We associate the term ‘triple-threat’ to the old school thinking of ‘sing-dance-act’ but there is lots more to it! – Says Denosh Bennett.
Denosh Bennett is an established dancer, singer, actor, choreographer and director in the contemporary music scene and musical theatre.
I had to equip myself to do stuff in order to move forward in my career. You can’t sit around. I’m a very big advocate for leveraging your skills.
Here are 6 skills that will open doors and get you hired again and again:
I wrote and produced my own songs, I learned to accompany myself to give producers templates for songs.
I didn’t have the money to go into a studio so I saved up and bought a laptop and software and, with the help of some friends, learned how to use Pro-Tools so I could record myself.
2. Diverse singing styles
In the contemporary world, if you want to find work you have to be versed in at least a couple different vocal styles. A very good friend who I toured with could ONLY do pop or RnB and therefore struggled to find more work.
You have to be diverse and explore your range. When I worked with Justin Timberlake I sang mezzo but I sang tenor and alto for other artists.
3. Music theory and reading ability
Studying piano for three years and understanding music theory allowed me to work with NBC’s The Voice where you get charts every day. You may get MP3s to learn from, but many directors just fling sheet music at you.
In a place like L.A or London where you have a lot of TV and commercial work, the directors will bring in sheet music with only a short preparation period of 30 minutes.
If you impress these people they can book you for future gigs because they want to know, “where my readers at?!” They don’t have the time to mess about.
4. Learning an instrument
As an artist, learning the keys or guitar can be a good move, even if it’s just basic chords.
I learned instruments on tour when I got bored – what else was I gonna do? There were amazing guitarists who played with Prince for the last ten years right next to me! They’re gonna teach me something!
Learning an instrument is a great way to support yourself and share ideas with co-writers and producers. It gives you respect and leverage with other musicians.
5. Dance classes
I highly recommend people get into dance or movement classes. As a background singers, there is a growing trend for singers to dance more.
People are wanting to hire singers who can move because it’s often not appropriate for them to hire dancers to lip-sync – they don’t have the budget. They will pick and choose the right singers instead.
Learn anything that gets you moving and involves expressing yourself because, ultimately, it will make the show look better.
6. Acting skills
There is a trend that’s been happening in the US that sees singers moving to TV.
The great thing about acting is that it’s very character based so it’s very open for people of all types. You don’t have to be skinny or look a particular way.
Musical theatre and other types of acting could be lucrative and fulfilling transitional work for singers.
If I find myself on tour with downtime, I’ll find the nearest movement or acting class to keep my skills up to take advantage of these opportunities.
What skill set do you already have?
It’s also worth noting that singers should look at what skills they already do have. Are you good at make-up, hair or fashion? Because these sorts of industries support what we do.
Rather than getting a completely separate day job when you are injured or out of work, you can find work in supporting areas. It is very worthwhile exploring your options.
There are many ways to educate yourself to add to your skill set and increase your longevity.
Very few performers have as impressive, extensive, and broad a resume as Denosh Bennett: with a two-decade career in entertainment, she is an accomplished, versatile, and highly sought-after singer and dancer who has mastered every aspect of the live performance, making her an invaluable asset to any artist and tour. As artistic director she is the go-to expert and one-stop-shop, to turn a good show into a great one. www.denoshbennett.com