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OTHER ITA SITES:
As a former William Morris agent, booking some of the biggest stars in country music, and as a session singer singing many commercials like Fox TV, UPN ID spots, O’Charleys and many others, I am well acquainted with the jingle market, the ups and downs, and the difficulty of entering the commercial singing world. For those of you new and those vaguely familiar with this market with a keen interest in this segment of the industry, let me assure you that (1) with the right talent you can succeed, and (2) in order to succeed you will need some pre-determined areas of strengths including, but not limited to a unique voice, a go get it drive, and a great attitude that says I can work with virtually anyone, with an easy going temperament, without copping an “attitude.” I will give you a brief overview and some helpful starting tips, hopefully steering you in a direction for greatest success. For more information, you may visit www.reelmusician.com, a great source for singers who need a unique individual jingle demo reel to present to jingle and advertising houses and those who would like an overview of the jingle singing market. A Free “Jingle Singer’s Guide” is also available by visiting this website.
To begin with, a great voice is described in many ways, but let there be no mistake about it - Your voice must be credible and unique and/or be an incredible blender voice that melts in with any group of singers on any given session. Vocal coaching for jingle singers is somewhat different than with traditional vocal coaches. Mainly because the end product has to not only catch the vibe of the given spot, but each and every word counts – Funny how those advertising executives like to hear each word of their products. Those trying to enter the country or pop fields as an artist, usually have a harder time with singing commercials, because the slightly lazy diction in a song demo, while possibly viewed as the greatest thing since sliced bread to a record or production company, doesn’t fly in a commercial. A professional vocal coach working with singers interested in singing jingles also must teach a singer to sing wrong, right - You read correctly. To sing a commercial with incredible intensity and with a gritty voice, is hard on the vocal cords. In a sense you are singing on the top of your vocal cords and one can burn out and do damage to their vocal cords if proper instruction is not obtained. Unfortunately, many vocal instructors out there have either a traditional vocal background teaching methods that really aren’t up to par with the dynamics of the jingle singer’s needs, or don’t fully understand jingle singing in general, in order to truly coach a singer effectively in this market. Find a qualified vocal coach!
Attitude is everything you’ve probably heard. This holds true for the singer entering the jingle singing market as well. Jingle houses, other singers, and advertising agencies alike don’t put up with the “artsy fartsy” know it alls. You have to get in there with a great attitude and get the job done. This amongst other things will maintain a full singing calendar when you get rolling. A great attitude often times will cover a session where vocally you might not have been totally up to par, but you’re well liked, easy to deal with and deliver the singing goods. Don’t under estimate a great attitude. Individuals who are not your direct competition usually don’t mind, and in fact like to help individuals succeed who they know won’t embarrass them and who have the talent with a great attitude.
The next item a jingle singer, entering the market, must have is a great sounding jingle demo reel. As already stated, if you are unsure as to where to obtain a great sounding jingle demo reel, visit www.reelmusician.com. A jingle demo reel, for those just entering the market, should contain 5 – 7 jingles with varying styles showing a mastery and unique vocal compilation. While most commercials bend towards a pop contemporary feel, your demo reel needs to be designed and produced in such a way that your voice stands out and is unique, even if you never sing these styles again. It’s the work you’re after, not necessarily if your styles are ever used on your demo. You will want to include styles that stretch who you are while maintaining musical integrity. Some include a song demo that emphasizes a particular style that they want to capitalize on. Don’t be afraid to go for “off the wall” vocal styles. You will want to practice in your car, in the shower, wherever practical, before you put down your final vocal tracks. A closet with your vocal bouncing off the wall back is a great place to practice. If you can record your voice, with a vocal coach or on your own onto a cassette, into the computer, or any recording device for playback evaluation is great. Oftentimes, you will hear that you sound too “ricky ticky” or don’t have enough energy with adequate pronunciation – Better to learn this now before going into the studio and spending hard earned dollars practicing there while you’re actually trying to lay down your master vocal track.
After producing your jingle demo reel you will have to start pitching this to jingle houses, other jingle singers, and any other potential individuals or companies who might take a liking to your reel. Look at production companies who write production music for corporations, book publishers who maintain a roster of authors needing vocals on their children’s books, etc, and various music production houses. It’s generally frowned upon to send your reel to advertising agencies directly, but if you have an in with one, why not drop off a reel. In today’s information age, you might email an MP3 or .WAV file, but obviously, dropping off the reel in person is always the best route to take. Include an insert or CD label with names of jingles, length and styles of each jingle and of course a telephone number and email address. You will want to keep a database as to who, when, where, and misc contact info when pitching your jingle reel. Keep a detailed record with subsequent conversations and comments. Some will consider a second jingle reel to pitch and move across the desk in an effort to rekindle any interest and include styles they have developed further. Don’t be afraid to email or send another jingle reel, even if it’s the same one to a producer who initially showed interest. Let them know that you can and will deliver the singing goods on time and always get along with everyone.
Much can be written on this topic and further information can be obtained by the author and through his website at www.reelmusician.com. Tom Gauger is available for singing consultation, seminars and general vocal coaching – Call 615-300-5030 as time and availability is limited.
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