Going the Solo Route

Going the Solo Route

She knew the kind of music she loved. She assembled her own set list, learned the songs, found backing tracks, bought a sound system and learned how to operate it, and started booking shows.

Now classical crossover singer Francesca Sola does dozens of shows a year, travelling around, because she has a show, buyers know what it is and whether or not they want it, and she can take care of all the details all by herself.

She made it happen.

Want to Get More Gigs?

...no one else is going to do it for youMusicians are always looking for ways to get more gigs. One way to find more work is to develop your solo act.

Put together a solo show. Cabaret, singer-songwriter, theatrical. Pick music that interests you.

You have to develop the show because no one else is going to do it for you. Find the means to perform it: get an accompanist, or band, or backing tracks, and perform it.

If the show is imperfect, that’s okay. Shows are easy to fix (if the fixers are knowledgeable, and if you are humble). They are not easy to create.

Once you have a solo show you can start looking for gigs. Whatever you are interested in, there are people who want it. Find places to perform your show: nursing homes, schools, on the street corner, coffee shops, wherever is appropriate for your music. Perform it a lot.

The intersection of preparation and singing solo:

regardless of what kind of music you love, you should always have a go-to set: a short list of tunes you can perform at the drop of a hat.

You never know when you’ll find an open mic nightYou never know when you’ll find an open mic night, or be at a show where another artist asks you to sing a couple songs to open.

You should probably carry lead sheets with you. If you don’t know what a lead sheet is, google it and now you have something to work on for the next month.

…Or the piano accompaniment to your music theater songs. Or backing tracks to your pop song on your mp3 player that you can plug in.

I have salvaged many a show with a band or with an a cappella group because I have solo material.

I can live-loop, and I have a selection of audience-involved sing-a-longs, improvisation templates, gags and gimmicks. If time needs to be filled, if someone needs a break on stage, I can take care of it.

BE READY.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Daniel Trefilio Daniel Trefilio – “You Gotta Be” (Cover)

Low, warm, smooth… great, distinctive voice. I’m loving the sound. Your “-er” endings sound funny (wiser, stronger…). All the other words/lyrics are smooth and clear so these sounds stand out as odd (too much ‘oo’? Should sound natural, like speaking, and I don’t know anyone who says ‘strongoor’). Also you’re so relaxed and in control in the low range, but the high notes aren’t as strong. You can’t be quite so relaxed for the high stuff, and can even use that to great effect: you’re mellow and smooth, but you can have POWER that you only let out in calculated bursts. I also think you can stretch the style of what you can do with the low voice. Don’t just sing, find a way to manipulate your sounds to best advantage. It’s a sound that not a lot of people can pull off, so take advantage of it!

Vaughn Kristonne Vaughn Kristonne – “Kiss the Rain” (Cover)

Your performance gets better after the first chorus, when you get more into it: more gestures, more expression. Pitch is inconsistent. You have repeated notes where the pitch is off for the first few notes, then on for the last ones, or where the pitch slooooooowly slides into place. Many singers find it easy to hold pitch if they record with one earphone off and one on so they can hear their sound in the room, not just through the phones.

Alexandra Aguiar Alexandra Aguiar – “Don’t You Remember” (Cover)

Alexandra, nice work! I’d like to see you add to the strength of your vocal performance with more thought in your presentation. Your performance begins before you start singing, or in the case of a video, as soon as you start filming. Also think about the spaces between your singing: during pauses, when you breathe, the beginning and end of the song. Keep your energy up, or you could think of maintaining the ‘character’ of the song, or the emotional message you’re telling. If you break that character your audience is pulled out of the story you’re telling.


Mister Tim is a published composer, award-winning recording artist,and in-demand performer, teacher & performance coach. In addition to an active performing and touring schedule with his his solo vocal live-looping/beatbox shows, Mister Tim sings with Boulder, CO-based Celtic Rock band Delilah’s Revenge, manages the… Read More