Encore Blog

Singer Booking Guide – 2018 Prices, Hiring Advice and FAQs

Guide to hiring singers

Are you thinking about hiring a singer for an event or a wedding, but don’t know where to start? Encore is home to hundreds of singers, and we’ve helped thousands of customers book excellent singers for their events. To help you with your search for a singer, we’ve written answers to the questions we hear most often, complete with tips and inside knowledge from some of our top singers.

If you’ve already decided to hire a singer and you’re looking for available options, you can either:

  1. Compare prices and contact 800 Singers available in the UK,
  2. Request fast quotes from our singers here, or
  3. Contact our friendly bookings team to discuss your requirements: [email protected]

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  1. The Basics
  2. Equipment & Setup
  3. Repertoire
  4. Booking
Sarah Munro Singer
Sarah Munro Singer: encoremusicians.com/sarahmunromusic

Sarah Munro is the most popular and regularly booked singer on Encore. Available for private events, weddings and more.

The Basics

What styles of music can a singer sing?

The voice is the most versatile instrument known to man, meaning you can hire a singer to sing almost any type of music under the sun!

Most singers specialise in a certain style of music, and we highly recommend hiring a specialist if you have a certain type of genre in mind. For example, if you’re looking for a jazz singer, then make sure you go with someone from a jazz background who can sing jazz effortlessly, rather than a classical singer who may not do the jazz justice.

Alternatively, you want want a mixture of styles, in which case it’s better to go for someone versatile who can offer a variety of styles. For example, many singers are able to perform one set of pop songs, followed by another set of jazz or rock songs.

The most popular styles requested by Encore customers booking singers are:

  1. Pop
  2. Jazz
  3. Classical / Opera
  4. Folk
  5. Tribute Acts

The best way to know if you’re choosing the right singer is to watch their videos and listen to their demos, and to only book someone who has demos of them singing the type of music you’re looking for. If you want a jazz singer and the singer you’re talking to only has pop demos, we’d highly recommend looking for someone else with evidence that they sing jazz well.

Does the singer need an accompanist?

Whether or not a singer requires an accompanist really depends on their own abilities. Generally, singers fall into one of three categories:

  1. Solo Singers who also play an instrument e.g. guitar, piano or harp
  2. Solo Singers who perform to backing tracks
  3. Singers who perform with a piano or guitar accompanist, in a duo line-up

Solo Singers who also play an instrument

The most common singing instrumentalists is the singing guitarist. A singing guitarist will typically perform pop, rock and jazz songs, either using an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, or both.

Singing guitarists offer great value for money – they are versatile, they can get whole crowds of people up on their feet singing along to well-known songs, and they require very little space.

Singing pianists are also popular for laid-back events, such as receptions or dinners. Generally, they will sing jazz or pop songs, in a similar fashion to Michael Buble or Elton John.

It’s also possible to hire singing harpists, who are popular at weddings, and singing accordionists, who are popular during Oktoberfest!

Solo Singers who perform to backing tracks

Many singers perform with backing tracks played through an amp. This is popular at bars and clubs, where there isn’t much space. These singers usually have hundreds of songs for you to choose from, and can often provide lighting rigs to create a party atmosphere.

Some customers love this setup, and some think that backing tracks are too similar to karaoke. It comes down to personal taste, and whether you want to go for a fully live experience, or whether you’re happy with pre-recorded backing.

Singers who perform with a piano or guitar accompanist

Many classical and operatic singers will perform with a piano accompanist, usually in a recital format or during dinner. It’s also common to see pop singers with accompanists, either on piano or guitar. Sometimes the accompanist will also sing, giving you beautiful two-part vocal harmonies.

During which parts of the wedding ceremony can the singer sing?

The singer will usually sing at the following parts of the ceremony: seating of the guests, bridal procession, signing of the registry, and the walk out.

Can the singer sing at the reception as well as the ceremony?

Absolutely, although make sure that if you want a different style for the reception that your singer is comfortable singing in multiple styles.

Georgia Thursting: https://encoremusicians.com/Georgia-Thursting
Georgia Thursting: https://encoremusicians.com/Georgia-Thursting

Equipment & Setup

How much space does a singer need?

A singer doesn’t require a lot of space compared to musicians with larger instruments – just enough for one person to stand and be able to move a bit. Singers can bring their own amplification if you don’t have any, which is usually very compact.

Of course, if they are performing with another musician or group, or if they are performing with a portable piano or a harp, you’ll need to provide more space for them.

What equipment do I need to provide for a singer?

Singers are a great example of a ‘self-contained musician’ – they provide everything they need to perform, which means there’s very little required from the event host! They’ll bring their own microphone and PA, and sometimes even their own lighting rig.

The singer may ask for a chair to sit on if they are performing with a guitar or piano.

Depending on the nature of the event, some singers may request a private dressing room to get changed in and to securely store their belongings. It’s worth checking with your singer whether they require this before the day of the event.

Do I need a to provide a PA system?

No, most singers have their own PA system or simply don’t need one if the room is small.

How long does a singer need to prepare and set up?

If amplification is needed, allow 15-30 minutes to set up and do a thorough soundcheck. Otherwise, singers ideally like to warm up for about 15-30 minutes before singing.

Encore singer Phoebe White

Do I need to provide food if I hire a singer?

Musicians will appreciate bottled water and tea/coffee/biscuits upon arrival. Meals are always welcome, though generally not required unless your event is around dinner time or goes on late into the evening.

Can a singer sing outside?

Yes, in warm weather and with appropriate rain cover (a marquee or tent) and amplification. It’s important that you let the singer know if you want them to perform outside, so that they can bring the correct equipment and clothing.

What dress code can I expect?

Singers can tailor their outfit to your event – smart casual, white tie, tuxedo, floor-length gowns, cocktail dresses, or just all black are all possible.

How long will the singer perform for?

Generally, a singer will perform one, two or three sets of 45-minutes each, unless otherwise requested. Musicians generally ask for breaks of at least 15 minutes between sets, which is important if they don’t want to strain or injure their voice.

During a wedding ceremony, a singer will usually sing 3-4 songs, often as the bride arrives, during the signing of the register, and as the newlywed couple exit.

During a reception or party, sets are usually 2 x 45 minutes with a 15-minute break between sets.

Encore singer Gemma Louise Doyle

Do I need to provide parking?

Sometimes – check with your singer how they plan to arrive! If they are transporting a keyboard and/or other kit, they will need a parking space near the door (or be able to unload near the door).

Repertoire

Can the singer sing my favourite song?

Absolutely! Musicians love adding new pieces to their repertoire, and if they can’t find an arrangement, will often tailor one themselves for your event. This may add an additional fee to your booking, but is well worth the extra expense to hear your favourite song played in a new and exciting way.

I’m not sure what type of music I want – where can I go for ideas?

Go to Encore’s singer page and listen to different singers’ audio/video clips and get ideas of which styles you like. You can even filter by location to find singers near you!

Encore singer/pianist Elliot Doyle Rooney

Booking

How far in advance should I book?

We advise booking as soon as possible, especially if you have special musical requests, but we handle last-minute bookings all the time at Encore and can easily find performers at short notice.

How much does a singer cost?

Generally, you can expect to pay around £200 to £500 for a singer to perform two 45-minute sets.

Various factors influence the price a singer will quote you:

  • Years of experience
  • Level of demand – popular singers charge higher fees!
  • Locality to your venue
  • Whether or not you want them to learn any new songs

As guide, for a private event or a wedding you should expect to pay:

  • £190 to £250 for a good singer (perhaps an amateur who performs at the weekends)
  • £250 to £400 for an excellent, professional singer
  • £400 to £600 for an elite singer who is in high demand

For a venue or bar/pub performance on a Friday or Saturday night, you should expect to pay:

  • £150 to £200 for a good singer
  • £200 to £350 for an excellent singer

If you’re hiring the singer on a weekly or monthly basis, they may reduce their fee for you.

Do I have to pay travel fees?

You may have to factor in travel costs if the singer is not local. Most musicians have a set radius from their home (generally 15-20 miles) and charge extra for any travel outside that area. We have performers all over the country, so we can usually find someone close to your location.

The standard rate is 47p/mile so if the singer needs to travel 50 miles each way, that’s an additional £47 for 100 miles of travel. This amount is included as a rough guide – each musician will set their own

singer2

“I love performing at wedding ceremonies because it really helps create the atmosphere.”
Encore singer Teresa de Roberto

How do I handle contracts and payment?

The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is extremely straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen singer, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure payments system.

If you’re ready to hire a singer, you have three options!

  1. Compare prices and contact 800 Singers available in the UK,
  2. Request fast quotes from our singers here, or
  3. Contact our friendly bookings team to discuss your requirements: [email protected]

Hopefully, this guide answers all of your questions! If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Enjoy your performance!

James McAulay

Encore Co-Founder & CEO. Cellist, pianist, singer and aspiring guitarist.

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