So…You Want To Be A Tribute Act?
Welcome to the Tribute Biz!!!!!!
Tribute Acts have become BIG business over the last few years and rightly so! With a tribute performer you get all the appeal of a musical hero, up close and personal and at a fraction of the cost.
So it is no wonder then that many Singers and Musicians are seeing the potential of a career as a Tribute Performer, particularly as the popularity of the Tribute business can be seen as quite a lucrative one.
Maybe you can see yourself carving a niche as a successful Tribute Act and landing gigs at weddings, private parties or themed tribute nights.
But what goes into creating a bookable, lookalike, soundalike Tribute Act? Take a look at our savvy tips for developing your own tribute act and kickstart your dazzling tribute career!
Who Do You Want To Be?
If you’re choosing your favourite pop star to base your Tribute on, then that’s great! After all you will probably already be familiar with their music. BUT… and this may be a surprise, you can choose whoever you want, whether you are a fan or not!
Obviously it is a bonus if you actually LOOK like your chosen act, but if you cannot mimic them, or perform well, AS them, then it doesn’t matter whether you look like their identical twin! Because portrayal is EVERYTHING!
Consider all factors carefully when deciding who you are going to pay Tribute to. Are people going to want to see your act? Public demand for a performer means public demand for your tribute act.
Do they having staying power? A performer who has been around for a while has a more bookable appeal. Whereas a one hit wonder, though he or she may have topped the charts with a hit that just about EVERYONE is humming, could soon fade away and be off the radar completely. You may then find yourself in the unfortunate position of creating a Tribute Act that is out of touch, very quickly.
On the flip side however, bare in mind that choosing a super popular artist or band will mean a lot of competition from other wannabe tributes. And that means mega competition for regular bookings. And let’s face it, as a tribute act, you want the Holy Grail of tribute success… LOADS OF GIGS!
Perfect The Voice. Know The Songs. Work The Mannerisms.
Some singers are lucky enough to look very similar to the performer they are paying Tribute to. If you don’t, but have your heart set on a particular artist, then don’t panic! Although helpful, it isn’t essential. More important is your ability to PORTRAY a performer as accurately as possible. Find out as much as you can about the artist you are imitating.
Take time to to learn their style of singing. Do they have vocal quirks, use voice effects or even close their eyes when they sing?
Know the songs, inside out and back to front! And build a good repertoire. If your artist has been around for a while, chances are you will have a wealth of material to work with, and not all of it current. Learn the songs. As many as you can. You want your performance to to have broad appeal to all ages in the audience.
If you are lucky enough to have a singing voice that closely resembles a performer, then play to those strengths. And hone every nuance of their singing style and patterns.
Pay attention to the mannerisms of your artist. Do they hold their head back when singing or gesture in a certain way? Studying videos and recordings of your chosen tribute at this stage, will be invaluable.
Once you have identified every element of the artists performance, then PRACTICE! And PRACTICE! Then PRACTICE EVEN MORE!!!!
Your aim is to confidently and effortlessly reproduce the sound and style of the artist, and make the whole performance seamless.
So practise singing, look for voice affectations, their vocal runs and placement. Emulate gestures, perfect mannerisms… And then do it all… At The Same Time!!!
You want this tribute to be as authentic and crowd pleasing as possible, and getting it just right is going to take time. Get all the details down. And Nail Them!
Remember, there is NO SUCH THING as too much practise!
Get The Look! And Spend Some Money.
This may seem very obvious, but perfecting the right look for your tribute act is paramount. Even before you have sung a single note, your audience will be sizing you up and already making comparisons to the real artist.
What image does the performer have on stage? Do they have an iconic look? Think Bruno Mars and his never ending supply of hats, or Jessie J and her body hugging catsuits. Even Madonna, rocking her cone bra; very circa 1990, but you get the picture!
An instantly recognisable look goes a long way to creating the overall illusion of a star performance.
If your chosen star does not have a particularly famous outfit or image, then check out videos and album covers for inspiration.
Go SHOPPING! Search second hand shops, car boot sales and vintage clothing stores for outfits or individual clothing items. These are absolute treasure troves for random clothes and accessories. Don’t change your hair colour or chop off your beautiful silky tresses (unless you want to of course!) Instead, invest in wigs or hair extensions. There are plenty of places where you can get them and of course it is a much easier option to buy a new wig if your chosen artist changes their image. You will have to update yours too!
Look at the details of your Tribute. Maybe your performer wears uber trendy specs, like Elton John or is a fan of hot pants like Ellie Goulding!
Study every detail carefully and build the RIGHT image.
Smash The Performance!
So you have the look, and the voice down. Now you have to put it all together and perform! Stage appeal is all important. Look at how your artist performs as a whole.
Do they interact with the audience? Chat? Maybe a few one liners before they sing? Can you speak with their accent?
The awe-inspiring diva that is Adele, is almost as famous for her cheeky on stage personality as she is for her powerhouse voice! Remember these details matter.
Pinpoint the performance style of your tribute, again videos are brilliant for this, and get it right! If they have a certain dance style or move in a particular way, then replicate it as best as you can. REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE!
You may not be able to moonwalk, (although it would be ideal) as well as Michael Jackson for instance, but if you have nailed some of his gestures, movements and energy, you’ll have your audience engaged. So make your performance memorable!
Your overall performance and showmanship can be the make or break of your Tribute Show… so follow these tips and make your act one that will be remembered for all of the right reasons!