Here is a great article about background vocals and leading worship by David Santisteven.
We’ve all been in situations where background vocalists were out of place.
They distracted rather than enhanced.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Your role as a background vocalist is to lead worship.
You inspire people.
You model what it means to approach the throne of grace.
And this post is to help you get there – to give you confidence as you lead others in worship.
5 Qualities Of Effective Background Vocalists
I can think of at least 5 qualities of great background vocalists.
1. They match the vocal tone of the leader – Great background singers don’t stand out – they accent the lead vocal by matching their tone. It starts with being aware – with not being too impressed with yourself. Just like a great musician, you need to serve the song by serving the lead vocal. Make the lead sound amazing.
2. They don’t over sing – Nothing is more frustrating to a worship leader than a background singer who won’t shut up. OK, maybe that’s a little harsh. But you need to realize that a worship leader needs space to lead.
If you are filling every available measure with vocal moans, you are overstepping your bounds. As a rule of thumb, sing your parts. When you feel led to sing spontaneously, pull your mic away unless your worship leader wants you to sing out.
Don’t just sing because you have a microphone.
3. They lead with their stage presence – Background singers are worship leaders. The nature of being “out front” is that people look to you.
I know being center stage presents a temptation to “perform” your worship. But in all honesty, the more “honest” you can be in your worship – the more genuine your response to God, the more inspiring you’ll be.
Don’t show off your skills. Show that you’re truly in love with Jesus.
4. The lyrics mean something to them – The best background singers internalize the lyrics. They don’t just sing. They mean every word. Before they even step out on that stage, they are declaring, breathing, and believing the truth they are about to sing.
Singing worship songs isn’t a performance to them. It’s the breath in their lungs, the response of their heart, and the reason they live.
5. They sing creatively – This is an acquired skill, but great singers don’t just sing the harmony part the whole way through a song.
Sometimes they’ll sing melody. Sometimes they won’t sing at all. Sometimes they’ll sing two words of a phrase. The key here is to add creative texture to the music. Use your voice as an instrument.