Here are seven tips for background vocalists that I’ve learned through years of singing in worship teams and bands. Although my advice is specific to church worship ministries, most of it applies to anyone who sings background vocals (BGV).
1) Allow the lead vocalist to sing the first verse alone…
…so that the congregation can clearly hear the melody. This is for the benefit of any member of your congregation who might be unfamiliar with the song. If the song is entirely new to the congregation, also allow the lead vocalist to sing the first chorus alone. But if the song is familiar to your congregation, it’s not as critical to let the main vocalist sing the chorus solo. The congregation will likely be singing more robustly on a familiar chorus, which will aid any visitors who might not be familiar with the song.
2) Make sure your harmonic singing is in sync with the lead vocalist.
During rehearsal, pay attention to the specific way they are singing the lyrical phrases and do your best to match the timing. Let them lead the song.