Denosh Bennett explores finding the balance between being a working singer and the artist. She chats to Gene Noble on how he manages the two roles
About 8 years ago, while I was living in Brooklyn, I auditioned to be a contestant on the MTV reality show, Making The Band 3. Needless to say, I did not make the band, but I continued my journey to become a solo recording artist, which is really what I wanted in the first place. Not long after a few studio sessions, interviews and meetings to try to capitalize on my 15 seconds of fame, I moved to L.A. at the behest of my encouraging entertainment attorney. I got to work immediately with studio sessions, meetings with producers and songwriters and pursuing my purpose.
After about a month of being in L.A., I got the call to go back on tour with my previous boss Justin Timberlake for his FutureSexLoveSounds tour. I had been waiting and hoping for this call, and I did not want to miss this opportunity! …But how was I going to dedicate myself and focus on my own career if I was on the road supporting the dreams of someone else? Things were just getting started for me and now I had to give it up or find a way to juggle a solo career while singing background for JT.
However, despite the obstacles, I made it work. I assembled an amazing team of people to help me write, record, produce, market, and perform all while I toured for the next year and made my money. Sure, it was a challenge, but it was worth every minute. A few months after we began rehearsals, I released my debut album “Back to Front”. I promoted and performed my songs around the world, shot a music video and mastered the balancing act of working singer vs. solo singer.
This was several years ago, but I know so many of us are in the same place now; with desires to be like the singers we grew up admiring. How do we make it work? There are definitely sacrifices and hard decisions to make, but with so many tools available to us now, it’s easier than ever.
I managed to catch songwriter, performer and acclaimed backing vocalist, Jaiden Roston, who is working on his newest project “Gene Noble”, to talk about how he maintains the intricate life of a “working” background singer and indie artist. He also shared some great tips (see p. 37)
FINDING BALANCE BETWEEN THE WORKING SINGER AND THE ARTIST
Jaiden’s Top 4 Tips for finding balance between being the working singer and the artist.
1) Diversity is key to longevity. There are so many types of lucrative work out there, whether it’s television or commercials, touring or reference singing. Be open to the possibility of a great many sources of income from your talent.
2) You’re not just a solo artist. You must work and keep your artistry moving forward at the same time. If you are independent, financing is always a big issue so the more you earn the more you can reinvest in yourself.
3) Be able to adapt. You need to be skillful enough to pick up things quickly and to do what is required in the moment. Play your position. If it’s solo artist, be that, if its backing vocals, be that. The better you are at filling all the different roles you might have the better off you will be.
4) Pimp the game. If you have to travel with another artist on tour, take the opportunity to book your own shows on days off. Look for open mics or live music venues where you can perform or network with other artists, promoters, managers or musicians.