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Singer Booking Guide – 2020 Prices, Advice and FAQs

Encore singers available for hire

Are you thinking about hiring a singer for a party or hiring a wedding singer? Encore is home to hundreds of versatile singers, and we’ve helped thousands of customers book sought-after singers for their events and weddings.

Browse all Singers→

To help you with your search, 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 over 1500 professional singers available in the UK
  2. Contact our friendly bookings team to discuss your requirements: [email protected]

Let’s jump right in!

Contents:

  1. The Basics
  2. Equipment & Setup
  3. Repertoire
  4. Booking

Sarah Munro, Encore’s most booked singer

The Basics

What styles of music can a singer sing?

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

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 may 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:

  • Pop
  • Jazz
  • Classical / Opera
  • Folk
  • Tribute Acts

The best way to know if you’re booking the right singer for you is to watch their videos and listen to their demos. If you want to hire a swing singer or jazz singer and the singer you’re talking to only has pop demos, we’d highly recommend looking to hire a swing or jazz singer with evidence that they are comfortable singing these styles.

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
Singing Guitarist, Phil Richards
Singing Guitarist, Phil Richards

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 (think Ed Sheeran), 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. Perfect for a private party, corporate event or any special occasion.

If you’re looking for a singing guitarist for an event, we have plenty who would be happy to hear from you! You can take a look at the profiles and videos of Encore’s 390 fantastic singing guitarists available for hire here.

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. On Encore, hiring a singing pianist is easy, as we have over 170 great singing pianists available to book in the UK!

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 can the singer sing?

A wedding singer will usually sing at the following parts of the ceremony: seating of the guests, bridal procession, signing of the registry, and the walkout.

Singers for weddings can also sing during drinks receptions as well as the ceremony. Just make sure that if you want a different style of music for the reception than the ceremony, that your singer is comfortable and able to sing in multiple styles.

Acoustic wedding singers with an instrument are usually a great option that covers all bases, being able to play softer songs during the ceremony and then more upbeat, lively songs during the reception to entertain all your guests.

Encore Singing Guitarist, Georgia Thursting
Georgia Thursting, performing as a singing guitarist for a relaxed event

Equipment & Setup

How much space does a singer need?

A singer doesn’t require a lot of space compared to musicians with larger instruments. They need just enough space 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 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, THOM Music

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

Bottled water and tea/coffee/biscuits upon arrival are appreciated. Meals are also welcome, though generally not required unless your event it runs over a mealtime 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. Browse our wedding singers and contact your favourite to find out how they can perform for you.

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 songs to their repertoire, and if they can’t find a pre-existing arrangement, they will often create 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 for inspiration 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! And, if you’re looking for a wedding singer specifically, we’ve compiled all our talented wedding singers available for hire who will have a fantastic list of weddings songs that you can browse.

Encore singer/pianist, Craig Elliot

Booking

How far in advance should I book?

Booking as soon as possible is always advised, especially if you have special musical requests but we at Encore, we deal with many last-minute bookings and can easily find performers at short notice for you.

How much does it cost to hire a singer?

Generally, you can expect to pay around £200 to £500 for a singer to perform two 45-minute sets. You can contact one of our talented singers for a quote today and to discuss your individual requirements.

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 a 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

 

Encore singer, Teresa de Roberto
“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 very straightforward and as soon as you have confirmed a booking with your chosen singer, contracts and payments are then handled seamlessly by our secure payments system.

Browse all Singers→

Ready to hire a singer? With Encore, you can:

  1. Compare prices and contact 800 Singers available in the UK
  2. 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!

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James McAulay

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

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