What does a backing vocalist do?

Backing vocals have been an important sound in pop, rock and R&B for decades. 

But in the public’s imagination, backup singers are often dismissed as a superficial element of glamorous stage productions. 

In reality, studio vocals, whether as a backing vocalist or topliner, are a craft just like any other discipline in recording—one that requires its own brand of skill and finesse.

As Niles explains, the silver screen version of the backup singer is the first thing people get wrong about the role.