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The voices you hear on commercial jingles are professional vocalists referred to as session singers. The vocal equivalent of session musicians, session singers serve a vital role in the advertising industry. There is plenty of jingle work available for talented session singers, and there are proven methods to gain entry into the profession.
Go Where the Jobs Are
For jingle singers in the United States, the right places to be are Los Angeles, New York or Nashville, where the majority of jingles are recorded. LASingers.org, the website of Los Angeles SAG-AFTRA singers, says the majority of jingle singing jobs are booked through personal referrals. Referrals can come from anyone you meet with a connection to professional jingle work, from a recording studio assistant you met at a party to an advertising executive in your yoga class. Even if you aren't quite ready to work professionally as a session singer, living in one of these cities allows you to make vital industry connections while you hone your craft.
Practice Until Perfect
Practice your craft at every opportunity. Singing at open mic nights, in hotel lounges, or even rocking a solo in your church choir can give you valuable experience and provide the exposure that leads to a paying jingle job. Once you have gained confidence and mastery over your singing skills, it's time to record a demo. The demo should showcase your characteristic strengths as a singer, and feature songs you could sing in your sleep. Consult friends with experience in recording a demo for recommendations on which recording studio may be appropriate for you. Anyone can call a studio and book recording time through the receptionist. There is no need to have professional recording experience to book studio time.
Important Demo Details
There is no need to hire live accompaniment for your demo. High quality karaoke instrumental tracks are widely available, cheaper and easy to work with. However, studio time with a sound engineer to record your vocal and mix your demo is essential. You should include 30 to 60 seconds of each song and the total length of the demo should be two to four minutes. Before making multiple copies of your demo CD, ask for an evaluation from an industry professional to make sure you nailed it. When you are confident the demo reflects you at your best, get the CDs duplicated. There is no need to spend big money on designing the CD or case liner. Just make sure your name and contact information are included on both. According to Recording Connection Audio School, studio time with an engineer will cost $30 to $200 per hour.
Network Like a Pro
Now that you have a demo reel, send it to jingle producers, music production companies and advertising agencies. The Creative Handbook website is a good source to find contact information for these companies. Session singers are not required to be represented by an agent, so you can contact potential employers directly. You should also develop a website where you can showcase your work and have your demo available for download. Carry your demo with you always and share it with other jingle singers and friends in the industry. Eventually your demo will find its way to into the right hands and land you a job.
Tina Richey Swanson earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She has worked as a journalist, screenwriter and public relations writer. Her current writing focuses on careers, education, the entertainment industry and health and wellness topics.