• Sam Lawson, Director

5 Tips For Building A Band To Work Abroad

One of the questions we get asked most often at Front Of House Management is 'How do I go about starting a party band for cruise work?'.

In today's blog post, we're going to have a look into that and give you some top tips to help you recruit the right people into your band!

Now, whilst we do hire individual musicians and build bands for specific clients - it's usually easier to build your own band and present that to us. From there, we can work with you to make the act perfect for working at sea. Now, whilst that's all well and good - you need to know where to begin. So, without further ado, here's our top 5 tips for building a party band for cruise ship work!

1. Get an AMAZING vocalist!

This may seem obvious, but whenever we build a band we always start by finding the best vocalist we can. Truthfully, party bands live or die based upon the quality of the vocalist. Your band could be made up of the best drummer, guitarist and bassist combination on the planet BUT if the band is fronted by an average vocalist with poor presentation skills - the band simply won't get hired. This goes further than vocal ability too, your front person should have bucket loads of charisma and personality - having a great front person will make people stand up and take notice of your whole act!

The other big advantage to finding a great vocalist as your first step is that other musicians will be excited to work with them, this usually means that you'll receive more applications for the remaining roles and can be pickier in who you select to build your team.

2. Consider Backing Vocals

Once you've got a great vocalist, you should make sure to have 'at least' some backing vocals within the band. This really does add another dimension to your sound; if you've followed step 1 and got an AMAZING vocalist, it's always worth holding out for a Keyboardist, Drummer, Bassist or Guitarist that can sing backing vocals - even better if they can sing lead too as some lines require bands to have at least two members who can sing lead!

Beyond getting hired, having more than one band member that can sing lead can really take the strain off of the lead vocalist - even if the second vocalist only sings one song per set, that break can really help the front person out.

3. Have 'The Talk' With Your Band Mates...

No, we're not talking about the birds and the bees - we mean make sure to be 100% clear with your band mates about what your intentions are work wise. If you're looking for long contracts of 6+ months in length on major cruise ships but your drummer is only interested in 1 month ferry contracts then you need to choose a different drummer. It's no good having them in your promo video if they won't accept the contract you're chasing - the cruise line will want to see the exact line up that they're hiring.

Having this chat before accepting any band member really will save you time, money and stress! I can't stress this point enough - even if they're the best instrumentalist you've ever heard, have the voice of an angel and you really 'click' I'd still recommend holding out for musicians that share your work goals and preferences.

4. Personality, Personality, Personality

In the property market people say that the most important things are location, location and location. When it comes to building a great team that's going to last it's all about personality, personality and personality! Assuming you've ticked off the first three items on our list, next it's a great idea to spend some time with your band not only in a work setting but also socially. When your work opportunities take you all around the world (especially at sea) - you end up living and working with your band mates within quite a confined space.

It's not necessary to be best of friends with your band mates but a good rapport and a bit of bonding goes a long way.

5. The Boring Bits...

This last point may seem completely unnecessary but it's so important; make sure your prospective band mates have/can get a 10 year passport, no criminal record and believe that they would pass a basic medical exam.

The passport is the most important here but the other two are still valid. Few lines ask for a Police Background check now days but it does happen and almost all cruise lines require a medical certificate for each crew member. Whilst the detail and depth of these vary between companies, if all of your members meet all three criteria then you'll have the best possible chance of getting hired.

And that's it for our 5 tips on how to build a cruise band! If you follows these as guiding tenants when vetting potential band mates you'll save yourself time, money and stress. In terms of where to look for band mates, it's usually sensible to start within your own professional network and asking people you know for recommendations! After that, check out, and the variety of musician groups on Facebook and other social networks. Good luck getting the next step in your music career underway!

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