As I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to judging a book by it’s cover, this is one I almost passed over. With a title like The Ultimate Guide To Singing, my assumption was that it was just another book on technique, vocal range, how to warm up your voice, taking care of your voice, yada, yada, and yada.
While these essential points are not forgotten, they really don’t come up until you’re almost half way through the 400+ pages. Virtually the first half of the book is dedicated to far more important topics that haven’t been adequately covered in previous books. This is the real nuts and bolts, meat and potatoes information you need if you want to have a full-time or part-time career as a singer. While the Web is filled with tips on how to get gigs and promote yourself, these are not topics expected in a guidebook about singing. Here you have all that and more, including a thorough explanation of how to build your fan base with social media. There’s also some very practical advice on how to shape your set and how to deal with all sorts of challenges whether they occur before, during or after you take the stage.
As most sound techs know, singers often know way too little about the the PA in general, and the gear they use (the microphone) specifically. In this book an entire chapter has been set aside to help singers understand how to work with the gear, and how to make it work better for them. And it goes beyond just performing live with an entire chapter the details how to set up a home recording studio.
The Q&A section that deals with such self-confidence issues as: what to do when you the audience is responding, how to sing from the heart even if you don’t believe in the song, and how to be free and fluid while performing.
The fact is, there’s way too much to cover in this short review and there is so much this book does right, IMHO, the one thing they got wrong is the title. It’s about so much more than just grabbing a mic and belting a song. Whether you are a singer, player, aspiring producer or just really interested in the music biz, you will find information here that you may not have found anywhere else. The book touts over 100 professional contributors whose trophy cases are filled with Grammies and gold records. In total, 187 questions are answered by this all-star cast of producers, engineers, coaches, agents, managers, and of course, singers. — Robert