Bands: 7 Things Your Singer Wishes You Knew
Following on from Singers: 7 Things Your Band Wish You Knew where we addressed the proverbial elephant in the room that is your lead singer and what you wish they knew, this article is going to share 7 things your singer wish you knew. We get it, a drum set is freakin’ heavy, and that Marshall stack is a total bitch to carry up the stairs, but what is your lead singer secretly brooding about while drinking at the bar as you load all that heavy gear in through the alley door?
Bands, this is 7 things your singer wishes you knew.
#1 – They only have ONE voice
That’s right, you can grab a new pair of sticks, you can change your guitar strings, but they only have ONE voice, and they have to take care of it. Hitting that high note perfectly in rehearsal really doesn’t rank up their in a singer’s priorities when they have a cold, or they’ve just walked into the room without a warmup. Taking care of the voice is paramount for a singer and takes precedence whether they’re getting the sound gritty enough for your tastes, or whether they’re going for the crazy highs and belted notes that you love so much. Do you think David Lee Roth made Eddie Van Halen play eruption 20 times in rehearsal before he signed off, or told him his tapping needed work? Hell no, there was a reason the band was coined Van Fucking Halen. The same applies in reverse. Your singer shouldn’t spit beer at you because you slacked off on those blast beats, and you should give them a break – singing isn’t easy.
Bands: 7 Things Your Singer Wish You Knew
#2 – Warming up takes time
I experienced this over the years a few times, especially in recording situations. How can you expect “the best” from a singer when they haven’t done any singing or warmed up yet? Warming up is a process and is a priority for any serious singer. You can hit a snare as hard as you like whenever you like, but if you call a band meeting at 8am (you slave driver!) and expect your singer to sing a Journey song, they’re going to quit your band, man.
#3 – Being the centre of attention isn’t easy
I know I know, singers can be pompous jerks. But are you standing up the front alone with a microphone in front of 200, 2,000 or 20,000 people with all eyes trained on your every word, every note and whether your fly is undone? Being a great singer is one thing, but being a great frontman takes cajones and can be a tough gig.
#4 – LSD applies to guitarists and drummers too
Following on directly from #3, Lead Singers Disease is a known phenomenon for any band that gains a decent following or achieves success in any form – but in my experience, guitarists are often as much the culprit of band tension and egos as singers are, and I’ve even met a drummer or two over the years that suffered from LSD too – Lead Shredders Disease and Lofty Soaring Drummers respectively.
#5 – They would LOVE to play like you
There’s an old saying that all guitarists wish they could sing, and all singers secretly wish they were guitarists. There is a reason why so many Rock ‘n Roll partnerships consisted of singers and guitarists – sometimes you hate each other, but you ultimately need, love and envy each others vision and talent. Robert Plant may have been the central ‘star’ of Led Zeppelin, but if you ask an 14 year old rocker kid who the members of Zeppelin were, the first thing out of their mouth will actually be Jimmy Page. Singers are just as awe-filled about your talent and ability as you are their ability to sing, just don’t ever TELL them that, okay?
#6 – They need you, and vice versa
Without a band, a singer just seems like a crazy person yelling on stage, right? A front man is only a front man because they have a band to front, and a group of musicians are really only a band when a singer brings everything together into actual songs, not just a collection of riffs. Your singer needs you, and you need them.
#7 – They hear the song differently to you
That’s right, while you are focusing on the backbeat and that annoying little syncopated hi-hat diddle you’ve been slaving over, or preparing for that sweet little bass run, the singer generally hears the full song. They hear a chorus, a verse and a bridge, not a 7/8 polyrhythm or a diminished A9th chord – this gives them a unique perspective beyond the instrumental aspects of a song, and in essence, makes them a part of the audience. When they point out that jarring midsection or that inverted chord, it’s because they hear it within the bounds of the full song, not just your individual and virtuoso abilities as a musician. Next time your singer has a question about whether the ride cymbal fits the verse, or how a chord relates to the key, don’t just dismiss them – try to understand and see things from the perspective of an audience member like they do, not just an accomplished drummer who loves off time fills. Sure, they might not understand the details of how it all fits together, but maybe, just maybe, one of these days they’ll actually have a point that you should have considered?
Bands, you’re on the same team as your singer, even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. If you’re interested in learning the exact process your singer takes when they’re humming scales over a martini instead of helping you lug your kick drum up a flight of stairs, you can check out our free foundations short courses which will show you the basics, and more, about singing – who knows, maybe then you can give your singer some tips and advice as to why they’re always missing that high note in the chorus?
If you have any questions about how to sing, or singers, or being part of a band, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!