This situation can happen at big and small events, such as:
- Bars and clubs who invite new singers to sit in.
- Contests or auditions where the accompaniest plays for you with no rehearsal.
- Informal jamfests where you're invited to "do something you know", and someone there plays for you.
- Events where artists have to fly or bus in and perform with a house band of some kind.
- TV shows where the artist plays with the house band.
- ALWAYS know the key for a song you are considering singing.
- ALWAYS be able to give them the "feel" and the tempo right before they count off. If you are confident with doing so, you count the intro off yourself.
- ALWAYS show respect to the band, no matter how limited or strange they play.
- ALWAYS try like crazy to get a rehearsal or at least a soundcheck. Not always possible, but try anyway.
- Be ready to sing as if you're singing acapella. If they don't play the song the way you know it, you'll need to confidently plow ahead and let them follow you. Practice this by doing a lot of acapella singing.
- If the players ARE good, consider changing your own performance to an "in the moment" feel. You'll have to literally feel this out.
- Sometimes you have a situation where your own band member(s) can't get to the gig for some reason, and you may be offered the services of a substitute. If you can rehearse, and if you have the authority and confidence and kindness do so with respect, pay rehearsal fee to a player who hasn't had time enough to master your songs. Then tell them you're just not going to be able to use them for this show, because it came together so fast. It's usually better to play with just one musician (or trio) than to play with an unprepared band.
- Remember to sing TO THE AUDIENCE... don't perform as if you are rehearsing.
- Leave the band and the audience wanting more:)
- If asked to sing and you don't think you and the band are a good enouth fit, politely decline the invitation. The last time I declined to sing was an event where the band was absolutely incredible... and I didn't know any of their genre of songs! I saved myself some embarrassment there!
Anyone else have suggestions?