A lot of solo singers use instrumental backing tracks to enable them to perform live before audiences in small venues. Economical and controllable, this can be an excellent solution for lone vocalists who need to make the maximum income from small bars and clubs.
There are essentially three ways in which you can obtain suitable backing music for the songs you wish to sing live. These are:
- Record them yourself on a home multi-track recording device
- Have professional session musicians record them for you
- Buy ready-made backing tracks from online vendors or specialist stores
Depending upon your budget, these are essentially the best methods of getting the musical backing you will need in order to go out and sing live to audiences of small to moderate size. The music you use can be as simple or as complex as you want, again depending on your resources.
Recording Your Own Backing Tracks
Of all the methods available to you, recording your own instrumental backing is the most satisfying, but also the most difficult. First of all, you need to be an accomplished musician to be able to play the tunes on different instruments.
The level of your musicianship will dictate the professionalism and ultimate quality of your recordings. It goes without saying that the most authentic backing will consist of music produced on real instruments, such as acoustic drums, bass and rhythm guitar and perhaps some piano/keyboards if you want a really professional sound.
The simplest backings consisting of drums, bass and guitar are often enough to provide the sound you need for many older songs, although if you intend to include more modern tracks to your repertoire, you will also need to add keyboards and some harmonising backing vocals.
Alternatively, you can go for a less professional albeit adequate sound by using a keyboard/sequencer to get your sound. For this, you will need to be able to program a drum machine and/or keyboard and sequencer setup, to get the beat down for your songs. A badly programmed drum track can make for a wooden and poor quality backing track!
Using Professional Musicians to Produce Your Tracks
If you have deep pockets, you might consider employing session musicians to create your backing tracks for you. This is expensive but will result in very professional sounding backings. However, your repertoire will be limited to the number of songs the musicians can create within your budget.
It is worth noting that unless you are intending to use less common songs in your live set, you are better off opting for the third method of obtaining the instrumental music. Buying collections of pre-recorded backing songs is the most economical and fast way of getting yourself out there and performing.
Purchasing Instrumental Backing Tracks
While you can quickly build up a large library of songs to take on the road with you in a highly portable format of either CDs or MP3 recordings on a flash memory pen drive that simply plugs into your PA system, you are limited to the same sound that most other solo vocalists use. This is not necessarily a bad thing as most audiences can't tell the difference!
However, you will often get a few musicians in your audience that will be able to tell. And they are generally the most critical, since musicians tend to look upon generic backing music with some measure of disdain!
That's why if you decide to go this route and most singers do, it pays to buy the best quality vocal backing tracks you can afford. Having good quality musical backline will always sound more professional and compliment your singing to its best effect.
I can recommend the best of those available online at a price that is affordable and represents great value for money. Check out my singers backing tracks reviews below: