Testimonials or endorsements are essential to the success of any product including vocal careers. To get an endorsement:
1. For your next gig ask the producer or director if they will provide you a letter of recommendation. Title is more important than their competency.
2. Go to past producers of your performances and ask them for a letter of recommendation.
How to ask with little chance of getting turned down.
As you discuss details of a performance, including what the producer wants, summarize all of the points of discussion in an email. Write the key points to this relationship such as in those that follow, but don’t use my words, use your words.
[Use your letterhead at the top.]
Dear [Person’s name],
I wanted to make sure I fully understood what you needed from me and what I can do for you for your production. As I understand it:
1. The performances are June 2 and 3, 2012 and begins at 7 PM. You would like me there by 6 PM for warm-ups. You will be providing the accompanist.
2. You would like me to attend rehearsals on May 30, 31 and June 1 from 7 PM until 9 PM.
3. I will be allowed to set up a table in the foyer with my CDs provided I staff the table. I will be happy to donate (pay) to your cause (production) $5 for each CD sold.
4. (Put down other details you’ve discussed including your agreed upon fees or other compensation and when you’ll be paid – usually with a check that night!!)
5. After the production you would be happy to sign a Letter of Recommendation for me. (If they’re paying you poorly they’ll usually love the opportunity to make up from their penurial position.)
Thank you for this opportunity. As I understand it, you’ve requested me to perform because of my positive reviews from having sung at (name a place if possible)… or As I understand it you’ve asked me to sing because you needed a bass with my range and vocal quality. You’ve also told me that you appreciated my professionalism and ability to enhance a production. (you should put down the positive things the person has said to you – if they’ve said more than 3 things, pick the best 3.)
Is my understanding correct on these things I’ve listed?
In most cases the person will simply reply, “Yes, that’s correct” and perhaps add a thing or two that you might have left off. Busy people love this.
Once they’ve written back and confirmed it, then the words you wrote that they said yes to are now theirs. You can use those words on a limited basis (this is not a legal opinion but a matter of ethics). But, better yet, when the production is over, give the producer a Letter of Recommendation to sign. You write it based upon the previous email and other things he or she may have said to you during the production. 99% of the producers will be happy you wrote the letter, saving them time, and will love to just sign.
Now, excerpt from the letters and put 10 word quotes on your website, and in the press release you’ll write that will include photos. Success begets success. Testimonials provide credibility.