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As a female lead singer in a band for the past three years, I know the difference between being "average" and "great". If you have the talent, you've got the first ingredient covered. But, that's not all there is to it. Below are the remaining ingredients essential to being a successful lead Female singer.

1. Presence. What is that? How you present yourself on stage. If you are performing solo or with a band, you have to make the audience want to watch you. If you look bored, they will be, too! So, smile, clap those hands, move around to the music and ENJOY what you are doing.

2. Improve what you've got. You could be the best singer in the world, but there is always room for improvement. If you've never had formal training, it's never too late to start. Breathing properly is one of the key elements to singing. If you breathe primarily from you upper chest, you are not singing correctly. You are straining your voice. You must breathe from your abdomen and push that sound out. This will not only improve your sound, it will preserve your voice!

3. Style. Be yourself! Have your own style! If you are singing covers (not original music), don't try to mimic the singer who originally performed the piece. Sing it your way. That makes you stand out. That makes you special. People have heard the original artist already, so make the song your own! If they wanted to hear an exact replica, they'd have hired a DJ! You're not on stage to be an impersonator. If you are, disregard this!

4. Interact with the crowd! Smile at them, talk to them. Point out a couple who's dancing is great! Don't go overboard, but audience interaction brings them right into what you are doing. You don't want to be a distraction, especially in certain settings. But, if you are there to be noticed and to entertain, then do it! I used to bring a pair of boots with me to a job. Every time I sang "These Boots" by Nancy Sinatra, I would put them on first. I would then walk out onto the dance floor at the end of the song and "Walk with those Boots"! People loved it! If you are playing strictly as a background band or performer, you don't want to do things like that. But, if you're in a club or performing at a wedding, go for it! You have to assess your crowd first.

5. Don't be a bump on a log! This ties into number one and four. If it's not time for you to be singing, don't just stand there! Grab a tambourine, or some "shakers", or clap your hands and dance. Whatever is appropriate for the song. If it's a slow tune, smile and look interested. Move a little (Swaying can make people dizzy, so I don't recommend it). If you act like a bump on a log, you'll be perceived as one. You want to have that "presence" I mentioned earlier. Involve yourself, but don't overpower or upstage the one who is singing or playing at that time.

6. Arrive on time! Whether you are solo or with a band, don't rush into a job at the last minute and begin setting up. It makes you look unprofessional, for one, and club owners/managers don't like it. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and set up. Allow a few moments before the job to clear your head and relax. Take some deep breaths and prepare yourself. If you are wound up when you begin, your throat will be tight and you won't sing as well as you could. Promptness is important. Remember, you were hired as a professional!

7. Don't overindulge on alcohol! I have had a glass of wine or two on a job, but that's it! If you overdo it, you will not only sound worse, you may jeopardize any future jobs! We often think that we are better than ever when we've had a few too many. The opposite is true! Also, remember, you have to drive home from that job, and you don't want to be drunk doing it. Keep you head when it comes to drinking.

8. Know your stuff! Practice makes perfect. If you don't know a song, and it's required that you sing it on a gig, you will look unprofessional and you will make the band look the same. This is especially important if you sing weddings. Couples request certain songs because they mean something to them. If you botch their "first dance", you have set the tone for the entire evening. They will be disappointed, and bad word tends to spread like wildfire, unfortunately. We all make mistakes, but a mistake is different from being completely unprepared! Mistakes are forgivable, you can fudge your way past them. Not knowing a song is obvious to everyone. You don't want that. Occasionally, a request will come your way that you "kind of" know. If you feel you can pull it off, do it. If you absolutely don't know the song, apologize to the folks making the request and ask them if there's another song by that artist they would like. Maybe you'll know it well enough to do it. You'd be surprised at what your memory retains! I often would announce that I am "Going to do the best I can at this one!" I was preparing the crowd for possible blunders, but they appreciated the fact that I was trying to fulfill someone's request.

9. Don't be a Prima Donna. Have the right attitude. Just because you are the lead, doesn't mean you are better than the rest of the band. Work with them, not against them. Yes, it's the band's job to follow you. But, don't make it tough on them! You are a team. Act that way! Not one person is better than the other. You all create the sound; each contributing his or her special talent. Be enjoyable to work with! I have seen one too many female singers who think they are the "cat's meow". It destroys the chemistry in the band. People sense when chemistry is good. They can hear it. So, work with the members of the band and listen to one another. Again, you are a team!

10. Lastly, keep it fresh. Just because this is the three hundredth time you have sung a song, it's not the three hundredth time the audience has heard you do it! It can be difficult, especially when you don't like the song. But, treat it as if you love it and give it all you've got! If you're looking for more bookings, you won't get them if you're up there looking bored as ever! Remember, it's new to them, and that's what counts!