One of the keys to good Backing vocals is learning to blend so however many vocalists your have it sounds like one voice. So watch the lips of the worship leader or lead singer and try to match their starts, stops, phrasing, volume tone and vibrato.
- Only sing melody to emphasise phrases or key lyrics
It goes without saying that the BV’s role is not to sing the melody but to support it with harmony and emphasis on key words and phrases. If you struggle to sing harmonies check out our harmonization and backing vocals DVD
- If more than one BV stick to your harmony part
If you have multiple BV harmonies try not to cross over into another range. So if you are singing lines above the melody don’t go below it if another BV is taking that part.
Vocal riffs are kinda like lead guitar runs. They feel great for the person doing them but can be so easily inappropriate if overdone or used in the wrong place. So choose your moments wisely, maybe use riffs on ‘out there’ moments to encourage abandoned worship. Even if your riffs are great too many of them can get irritating really fast.
- Don’t upstage the lead vocal!
Again the BV’s role is to support the lead vocal. Most people in congregations aren’t that musical and actually get confused if they can’t follow a clear lead so be careful that your BVs don’t do anything to cut across that melody.
- You don’t have to close your eyes and adopt the holy pose
One of the most worshipfully helpful backing vocalists I ever saw used to subtly use sign language as she sang to help her express the lyrics. It wasn’t supposed to be for anyone else’s benefit but her own and the gestures were very discrete but because it was genuine worship it was a very beautiful thing. Whatever gestures you make just be natural and mean it and sincerity will come across.
Other posts you may like:
Creating harmony – live video clip
Previous posts from the 50+ Tips series: