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How to Become a Recording Artist

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A recording artist is a musician or singer who makes a living from selling audio and video recordings. There is much competition to make it to the top of the music industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 186,400 musicians and singers in 2008, few of whom will go on to produce a record. Natural musical and artistic talent are the main qualifications for successful recording artists. Also, physical appearance and an outgoing personality are also important when targeting certain demographics. Although formal training is a bonus, on-the-job experience is the most common way amateur performers become recording artists.

Learn to sing or play an instrument. The earlier you start, the better. However, singers tend to start training once their voices mature. Starting in community, church or school bands is a good way to get experience early. Train with an accomplished musician or singer to fast-track your recording career.

Attend courses that provide formal training in musical theory, interpretation, performance, and recording skills and techniques. The National Association of Schools of Music has more than 625 accredited institutions that provide musical training.

Create your own record. Recording technology is now available to everyone. Use your laptop or desktop PC to record and mix live vocals and instruments. Create your own samples and loops and produce your own finished tracks. Anyone with basic training in recording software can create his or her own record with a microphone, a computer and sound mixing software.

Find a recording label. Take your career to the next level by signing up with a professional recording label. Send them your demos and homemade records to as many recording labels that deal in your musical genre.


Learn from those that have succeeded as recording artists. Try to join their bands or groups. Be willing to work for free to learn the trade. This will often teach you more than anything you learn at a college or university.


Working as a recording artist is very competitive. Most musicians and singers have another job to pay for living expenses.