“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”  -  Stephen Sondheim

Singers are professional performing artists who sing and use their voice to create music. They interpret tunes and lyrics as per their own understanding and style to sing the song for a live performance or for recording purposes. Singers are also known as ‘Vocalists’. Singers can perform solo or in groups. Most Singers prefer to sing songs accompanied by instruments being played by musicians in the background, whereas some Singers prefer to sing without the use of any instrument. Singers specialize in different genres of music such as Hindustani Classical, Western Classical, Folk, Pop, Jazz, Rock, Rap etc.

To make singing a career choice, you have to have exceptional talent and nerves of steel. Only the best achieve success. Singers find various employment opportunities that are very different to each other in their nature and scale. Some perform live in concerts or even at restaurants, some perform in studios with the purpose of recording music to create songs. They get jobs in the movies, television, and radio and are also hired by event management companies, music labels and studios. Some Singers are also hired by existing music bands as back – up singers. Most of them are Freelance professionals and choose to perform live as well as record songs in studios. They work on an assignment basis that can comprise of a song or even an album. There is massive competition in this career and you need extraordinary talent and determination to become successful. The pay in the initial years is very less but fame and appreciation can bring a lot of money in this career.

What do Singers do?

Singers utilize their immense talent and knowledge to use their voice to create melodies and harmonies and emote words and feelings. They listen to the tune carefully, read and understand the lyrics and then use their voice to evoke the desired response in the audience through their singing. Many Singers are involved in composing music, playing instruments and writing lyrics as well.

They read the musical notations and understand the tune, scale and pitch that they are supposed to sing in. This is normally done along with the Music Composers who have composed the music and the tune. The Singer understands what the composer wants in the song and understands the beat, rhythm and mood of the song.

Singers have to understand the lyrics that are written by the lyricist. This is an extremely important task as Singers sometimes sing in languages they do not understand. Singers communicate with the song writer/lyricist and try to understand what he/she wants to convey. This helps the Singer perfect his diction and emote every word in the desired manner.

Singers are involved in using their extensive knowledge in music to interpret songs in their own manner and then sing them in their own style. They make suggestions to the composer and the song writers and collaborate with them to come up with a song that suits their style as well as meets the demands of the Music Composer. In live performances, Singers often modify songs as per the occasion and mood and interpret them in stylized ways.

The main job of Singers is to perform. They perform live as well as in studios for the purpose of recording. Singers perform in a variety of settings including stage shows, restaurants, occasions, television, movies etc. The ability of Singers to perform and sing well in front of the audience plays a major role in their success.

Singers spend a majority of their time rehearsing and practicing their songs. Another important part of their rehearsals is to undergo regular voice training so as to maintain the quality and smoothness in their voice. They rehearse and practice songs to perfect the tune and lyrics. They train daily for many hours so that their voice remains melodious and capable of singing difficult songs.

Appearing for auditions is an important task that Singers have to undergo in order to get work. They appear for auditions and perform in front of the judges. Singers aim to impress the judges by showcasing their scale, range and knowledge in music. These auditions can be for very different platforms such as reality shows, movies, stage shows etc.

How to become a Singer?

Becoming a Singer is uphill task due to the excessive competition as well as due to the exceptional talent required. If you have the talent however and the right attitude, then you can reap the rewards of becoming successful in this profession.

There are no educational qualifications required to become a Singer. However, it is important that you create a back – up in case you don’t make it big in this highly competitive space. You should concentrate on subjects like English and Hindi in school as this will help improve your diction as a Singer. It is also important to study all other subjects and follow your other interests.

Once you complete your schooling, you should ideally choose to pursue a degree in Music or other Performing Arts. A Post graduation in a related field can also prove to be beneficial as it will increase your knowledge base. Such degrees in music will teach you about the nuances of music and singing and you will learn about the theoretical aspects of the art as well. It is to be kept in mind that you can also choose to pursue a degree in any other field that you are interested in as becoming a Singer does not require any sort of educational qualification.

It is absolutely essential for aspiring Singers to train themselves in music and singing. It is ideal that you start learning music when you are in school itself. Take classes and training from established music schools which are capable of providing you with the necessary knowledge and expertise that will help polish your talent as a Singer.

In order to become a Singer, you will need to constantly rehearse and practice your singing. Practicing your singing and doing voice modulation exercises will help improve your tone and add quality to your voice. Keep in mind that the more you practice, the better you will become.

Opportunities for Singers come once in a while therefore it is important to give as many auditions as possible. These auditions can be for reality shows, stage shows, movies, back – up singing etc. It is essential for aspiring Singers to give these auditions as they help in getting assignments and bigger opportunities.

Networking and promotion plays a very important role in the success of a Singer. It is important that you meet as many Music Composers and Singers as possible. This will make them notice your talent and you might get an opportunity to work in a big project. You can also use the social media by posting videos or sound clips of your singing in order to promote yourself. If you become famous, you might get assignments and offers to sing that can prove to be a major boost for your career.

As an aspiring Singer, it is very important for you to perform as much as possible and wherever possible be it in restaurants, shows, events or any other platform. Performing in front of the audience will help you gain essential experience and confidence that will make you a better Singer. This will also help you get noticed by people and if you have the talent, you might get work through such performances. Keep in mind that you should perform even if you have to do it for free or very little money at the start of your career.


There are many institutions in India that provide quality education in the field of music and singing. Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Pune offers great certificate and diploma courses in Singing and Music. It offers graduate level and post graduate level diplomas in Hindustani Classical Music. University of Mumbai also offers great diploma courses in Hindustani Classical Music. It also has Bachelor and Master level degree courses in Music. The Delhi University also offers a Bachelor’s course in Music. It provides you with a B.A. (Hons.) degree upon graduation. Indira Kala Sangit Vishwavidyalaya also has Bachelor and Master level degree courses in Music.

What are the skills required to become a Singer?

The most important skill that Singers require is exceptional singing talent. They should be able to sing in tune and follow the beat and rhythm. They need to have great amounts of musical knowledge that will help them become better Singers. They should possess excellent communication and social skills so that they can use their voice to convey the feelings that the song wishes to convey. Singers should also have exceptional networking skills so as to make important contacts and develop relations. This can take them a long way in the music industry. Singers should be confident, determined and self – disciplined. It is also important for Singers to be perseverant and have a desire to constantly improve on their singing. Singers should also have the ability gaze audience reactions and improvise so as to entertain them. Most importantly, Singers should possess a genuine love for the art of singing and should want to use their skills to provide melodious entertainment to the audience.

Is this the right career for me?

Singers spend most of their lives rehearsing and honing their singing skills. The career of a Singer offers no job security and you might have to work for long and fluctuating hours. Singers are constantly under the spotlight and are criticized for even the smallest of mistakes in their singing. The career requires a lot of self – discipline without which you cannot become a successful Singer. Singers are well paid if they become successful and they get to travel a lot as well. It is a glamorous career that involves fame and they also get a lot of appreciation from the public.

If you’re interested in a career that offers job security and regular pay, and if you’re not comfortable with being in the spotlight and leading a disciplined life that includes regular practice and rehearsals, then this is not the career for you. However, if you are genuinely interested in the world of singing, and if you’re fascinated by glamour and fame, then this is the right career for you provided that you are willing to work extremely hard and stay focused. 

To know about what is it like to work in the Film and TV Industry, click here.

To know about what is it like to work in the Events Industry, click here.

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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.