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Want to try singing as a profession in the near future? Good. You’re at the right place. Becoming a professional musician/vocalist might be one of the most attractive and coveted careers out there, but it’s also one of the hardest. That’s why we interviewed three successful singer/songwriters to give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to go for it in the musical world. They’re talented, they’re positive, and they’re really hard workers. Sound like lil Blush girls to us! Here’s the spotlight:
Median Salary: $23.50/hr
Number of Jobs (2012): 167,400
Job Outlook: 5% growth (slower than avg)
Popular Cities: NYC, Nashville, Los Angeles, Austin
Occupation: Vocals in the band Kaleidoscope, Worship Leader
City: Fort Worth, TX & Nashville, TN
Music: Christian Pop
Degree: “Commercial Music” from Belmont University
Known for: ‘Love Like You,’ ‘Move,’ & ‘Every Tomorrow‘
Occupation: Vocals in band Kaleidoscope
City: Nashville, TN
Music: Christian Pop
Degree: Commercial Music (vocals) with a business emphasis from Belmont University
Known for: [see Cammie “known for”]]
ASHLEY: When I was 11 yrs old I signed up to sing a song on a cruise ship. My parents, nor I, had any idea what a big deal it would be. Before I knew it, I was on stage singing a song called “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers in front of about 300 hundred people. I knew, then, that my path in life would include performance on stage. When I was 17, my Dad gifted me a guitar and it collected dust in the closet for a few years. At the age of 20, I started teaching myself guitar, by myself in my room, learning from YouTube videos. Yeah! YouTube! I began to make up lyrics to go along with chords I learned and started frequenting songwriter nights and open mics. Now I sit here and reflect on where my path has taken me and I get overwhelmed with gratitude knowing that I am living my dream. When I was a kid and people started asking me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Without hesitation, my response was always, “A singer.”
CAMMIE: I attended Belmont University in Nashville Tennessee and studied Commercial Music. This degree absolutely helpedmy career! Not only did we learn SO much about the music business, and how it’s possible to be a musician who can actually pay your bills doing music, but Belmont is also special to us because it’s where Natalie and I met. We were roommates for three years during college and it was in that time that God started revealing His plan for us to do music together. It’s a small, Christian University, that attracts people all over the country who love the Lord and have a passion for music! I will say that getting a degree in “Commercial Music/Vocal Performance” was risky for both of us – I have had way too many people ask me if I was getting a degree to sing for commercials! Haha um no….? 😉 Auditioning for the program was intimidating enough, but then you get there and everyone around is insanely talented! My freshman year I almost changed majors about 100 times, my sophomore year about 50, and so on… I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the best singer out there, not even close, but I am the best Cammie Avers out there… in fact I’m the only one that can do what God put me on Earth to accomplish.
NATALIE: I agree. My degree from Belmont absolutely helped. The music program at Belmont really gave me a taste of what I was wanting to pursue in the music industry and more than that they provided me with amazing connections! Every professor I had was either working in the industry themselves or had in the past. At Belmont, I was surrounded by extreme talent, everyone came from a hometown where they were “the best”, and this helped challenge and grow my skills.
CAMMIE: I am a worship and youth pastor at Whites Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake. Every week I get to lead worship for multiple services, as well as pour into the hearts of middle and high school students. While I love my job at the church, I am also incredibly passionate about my career as a musician. For a little over a year now, I have been in a pop/Christian duet with my best friend Natalie, called KALEIDOSCOPE. We write, record, and perform our own music in hopes that the message we sing about will encourage girls just like us! We just recently signed with 55 Management (they also manage recording artist Britt Nicole who sings “Gold” among many other hit songs!) which has helped us share our music on a larger scale.
ASHLEY: Emailing (A LOT), booking shows, rehearsal, recording and scheduling. I am constantly having to make important decisions on photos to use, or listening to songs from the studio and picking it apart to sound right. It’s a balance between creativity and logistics. A lot of decisions I need to make are on a deadline and it can be stressful.
CAMMIE: I go to Nashville at least once a month, and when I do Natalie and I try to have each day planned out so that we can be as productive as possible. There really is no “typical” day for a musician, but a lot of our days involve song writing, meetings with people interested in our music, and working on growing our website/social media presence. I love that every day can look different!
NATALIE: Some days I am writing songs and other days I am learning how to make our website look better by watchingmillions of Youtube instruction videos. We also have a lot of meetings with various music industry people whether it’s with an A&R from a label or the President of a booking agency—always a lot of people to keep up with and keep informed with what Kaleidoscope has been doing!
ASHLEY: I love that I have the opportunity to connect with people. For me, that is what it’s all about. I have been given the gift to connect with people through my voice and words on stage. I love writing too. Performing gives me such a great feeling, there’s no other like it. I love meeting new people/fans at shows and knowing that I have touched someone. Being able to speak to people from the stage is priceless. When people come up to me and tell me that one of my songs made them cry, I recognize that they are allowing themselves to feel and that is pure beauty.
CAMMIE: I love that I get to make music with my best friend! It’s so much fun to work with the person you want to hang out with all the time anyways! I love that I get to make a difference whether it’s big or small, and all through doing my favorite thing – singing! At the end of the day, the fact that I make all my income from being a musician and a minister is a huge blessing to me!
NATALIE: I love that I get the opportunity to speak into other people’s lives. I love that I get the opportunity to use my music to speak truth, joy, love and encouragement into other’s lives. I am so beyond thankful to get to do what I not only believe I was created for, but also what I absolutely love daily!
ASHLEY: Hmmmm… Well, this will take some more thought. First thing- I can get overwhelmed sometimes. There is not really ANY consistency in this industry as far as a career goes. So it is EXTREMELY important that I have certain rituals that I do every day. One of them is that I pray every morning and evening. This helps me stay grounded when my surroundings may be chaotic. Another thing is that I am not huge on self promotion, so it took a while to get heads to turn and for people to start noticing me and for me to feel comfortable talking about myself. When I was just starting out, people would come up to me and say, “You know you are choosing a really hard career, you’re going to have to work very hard.” I would hear them, but think to myself, “How hard can it be?” Well.. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, balance and undying love for what I am doing. The last thing is that it can be very tough to make money in the music industry. In order support my music career, I work for my dad’s company from home. It’s very nice because it’s flexible and I can work from anywhere. So if I am on tour, I can still make money. This is probably the most important thing I could tell anyone, is to have a job while you are building your music career. Without a supplemental income, you could start to resent that no money is coming in from music and feel defeated.
NATALIE: I think like any young person in any industry, I hate the waiting period! I am absolutely someone that has to remind myself to love the process and to be patient. We all have to work hard for where we want to be in the future and waiting and trusting through that process is not always the easiest!
ASHLEY: My VERY end goal is to live a life full of happiness surrounded by people I love. As far as my music career goes- My
goals are always transforming. A few of my goals right now are to play at Red Rocks Amphitheater, make a living solely from my music and be on tour at least 6 months out of the year. To touch lives and spread love through music!
NATALIE: At the end of the day I pray and hope for changed lives and hearts. The more lives we can impact in a positive way, the better! Cammie and I both have a heart for young women and would love to be able to start our own conference where we can lead worship, speak, and share our music. We would love to be involved in mission work alongside of our music—partnering with an organization that we can support at shows, but also serve with. I feel like our dreams are fairly endless, there are so many outlets and opportunities that we are just willing and trusting in whatever doors the Lord opens up!
CAMMIE: My advice would be to pray, pray, pray! I know that sounds cliche, but it’s the only way to figure out what God made you to do. Until you find that out you will be discontent and constantly searching for the next best thing. I have a lot of friends who are amazing musicians/singers but they have learned that being in the music business as a career is just not for them. They get more joy from singing for fun, for their church, or in local coffee shops, than they did trying to “make it.” Someone once told me, “If you want to be a singer, then just sing!” I’m at a point now where I know I will be making music and singing for the rest of my life, regardless of how many people want to listen. A teacher that Natalie and I had at Belmont used to always say, “Pray like it’s up to God, and work like it’s up to you.” That has always stuck with me.
ASHLEY: First and foremost, my advice to anyone is to always follow your heart. Your head will try to get in the way, but your heart knows best. Let it guide you in all of your choices, actions and communication. I advise that you never let anyone tell youthat you can’t do something. Rejection comes with life, but it will only make you stronger if you pick yourself back up and keep doing what you love. Practice a lot and ALWAYS surround yourself with people who you respect and you think have more talent than you. Get a cat too, it will teach you to love more and help you stay grounded. I also always pray before I go on stage to be able to spread love and light to the audience. If this is in your heart and what you love, KEEP DOING IT! Love yourself and be true to yourself always.
Thank you so much to Cammie, Natalie, and Ashley for sharing their love for music with us! You girls are such an inspiration and we are so happy for all of you.
Think you’d like to branch into the music career? You’ll definitely need some support along the way! Check out our memberships and let us get you primed and ready for your next bold career move. Blush you!