I want to be a professional singer. After 15 years of vocal training and music theory, there is nothing I am more passionate about in my life. I practice every day and I’m saving up the money to buy my own equipment to start making my own recordings to send out and post online. I use what I can for now which is my mic on my laptop. It’s not much, but big dreams start with small steps.
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My daughter (15) wants to do this too. We have been taking her to voice lessons for about a year and for the last 6 months we have been entering her into music competitions similar to American Idol and America's Got Talent, but they are local versus being national.
She has also started to sing at the school (Star Spangled Banner for events, as an example) and the mayor of our city just asked her to sing for a city event in March after seeing her youtube video of the SSB she sung at school.
Most recently we took her to a talent search and a music producer offered to work with her (out of pocket, at least for the first song). We continue to take her to competitions and she continues to sing every day. She has also begun to write poems (that we help her with) so she can have her own original material to sing. I also did a search online for how to get your songs on iTunes (which it is not difficult and not expensive either).
I think that not only do you have to practice every day but you also have to get out and make yourself known to other people. The more exposure you can get the better you will be and the more practice you will get performing for other people.
I wish you the best of luck - and don't let yourself hold yourself back. If you are really good someone will find you - if you are available :)