Thursday, May 28, 2015

ASJ McCormack, Author of The Ultimate Guide To Singing For A Living

singing for a living, asj mccormack, andrea mccormack, become a pro singer book

Today we are interviewing ASJ McCormack, author of "The Ultimate Guide To Singing For A Living… All you need to get started with a career on the stage."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in 1978 in Douglas in The Isle of Man, where I spent my early childhood years.  I now live in the beautiful city of Chester.  My passion is predominantly singing, but I also love anything creative involving graphic design, photo/video editing and of course writing.
 
I spent my early teens up to now entertaining the public, singing in venues across the UK and Ireland.  I started out in the local pub & club scene and have gone from solo act to rock bands, duos to the tribute market.  Oh and not forgetting a 16 piece commitments–esque soul band with brass & horn section!
 
I lived and entertained out in Spain for 4 years, eventually leaving to have my family of two children, currently 3 and 5 years old now… The tribute scene is where I am at now, performing two tribute shows to Madonna and Lady Gaga.  Before going into entertainment full time I worked in web design and IT systems for a large pharmaceutical company in Cheshire.  I gave it all up to live the dream; I never was a morning person!

asj mccormack, professional singer, singing author
Author/tribute singer ASJ McCormack

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.
THIS BOOK IS FOR ANYONE WHO CAN SING AND DREAMS OF TURNING THEIR TALENT INTO THEIR CAREER AND ACTUALLY SING FOR A LIVING.  This is not a how to sing book, it’s a 'what you do with it' now you know you can sing book!

In this book I will provide you with the inspiration needed to take the next step to becoming a fabulous fully fledged performer in the competitive world of entertainment.

YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO...

- Discover what kind of singer you are
- The tools of the trade, what equipment you need to get set up
- How to promote your act to the full and create your own bookings as well as through agencies
- The importance of looking after yourself, health and fitness
- How to create your show and develop your persona & stage presence
- Accounts, finances and commissions that you will need to pay
- Artist development, future progression
- Insurance and the legal stuff involved
- And a whole lot more of invaluable information!

You will be given all the tools you need to make a real go of it and to step up to that stage brimming with confidence and the enjoyment that comes with your new vocation. The result is the hugely rewarding part that states “if you do something you love you will never have to work a day in your life”

Whether you want to be a great singer/entertainer, go for the x-factor / the voice, start up as a hobby or even give up your day job – the ultimate goal, this book will tell you all you need to know to kick start your performing career and not look back…

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone looking to become a working singer! If you love karaoke and are really good of course! and want to take it to the next level… Or you are always applying for talent shows such as the x factor or the voice.  Anyone who dreams of making a living doing the thing they love and using their talents!

What inspired you to write a book about becoming a singer in the competitive world of entertainment?
I started writing the bones of this book many years ago… It was after realising how much experience I had built up in the entertainment field that I decided to write this book as there was no help around when I first started out.  No one wants to tell anyone how it’s really done, as people fear there are too many acts on the scene already.  But the cream always rises to the top and in this business, there is room for everyone who wants to give it a go. I passionately want to share what I know about singing for a living…

What do you think are some of the biggest mistakes aspiring performers make that keep them from reaching their dream of performing professionally?
I think too many singers starting out take the wrong advice of others around them that either don’t know enough or know too much and try to mold them into something completely out of their own style that suited them originally.  Some also get pushed into TV reality shows like the x-factor or the voice too early on and if they don’t get through they get their confidence crushed at that crucial time when they need to have 100% self-confidence.

You have a section on persona and stage presence. How important is it for singers to develop this aspect of their art?
In this business self-confidence is paramount.  Even if you don’t feel it before going on stage you have to portray it and make people believe in you and that you know what you are doing!  Stage presence is what will make you stand out above the others, get listened to and be remembered for that moment you entertained...

How much time should singers allocate to researching the financial, legal, contractual aspects, etc of performing prior to pursuing it?
As each booking for a gig is taken, you will need to have a contract or confirmation at least of that booking.  If you are booked through an agent they will deal with this for you but if you take a booking on your own terms direct from a venue you will need to create a document that states your cancellation terms, date of booking, how much the fee is and payment terms i.e. cash on night or payment of deposit up front in advance etc…    

Should all performers get an agent? Or is it possible to be successful without one?
It is not a necessity at all to have an agent, you can do it yourself but you need to put the work in. The bigger venues will use agencies only and other venues so you have to talk your way in and know the right contacts for them to book you direct.

With an agent they have the venues ready and waiting for acts on their books and they can fill your diary up for the year.  The price for this service is the commissions you pay them after each gig.  If you book direct with a venue the full profit is yours.  You are also protected in a sense whilst working for a venue in case of any problems arising, so the more experienced you are the less likely you will need an agent as you will have the experience to deal with any issues.  I work mostly from direct bookings now but still do the odd one for agents. 

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
I think potential acts will see it’s not as difficult as it is deemed to be to get started, to work for yourself in this business and at the same time they will see its more about the business behind the scenes that takes up the time more than the performances! You can spend hours on the motorway then time setting up your gig at the other end just to be singing for an hour and half that evening!  People tend to think you just turn up, get paid, then go home… but there is so much more involved.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
My next writing project is my personal story called ‘becoming just a girl’.  Just a Girl is my stage name.  I started this one 20 years ago!  I always kept diaries of my gigs and scrapbooks to go with it.  I saved everything! It’s a tell all book of how I started singing from a child, my passion for smash hits magazines and all things pop, recording the top 40 on a tape recorder every Sunday, pretending I was Tina turner in the mirror singing into a hairbrush, headphones on! (I was at Wembley then, don’t you know!) while my parents were sleeping next door!  It’s all my experiences on and off the road… Eurovision entry, giving up the day job, singing and living in Spain & later becoming almost famous!  Almost! 

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
My book is everything you will not get told by other professionals or acts in the business… It’s written by someone who had to work everything out from scratch, from day one, with no help advice, contacts or otherwise… If you’re a singer this is the book I wish I had when I started out, I would of paid a small fortune for it haha!!! 


More Information
Buy the Kindle / eBook UK edition 

Buy the paperback UK edition 
Buy the US paperback edition
www.smartlassbooks.com
www.backstagepass.org.uk
https://www.facebook.com/smartlassbooks

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