Session Singer: The Basics of Pro Vocals Explained

session singer

Vocals can make or break a track. The best singer on the right track can turn a common instrumental into hit material. However, vocals aren’t easy… Especially when singing isn’t your thing. You can’t pretend that you have a good vocal. That’s where the session singer comes in.

In the session singer and vocalist guide, you’ll learn what session vocalists do, why they’re an excellent option for adding new layers to your music, and how to discover and hire session singers for your next project.

Let’s get started.

What are session singers and vocalists?

Session singers, or session vocalists, are musicians that provide vocal performances and recordings for producers, bands, or artists on a per-contract basis. Session singers’ duties can vary relied on the needs of a project.

What do session singers do?

The roles and duties that session singers perform for different projects can vary greatly.

A contract may call for only some simple vocal melodies, while others include writing duties, lyrics, and performances across an entire album or project.

The most typical kinds of session singers and gigs are:

Backing vocalists and backup singers

Backing vocalists usually provide recorded or performed supporting vocal or vocal harmonies to existing compositions

Lead singer or featured singer

Lead singers and featured singers working on a session sometimes provide lead vocal or featured vocals for recordings such as demos or syncs.

Lyricist singers

It’s not uncommon for session singers to compose and write lyrics and provide vocal recordings.


topliner is a vocalist that gives lyrics, melody, or both to an existing composition. Topliner gigs are usually used in electronic genres like EDM and house.

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Why should you hire a session singer?

Singing and recording good vocal performances is one of the most specialized abilities in music.

Working with a session singer helps you unlock all the potential {of professional} vocals without trying to do it yourself…

Vocal samples will only get you so far, and nothing compares to the richness of layers backing or lead vocals can lend to a track.

Plus, there are tons of different approaches to select from on musician networking platforms like LANDR Network giving you access to an enormous vocal range to choose from.

There’s not faking good vocals, so hiring a session singer is an unbelievable opportunity to add some new layers to your music.

How to discover and hire session singers

Working within your local network to seek out vocalists that fit your project can be tough and takes time to find the right fit.

Online networking platforms for musicians have made it much easier to discover a whole range of vocalists for hire that can complete all kinds of session singer gigs big and small.

Gigs can include something as small as a number of vocal recordings you can sample later all the way to lyrics, topline, and recordings across an entire album.

Browse Session Singers to seek out the right vocals for your track.

How to work with a session vocalist

Hiring a session singer does require a little bit of preparation on your end. Similar to any other collaboration, you need to do your best to make it a success.

Here are a number of tips to remember as you start reaching out to session vocalists for your project:

Make sure your tracks are ready for vocals

You’ll get much better outcomes from working with session musicians if your material is organized and ready to go.

That means session files or stems that are simple to interpret for a vocalist.

The more streamlined your project is, the easier it will be for a session singer to provide the best possible performances.

Know what you’re looking for and communicate clearly

Think about writing a short brief for each vocal performance that includes information like notes on specific approaches and inspirational cues that match the sound you’re searching for.

Be clear and upfront about your process and revisions and give the session vocalist clear and actionable instructions.

It will allow you to get the most from your collaboration and pave the way for future work when everything goes well.

Keep in mind, even though you’re paying for the gig, it’s still a collaboration. Be ready so the process can stay creative and fruitful.

How to become a session singer

If you’re a passionate singer with strong musical chops, you might want to find work as a professional vocalist.

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Session singers tend to be extremely trained or experienced with their craft. Sought-after pros often have extensive music education and hours of performance under their belt.

Even so, you can earn money by working as a hired singer if you’re willing to work hard and grow your network.

Getting started comes down to making sure you’re available and reachable with good recordings and demos of your vocal range and a solid online presence that outlines what your abilities are.

Start small. It’s hard to expect tons of session gigs right away. However, by building lasting relationships and referrals through each gig, building a great network of clients is achievable.

Think vocal

There’s no substitute for an ideal vocal performance on the right track.

Vocals don’t have to be hard. Working with session singers opens new doors to vocal performances of all kinds.

So start looking for the best vocalist today and find out all the advantages of adding a session singer to your next project!

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