When I’m networking on and offline, looking for promotion and performance opportunities, I often ask myself if the musician opportunity is actually for me as a singer. I see ads like “looking for musicians” or competitions that are “calling all musicians" and wonder, are they including singers like me?
Technically, a singer uses their voice as an instrument, but sometimes advertisers and other music makers in the world don’t like to include vocalists under the umbrella term 'musician'. Are singers musicians? Definitely. Do all people follow this logic? Definitely not. Let’s look at some instances where a musician is also a singer and other instances where there's a difference between a singer and musician.
When you enter the world of professional singing and you’re getting paid for your work, you will be called a singer, a performer, an artist, and sometimes be called a musician. Celebrity music artists often have the title ‘musician’ in their titles and biography on their professional profiles introductory text. It doesn't matter if you also play other instruments; you are a musician because you use your voice as a musical instrument and the industry as a whole understands this.
Related Post: How To Write A Musician Bio That Stands Out
If a job/gig is calling for musicians, most likely they are not including singers. If they’re looking for singers, they will definitely state that specifically in the ad and not consider a singer a musician. In the gig world, instrumentalists are far more flexible when it comes to doing temporary work, possibly filling in for band members on leave. The lead singer’s position is often more difficult and extensive of a process to fill, so the ads for singers are always separate.
If you’re interested in teaching music to others, you will likely need to have experience as a musician. This one is tricky: a lot of singers in styles like jazz and classical are trained to read and analyze music like an instrumentalist would, so they are proof that singers can definitely be considered musicians. But if you don’t have a musician's background including music theory, ear training, and sight-reading (which is something instrumentalists have way more often than singers) then you might not have enough musicianship for the job.
If you’re looking to perform without other instrumentalists, you will possibly be asked if you’re a musician or singer, or both. Or people will ask you if there will be musicians backing you up. Don’t take offense if you’re only using your voice as your instrument! A lot of singers fix the confusion of this scenario by picking up either piano or guitar, which more importantly, serves to help the musicality of their solo performances in comparison to using a backing track if you don't or can't hiring other musicians.
Related Post: What's The Difference Between A Singer And A Vocalist?
Get more tips on your singing titles and marketing by joining the community! Sign up here and get your free digital copy of my book "The Unsigned Music Playbook".
This blog was written by singer, songwriter and producer Yona Marie. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
If you are ever in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services for your music project or brand, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her song services page.