VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

Up Your Game by Singing for Others

Wendy with Julio Iglesias

The real gift, as a session singer, is being able to work with people who are as good as you – or better! Says Wendy Moten.

Not only has Wendy released albums as a major EMI artist, she has sung with countless legends including Julio Iglesias, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder.

We chatted with her about her varied career, and she let us in on a few trade secrets.

In every situation, you get the chance to learn something new and not act like a know-it-all. Every time I meet a new artist or musician I learn something new every time. When you are open like that, it is all a gift.

Music legends still work hard

All the icons I have worked with strive to be better and do better. I’ve not met one person yet, regardless of their age where they weren’t trying to make sure their craft was on point.

Yes, they can be demanding on the people who work for them, but they are even more demanding on themselves. They are famous and they’ve made it, but they are still working hard.

I spent 15 years touring with Julio Iglesias, singing duets in 4 languages. He taught me something that I wish I had known before I was a signed artist: He never sang a song he didn’t like. The song had to mean something to him. I thought you had to just sing anything!

He still does 2 or 3 hour long shows but fills them with songs that move him. If it’s not moving you, don’t sing it. It’s that simple.

Leave your ego at home

If you’re a background singer or you’re working for someone else you have to leave your ego at home! You’re there for their vision. No one cares about your dreams or aspirations or how you feel – they don’t have the time.

However, if you are open enough to learn you can look around and learn from the artists you are working with and figure out what you wanna do and what you don’t wanna do. Remember, you don’t know everything!

Also, be a great support. Don’t make them feel like you’re trying to be better than them or out sing them! Understand your lane, and don’t try to overtake them. Respect what they do and show that you are on their side.

It’s a totally different mentality to being a solo artist. If you chose to be a background or session singer, you need to fully adopt that role. The eyes don’t lie, and neither does the heart, so people can tell if you’re not into it, or if you wanna jump into their spot.

Being a session singer and a solo artist

Many people ask me how I can go from being a solo recording artist to working for other people. And I say “well, I chose to do this!” It would be incredible to just focus on my solo career but that is not the reality for most singers. I am fortunate to do both.

If you’re fortunate enough to do this sort of work, it pays for YOUR dreams! So it’s a great way to fund your solo artistic vision.

My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Mikalyn Hay Mikalyn Hay - Mirror

I really love the poetry, the melody and your tone. Try taking a little more time with the chorus of this song; once or twice, it seemed like you lost concentration. Hold on, as the Storyteller, to the very end. The imagery is beautiful and at times I got lost “inside” of the song – which is what you want. You want the listener to be taken away on a journey. I love your confidence – you are very believable as an artist.

Why I chose Mikalyn Hay as a Finalist

I chose Mikalyn because she is a great storyteller and a believable artist.