There is no single career path to follow if you want to become a singer. Some naturally gifted performers such as Stevie Wonder or Charlotte Church have become professional singers before they even reached adolescence. Others have enrolled in college music courses and earned their degrees in musical theater or vocal performance. There are also those who become professional singers by joining a local pick-up band and learning how to improve their repertoire and vocal ability on the job.
One common way to become a singer is to start early with musical training. This could mean participating in a school or church choir at a young age, then supplementing your musical education with private voice lessons or music theory classes. Many well-known professional singers credit their success to their first music teachers or others who gave them the opportunity to express themselves at a young age. Singing in a choir can also boost a singer's confidence level and allow him or her the opportunity to perform solos in front of large audiences.
Some would-be singers assume that success in the music industry depends more on image and professional connections rather than actual talent, but that is a false assumption in most cases. A trained vocalist learns how to produce notes at a specific pitch and also how to interpret a song. This is something that must be taught or developed over time, since a professional singer may be asked to perform unfamiliar music from sheet music or a recorded demo.
In order to become a singer, it is also important to learn the proper techniques for protecting your voice. A singer could have a very short career if he or she severely damages a vocal cord or develops nodules known as vocal polyps. Even rock singers who sound as if they were shouting their vocals at top volume, such as Axl Rose or Robert Plant, have learned how to deliver powerful vocals without damaging their voices. If you want to become a singer in a touring band, it is important to receive training on how to project your voice safely.
Many singers become a singer by getting their first professional jobs or gigs through personal auditions. Entertainment-oriented trade papers and local music stores may allow professional bands and producers to advertise such auditions, so a singer-in-training should become familiar with these outlets. A band may ask auditioning singers to perform a familiar song with karaoke back-up or acapella. A band or music producer could be looking for a number of qualities, from familiarity with the music genre to a certain image which meshes well with the current band members.
While an untrained singer may have the innate talent to perform professionally, the best way to find yourself on the stage at Carnegie Hall is to study music in a conservatory for several years and then attend auditions for local opera companies or semi-professional choirs until you have built up a suitable repertoire for consideration by a world-class professional choir or opera company or Broadway theatrical production. Becoming a professional singer can means years of rehearsal and personal sacrifice, but it can also lead to a long and lucrative career as a musical entertainer.