If there is anyone who knows what it takes to make it as an EDM singer, it's Karen Harding.
With half a billion streams, the prolific English singer-songwriter is the stentoric voice behind many dance anthems. Harding has gritted his teeth in the field of contemporary dance music for more than half a decade and is revered as one of the most sought-after collaborators on the scene.
MNEK, Disclosure, Giorgio Moroder, Galantis, Purple Disco Machine – the list goes on. These electronic music superstars sought out Harding to breathe life into their compositions before they become generation anthems.
Immediately after the release of their long-awaited debut EP Sweet Vibrations, Harding joined forces with worldmusic.blog to share their firsthand experience and to give five tips to aspiring EDM singers. In their own words:
Be open to collaboration.
The dance music scene is full of collaborations and they can be the key to your success. Not only does this mean you can work with other artists and producers (and expand your network of contacts – another important aspect of a successful career as a singer), but it also helps improve your numbers when you are introduced to a new audience, the may not know your work. This means you can build a bigger following as more fans discover you.
Learn how to deal with rejection.
One big thing that I found very important is how to deal with rejection. Nobody sees the rejection behind the scenes, but every great artist has suffered from it at some point in their career. I would always say never take rejection too personally, music is a very headstrong world so you might not be what they're looking for at this time, but that doesn't reflect your abilities.
Educate yourself in music.
I started Pro Tools when I was around 16. I taught myself how to record vocals and then switched to Logic. I think it's really important to learn how to make music and record vocals. It's amazing what you can learn on YouTube!
I remember watching producers that I was in the studio with and then practicing at home. Never be too shy to ask when you are not sure about something.
I would also recommend getting yourself some decent speakers and decent microphones so you can give yourself the best chance of high quality vocals to send out to producers and other artists. Learn about plugins, learn about comping, just try to learn as much as you can about recording vocals and this will boost your confidence to no end!
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Performing live is one of the best things about being a singer. We can stand in front and get the crowd going!
Taking care of your voice is super important, so warming up is a must, keeping fit is also important as it will add to your stamina on stage. I started performing in bars and restaurants in my hometown and sometimes didn't appear in front of anyone, but now I look back on those gigs and I'm grateful that I got them – they were important to me to gain confidence in my abilities and myself to continue to improve as a singer.
Sometimes, when it wasn't that busy, I would treat the gig like a practice lesson. If you're performing live, make sure you've practiced the set so that you can have full confidence in what you're doing, even if it's just a song.
Get a good team behind you.
You need to find people you can trust, who care about your interests, and who work as hard as you do. Work with people you like and be comfortable enough to be yourself. It is important to be yourself as it is easy to get caught up in all of this at times. Remember to follow your gut instinct as it is usually correct.
Sweet Vibrations is now available from Ultra Music. You can stream the EP here.
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