the old chesnut "It ain't what it used to be" as far as clubs go. (Not that I rememeber them in their heyday but I work with a guy that does!)

    One particular agency has cancelled every single one of our gigs that they booked at the beginning of the year, but the people who run the agency (who happen to be artists themselves) get lots of work still...

    In general the clubs are paying less and less and we tend to do pubs mostly. I think though, that things will settle down soon after the upheaval of the smoking ban and the pubs/clubs that are still standing will be the good ones. Their income will go up and then so will our fees... hopefully!

    I'm hoping to get to a stage where I can supplement a large chunk of my income with the covers band I'm in. My only worry is that one day it'll clash with an acting job, but so far I don't seem to have that problem. Something to do with a lack of jobs, maybe...? Usually gigs can be re-arranged with a few weeks notice anyway.

    At the moment, it's only pocket money but it's been great to keep my voice in shape, and in the last few months I think I've far surpassed the vocal quality I ever had at Mountview! And it's fun. Isn't ever actor a frustrated rock star underneath?!

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 3
  • User Deleted

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    I'm using a pub to rehearse in with my band and it's a performance room that they've had for ages. I myself have performed there years ago but now because of licensing laws and the smoking ban it's just a rehearsal room. shame.

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 4
  • User Deleted

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    Hi Andy,

    On reflection, when I first started a few years ago, I did have a lot of the problems you have described. Now I've found a few agents that I trust and know personally. I know that they trust me, also, which is important.

    If anything goes wrong with any gig, which it does sometimes and I know will again, I know that the agents will be right behind me. An example of this is a few years ago, I went along to do a gig in a pub somewhere on the moores. When I arrived the lasndlord and landlady were lovely. They explained that it hadn't been very busr recently, so not to rush in with my things. I set up anyway. The landlady started to talk to me and said that if it didn't pick up, I would be able to go home. Well, this happened. It got to about 10pm and they said that i might as well go home. They offered me £30. Obviously I was amazed at this. I explained that I wanted the contracted amount. They both then started shouting at me saying that the artist last week accepted this money. I wasn't having it, I demanded the money. They gave it to me reluctantly. When I had packed all of my things back into the car, i set off home, when my agent called. She told me that she had put them right. Being a singer is not a hobby and no mtter what happens they still hasd to pay me. If I wasn't there I wou;ld have been working somewhere else. On top of that, I still have to pay commission on the contracted amount, so Iwou;ld actually have been about £7 out of pocket +petrol + loss of earnings from another venue.

    Tibby, if you do start here are some tips.

    Whatever you do, you must remember that you need to entertain an audience that really varies from venue to venue. Sometimes weddings, working mens, pubs, all with different age groups and tastes in music.

    Decide what kind of act you will be. I sing mainly soul and motown in my solo set. I do, however make sure that they are well known songs that everybody knows. That is not to say that I do the same material as everybody else. I have been to a few gigs recently where, the clientelle and staff at the venua have loved what I do because I'm not doing what every other female artist is doing....Duffy and Amy!!

    Get your sets together before you contact agents, You never know, they may have something for you that weekend. I do 2x 45 min sets. First set has a couple of ballads, but mainly songs that people will sit and listen too, stuff like 'Ain't Nobody. My second set is much more up tempo with Rockin Robin and Nutbush. That sort of thing.

    If you decide to do up to date stuff, you need to keep on top of it. That is actually one of the reason that I do classic songs, less expense and less learning lol.

    Don't let this frighten you, but you need to have a thick skin. Last week I was setting up in a pub. One of the blokes asked if I did Anastasia. I said, sorry, but no. He then said, well if you haven't got it, I'm going. He then got up and left......unbelievable.

    Good luck and contact me if you have any more questions.

    Sarah

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 5
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    oh Sarah, i've had that happen, where i've sent an act home early or similar. and i have always paid them the contracted amount. but i have heard of so many stories where they just get told to go with no money, even though they turned up and was willing to perform (as contracted)

    there was one very extreme exception that happened, where i sent an act home early. i just didn't have the heart to tell her why so i lied and said we were shutting early. still paid her

    i wont say who she was, in case someone knows her! eep lol

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 6
  • User Deleted

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    I hear what you are all saying here!

    I have had a real good run over the last 18 years I rarely have used agents and my name and show have proved to be the proof in the pudding I guess.

    Since moving to Manchester tho fro the North East of Scotland I have not only taken less than half a pay cut but found SHARKS wanting to bite every peice off me.

    As for the agents who are acts themselves them and thier "pets" are always in work.

    I mean this sincerely wherever I sing I always get told I will be asked back as I am the best act they have had (the venues words not mine)but the agents never seem to get intouch to be asked back.

    So I have mailed out in th eold way this week 350 resumes to various venues I have sang in and asked to be booked direct and no I advertise as FREELANCE cuts out the agents fees and also the risk of them skinny you.

    I have found ONE agent here in Manc. who is HONEST and loyal SPOTLIGHT ENTS.

    Duane is a great and decent bloke.

    • 23rd Oct 2008
    • 7
  • Vikki Lyons

    Actor

    Hey Sarah,

    Thanks for all the tips!! - Man, people are nice on CCP :-)

    Well, doing a CD at the mo of some stuff and have been trawling around restaurants and pubs, but other than that I'm at a bit of a loss!!

    Not sure what to do next really and I ain't gonna sit around waiting for the phone to ring that's for sure!!

    Quite happy to do a couple of free gigs, just to get my name around - do you think that is a good idea?

    Vikki

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 8
  • User Deleted

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    HI Sarah

    My advice would be to find out if any friends or family have a bash happening and offer to do a gig for them (Full length or otherwise.) or, if you are putting a CD together get it out there ASAP. Keep an eye out for bars clubs pubs that advertise live music and just ask what their set up is e.g.do they have their own PA system? what kind of bands and acts do they have in? and finally can I get a gig here Please?

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 9
  • User Deleted

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    Sorry that was meant for Tibby. Just got ahead of myself. What a Berk!!

    Sorry Sarah

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 10
  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    Hi Vikki,

    I doubt if you'll need to- you should get a few takers amongst the pubs, especially if you've got a CD or even just decent flyers. There are some pubs who just have acts in there who are willing to do it for nothing but the standard is pretty awful. Leave those pubs to teenage rock bands who want to do a bit of band practice!

    If you are professional, you should expect to be paid. (That sounds familiar...)

    Other people will advise you on a good starting rate, I'm sure as it's probably diffferent for solo artists.

    As far as agents go, we get far more work ourselves. We've never bothered with showcases but it's something that some agents seem to prefer so you might want to consider that.

    Good luck!

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 11
  • Vikki Lyons

    Actor

    Hey thanks!! For that.

    So do these guys actually listen to the Cd or do they just toss them in the nearest bin??

    Had interest from a couple of restaurants, so who knows??

    (Sorry for all the questions, at my day job and got wayyy to much time!!)

    :-)

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 12
  • User Deleted

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    Well you never know if they do but if they get back to you then I'd say that's a fair indication. I once new a guy who had worked on the tribute circuit and was asked by a club or some such venue to submit a CD of themselves. He as a bit of a joke sent Bat Out Of Hell to them (Original copied to CDR) and he got the job. Make of that what you will.

    PS.

    you could also try putting some adverts on one of the band sites on the web.

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 13
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i dunno about others, but i always listened to any demo CDs i received. i even keep them! i still have a pile! lol

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 14
  • User Deleted

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    Hey Nathan

    You could set up as a DJ and start a covers Disco night or something. LOL

    (OH God I'm Bored!!)

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 15
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    i already tried that!LOl

    i used to DJ a lot, and when it was quiet i used to give the demos an airing to see the reaction. lol

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 16
  • User Deleted

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    I've tried going round with cd's and photos and all of that. Apart from being expensive, it's also really time consuming.

    If you want to do this as a means to an end, i wouldn't bother with that. Just get yourself a couple of agents.

    You'll got on theur websites for weddings etc. You shopuld also get onb trheir curcuits for pubs and working mens.

    You should expect to work, once you get started, at least every saturday night. You then may get Fridays and Sundays too. On a Saturday night, the minimum wage you should expect is about £130.

    Don't do free gigs. If you can sing, have the right material and have a couple of agents, their really is no need to. In my experience, if you start doing free gigs for friends, they will always expect you to do this.

    To get with an agents, they do it a couple of ways. As you're new to the game, you may need to do an audition. This can be nerve racking in front of all of the other artists. You'll be singing alongside novices and experienced acts who maybe have moved areas or want to increase their gigs by getting more agents.

    I've also worked in venues who hav their own P.A. This also can be a problem as you can't be sure of the quality of their stuff. My microphone cost me nearly £500. So compromising on this is not great for me.

    Start up costs for a p.a. can be quite expensive, but you can look on ebay, or second hand from from pa shops.

    I don't know if you have any equipment, but to give you an idea

    amp/mixer £500

    microphone £500

    speakers £600

    minidisc player £100

    spaeker and mic stands can't remember, probably second hand for about £100.

    Obviously this can vary greatly, you can get mics for £100 for example. You really need to go to a shop and try a few to see what will suit you.

    So like I say, expensive sart up, but you can re-coup this in a couple of months.

    Hope this helps

    Sarah

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 17
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    with

    christmas coming up, she may recoup this quicker!

    good singers are always in great demand over xmas and new year, and you can charge double or more too!

    • 24th Oct 2008
    • 18
  • User Deleted

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    £500 for a microphone??

    You can pick up a good Sennheiser for less than £100.

    and as for PA systems I've got a Carlsbro 400w with speakers (Carlsbro A10's) for £400 brand new. And the only thing I need to do is get new fold backs. Wow Sarah where did you go for equipment? And as for doing free gigs if it's a friends do It's only for you to get started and get an insight on what works both set and performance wise. and I would only do a short set. who knows where you might get an offer for your next gig.

    • 24th Oct 2008
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