I get it. Professional demo singers aren’t cheap. You sing well and it’s your song. Why shouldn’t you just sing the demo? I mean, a demo is just a demonstration, right? Anyone in the industry will be perfectly capable of hearing your song’s melody and lyric if you sing it so what’s the big deal if you sing it yourself? OK, if you’re forced to admit it, you haven’t sung much in the studio before and your preferred style of singing isn’t in the genre that your song is in. Oh, and the melody is a bit rangy for you but you still want to sing it yourself. Like I said, I really do get it BUT given that you only have one chance to make a first impression with your song, is it really worth being taken out of the running almost immediately for financial – or, let’s face it, egotistical – reasons? For those on even the tightest of budgets, I’m here to tell you that a professional vocal on your song demo is critical if you’d like your songs – and yourself – to be taken seriously by the music industry decision makers. Here are a few specific reasons that a professional demo singer is a must.

1. The voice is the single most important part of a demo

Of all the elements of a song demo, it’s the voice that listeners respond to first and most. Not only is the voice the vehicle for your song’s melody and lyric (i.e. your song) but it’s also the most human part of a recording. A great singer can make your melody and lyric shine in a way that nothing else in a demo can. 

2. A professional demo singer will save you time (i.e. money)

One of the things that most people don’t consider when they think of demo singers is not only how great they sound but also how quickly they can learn and perform your song in the studio. I remember singing take after take of my own early demos just to get something that was in the ballpark. I was amazed that the first time I worked with a pro, they sounded great and knew my melody pretty much right away. What might have taken me hours, took less than an hour – including singing harmonies to their own lead vocals – to deliver perfectly.

3. Your song’s genre will be properly represented

Just because you’re most comfortable performing in one genre doesn’t mean that you, as a songwriter, can’t write songs in a variety of genres. But, for example, if you’re a pop songwriter and vocalist and you’ve written a song that needs a country demo, heaven help you if you try to fake a country twang so you can sing the demo yourself. Anyone in the country music industry will smell the insincerity from a mile away and your demo will be pretty much dead in the water. Hiring a country demo singer not only helps your demo match the genre you hope to pitch it in but it will add an air of authenticity in the phrasing and delivery that simply can’t be faked or recreated any other way.

4. The demo will simply be more believable

There’s a strange thing that happens when a professional demo singer sings your song. You believe them! Somehow a great voice coupled with a comfortable delivery and natural phrasing translates into making your song sound more genuine and sincere. This is not to be underestimated. Sometimes we like songs more not because they’re necessarily better written but because we simply believe the singer more. Trust this and take advantage of it in your own song demos.


I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating. No one can write your songs for you. However, when it comes to pretty much every other discipline in the world of songwriting, there are experts who can help you bring your songs up to the next level. Professional demo singers are at the head of that line and you should rely upon them to help you present your songs in the best possible light. 

Good Luck!

Make the most of your studio demo experience.

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6 responses to “Four Reasons a Professional Demo Singer Is Essential”

  1. Sorry Cliff, I respectfully disagree. I AM a vocalist AND a songwriter with awards to my credit…. The idea that I should give my creation over to someone else to sing when I am capable is not even thinkable. I get it if the songwriter is not a vocalist….but my power comes from my ability to live the song I have written and invite the audience to feel with me.

  2. Nick Phillips says:


  3. Justin Ezzi says:

    I agree with you Cliff. I’ve written several songs where I reluctantly brought in a different vocalist. (I’m also a professional singer). The results were striking. The song took on a whole new feel that I hadn’t anticipated. 😳

  4. bob wright says:

    I agree with number one whole-heartedly.
    Very few of us can sing that well.
    And a good song should be open to different interpretations, even if you think you’re a great singer.

  5. That’s fascinating, Justin Ezzi. The difference another voice can bring to the execution of a Lyric and Melody reveals qualities in those elements unanticipated by your own ‘interpretation’.
    In the DVD “The Making of Aja” is a story of a Song and several guitarists’ ‘takes’ on it, and then the one that we all heard when the Song was released. The difference is astounding!
    If not for expense I would recommend exploring several singers’ personal touch on your Song. And I would encourage you to encourage them to experiment, to alter Melody and execution if they ‘felt’ something wrong or something that could be better with a tweak.
    Willie Nelson had a good little Song in “Crazy”, but it was more recitation than sung. Patsy Cline asked to do it in her interpretation. That’s the Melody you hear in her recording, a giant step into her career, and Willie’s.

  6. Rocky Ratteree says:

    Agree with much of what Gary Andrews said. To me, the process by which a voice is paired with a song is fascinating…in part, because there are arbitrary aspects to it that most “end listeners” are never aware of. Donald Fagan famously said that he didn’t want to step out front with early SD vocals and preferred the more conventionally “beautiful” voice of a David Palmer. I get it…Palmer had a beautiful voice…but the decision was ultimately made for the Fagan to be the lead vocalist..warts and all. The rest is history…and that interests me…how once something is presented to the listening public and accepted by enough people (big if)…very few people then spend much time wondering about how it otherwise might have turned out with another vocalist and/or approach…they tend to “reify” what they have been exposed to…

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