Country singers are involved in producing music that is both traditional and popular. For example, country musicians or singers engage in folk music related to the rural United States or Western American cowboys.
Country music took its roots in the Southern United States around the 1920s and gained popularity around the 1940s. With the evolution of television, radio, and other forms of mass media, country music spread worldwide and gradually gained ground in other countries. In the 21st century, many celebrated country music singers and even country music bands are incredibly famous among music lovers.
Country music is a genre about the life experiences and stories of people. You can become a country singer with hard work and choose familiar topics and simple melodies. If you excel in singing and songwriting, you may just get noticed and become famous. Some of the main features of country music include instrumental elements that are often complemented by ballads and dance tunes.
This article mentions different steps that help you become a professional country singer.
Step 1: Getting a Country Sound
Learn to sing
To become a country singer, you have to be good at singing. Even if you have been told or consider yourself a good singer, it is essential to ensure you have the basic singing skills necessary to be a singer. Understand your singing range and practice singing regularly. Consider taking singing lessons to improve your singing or get your voice the best it can be. You can also try websites and phone apps to learn to sing.
Sing along to country singers
To mimic the music and learn the country style, practice by singing along to the country artists you desire in your vocal range. For example, women prefer to listen to Tammy Wynette, Miranda Lambert, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Allison Krauss, Kelsea Ballerini, and Kellie Pickler. At the same time, men may want to listen to Hank Williams, Tim McGraw, Waylon Jennings, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Rodney Atkins, George Jones, and Toby Keith.
Learn the country twang
Country singers have a unique sound to their voices. So, even though you naturally have the country twang or not, you can learn to sing with a country style to your voice.
Firstly, try to have the country twang in your speaking voice. Then, start mimicking the country twang of singers, actors, and characters in your speaking.
Start singing with the twang by exaggerating the sound of it. This will get the sound familiar in your voice. Once you have the feel of it, tone it down.
Learn to play the guitar
Playing guitar will help create your country sound and make songwriting easier. Of course, if you really cannot learn, plan to have someone to play while you sing and be a duo, but playing guitar on your own is a crucial part of country singing.
The essential chords for country music are G, C, D, and A, as country music combines these chords.
Step 2: Writing Songs
Write songs or be a cover artist
There are a bunch of country singers who cover other artists’ songs. So before writing your music, start by singing other country singers’ songs.
Try your spin on a song you like to make it your own. For example, break a phrase into a beginning, middle, and end, then decide which of those you might add to your tune. That way, the song is still identifiable, but it will also be unique.
Decide your style of country music
There are various types of country music, like traditional, country, and western music that is simple and about real-life issues. Bluegrass is the same as country-western, except it is entirely acoustic. using acoustic instruments like the upright bass fiddle, acoustic guitars, fiddles, and banjos. There is also a newer country music genre called pop country that fuses pop music with a country feel.
Think of a topic to write about
You can write whatever you want, but country music follows some essential topics. Country music is all about stories set to music. It usually has a plot and characters just like a story, except it rhymes and has a melody.
The most common topics for country songs are broken hearts, Jesus, betrayal, the Devil, feeling blue, Mama, the South (Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, etc.), love, cowboys, death, and words of wisdom.
Write the lyrics
Once you have chosen the subject to write about, start writing the lyrics to your country song. There are many sad country songs, but the feel-good songs are usually chartbusters. Country music is very literal so try keeping the lyrics simple. They should narrate a story about what is happening around them or what they know.
Unlike pop, the chorus plays the most crucial role in country music. Try using a lot of adjectives in your lyrics to describe something. Do not use swear words. Some genres encourage using swear words, but not country music.
Write the tune/melody
People remember the tune of your song before they remember the lyrics. You can build your music around the theme, but don’t let the tune control your lyrics. Melody/Tune is an essential part of a country song. Without a tune, you can’t feel the music. Country songs usually have simple melodies, harmonies, and chord progressions. The basic chord progressions to write your music are typically G, C, D or G, D, A, or a mixture of those chords. Typically, there is no need for any fancy chord progressions.
Record your song
There are many ways to record your song, depending on your resources and budget. You could work with a technically wise friend, book an appointment with a professional studio engineer, or record your song using a microphone and computer software at home. Whatever way you decide to record your music, having a copy of an audio recording is recommended.
If you’re planning to release your song commercially, it’s best to record it in a professional studio, even though it’s a little costly. You can make the most of it by rehearsing your song as you wish to avoid wasting valuable time at the studio trying to get the right notes.
Record as many parts on your own at home, like the background vocals, bass, and guitar. Then, you can work on the lead vocals and drums in the studio, as those are the elements that need to be recorded with a good microphone.
Copyright your music
Copyright your song from the moment it is created because if someone steals your music, it is not secure in a lawsuit unless you copyright it. As soon as you have written and recorded a final version, you can plan to register it online at the U.S. Copyright Office for a short fee. Now the song is all yours. No one can use the original work without your permission. Someone can steal the lyrics or tune and make a new recording if you don’t do this. They won’t need your approval or have to pay you any royalties.
Step 3: Getting Discovered
Join a Performing Rights Organization
Some examples of PROs are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. They will collect any royalties and distribute them to you in an organized manner. For instance, if your song is played on TV, YouTube, iTunes, or Spotify, you are entitled to a royalty. Some PROs are free, while others have a fee.
Pitch your music
Pitching your music can take some time, but today’s technology makes this faster and easier. So, send your demos out to try to get noticed. Send your demos to promoters, journalists, or management. Include your details like name, phone number, email address, and website on every CD you send out. This way, whoever listens to your song will be able to reach out to you if they like it. Keep your packaging simple; just a short note about who you are, and any gigs you have will be sufficient.
Look through the album sleeves of the country artists you like in your location to find labels and managers to send your demos to. In addition, there are a few websites available, such as The Unsigned Guide, Showcase, and CMU Directory, to help find people’s names and/or addresses to send your demos.
Perform your music
Many singers get famous when they perform their music live. You can start with your friends, family, and those you feel most comfortable with. Then perform in small venues such as open mics, talent shows, and cafés.
Ask small local venues or event organizers if you can perform at their event. Try going to them in person or calling over the phone instead of sending an email.
Build a fanbase
- To stand out, you need to build a fanbase. You will need to work very hard to get fans to notice your skill, but fans will open up many doors.
- Publish your songs online. Post-recording and copyright your music, and publish it. It is easy for anyone to post music online on available platforms like YouTube or Soundcloud so other people can notice your work.
- Use social media platforms to create fans. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites to get people to discover you. Be active on social media and reach out to your fans.
Try to have an image. Be yourself but have something unique about you that drives your identity. This can be wearing a specific costume, having a particular hairstyle, or acting a certain way. For example, Lady Gaga became famous for her flashy outfits, and Taylor Swift for her blonde curls. These images helped them become more popular.
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By following the steps mentioned above, you can gain fame and exposure for your country singer career. Of course, there is no guarantee of fame and fortune for anyone. So, keep in mind that these steps are just basic ideas for starting your career in the music field. After that, you can find ways to grow, which is usually the best way.