How to become a singer—a complete guide

If you’ve ever dreamed about touring the world as a successful singer or musician—be it in a band or riding solo—you’re not alone. Lots of us dream about what it would be like to make a successful career out of making music and singing, but for many, a dream is all it stays.

That said, if you’re prepared to put in the hours, those dreams could become a reality. However, having knowledge of how to become a singer is only half the battle. There’s no denying you’ll need luck on your side, too. Here is our complete guide on how to become a singer.


How to become a singer: the non-negotiables

how to become a singer

Before we start looking at how to become a singer in more detail, there are several non-negotiables you need to stop and consider first.

A career in singing can be very rewarding, but before you go any further, you must…


1. Be realistic

It might sound obvious, but you need to be good at singing to become a singer—who knew!?

Joking aside, you need to be realistic about your talents and capabilities; otherwise, you’ll put in a lot of time and effort for something that might never materialise. Of course, you can practice and improve over time, but the truth is, you need to be blessed with natural singing talent if you want to make it.

Maybe try and get a few ‘outside’ opinions on your singing from people who don’t know you personally. Strangers are much more likely to be honest than perhaps your close friends and family. While praise from your Mum is great, for example, she’s bound to say nice things!


2. Be able to handle rejection and setbacks

Following on from the point about being realistic, you also need a thick skin if you’re going to become a singer, especially if you’re promoting yourself online.

In a world where anyone, anywhere, can make an online profile and seemingly write whatever they like, you’ll need to be able to handle criticism and negative comments when they come—and they will come.

Similarly, try not to let your struggles derail you. Let’s say you’re finding it hard to get gig bookings, and your emails and calls to venues are going unanswered—you’ll need to learn to handle the rejection and setbacks that come with being a singer.

Related: How to deal with rejection in singing


3. Be prepared to put in the hours

No one becomes a successful singer overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort to make the grade and reap the rewards.

Knowing how to become a singer is one thing, but being patient with the process is another. If you want singing to become your full-time job, then start treating it as such. This will mean having to make sacrifices and compromises in other areas.


How to become a singer

how to become a singer

If you’ve made it through the non-negotiables and still think you’ve got what it takes to become a singer, treat the following steps as your Bible.


Get singing lessons

No matter how much natural singing talent you’re blessed with, there’ll always be room for improvement, and investing in singing lessons with a qualified teacher is a good place to start.

Singing lessons don’t just make you a better singer.

A good singing teacher or coach will also guide you on different singing styles—including which ones best match your voice, help you build confidence in performance, and teach you how to connect better with your audience.

You’ll need all of the above to become a singer.

Related: 3 major benefits of taking singing lessons


Study your favourite singers

You can learn a lot from studying others, and singing is no different. You’re bound to have a list of singers and musicians you admire, so read up on how they got to where they are today.

Your favourite singers were once in your position, learning how to become a singer, so use them as a source of inspiration. You can also study the way your favourite singers perform. Identify any styles, techniques or quirks they might have that you can mirror in your own singing.


Know your style and own it

how to become a singer

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ before, but you’d hate for someone to use it to describe you as a singer.

Different genres of music require different types of singing, so some genres are more suited to certain voices and styles than others. For example, if you’re a pop singer, the chances are you wouldn’t be well suited to a heavy metal group. After all, there’s a reason Dua Lipa isn’t in Slipknot!

Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t dabble in multiple genres and styles, but you’ll have a far better chance of success as a singer by picking just one style that suits you and owning it.

Related: What genre of music suits my voice? How to find your vocal style


Promote yourself on social media

how to become a singer

This is perhaps the step that scares budding singers more than most, but you have to promote yourself and put yourself ‘out there’ if you want to become a successful singer.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse. By putting yourself out there for the world to see, you’re opening yourself up to receiving potentially hurtful comments, which can knock your confidence and make you doubt yourself.

However, social media has made it a lot easier for everyday people to find fame, and without it—you’d need to do a LOT more legwork to get your name out there and secure gig bookings.

Having a strong social media presence as a singer not only provides a platform for sharing your music but it also allows you to build traction and a community of fans. Sites like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter are must-haves if you want to become a singer.

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Some of the world’s most famous singers were discovered thanks to social media—so you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice not being on there.

Related: 10 popular singers who were discovered through social media


Seek opportunities to perform

As much as we’d all love it if they did, opportunities will not just present themselves to you (or at least not very often, they won’t). The reality is that you have to go out and find opportunities for yourself.

You need to do everything possible to get your name out there in the early days. Never say no to a gig, and always show a willingness to perform, wherever it is and whatever the occasion.

Most pubs and small venues host regular open-mic nights, too, which are a great place to start. Ask around next time you’re in your local pub or venue to see what you can put your name down for—you just never know who might be in attendance.

Alan McGee famously first discovered Oasis by pure chance in the early 90s, when he just so happened to be in the same Glasgow venue the night they were performing. He signed them to his record label, Creation, there and then. The rest is history, as they say!


Write your own songs and lyrics

Most people love hearing a cover of one of their favourite songs, but never underestimate the power of writing and performing your own stuff.

Music is a competitive business, and there’ll be many others learning how to become a singer at the same time as you, so you need to have something that sets you apart.

Thinking further down the line, too, the ability to write songs is also very attractive to potential record labels, so what better way to demonstrate your talent than by performing your own material as often as possible?

Related: 4 ways to find inspiration to write songs


Network with other singers

While it’s true that other, similar singers are your competition somewhat, you shouldn’t completely close yourself off and never engage with other singers.

You can learn lots through chatting with others in a similar position or those that may have been previously. Absorb as much knowledge and information as you can from other singers and make as many industry contacts as possible in the early days. You never know where a conversation might lead or who certain people might be able to introduce you to.


Hire a manager

When things start to become a bit more serious, you might want to look at getting yourself a manager to handle things like your bookings, social media and PR.

You’re probably capable of handling everything yourself when you’re first starting out, but as your popularity grows and you start to get more bookings, you may well need somebody else to look after that side of things for you so that you can focus solely on the singing.

A good manager will have lots of industry contacts and can open doors you might not necessarily be able to open yourself. They can help you secure bigger and better bookings, liaise with record companies, and help you up your social media game, too.

Having a manager could just be the difference between making it to the top and not!

Related: How to get a music manager


How hard is it to become a singer?

You’ll be well aware by now that it’s not easy to become a singer.

To have a successful career in singing—and indeed, in music in general—you need a combination of natural talent, dedication, and luck. Becoming a singer is far from an easy ride, but it can be sure as hell worth it if you do.

As hard as it is, though, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself along the way. Singing is supposed to be fun, so make sure it is. Try not to get so wrapped up in ‘making it’ as a singer that you lose your love for it. But don’t be afraid to take a temporary step back from it all if you do.


Specialist insurance for singers through Insure4Music

It takes a lot of hard graft and determination to forge a successful career as a singer, but regardless of whether you’re playing to 10 people in the pub or 10,000 in a stadium, performing live comes with risks. That’s why you may want to consider protecting yourself and your equipment.

With Insure4Music, specialist insurance for singers includes Equipment Cover to protect you in case any of your gear gets lost, damaged or stolen. You can also get Public Liability cover, which is a legal requirement for performing in most venues.

Learn more about the different insurance options available here, or click below to get a quote.


Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.