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Is there crush to find female singers?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by sparkyfender2, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. sparkyfender2


    Nov 25, 2013
    Should read "a crush." Darn it.
    Just curious on what others are experiencing.....

    Locally, in my part of the Midwest, where gigs are without a doubt becoming ever more scarce, there is an obvious rush to find young female singers to front cover bands. I have no idea if the same thing is happening with original acts, as there is next to zero market for original music. Sucks, but there it is......

    The reasons are fairly self explanatory: the girl fronted bands are, for the most part, a much better draw than the male fronted bands. They are pulling the crowds, the bars are turning a profit, and the bands like my own are finding it harder and harder to find steady work. Not complaining, just stating fact.

    A friend's cover band has been using a very good young, attractive female vocalist for about a year, and are doing well. Before snagging her, not so much. They are much more well received now, although there is some occasional chatter about the "geezer band with the hottie for a singer."

    We are considering following suit, if we can find someone. I have worked with female singers in the past. Some were good experiences, a couple were NOT.

    Thoughts, anyone?
  2. dlb1001


    Jan 30, 2007
    I have played in two bands that had female singers. Both sang very well and knew how to lead a band, which is important for a blues band. Never had any drama with either one, except for the occasional arguments with their spouse, who were also in the band.
    Now, I may be subbing for another bass player in a country band, who are lead by a woman singer. So, hopefully, it will be good situation.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Adding a female voice to your band makes you much more versatile, especially if she can sing the high harmony parts. She doesn't necessarily have to "front" the band but certainly be able to take command of the stage when it's her turn to shine.

    Yes, I work in a female fronted cover band but she shares the spotlight with the rest of the vocalists in the band. We also sing lots of duets and boy/girl band material, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Band Perry, Gloriana, The Farm, etc. Plus we do classic rock, pop, some hip-hop (the drummer can rap) so we can cover a wide variety of material. Check out my latest Youtube video of the band... http://youtu.be/cqIbL1DpOfE

    Not that age matters, I'm squarely middle aged (56) but try to look my best. Kelly is no spring chicken so we don't have the "hot young chick with the geezer band" reputation. I'm noticing more bands that have that lineup. But if it works, and you are able to get gigs, who cares? Get out there and have your fun, make some money, and share the love of music.

    Click the picture to see more pictures of the band, videos, schedule, etc.


    For years in the 90s I worked in one band that had two females, one sang and played acoustic guitar and the other sang and played terrific piano. That was really a fun band.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  4. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Not in my world!
  5. Bands with female members, singer or not, always go over well. Especially if she is attractive (it's true). Good looking female singer with talent and stage presence is almost a guarantee to get hired.

    We tried going that route but not successfully. We are a cover band and, honestly, our song selection does not work well for a female singer, unless she were to have a real raspy or rock-n-roll voice. Like a Beth Hart type singer.
  6. It's all about quality IMO. There are several female singers around my town that sound and look nice, but their bands aren't blowing up like you'd think and several of them sit at home now. I believe it's due to the iPad and lack of stage presence. In the meantime my band of three guys are turning down work because we put on a show. There are just as many women in audiences as men, don't think that a woman will give you an edge over an equally talented man. You need a front person, gender is not important.
  7. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I wouldn't dare to try to start a cover band without a female lead, myself. At least in my area (and many others), the premier cover bands doing the $$$ casino and corporate gigs are ALL female fronted. No exceptions.

    Aside from the marketability thing and the "modern unspoken requirement for a gainfully employable band", a female vocal in any capacity allows a group to cover a lot more tunes.
  8. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    Do you mean they are using iPads on stage for help with lyrics and such?...'because that is exactly what our singer does. She really relies on that thing...
  9. Yes, an iPad with lyrics either strapped to the mic stand or sitting just off to the side during an acoustic gig. There are a lot more band choices around here lately and I believe the iPad holds a lot of them back because it is taking away from the stage presence.

    I'm interested to hear your take on it since you are in a band with someone that uses it.
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    This was actually a trend in my area about 6 or 7 years ago. A lot of bands hired female vocalists. I think it's really cool when the vocalist is the real deal and the rest of the band has personality as well. Unfortunately, a lot of those projects hired women who, while pretty, really didn't have charisma and, while could sing decent enough, were usually experienced on the karaoke bar circuit. The guys often had less personality. I'm not a fan of the format of a female-fronted band where the front woman is obviously the focal point and the guys all wear the same boring black outfits and kind of just stand in the background.

    We had a really killer party band that had an awesome female front. For some reason, their management ended up ousting her and they hired some dude who - no lie - dressed like this weird cross between Dennis Rodman and Robert Smith from the Cure. He wasn't that great of a vocalist either.
  11. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    I know you didn't ask me directly but I also have three bandmates who use tablets on stage, Kelly (chick singer-front person), Art (guitar), and Jeff (keys). I, myself, use good old fashioned lyric sheets with a clip-on music holder that I attach to my mic stand.

    We are constantly learning new material, anywhere from four to six tunes a month. It's just impossible for these old brain cells to cram that many lyrics into the gray matter and commit them to memory quickly. So I use lyric sheets until they are no longer necessary.

    Art doesn't sing much but he charts out every song. He puts them in order according to the set list and cycles through them as necessary. He uses an older tablet, not an iPad, that was designed specifically for sheet music.

    Kelly and Jeff use iPads on mic stands. Since Jeff is pretty much tied to his keyboards it really doesn't detract from his stage presence too much. Although it always looks better when all of us are looking up and out at the audience, making eye contact and being expressive with our faces, rather than staring at lyrics. Kelly moves her iPad stand around as she needs it. Kelly and Jeff use "Set List Maker" to have the set list available and pull up lyrics when they need them. It's a handy program.

    Since I'm tied to a mic stand anyway, while I'm singing it's not a huge deal that I'm glancing at my lyrics. When I'm not actually singing I move around the stage engaging the other musicians and the audience. I'll use my lyric sheets for one or two songs a set. The rest of the time my eyes are up.

    Yes, the iPad is a blessing and a curse. It's always best if you can do without distractions on stage but sometimes it's necessary.


    If you search for "Kelly Rae Band" on Youtube you will find some fan-posted video. Our cheat sheets don't get in the way. You'll also find video on our website or check out this video from last weekend.

    Finding the right female singer can be a challenge. But she could be a real asset.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  12. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    It is a good idea if you like money, and most wedding/corporate bands around here will have at least one. But there's still a greater supply of female singers than there is demand.

    I'm not very interested in backing up male singers. Male rappers, OK, but the ones I've worked with always had a female singer singing the hooks anyway. Since moving back to Poland almost a decade ago, I've played two shows with no female vocals at all. One was an acoustic sub gig as a duo. The other would've had at least one female singer except one was out of the country and coming back the day after the gig, the other one called in sick the day of the gig (tbh I don't think she was sick, I think she was smart), and we had four guys who could sing lead. Even the children's choir I played with for years was about 90% girls.

    So, there's definitely no crush. I mean, pretty much every band has a guitarist or two, but I wouldn't say there's a crush to get those, either.
  13. pglaser01


    Mar 19, 2013
    St. Louis, MO
    If only I were that good....
    +1...I don't get it...how is this ok when all you do is sing? You're telling me you can't be bothered to learn the words?
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Another factor is that a lot of popular lead male singers (I mean top-40 type acts) are really high tenors and there is not a plentiful supply of guys that can hit those notes. Having a female singer is often the only option if you're not going to exclude a lot of popular music from your set.

    On the ipad/lyric sheet thing, my preference is definitely not to use them. However, like Basscliff said, if you're practiced with them and can put on a stage show without the pad being obvious, if you can perform without having your eyes glued to the pad the whole time, it can be OK.
  15. I just looked through a lot of pictures on your website BassCliff and the only music stand I saw was yours occasionally. Kelly is doing a great job of keeping it inconspicuous as well as moving all over that stage, clapping with the keyboardist, up on the drum riser, jamming with the guitarist. No lack of stage presence there, and it shows with the gigs you are getting.
  16. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Very true. I mean, Pharrell! Though looking at the current top 10 you also have Juicy J, 2 Chainz and Jay-Z. Not really high tenors, though to cover those songs you'd also need a Katy Perry/Jason Derulo/Beyonce anyway, and it's not like many male singers can rap, either, so that's not of much use as a "singerbabe-free band survival strategy".
  17. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Sure, if you play the same 60-100 songs over and over. But many event bands have hundreds of songs on call (from early jazz to contemporary hits), some of which haven't been called on a gig for months; so, an archive a lyrics can be a practical necessity for some singers.

    Heck, even established bar cover bands sometimes build up songbooks of 100-200+. And if your singers have to go that route, better to use a fairly unobtrusive iPad rather than a binder stuffed with lyric sheets.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If the female is your only lead singer, it will limit you to certain songs, but females likely have the range even for a lot of songs where a male sang lead originally. Better a female singing a "guy" song well than a guy not hitting the notes. And guaranteed, a good looking female will help get you in the door in lots of clubs.

    Our band has a female singer/sax player, and our guitarist sings about a quarter of the songs - best compromise.
  19. LordRyan


    Dec 9, 2012
    I have been playing in a 5-piece band with two females for the last few years. We have gone through several girls and have finally hit on a winning combination. One of the ladies plays Bass and the other plays Sax and Flute. It really increases the range of material a band can do and makes for great vocal harmonies. Although I play Bass in other bands I am the Keyboardist/second Guitarist in this band.

  20. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    That's part of it. If you can find a female singer who can do more than sing and play cowbell, you are WAY ahead of the game. The fewer pieces you have to slice the pie, the better it is.