Are Singers Always So Flaky?

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Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by Favedave »

I've been in show business all my life, but mostly TV and film -- writing and directing. During the lockdown, I went back to music and hired singers remotely to demo songs. Then I created a project wherein I'm hiring a singer, releasing the track, and promoting it heavily.

One thing I've been rather surprised about it: singers are so flaky! Of the 20 or so I've dealt with, only 2 were on time and did what they said they'd do.

When I say "I need this on Tuesday," they say "I'll try to do that."
Me: "Uh, try it or do it? I need it Tuesday, please."
Singer: "OK, I'll have it to you by Tuesday."
Tuesday comes and goes. Around Friday I get an email --
Singer: "Oh sorry I got busy LOL, I'll have it for you soon."
A few days later, I get a track from them.

These are paying gigs -- anywhere from $70 for BGV (she delivered right away) to $600 for a lead vocal (never delivered).

These are pop songs, easy to sing, tracks are ready, in their key -- it's all professional from my end. I told some other producers about this, and they laughed, saying that's the way it is. These are all female singers, and one (female) producer said "I hate to betray my sex, but female singers are especially flaky."

I also hired 4 session musicians for guitar, violin, and mandolin -- 3 female -- and they were on time and delivered tracks very quickly. (The project is female-centric songs, BTW, in case you're wondering.)

I've worked with actors all my life -- famous and not, and 99% of them are on time, ambitious, and work hard.

WTF is it with singers?!?!
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by blinddrew »

Not going to comment on the male/female aspect of it because most musicians I've worked or played with have been male, but in general I would say that more musicians than not have been generally flaky.
Are singers worst than most? I've only been in one band where we had someone who was solely a vocalist, and I'm pretty certain the only reason that we managed any rehearsals was because a) he didn't provide any equipment, and b) someone picked him up on the way. :)

FWIW I'm also (sort of) a singer so I'm speaking with a bit of personal experience. ;)
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by James Perrett »

The big problem is that these days it is difficult to tell the professionals from the amateurs. That's why so much of the business still revolves around personal recommendations. Talk to other producers and find out who they recommend. I know one or two highly professional singers but they're busy so would only be able to work to realistic deadlines.
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by RichardT »

In my experience, quite a lot of singers are flaky, definitely more than instrumentalists are.
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by blinddrew »

RichardT wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:34 pm In my experience, quite a lot of singers are flaky, definitely more than instrumentalists are.

Though quite a lot of guitarists are up there in the flaky stakes as well... ;)
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by Music Wolf »

Singer in one of my bands is a single mother of three, one pre-school, who has quite a high powered day job.

Never misses a practice but was once 15 minutes late because her babysitter (eldest daughter) had let her down at the last minute and she had to find a replacement.
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by The Red Bladder »

Favedave wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:31 am I've been in show business all my life, but mostly TV and film -- writing and directing.

And that's where you went wrong! TV and film is a business. It costs real money to put a film together and it's a complicated process with hundreds of things to think about. TV - I worked in TV so I know that there is no such word as 'late' in TV.

Films have schedules and wo-betide anyone who gets in the way of that schedule. Films have release dates that are usually contractually fixed before principle photography starts. Flaky people just do not get hired!

The UK music scene is not like the US or the German scene where people see the music business for what it is - a business! And the lower down you go, the flakier it gets. They think what they are pushing is high art!

I would say that it is unusual for me to not be waiting for a musician to turn up for a studio appointment - and sometimes we are hanging about for several hours! As we are a facility for hire, that's their look-out and it's their dime!

And on the flaky-scale, singers are the flakiest!
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by James Perrett »

We always reckoned that the singer in our last band lived in his own timezone. No matter what we did, he always turned up late - I think three hours late was his record though fortunately it was a gig where we had to set up early so he only missed the soundcheck.
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by wearashirt »

I could not agree more. I guess the reason is that a song has to be taken to heart before they can muster up enough willingness to CREATE which is real work, as opposed to CONSUMING (cover / karaoke).

I do the same thing as you do. The best singer I was able to work with - gifted, talented, and prompt - on the other hand fought so much with me lol. She was especially irked when I expanded the arrangement after she turned in her vocal, said that THAT should've been the track she sang on.

Question - whose name do you put on the artist line?
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by MixAndMatch »

Favedave wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:31 am
WTF is it with singers?!?!

I have never had a problem with them.
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by shufflebeat »

There is a big difference for most people between the act of playing an instrument and making an instrument out of yourself.

One aspect of this is that in order to be an instrumentalist you (or your overbearing parents) have to make a decision to embark on a path of learning which involves ending up somewhere you will have psychologically and emotionally prepared for, with varying levels of success.

Singers who have undergone the same process of professionalisation tend to be good at engaging with projects and separating off the product from the person. In that situation positive and negative criticism are not quite so internalised. If in your own mind you are your voice and the product is a genuine expression of self then putting that in front of a potentially hostile group is a scary thing to do and there is no blaming your instrument without revealing personal weakness. A trained singer with a good emotional perspective would not fall into these traps so readily.

If your preparation consists of being planted in front of a group of strangers and told to do what you do best for their dis/approval it's probably no wonder that there comes with it a measure of emotional intensity which can manifest itself in a variety of bizarre ways.
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Re: Are Singers Always So Flaky?

Post by Arpangel »

Not my experience. depends on the person, same as any musician, singer or otherwise, I think you’ve just been unlucky.
I’ve worked with four female vocalists on a regular basis, over the years, three in our band, and one soloist. Two of them were always kicking my arse, regarding turning up on time, and getting things done, were always dead on time at rehearsals too, in fact, they made me feel positively inefficient on more than one occasion, it was me who was always having to apologise.
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That’s another thing
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