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Old 10-06-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
DarkestChapter
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Two Lead Singers?

I've been the lead guitarist in my current rock band for 3 years now and everything has been going smoothly until now. A couple of months ago, our lead singer and good friend, who we've been playing with for over a year and recorded an album and shared the stage with several times, went back to South America for an indefinite amount of time to visit his family. After many tryouts, we found another vocalist, who is female, to replace him. Not only does she have better stage presence than him, but she's also a much greater vocalist than him. It also helps that she gets along with us perfectly.

Well, a week ago, our original singer came back from South America and wanted to start playing again. We told our female vocalist and original singer the situation and they both really want to stay in the band, even if it means having both of them share the stage and sing lead...

Myself, and my rhythm guitarist, drummer, and bassist, do not think this will work out. Our original singer's ego might be too big to have some of the songs he helped write sung by our female vocalist, and because both of them do not play any other instruments, they might be bored sharing the labour. I feel like we are simply giving this a try because he's our original singer and is a good friend of ours...

I think this will only have a possibility of working out if they both acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. If one singer is better suited to sing lead, than he/she should do so and the other should sing backup.

Do any of who have any advice or similar experience? Do you think this may workout, or should I just kick one out and save us the trouble/time?

I appreciate the help and sorry for the long post!
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Last edited by DarkestChapter : 10-06-2012 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
HotspurJr
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Fleetwood Mac did it with three singers. The New Pornographers have multiple singers. I could think of a few more examples if I had had my coffee yet.

Obviously, if it doesn't work with the guy's ego, it doesn't work with his ego.

THe first thing I would say that, as appropriate, USE your singers. Create harmony parts. Do interesting things with them.

But if making it work is important to you, there's no particular reason to think you can't make it work.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:06 PM   #3
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^^^ I am going to have a different opinion.

Mate, stay with the new singer, tell the former singer thanks, but no thanks.

A singer is the most important asset to a band. If your singer is crap, the band is crap. And if your singer is awesome, band is awesome. That's pretty much how people hear you, and that's why we have shows like X Factor and The Voice rather than Guitar Idol. You have a better singer now, and the band is at a higher level as a result.

Your previous singer left for a period of time, and you weren't sure if he was coming back. You had lengthy tryouts and somebody won the position. Somebody great, who loves being in the band and does an awesome job. Then the previous guy comes back and wants their job back, no deal.

I understand the position you're in, he's part of the forming members, you guys are mates. However you have a new person, rightfully so, who does the job better. And that's pretty much the end of it.

I say draw the hard line, explain it clearly, keep the current singer and wish the best to the old one.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
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You know, I don't think I paid enough attention to the comments the original poster made about how much better than new singer is.

So I might agree with Alan. But I certainly wouldn't kick out the new singer.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:38 AM   #5
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Alans right, TS.... keep the new one. Its a no brainer. Who does the job best gets the job. Stay with 1 singer. Its an unfortunate situation... but keep the new singer for sure. Wish the old singer the best...and recommend him to other bands...
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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Screw sticking to one singer! Who remains the most successful and influential band in history? That's right, the f*cking Beatles. They had two lead singers from day one, and four by the end. Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

Now they have to either find ways to work together in songs or they need to be able to get out of each-other's way. It's a shame that neither of them are instrumentalists of any kind because that would REALLY help.

I'd say give it a shot anyway. See if they can sing together. If they can do harmonies and change that up with trading off solo verses with harmonized choruses or something, you might be set. This might lead to a 'thanks but no thanks' moment, but I'd say give it a few rehearsals before you shut down the idea.

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Old 10-10-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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I think you should tell him that if he wants to be in your band, it has to be on your terms. Tell him that if he thinks he can just walk straight back in to your band and go back to being the centre of attention, then he has got another thing coming. If he can play an instrument, then there is no reason why he shouldn't play it. After all, you've got a new singer, right? Just make sure you keep his ego in check, otherwise he will just try to take over the whole band again.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:00 PM   #8
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I think it depends on the genere. Some metal bands have two singers, one for harsh vocals and one for clean vocals. Nightwish actually has two vocalists now, since the guitarist handles harsher male vocals, and Anette the female ones. I can't really recal another band with a man and woman vocalists, but you can definately make it work.

But of the guy has a huge ego (or the girl for that matter) it won't work, since they won't have a lot to do while they are not singing. And you seem to have all the instruments covered, so it doesnt seem like you can put the guy on guitar or something. Maybe get him or her to play keyboards and sing backing vocals and ocasional lead?
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:59 AM   #9
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You realise this has nothing to do with music and everything to do with personalities?

You don't need this guy back for musical reasons as you are happy with what you have, and whilst there are endless possibilities with two singers you don't seem to want to explore them at the moment. This is just a headache, right?

I'd be tempted to talk it through with the rest of the band in your position, one at a time so they don't feel pressured. No big show down just listen to them. The female singer mostly. If they are uncmfortable then don't do it. How would you feel if your current vocalist leaves for another band?

If you decide against the twin vocals you can still play with your mate. I'm in 2 bands and just started playing with a third, all gigging bands too though none of them very busy. You have to be committed but so far I've not let anyone down and I'll scale back if it happens. It's last in first out and the third band are happy with that.

I think you just need to be straight with people and loyal to the band you are with.

Oh, your mate from South America is likely to feel this is personal or that you think his singing is no good so be nice to him, he is still a friend and a human being.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:03 PM   #10
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My band has 2 singers most the time, but all 3 of us sing.

We're a three piece and the thing is - we all play instruments.

Having two lead singers, that don't play instruments - would be a boring / confusing show to watch, I think.

If one of them could be a singer and also the "Other Guy" - ie, random sound fills, rhythm, bells, keys, etc.. it might be cool.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:41 AM   #11
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Work out Harmonies... Having both singing the same tunes/notes is a bit strange...
But male and female vocals could sound amazing with proper harmonies.

In our band, we all have mic's in our face, and work on harmony vocals.
When done right, supporting the lead vocalist with harmonies really sounds great.
Also, have one of them do something with their hands when not singing lead.
Like get some shakers or tambourine or some way to contribute other than vocally, only
because it looks strange as hell to have somebody just standing there with a mic... lol
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:34 PM   #12
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Advantages of having more than one good singer:
1) Good harmonies take a band to a whole new level. Three part harmony is even better.
2) Because of number 1, you'll probably get paid more and get more gigs if you're singers are good and harmonize well with each other. For most people vocals are the main thing they listen for in music.
3) more versatile... different vocalist have different strengths (better highs, lows, power, smoothness, grit, rap, etc)
4) Having a back up is great... ever had your singer come down with a sore throat the day before a gig? or their voice gives out 2 hours into a 3 hour set? S**t happens and when it does, if you have two singers who are good one can back off and the show goes on
5) It makes stage banter more interesting when there are two people to feed off of eachother...

Disadvantages of having more than one singer:
1) you have to split the more money you're making with more people if you have two dedicated singers.
2) if you're singers can't come up with harmonies on the fly or at least very quickly its probably not worth it... mostly because of reason #1.


Im fortunate enough to be in a band with not 1 but 3 exceptionally talented singers (2 guys and a girl) all of which can easily sing lead or harmonize on the fly and it works really well for us and I could never imagine being in a band with only one singer now.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:42 AM   #13
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It might get problematic if one of them always wants to take the spotlight.
Get them to harmonize and take turns in leading. Or perhaps write some songs where one takes the lead, and then other songs where the other does.

If you don't think the dood singer will be up for it though, you may have to lightly administer a boot t'ward thy anus...
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:25 AM   #14
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It depends in my opinion. If its just clean vocals then its hard to really see the need for anymore than 1 lead singer and a backup or two who also play an instrument.

Where I've seen two work well is with screamed vocals, a local band here had 1 vocalist do the deep screams with the other did the high screams and cleans. It worked because they traded off parts and harmonized in others, so there werent big gaps where 1 took the spotlight and the other did nothing.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:31 AM   #15
gorkyporky
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So OP, what did you do?
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:11 PM   #16
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There's no real difference in the dynamic between a band having two screamed vocals or two clean vocals. They each need to sound different to one another whatever they do. Two singers who sound the same is next to pointless unless they're particularly good with harmonies. Thankfully that key divide is easy to achieve with male and female vocals

I could probably add a "few" more bands to the list.. there was that couple from The Voice, Taking Back Sunday, Blood Brothers, Blues Brothers, Circle Takes the Square, Arcade Fire, Sleater Kinney, Blood Red Shoes, Number 12, Low, The Futureheads... I could go on.

You get the point. Work on the practicalities of having two singers, work on the personality issue, and there's no reason it can't work. A lot of those bands I mentioned wouldn't be the same if they stuck to one singer. It really does add a certain something.


Can you tell I'm a fan of bands with more than one person singing?
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