Globally and nationally, the vast majority of professional singers work in the
contemporary commercial music industry, yet little is known about them as a population.
This research project sought to create an accurate profile of professional contemporary gig
singers (PCGS) as a population in the Australian context by giving voice to the livedexperience
of PCGS. Using a mixed-methods model, the study collected data from 102 PCGS
who met the criteria for inclusion by performing, “6 or more hours per week” calculated as
an annual average. The participants provided information about current and past career
characteristics including: singing training and performance styles, performance
environments, on the gig and after the gig behaviours, voice problems and symptomology,
and beliefs about factors which affected their vocal health. They did this by completing a
survey questionnaire and their responses to the closed and open question format were
analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods.
This research led to a number of outcomes. It provides the first profile of the professional
attributes and experiences of a representative group of Australian PCGS. Importantly, the
knowledge gained from the self-reports of the 102 PCGS participants in this study highlights
the complexities of their performance working lives and challenges the widely asserted view
in the literature that there is an ‘inevitability of vocal damage’ resulting from the performance
of contemporary music styles. In so doing, it provides an important context for the
development of an effective and appropriate pedagogy for PCGS and all singers of
Contemporary Commercial Music styles.