We have all seen them in vocal performances, from the most popular singers to bands anywhere in the world – the backup singers. They are the men and women who stand in the leading performer’s background, ready to add more personality, more character to the songs. They are not in the limelight, but many of our favorite songs lose their flavor and uniqueness without them. They provide harmony in the song’s essential parts, enhancing it further, while the main singer belts out the main parts. Almost all genres of music find backup vocals necessary, from pop to rock to classical music. Many solo artists also include backup singers for recordings apart from their live performances because there is a significant difference in the music with them around.
Just the same, backup singers are hardly given credit for the vital work they do. While some artists may acknowledge them, they are still in the background, mostly heard but not often seen. But these unsung heroes are content with their chosen careers because they recognize the advantages it provides for them.
They get to widen their music knowledge
Backup singers are not stuck with one genre of music. This is because they get to perform with various artists with different musical styles. In this respect, they become more versatile with their singing, learning how to blend perfectly with the performer they are doing backup vocals for. This also gives them a chance to learn more about the specific style of vocals they are expected to do. Most famous singers have their musical arrangers who instruct backup vocalists about how they are supposed to deliver certain song lines, making each performance a new learning experience for them. Good backup singers are also capable of sight-reading, which is reading the notes of the music on the spot. Through regular performances, they become more adept, opening up opportunities to work for other artists.
They are not as burdened to impress
Being the lead performer carries a lot of responsibility. One has to be able to hold the audience captive from start to finish of a performance. The voice must be in excellent shape for the show. The backup singer’s responsibility is to sing their notes right and deliver it just the way they have been instructed to. Their job is not to impress the crowd but to make the main performer happy with the backup vocals they provide. When they know their music, they do not worry much about stage fright caused by a lack of confidence or being in the limelight.
Backup singing could pave the way to becoming a solo artist
Not all backup singers may be content to remain in the background for too long. Some may be honing their skills to get to go solo. Others could be discovered because of their unique vocal prowess. Famous singers like Whitney Houston and Cher started as backup singers before becoming some of the world’s most popular singers.
So next time you watch your favorite artist perform or listen to their music, take note of the beautiful harmonies and voices behind it all. They deserve to be appreciated.
1st and featured image from https://www.pexels.com/photo/mic-microphone-recording-audio-14166/
2nd image from https://www.nashvillescene.com/arts-culture/film/article/13048895/pop-musics-great-backup-singers-seize-stage-center-finally-in-20-feet-from-stardom