So...you've been to college, done your postgrad, and now you're out in the big, wide world where you can proudly proclaim “I am a professional opera singer”.
That's all fair and good....but let’s be clear, not all professional opera singers are PROFESSIONAL opera singers.
What am I talking about?
I'm not talking about which companies you work for, how much you earn, the number of roles you’ve performed, or if you need any other jobs to support you in your chosen vocation.
I'm talking about all the small things away from the actual singing which make a huge difference to how you are perceived in the industry.
As a singer myself who has been signed to various agents, who then set up an agency with a colleague and went on to start The Opera Stage, I am continually getting new glimpses of what it means to be truly professional (or not, as the case may be).
Many singers think that because they are artists a lax attitude can be excused. We are, after all, usually right-brained creatives, who are therefore more creative than rational. How easy it is to use this as an excuse for little things that we are careless with off the stage.
Maybe a (very) small handful of the biggest names in the world at any one time can genuinely get away with not keeping their eye on these things, but they usually have the cash to pay people to keep everything running smoothly for them. But these maverick artists are being tolerated less as communication and sharing of information increases.
Believe me – in a contracting industry with an ever-increasing number of singers on the market, the ones who are disciplined, efficient, punctual, reliable and friendly are the ones who companies want to work with.
The last thing I would want as an agent is someone who takes weeks to reply to an email, doesn't send the photos or contract through that I needed by 11am yesterday, or doesn't get back tome after the voicemail message I left.
And then there's the singers who are consistently late for rehearsals, turn up in the wrong town for a performance because they haven't read their itenerary carefully (yes, this actually happened recently to a singer I know), or turn up to their first music call not knowing their music.
With the number of singers out there now, if you exhibit these types of behaviours you will be replaced, or at the very least not booked again.
The singers agents most like to work with are:
So, there you have it. Start being a professional singer today, wherever you’re at in your career!
Post by Stephen Svanholm for The Opera Stage