VOC LIST THE
LA HAVAS A RISING STAR
ESSENTIALS: MAINTAINING VOCAL HEALTH
THE VOICE AND AGING VOCAL STRETCHING & BREATHING NECK EXERCISES TO DEEPEN THE VOICE
SIR JOHN B CELEBRITY Make-up Stylist
TOM KIEFER JULLY BLACK GLENN LEWIS SEAN GARRETT IDIE & THE MIRRORS
FALL 2013 ISSUE
NO EXCUSES, NO LIMITS:
LUCA PATUELLI MOLLY HUNT MAD N MACK
EXCLUSIVE:: MICAH PLISSNER - GREGORY BLOOM - BOB BAKER - JERI GOLDSTEIN STEPHANIE CHRISTIE - ARIEL HYATT - JOANNA KULPA - ERICA WARD - HELENE DIMANCHE
The Vocalist - Microphones Headphones 3 Essential for Image branding and promotion for Singers & Bands
24 RISING STAR
LIANNE LA HAVAS
56 VOCALIST SPOTLIGHT
IDIE & THE MIRRORS 66 REVEBNATION IN SPOTLIGHT
Mad n Mack Molly HUNT
64 VOCAL CARE
VOCAL STRETCHING & BREATHING EXERCISES NECK EXERCISES TO DEEPEN THE VOICE
68 COACH CORNER
Cari Cole: How to Have Kick-ass Vocals on Your Next Record Micah Plissner: BEST VOICE LESSONS IN L.A Top 10 Commandment for Vocalists
VOCALIST IN RANGE
FAITH HILL SHAKIRA ALANIS MORISSETTE ADAM LAMBERT
84 VOCAL HEALTH
Sports Tips for Vocalists Maintaining Vocal Health: 9 ESSENTIALS The Day Jordin Sparks Stopped Singing Fact Sheet: The Voice and Aging
LETTER 94 VOCALIST BUSINESS
Bob Baker: Learning How To Navigate Your Burgeoning Career Is Only A Click Away Gregory Bloom: The Power of The Attorney Stephanie Christie: Artist Management & Publicity The Christie Way Jeri Golstein” How To Be your Own Booking Agent Ariel Hyatt: Cyber Public Relations The Right Way
Joanna Kulpa: Wardrobe Stylist The Look Book by Erica Wark: Style File Sir John B - INTERVIEW WITH BEYONCE FAVORITE Make-up Stylist
JULLY BLACK TOM KIEFER SEAN GARRETT GLENN LEWIS
204 Festival Nuits D’Afrique: What
You Can Do To Perform In the same stage as Grammy Award Winners like Angelique Kidjo in the future.
156 THE SUMMER VOCALIST EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS
210 VOCALIST RESOURCES
No Excuses, No Limits: Luca Patuelli DON’T NEED “LAZY LEGS” TO DANCE
PUBLISHER / EDITOR: Samuel Biks firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Jennifer Meade email@example.com JUNIOR EDITOR: Kalika Hastings firstname.lastname@example.org JUNIOR EDITOR ASSOCIATE Andy Fidel email@example.com ADVERTISING MANAGER DEPARTMENT firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR SENIOR: BBMC
Marketing and Promotion ART DIRECTOR: Besher Al Maleh MARKETING ASSISTANT: Julie Parenteau email@example.com PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR): Marie Gagne-Fournier firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTORS: Jennifer Meade, Andy Fidel, Nana Yeboah, Malik Shaheed, Anna Kroupina, Diva Devodee, Megan Closs (Voice Council Magazine), Luisa De Armas, Ethan Vestby, Hugh Hession; Charis Grey; Jessica McCahon; Cari Cole; Marta Woodhull; David Otis Castonguay; The American Academy of Otolaryngology; Ariel Hyatt. COVER: Credit Photo Justin Timberlake /Credit Tom Munro, RCA Records. CREDIT IMAGES: Lianne La Havas (Photo Credit: Alex Lake & Squiz); Jordin Sparks (Getty Images); Sir John (Sir John); Cari Cole (Cari cole); Jully Black (Jully Black); Sean Garrett (Sean Garrett); Glenn Lewis (Glenn Lewis); Tom Kiefer (Tom Kiefer); Bob Baker (Bob Baker); Ariel Hyatt (Ariel Hyatt); Gregory Bloom (Gregory Bloom); Jeri Goldstein (Jeri Goldstein); Micah Plissner (Micah Plissner); Joanna Kulpa (Joanna Kulpa); Erica Wark (Erica Wark); Helene Dimanche (Nuits d’Afrique); Shakira (Shakira); Faith Hill (Paul Freundlich PaulF@PFAMedia.net); Adam Lambert (Adam Lambert); Alanis Morissette (Alanis Morissette); Helene Dimanche (Festival Nuits d’Afrique), Luca Patuelli (Luca Patuelli ), Mad n Mack (Mad n Mack), Molly Hunt (Molly
QUESTIONS or FEEDBACK Email Info: email@example.com
TVM: 372 Ste Catherine West. Suite 121. Mtl QC H3B 1A5 Canada 11
What does business have to do with vocalists? THE DREAM, THE GOAL, THE PLAN, THE TEAM
uccessful vocalists are lifelong learners. They know how to manage relationships, build networks and understand that they can’t do it alone.
“A successful vocalist is the one who can develop both his creative and business mind, because he (she) understands what needs to be done.” - Dick McVey There are three elements for a successful vocalist career – THE GOAL, THE PLAN, and THE TEAM. “You have a product (the singer / band), a salesman (the manager), advertising (publicity person), a manufacturer (record label and producer), shipping (booking agent), promotion / marketing (record and concert promoters) and legal department (entertainment attorney). The key of success is to coordinate all the above ingredients into a package that sells the product to the public through tickets, recordings and concession sales,” writes producer, publicist and manager Dick McVey on his website www.dickmcvey.com Six interviews in this issue of The Vocalist Magazine touch upon this theme, from Jeri Goldstein and Cari Cole who explain how to book yourself and have kick-ass vocals on your next recording, to vocal coach Micah Plissner who’s worked with vocalists such as Katy Perry, Babyface, and Pussy Cat Dolls. Bob Barker talks about the importance of social networking and how to navigate your career with one click. Attorney Gregory Bloom explains why getting signed to a record deal isn’t always the best thing for your career. Manager and publicist Stephanie Christie take us through the various and often forgotten details of artist management and publicity. 12
Then there is our rising star Lianne la Havas, who greets us with a broad smile and a European kiss on the cheek, with her eloquence and astounding vocals. Juno winner July Black, one of Canada’s ﬁnest top 25 vocalists, explains why she almost lost her voice forever. Tom Keifer, best known as Cinderella’s frontman actually lost his voice; he was told he would never sing again. Sean Garrett, Da’ Hitman, gives The Vocalist Magazine some insight into his mindset and vocal regime, while melodic soul singer/songwriter Glen Lewis continues to surprise and enchant his audience with his easygoing charm. They share with us their vocal challenges and how important it is to keep their voice in good health. We are honored to feature Justin Timberlake, a businessman and vocalist as our Headliner in this issue. He’s an example for vocalists, and reflects all that we believe in and promote at The Vocalist Magazine. He is one of the most commercially successful vocalists in the last decade, with each album exceeding sales of seven million copies worldwide. This issue also shines with Sara and Jessica Taddio as “Idie & The Mirrors” - the perfect blend on spotlight. We also reveal the winners of The Vocalist Magazine and Reverbnation contest, Mad n Mack and Molly Hunt. Where would careers like that of our vocalists be without look and style? In this issue, Sir John B, Beyonce’s favourite make-up artist, explains how to get perfect smokey eyes, choosing the best shade for your skin complexion and hair colour. Finally, stylists Joanna Kulpa and Erica Wark share with us the ins and outs of how to get your style fix from a chic, Canadian perspective.
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The importance of being an entertainer from Van Halen
f there is one thing I’m always preaching to bands about, it’s the importance of creating a live show that is memorable…the kind of show that people will be talking about with their friends days later. Too many vocalists are missing the boat when they only focus on singing and NOT performing. Want to gain an edge? Stop being boring. The music may be good, however if you’re doing the typical, start a song, stop a song, get a drink, figure out what song you’re going to do next, discuss this with the rest of the band and then after all that, FINALLY say something to your audience…please, please… STOP that madness! You gotta ask yourself – is it working for you? And, while we’re on the subject. Do you wait for the crowd to respond before you do? What I mean is, does the flow of the night depend upon you feeding off audience reaction? It’s tough stuff to admit, I know, but it’s so common. You want to stick out, right? Then you need to put on a show that people will want to come back for…a show that they will already have on their calendar weeks before you come to their city. I wanted to bring you some perspective on this, from one of the greatest rock-nroll bands in history – Van Halen.
David Lee Roth: “I watch a lot of artists in interviews talking about how they feed off the crowd, and the crowd provides the energy and then you are compelled no matter how you feel. I’ve never felt that way. I’ve always thought that it’s my job to bring the cake, the Kool-Aid, set up the lights, make the pancakes, fire up the organ grinding, put the hat on and jump out front and do the fucking dance. And if I was any good at all, much less the band I was in, then everyone would have just the best time ever possible, and I would enjoy that with them to some small degree because their really good host is always thinking 6 beats ahead.” Eddie Van Halen: “You can’t depend on the audience to make you happy…It’s gotta be the other way around, you gotta get them cookin.” Alex Van Halen: “If you’re waiting for an audience to get you motivated, then maybe you should find a different job.” Some pretty heavy stuff from a band that is known not only for their musical ability and songwriting genius, but also, their entertainment value.
The Vocalist - M
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The C3000 high-performance, large-diaphragm condenser microphone has been a standard for live applications and studio recording for almost two decades. It is an excellent choice for vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, drum overhead and brass instrument miking. The switchable attenuation pad and low-cut filter enable high SPL up to 150dB and eliminate proximity effect.
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C520 PROFESSIONAL HEAD-WORN CONDENSER MICROPHONE POWERFUL SOUND FOR PROFESSIONALS for demanding lead vocals The D7 reference dynamic vocal microphone creates the subtle and open sound of a condenser capsule with the powerful resonance of a dynamic microphone. The patented dual-layer Varimotion diaphragm can vibrate unhindered, which results in an extraordinarily crisp and clean sound. The unique laminated material damps high resonance peaks in the frequency response, which in combination with the tight, supercardioid polar pattern enables the D7â€™s outstanding high gain before feedback. Its mechano-pneumatic capsule suspension and an integrated high-pass filter effectively eliminate handling noise. A precision metal dust filter provides a consistent protection for the diaphragm, ensuring an extra-long life.
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PURE PERFECTION for precision listening, mixing and mastering The K702’s are reference, open, over-ear studio headphones for precision listening, mixing and mastering. They combine an extremely accurate response with agility and spaciousness. This is achieved by using revolutionary flat-wire voice coils and a patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm. A totally open design and a high-performance cable complete these reference headphones. The K702’s comfortable, specially shaped 3D-foam ear pads and a padded genuine-leather headband ensure a perfect fit. They provide a professional mini XLR connector for quick replacement of the cable. The K702s are individually tested and serial-numbered.
Essential for Image branding and promotion for Singers & Bands By Hugh Hession* The premise behind music image branding isn’t new, however the way it’s being done, is. Branding is the process of increasing the perceived value of a musical artist through positive associations to the brand name (the band or artist). The goal is to maximize brand equity – a term used to define what your stake is in the minds of the consumer; which in your case, would be your fans (loyal customers). Your number one objective with brand imaging? To create compelling reasons for people to purchase what you offer. Now, artists understand the value of building their image to connect with their fans(loyal customers). Social networking, music blogs and other DIY resources are equipping artists with the tools to create their brands! What can I do locally or regionally as a musician?
1) Start thinking in terms of how you can enhance your image and not just specifically the music
This is often the most neglected area of a local/regional band or artist. I’m not advocating to neglect the music. Your music should already be topnotch. But if you think of yourself in terms of being an entertainer and a personality, your marketability expands.
2) What synergistic marketing opportunities can you capitalize on in your area? Synergy is when you team up with another organization or individual to create a win-win scenario for the end-result. Do you have a certain appeal when you speak to people? Maybe you can MC a local beauty pageant. Don’t think so narrowly and close yourself off to opportunities. The goal is to expand your identity, your perceived value; but your music needs to be associated with it. The ideas are limitless and will take a bit of thinking on your part. Get out of the box. Grab a pen and notepad, and go for it.
3) Use FREE to sell
The word FREE is powerful and it can create revenue and enhanced brand equity. I went to see Prince at Phillips Arena (Atlanta, GA) on his Musicology Tour. I paid for the ticket and they handed me a FREE CD at the door. Talk about building the brand! Every concertgoer on that tour got a CD to bring home. It has since become a typical business model for music artists: use the CD as a loss leader. So is FREE used for selling or branding? They are completely interconnected. Remember, branding is the process of increasing perceived value and building brand equity. Your goal is to create compelling reasons for people to buy. * Hugh Hession owns and operates Emerging Artists Entertainment Marketing & Consulting, LLC - a company devoted to cultivating aspiring music artists, He is also the head of Hession Entertainment Group, LLC (artist management) and the Music Industry Liaison for the artist discovery site, TalentWatch (www.talentwatch.net).
VOCALIST RISING STAR
LIANNE L 26
A rising star youâ€™ll want to keep within earshot.
LA HAVAS 27
ianne La Havas greets The Vocalist Magazine with a fresh, broad smile and a European kiss on the cheek. I met with the Singer/ Songwriter/Multi-instrumentalist in her tour bus, just hours before her evening performance in Montreal. She has already been nominated for the BBC’s Sound in 2012, and her debut album: “Is Your Love Big Enough?”awarded the title of iTunes Album the same year. During her sold out show at “La Sala Rossa” a venue on St-Laurent, we had to drag our chairs and tables, and stack them up against the wall so we could all gather around the stage. And were utterly smitten by her eloquence and astounding vocals; delicate and yet extremely powerful. By Andy Fidel Credit Photos: Lianne La Havas 29
TVM: How does it feel to twenty-three years old and to be touring your debut album? Lianne: (Laughs) pretty great! It was my dream to do this. I’m living it. And it’s fantastic. TVM: What do you enjoy most about your singing career? Lianne: Probably the fact I get to see so much of the world. I wouldn’t have been able to travel this much had I chosen a different career path. So this is probably the best part: being able to travel around. Like I’ve always wanted to. TVM: You studied Art. What made you pursue music full-time? Lianne: I was always a bit more passionate about music. I love art and I love painting and making things. I like all aspects of the expressive arts. But when I left school, I discovered a whole different world of music. Just the fact I could express myself in other ways. So that’s what made me pursue music. Just to see what would happen.
now: where I’m happy to do it and excited to do it. I love it. TVM: Do you prefer recording in the studio or performing live? Lianne: I think I like them equally. I think writing is the most amazing experience. When you make a song you’re happy with, it’s like nothing else— the feeling of “getting a song”. I call it getting a song ‘cause I feel like they come from somewhere else. Like they’re already made and you just tap into it. It’s kind of special. So when you make one you’re like: Yes! That’s pure happiness. But when you play a really good show and express that music you’ve written for an audience— that’s another burst of happiness as well. I kind of see them in the same regard.
TVM: Going back to the live setting though, how much do you get from fans, and does it change the performance in any way? Lianne: I think it does - Absolutely. When you’ve got a lot of appreciation from people, it just kind of makes you play better. When you know they like it, it’s very encouraging. It makes me feel very comfortable and makes TVM: Do you remember your first perfor- me want to give them more, you know? mance? Lianne: Ever? Well, I don’t know. There’s been hundreds now (laughs). It was prob- TVM: What kind of writer are you? ably at school… Yes— I do remember it. It Lianne: I like to write ideas down just so I was in church during a Christmas choir solo. don’t forget them. Most people might carry And I was so nervous, but I got over it. Then, a notebook around or write on their phone. everybody knew me in school for singing Then I have to be on my own in a really quiet which I always wanted to be known for. So space, so I can only think about the music. that was really cool. Or with a friend & collaborator or various collaborators. I have done the most work TVM: Where did you get the confidence to with Matt Hales, who produced the album perform on stage and in front of cameras? with me. We wrote the majority of the songs Lianne: It’s been learned gradually over together. If I’m with him then I can put my the years. Just to become more and more head down and work. Sometimes I’ll just be used to it and not afraid of it, and use it to playing the guitar for hours and then think be excited. It’s a weird thing to have to do, of something suddenly. Or while I’m doing you know, to have to perform. You develop other things. It just depends really. a kind of love for it. So that’s where I’m at
“When you know that they like it, it’s very encouraging, it makes me feel very comfortable and to give them more.”
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TVM: Who wrote the line: “We all make mistakes, we do. I learned from you”? Lianne: I (laughs). Well, initially I liked the way it was sung. I think it’s a very relatable phrase. And then I was playing guitar, Willie and me were playing guitar together; sitting face to face on these two sofas in this apartment in New York, Brooklyn. We were just riffing. We were playing for a while and I heard this melody: we all make mistakes… the nature of the lyrics for each verse seemed to go nicely with the sentiment. The song really is about decision making. Mistakes and decisions are very closely linked. TVM: How would you describe your voice? Lianne: My own voice? (Laughs) I never had to describe my own voice before. Well, depends what time of day it is. In the morning it’s very husky; it’s a bit more emotional. In the evenings or if I haven’t sung for a few days then it’s very clean and youthful (laughs). But I hope either way that it’s very expressive.
And there are ways you can actually laugh to make sure you don’t strain your voice as well (laughs). Imagine how an opera singer would laugh. TVM: Like this: Ha Ha Ha Lianne: (Laughs) you kind of have to: Hé Hé Hé— you know? Laugh in your head voice as opposed to a chest voice, and then you’re not scraping at your throat. Or from your belly. TVM: How would you describe your music? Lianne: I would describe it as… there is this name for it. I can’t remember the name of the person who coined it as such. They called it Guitar R&B, which I quite like. It’s very soul and blues and jazz influence, but all delicately played on the electric guitar with fingerpicking rhythms and strumming patterns. I distinguish myself by playing the electric guitar and singing: a clean, bluesy sound with soulful lyrics and vocals. That’s my sound (laughs).
TVM: When do you think you sound your best? Lianne: Technically, in the evening I can do all kinds of things— Acrobatics. In the morning I can do less. I’ll make sure I focus more on my strengths when it’s a limited range.
TVM: Do you find what you eat affects your voice? Lianne: I used to think about it more, but I think a lot of it is just placebo. I don’t think it really matters a lot of the time. I don’t like to eat just before going on stage. I don’t know if it really affects the voice— it’s rather feelTVM: Have you ever done a morning show? ing full on stage. It’s different for everyone. Lianne: Yes, many times. In Holland I had (Laughs) but I’ve done all that and it doesn’t to get up at 5:30 one time and do a break- matter. fast show at 6:30, and sing. So that wasn’t too friendly to the voice. If I just sing in the TVM: What about what you drink? morning and then I don’t have to do anything Lianne: Um… water is a good idea. But it can else— the voice remains intact (laughs). But make your voice too dry, actually. I find a little it’s a fine line. bit of sweetness in your drink makes it more lubricated. If you have that water that has TVM: What kind of vocal warm ups do you the slight flavour to it then that’s nice for the do before and/or after a show? voice. But just drinking water throughout the Lianne: Before the show I like to sing with day is good. On stage I’d quite like to have the whole band and we’ll all sing in harmo- something like white wine. Nothing fizzy ny. I also like to hum really low just to open otherwise you might burp on stage (laughs). up if I haven’t done anything in the morning. Which isn’t good.
â€œI want to just connect emotionally with the audience. I want them to feel as though they can relate to the songs.â€? 35
“Laugh in your head voice as opposed to chest voice, and the
scraping at your throat. Or
from your belly.”
TVM: Has that ever happened? Lianne: Yes (laughs). A few times, so I don’t have anything fizzy on stage anymore. White wine and water. I’ll drink them alternatively (laughs). It depends on the individual; I used to have whiskey. TVM: What is your aim when you perform live? Lianne: Well, not to fall over (laughs). Or do anything embarrassing. Overall, I want to just connect emotionally with the audience. I want them to feel as though they can relate to the songs. Or that they have made a new friend in me or with my band, which we normally achieve— I’m really happy about that. But that’s it really. To put across the appropriate emotions for each song and to annunciate the lyrics accurately so that people can know what I’m talking about (laughs). TVM: In today’s competitive music industry, how important is social media? Lianne: If you are into it and you have a big following, then it is important. But if you don’t really care about it and you don’t have anyone following you, then it’s not important. I think it is relative. TVM: You have a pretty big following. Lianne: Well I think… yeah (laughs). Now it’s big. I’m really surprised actually by the amount of people that are waiting on my every word (laughs). I like it though. I started my own Twitter and Facebook, my own Instagram and all those kind of things. I think they are fun; they’re fun to interact with your fans. But if you’re not that kind of artist, I don’t think it’s a big deal. I use them and I like to provide lots of information and witty banter. Just have fun with it; you mustn’t get too bogged down with it. TVM: Are you currently working on a new project? Lianne: Yes. There is very little time at the moment to focus on it, but once I finish touring I’ll take some time off to be in the studio. TVM: What can we expect from you in the next five years? Lianne: Well, I know where I hope to be, which I would love to have made maybe two or more albums in the next five years. Maybe three. I would love to have won some awards (laughs). I want to have seen more of the world, played in more countries and seen more amazing exciting stuff. Just to be doing the same thing— what I’m doing now really. Just to be making more music on the eternal quest for the perfect song (laughs). TVM: What advice can you give to aspiring vocalists, both creatively and businesswise? Lianne: Just make sure there are people around you who you trust. People who are willing to tell you when you are wrong. If you’ve got people around you who aren’t afraid to do that, then you’ll get more honest music out of it. Focus on the things that you like doing in your music. TVM: Thank you so much, Lianne.
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By Andy Fidel r & Make-up: Jonathan Panetta Photography: Manon Parent
hy sit and wait for when you can go a Taddio are throwing them music industry by taking t hands: Idie & The Mirrors. two Montreal-based sister they plan to branch out to though they are twins, the er. They are two jigsaw pi the two together becaus other with their distinct p “It makes a perfect blend pianist and composer, and Having been in the music time now, they would like ence as much as possible, ter to them.
TVM: How does the twin-situation work out? Sara: It`s better now (laughs). It was a little annoying in the beginning, but now we`re two individuals—it`s a bond. You can very easily just get rid of friends, but you can`t really get rid of a sister (laughs). I love it, she`s my best friend. Jessica: it definitely helps you build relationships. You have no choice but to mend whatever issues you have with each other. So we had to learn how to get over things fast. You`ll always have a best friend. Sara: And a sound board. You have someone to keep you in check. And that is something that took us a long time to realize. It`ll feel like you`re being attacked, but really— it`s someone showing you something you would never have realized on your own.
your dreams to come true and get it. Sara and Jessica mselves head first into the their careers into their own We recently met with the rs to learn more about how o an international level. Aley do not mirror each othieces. The differences hold se they complement each personalities and qualities. d,â€? says Jessica. Sara is the d Jessica is the lead singer. c business for quite some to interact with their audi, and write songs that matTVM: What do you dislike about it? Sara: (Laughs) the stupid questions. Were you born on the same day? Why aren`t you the same height? But you don`t look alikeâ€Ś Jessica: The stereotypical questions like: if I punch you in the stomach, will Sara feel it? What we love is that we`ll always have each other. We`ve been together since day one. TVM: How is Idie & The Mirrors different? Sara: Now we understand where we want to go. The music we have now is polar opposite to what we had before. You can tell because we are in control. Jessica: The difference between usthen and us now is like Sara said: we have control. We have a plan and a vision.
Sara: We would rather build a multimedia interface where we can connect with people from all over. Not just Montreal. But you can only do that if you have a very solid online presence. TVM: What lessons have you learned from the music industry? Sara: Be yourself. Jessica: Don’t let everybody just take a chunk of you. Grow a pair of strong shoulders. Stick your back up straight and move on. And remind yourself why you’re still pushing. TVM: What was the biggest challenge? Jessica: Trusting yourself. At the end of the day, the hardest thing is to trust you can do it no matter what. Don’t get bogged down by the fact that it’s going to take longer to get there— it doesn’t mean it’s going to end. Just trust yourself. Sara: Realize that it doesn’t have to have an end prize. You can just be happy with music all the time. You don’t need to play there or want a platinum-selling album. Just be happy with whatever you’re doing, regardless of the outcome. TVM: What is the main difference between your songs then and now? Jessica: You can hear more of a story in our music. Whereas before, it was really just everybody else’s vision. TVM: How would you describe your music? Sara: I love indie and electronic-indie. And Jessica loves the classics. She loves the divas. So if you can pull that all together, somehow, that’s our specific genre (laughs). TVM: How often does Jessica sing? Sara: (Laughs) oh god. All the time! It’s annoying— I’m kidding. She is always doing weird things with her voice. She’ll wake up and she’ll do these high pitches noises—I don’t know—any song that pops in her head, it’s out there for everyone to hear. She’s very happy-go-lucky.
“What we we’ll always hav We’ve been toget
e love is that
ve each other.
ther since day one.”
TVM: Do you prefer recording or performing live? Sara: I love recording. She’s the opposite. Jessica: I love recording, but there is nothing that beats live. Because you just get a crazy feeling from everybody around you: your musicians, the audience… I’m a live person. Sara: I like to be in the background. TVM: Where do you get that confidence to go on stage? Sara: She’s there, so you feel comfortable— you’re not along. Before I go on stage, I’m like: Oh my god, just go to school. It’s so much easier (laughs). But it’s a mind game. Jessica: At the end of the day, it gives you confidence you never thought you could have. TVM: How would you describe Jessica’s voice? Sara: I love her voice. It’s so powerful. But powerful in the sense where she can evoke passion. I feel her when she sings. TVM: Do you think about anything when you sing? Jessica: Just feeling the moment: focusing on what I worked hard on. You know what I mean? I practice a ridiculous amount of hours because I want to be able to enjoy myself the moment I’m on stage. It’s like my reward. TVM: How does your new song “Changes” relate to your own personal and professional journey? Jessica: It came from a place in my heart— feeling like I`m getting set back all the time and it`s time for a change. It`s time to move forward. It was a really meaningful song and something that happened in our lives. Honestly, it was a snowy day. Sometimes writing happens so fast or it`s really hard. It comes out of your mouth like butter or it just doesn`t happen at all (laughs). And for this one, it just came out. It needed to come out of me. TVM: What can we expect from Idie & The Mirrors this year? Jessica: Maybe like seven or eight songs? Sara: We are going to work with different videographers and different people who are in the arts. We want there to be a music clip that supports the sound. We’re in absolutely no rush. Jessica: We’re happier than we’ve ever been because it’s from us. It’s all the truth.
REVERNATION IN SPOTLIGHT
The dynamic duo of sisters, Madison and Mackenzie kn wanted to do. Not letting age discourage their dreams, with Nick DiCarlo; producer and owner of DiCarlo Produc cess of their various influences ranging from No Doubt 2013 Vans Warped Tour, these girls know how to rock in caught up with the California natives to profile their star TVM: You guys decided at such young ages that music was it for you, what pushed you to go this route? Madison: I think a lot of being in the right place at the right time got us to go where we’ve been. Our parents are in no way stage parents. They definitely support us in all that we do but it just happened that all of the opportunities we’ve been given we were in the right place and that’s what I think pushed us to where we are. Mackenzie: We have prepared for the things that have come our way by playing music live; both separately and together so it feels as if everything that happened was for a reason. TVM: I’m sure you have a long list of influences but whom would you say is your biggest one and why? Mackenzie: We knew that we always wanted to be any of the lead vocalists we admired. Like No Doubt, Paramore, Aerosmith, etc. for their chord changes and progressions, melodies, harmonies; things like that. Madison: I’m definitely inspired by movies, their soundtracks and scores; all of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton’s work especially. Um, I think Evanescence is a huge one for both of us. TVM: Your first album, And So It Begins... mixed various genres but your current album, Everyone’s Watching is a more centralized pop/rock sound, is that your signature sound? Or are you still figuring it out? Madison: It’s funny that you say that because our first album definitely was trying out different genres and then we found out that pop/rock seemed to be what people responded to the most. The second album was more geared towards pop/rock but our band was actually listening to the second album and they were all ‘what genre are we?’ Mackenzie: We’re still looking for that perfect sound; I think it takes a band a while to fully realize what they sound like. We’re still kind of experimenting but I think we’re staying in the bounds of a pop/rock kind of genre. TVM: Oh, okay. This question is for Madison, how would you describe your sister’s voice? Madison: I think she has two different types of voices; she has her performing voice and her recording voice. Her performing voice is super in your face and loud. Her recording voice is very smooth and calm; both different but sound equally as amazing. I love them both. TVM: Very nice, a little sister love. Mackenzie how would you describe your sister’s voice? Mackenzie: Madison has the same vocal range all the time, ever since she was a little kid; she was this tiny girl with a huge voice. Her voice is very controlled; she seems to know what all her strengths are and it’s really cool to hear her sing.
TVM: Why do you think it’s important to take vocal lessons and keep your voices in tune? Madison: It’s very important because when it’s just you and the piano practicing scales, etc. you really see the strengths and weaknesses in your voice. People who never take vocal lessons don’t understand how to get their voices to the right spot. Especially in your break area, you need to go to a vocal coach because I don’t think anyone can handle it without a teacher to make it smooth. You also beco able to choose songs geared towards it.
TVM: Which do you prefer, recording in th Mackenzie: My thing is performing live but vocal booth and experimenting with differe different layers of harmonies and new trac hear the first time you listen to the song. F forming has always been one of the greate Madison: Recording can be a fun thing but someone listening to you and criticizing y get really claustrophobic in that little boo just mess around with your vocals and see choose performing over recording.
ad n Mack
new at a very young age; that music was what they , these level headed girls created a band, teamed up ctions, and are well on their way to achieving the sucto Evanescence to The Rolling Stones. Fresh off the n a male-dominated genre and The Vocalist Magazine By Nana O. Yeboah - Credit Photos: Mad n Mack rs on the rise.
can you describe the process? Mackenzie: Personally, I have to actually sit down and write a song; I have to get in the mood to do it but once I am, I can spend hours writing. Madison: We’re very different when it comes to writing. My mind is always thinking of writing songs, throughout the day I’m singing whatever is on my mind into my phone’s voice memo. In a week I get about 30 ideas and I’ll turn probably 1 of them into a song.
ome aware of your range which makes you
he studio or performing live? t I also love recording. I like going into the ent things I can do to the song; like putting cks in the back that you don’t necessarily For me, they are kind of equal; I mean, perest things about being in a band. t it can also be the devil because you have your work. It can be super stressful and I oth. Performing is great because you can e if the audience likes it. I definitely would TVM: What would you guys say is the overall message you want your fans to know about Mad n Mack? Madison: I would say never underestimate your age or gender; you’re never too young to make things happen. I think so many are under the impression that girls can’t be in a band like guys can and girls can do anything. TVM: Both of you are responsible for writing,
TVM: What is the dynamic like creating with your sister? Madison: It’s a struggle! Sometimes it’s very hard to work with each other because I’m always in the mood to write and Mackenzie has to always find the perfect moment to write; she has to really feel like doing it. We try to work together and lock ourselves in a room and write songs; which we did for the first album but on the second one we worked separately and then collaborated at the end when we were in the studio recording. TVM: To be an artist today, what are some things that you think are important and why? Madison: Be true to yourself when you’re trying to create your image because it sticks with you; it’s very hard to change without losing your following. Also enjoy what you’re doing; if you’re not happy with what you’re doing that is reflected in your performances. Mackenzie: You have to have extreme diligence and put everything you have into becoming an artist; you can’t give up because it will all pay off in the end. Madison: Also I would advise people not to listen to the negative comments. I think that definitely brings you down, especially if you still have a small fan base. On social media it can really seem like a lot but you have to keep in mind that there is always going to be people that don’t like you; don’t take it personally. TVM: What can we expect from Mad n Mack in the future? Mackenzie: Mad n Mack just released a second album not too long ago so I think we might take a little time for our third. Madison: we have 5 songs right now that are just sitting there waiting to have the final vocal recording touches. I would definitely say that singles will be coming out soon because I don’t think I can wait that long (laughs) to release another album; I want people to hear stuff soon! TVM: I can’t wait till that happens. Thanks a lot for your time Mad n Mack and I wish you the best in the future. Madison & Mackenzie: Oh, thank you so much!
Keep in contact with Mad n Mack via Facebook, Twitter, and be sure to check them out on reverbnation.com/madnmack
MOLLY REVERNATION IN SPOTLIGHT
TVM: Do you remember your first performance? Molly: I do. I started performing in church when I was six. The pastor asked me to sing in front of the kids— that was first experience performing. TVM: Wow, that’s pretty young. Molly: Both my brother and I were very blessed to be able to have people surround us who allowed us to do what we wanted to do. We were both very passionate about it at a very young age. TVM: What do you like most about being a vocalist? Molly: I love every aspect for different reasons, but I have to say performing live. There’s something really exciting about watching people be entertained and love what they’re hearing. TVM: Have you ever suffered from stage fright? Molly: I have. I still get nervous and it’s always a task to try and channel the nervous energy into excitement. I’ve never disappeared from the stage out of fear (laughs), but I do get nervous almost every single time I perform. TVM: Do you have any tips? Molly: Music— you really want to do it with everything that you have. Put an 110% effort into it and your work will not go unnoticed. People will start to take note. If you want it, people will hop on the train. TVM: Let’s talk about song-writing. What would you say inspires you to write? Molly: I personally have never been in a relationship, so I love to people-watch (laughs). I’ve got some wonderful friends and my brother. I feel like I’ve been able to take other people’s situations and apply it to a song. TVM: Would you say you’re a planner or a spontaneous writer? Molly: I am definitely a planner. I like both, but I prefer to come into asession with a pre-existing idea. If the mood is not right for the idea, than I’m totally flexible and I’ll do whatever. But I do love to bring in an idea so you’re not staring at each other for an hour (laughs). TVM: What are you currently working on? Molly: I actually got back from Maryland opening for so I’ve been out on the road. I’m about to go to Chicago to do some recording. I have a single out on ITunes called “Terror in Disguise”. TVM: How important do you think social media is for an emerging artist? Molly: It’s super important and kind of exciting. Through social media, you get to connect with your fans on a more personal level. It’s more accessible. I’m a fan of other artists. I love social media because I can connect with them on a more personal level. To know what’s going on in their day, and not just the music. Get to know them a little bit as a person. Connecting with your fans is a huge part of being an artist, especially these days. It’s not just about the music; it’s about the people. TVM: What message do you hope your audience will get from your songs? Molly: I hope that everyone that’s listening can get that they are important and unique as an individual. Every person in the audience has a unique purpose that’s for them whether it’s music or whatever they want to be passionate about—what they were born to do. Music and singing for me, I feel like, it’s my purpose. I love to sing and perform. But all the people listening to my music also have a unique purpose.
By Andy Fidel - Credit Photos: Molly Hunt
TVM: Who would you say inspired you vocally? Molly: (Laughs) I might be cheesy here for a second, but I confess— my all-time favourite and probably always will be Celine Dion. TVM: Have you ever had the opportunity to see her live? Molly: No. I’ve never gotten the chance to see her live. When I went to American Idol and made it to Vegas, I was looking at all the billboards and the signs. I was an arm’s reach away, but not quite (laughs). TVM: How would you describe your voice? Molly: That is a very good question. I belt quite a bit. It’s very loud and powerful. I try and have a balance between tenderness and strength. TVM: What is the biggest challenge you face in your music career? Molly: Staying steady on a personal level and being consistent. There minute-to-minute highs and lows. You’re on the stage and it’s really high, and you get off the stage and it’s an immediate low. Any minute you can get a phone call with either fantastic news or horrible news. TVM: What motivates you to get through those highs and lows? Molly: The people—I love people so much. For me music and singing is my way of communicating my love for people. No matter what is going around me or whatever problems I’m having, I love to sing for people. Knowing people enjoy it really makes me want to continue. TVM: Do you prefer recording or performing live? Molly: I seriously love both. You can have a lot of creative ideas in the studio and experiment. Take all the time you need and get a chance to meet with some other extremely talented musicians and producers. But I will say at the moment—performing live—there’s just something natural about having an audience. Performing the music that you recorded in the studio and putting it in a live setting and seeing the reaction. TVM: Could you share with us a memorable moment you had on stage? Molly: Actually, just a couple days ago. I opened up for Hunter Haze in Maryland, and the crowd was very receptive for an opening act. I felt like I was able to connect with them on a personal level and just had the time of my life. TVM: Have you ever had any embarrassing moments? Molly: I have backed into pianos (laughs). TVM: Would you say that stage-confidence comes with time? Molly: Yes, it totally does. Having people around you encouraging you, they see the potential even though you’re not there yet. It’s a constant learning process. All the while, my parents and the people working with me saw what I could be. It really build the confidence to be able to do what you desire to do. TVM: Thanks Molly.
Keep in contact with Mad n Mack via Facebook, Twitter, and be sure to check them out on: www.reverbnation.com/mollyhuntmusic
Taking Care of Your Voice
VOCAL STRETCHING & BREATHING EXERCISES
By Charis Grey*
The pros make it look easy--just hop on stage and belt one out, right? Well, not exactly. Non-musicians may not realize the physical stamina and dexterity involved in making music. Like an athlete training for her sport, the vocalist hones her skills by readying the lungs and vocal cords for the rigorous demands of performing. If you want to improve your vocal skills, you can reap real improvements by engaging in a program of vocal stretching and breathing exercises. BREATH CONTROL
Controlling the intake and output of breath is essential to maintaining a smooth vocal style. The Ohio State University Medical Center recommends breathing exercises that emphasize the use of the abdominal muscles to control breath. For instance, you can gain an awareness of your breathing habits by sitting straight in your chair, placing a hand on your abdomen and inhaling. You should feel your stomach extend outward. Then exhale and feel your stomach retract inward. The emphasis here is on using your diaphragm, the muscle that lies horizontally across the mid-torso, to expand the lungs. The shoulders and upper body should not move upward while breathing, but rather the stomach and ribs should expand outward.
Dr. Christopher Arneson of Rider University in New Jersey explains that resonance is one of the chief concerns when developing a classical singing voice. Resonance is achieved by amplifying sound through vibrations in the body cavities, such as the nose and pharynx. By humming, you can feel the effects of resonance in the cavities of your skull.
You can practice controlling resonance by exhaling a low, slow “hmmm,” with a closed mouth. Then take another breath and repeat the “hmmm” sound, but this time alter it half way through your exhalation to an “ahhhh” by opening your mouth. You should feel a consistent vibration throughout the sinuses and skull. You can then experiment by altering pitch from high to low and back again as you exhale.
Extending your vocal range is possible through the consistent practice of proper vocal exercises. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary recommends a technique called the “Two Octave Pitch Glide.” To perform this exercise, you inhale on a yawn, while keeping your upper body relaxed. Sing an “eee” sound. Concentrate on projecting the sound from high in your chest, and then lower it downward so that it rises from deep in your chest. Then practice singing the “eee” so that the sound arises from your head, or nasal cavities, and gradually lowering it down through your upper chest, and continuing to your lower chest. You can repeat the process in the reverse direction, from chest to head, and practice using other vowel sounds as well.
* For 15 years, Charis Grey’s award-winning work has appeared in film, television, newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. She has worked as a story editor on the CBS drama “Flashpoint” and her work appears bimonthly in “The Driver Magazine.” She has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a doctorate in chiropractic medicine from Palmer College.
Taking Care of Your Voice
NECK EXERCISES TO DEEPEN THE VOICE By Jessica McCahon*
Stretching and strengthening your neck muscles can help deepen your voice by relieving muscle pressure on your vocal cords, according to James P. Thomas, M.D., writing on Voicedoctor.net. This, in turn, lowers voice pitch and improves resonance. All exercises for the neck should be performed slowly and carefully and without causing any pain. If you have any back or neck problems, check with your doctor before starting any neck treatment program. NECK STRETCHING EXERCISE
your neck contract and a stretch down the back of your neck. Keep facing and looking directly forward, and stop immediately if you feel any pain. Hold for three seconds and relax.
This exercise stretches the Sternocleidomastoid muscle that runs from behind your ear, down over your throat and attaches to your collar bone. If this muscle is tense, it can place pressure on your throat and vocal cords. This can make you feel like you have a sore throat and/or restrict airflow over your vocal cords, making your voice sound higher, but regular stretching can ease this tension. Try slowly turning your head to the left so your chin is in line with your shoulder and hold for several seconds. To increase the stretch, place your left hand on the outside of your chin and apply very gentle pressure, then relax and repeat on the other side.
NECK POSTURE EXERCISE
Maintaining good posture is essential for proper functioning of your vocal cords. When you slump your shoulders and push your chin forward, you are restricting your throat and crushing your vocal cords so that less air can vibrate over them to create the resonance needed for a deep voice, says vocalist.org. uk. Try doing regular posture checks throughout the day to make sure your spine is straight, your chest is lifted, and your shoulders are back and down. To ensure your chin and neck are in the best position to produce a deep voice, lower your chin to your chest and start a low hum, then slowly start to raise your chin. At some point around about where your chin is perpendicular to your neck, you will hear the hum grow deeper and richer. This is the optimum voiceproducing position for your neck and chin. Practice this exercise regularly throughout the day to remind yourself of the neck position and posture required to produce your deepest voice..
NECK STRENGTHENING EXERCISE
The stronger your neck muscles are, the better able they will be to support your head and spine in a good upright posture and relieve muscle tension on your vocal cords. This exercise targets the muscles in your throat. Aim to do three sets of 10 repetitions throughout the day, increasing the number of repetitions as your neck strength improves. Stand up straight with your chest lifted and your shoulders back and down. Gently push your chin back and slightly down so your neck is in a straight line with your shoulders and spinal cord. You should feel the muscles in the front of
* Jessica began her writing career in 1995 and is Senior Editor at a London communications agency, where she writes and edits corporate publications covering health, I.T., banking and finance. Jessica has also written for consumer magazines including â€œCosmopolitanâ€? and travel, home/lifestyle and bridal titles. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and journalism from the University of Queensland.
Cari Cole 74
Vocal Technique Tips How to Have Kick-ass Vocals on Your Next Record When getting ready to record you want to make sure you do two things: Get Your Voice In Shape + Prepare Your Vocals — enter the Vocal Arranger. 1 Prepare Your Vocals for Recording.
2 Don’t Miss Out on Vocal Arranging
Most recording sessions are done in a concentrated amount of time, so first you need to have your vocal instrument in top shape to sing your songs with proper technique, tone, and pitch for extended periods.
The all-too-often unknown art of Vocal Arranging. Most big records have a vocal arranger come in to “arrange” the vocals. What does that mean? A vocal arranger decides how the song should be sung in terms of phrasing, volume, inflection, and style. An experienced vocal arranger will be able to arrange the vocal for maximum impact – ensuring that every word is heard, understood, and sounds amazing.
The way you do this is through consistent warm-ups and care of your voice. Exercise, massage, meditation, staying hydrated and eating right create the conditions for your voice to feel and sound its best. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but the more consistently you take care of your voice, the better you feel, the easier it is to make good choices and the more confident you become. It’s win-win-win.
These are things we can’t necessarily decide ourselves as artists because it’s so hard to separate ourselves from our vocal performance or what we’ve written. A vocal arranger can listen to what you are doing naturally without thinking about it and make it a conscious choice. They can also hear what isn’t working and give you alternative phrasing or correction until it feels right. They also know what vocal styles work best with what grooves and genres and how to use that to your advantage.
Then, there is the vocal pre-production part where you dig into the phrasing. Each song requires a unique approach and figuring out the message and interpretation along with the phrasing is key to making your vocals shine. You may need some help with this – which leads me to # 2.
For More on Cari Cole - email@example.com - www.caricole.com
Micah Plissner “ BEST VOICE
LESSONS IN L.A” CBS By Ethan Vestby Credit Photos: Micah Plissner 76
Plissner’s 25-year career as I na Micah vocal coach, his clients have in-
cluded singers like BabyFace, Katy Perry Band, Rufus Wainright, Pussycat Dolls, Danity Kane or even television shows such as American Idol and Glee. He talked with us over Skype from his home in Los Angeles to discuss important vocal tips, what impresses him as a coach and how to navigate the industry. MP: I got into teaching because as I got older, especially in the late 70s and early 80s, I really got into punk rock. There were a lot of punk bands and I really loved that whole thing. And as time went on in the 80’s, punk sort of morphed into metal. The L.A. kind of punk was fading out. In about ‘87 all these kinds of rockers were coming into our territory and I was like what the f---- is going on here? Who are these people? But one thing struck me about these bands. even though I didn’t care for their music. I had never seen so many beautiful women in a room in my life. That made a big impression on a young man TVM: So did you want to be a vocalist ini- [laughs] so I decided it might be a good idea tially? to start singing in some of these bands. Little MP: I wanted to be a singer for as long as I did I know that I ended up being signed. And can remember; I did my first gig when I was all these labels started seeing me as a rockthree years old on stage. It was in the papers; er guy, but really I just wanted to party. So I I’m from New York City so it was in Central fell ass backwards into these deals because Park. It was crazy. I was such a young child, people wanted me to sing. And it hit me that I had to put out records where I had to sing but I loved being on stage. this crap. TVM: When and how did you get into teaching it though? TVM: Let’s go back to the beginning; when can you first remember being struck by a vocalist? Who was your favourite as a child maybe? MP: That’s a great question! I grew up in New York City in the 60s and everything that was popular at that time was R&B, there was no rock. All you heard on the radio was The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, you know? So it was everybody in that genre. You could almost take anybody that was popular in the early 60s or mid 60s who was in R&B and they were blowing my mind.
TVM: So after that you… MP: Well, fortunately the record executives at the time let me out of my deal; they could see that I wasn’t the guy that anyone thought I was. So I wanted to just continue on doing indie and punk rock, but then all these rockers wanted me to sing for these bands, some pretty famous ones and I was like oh hell no, I was like: Oh hell no! I’m not going to go on the road with these guys. I mean, I liked them. They’re all fun-but I couldn’t imagine being on a bus travelling with them. So I said: Let’s make it easy. I’ll teach you how to sing. You become the singer and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about getting a singer. A lot of guitar players would come up to me and ask me to sing, but I’d say why don’t you sing and I’ll teach you? And believe it or not next thing I know these people are signed and people are calling me out of nowhere going hey can you teach me how to sing and I’m going
talking too much. And not taking care of themselves on just a basic fundamental level; just drinking and partying too much is probably the most common reason. People aren’t going to say that, but that’s what’s happening. The other thing, and the thing that I deal with besides that since I can’t control what people do, and I tell them, please take care of yourself in every way possible, drink water, don’t drink too much, and don’t talk too much, if you talk all day and all night while you’re doing five shows a week. But the thing I notice as far as technique-wise, the biggest problem I see people have both professionally and nonprofessionally is just a lack of having really a definite, consistent idea of what breathing can do and the kind they need to support their voices.
what? At first I wasn’t into it and then they went, no I’ll pay you! And I said how much? And they said $25 for an hour and I went oh my god! To make a long story short, because I knew so many people, I actually started getting good at what I was doing and developed my own method; I’ve even taken from a few good vocal coaches.
MP: It’s so funny you say that because I was just thinking to myself, who do I have that’s old anymore? Everybody I work with is fairly young; there’s definitely nobody near my age that I work with. But no, I see this almost with everybody; anyone who comes in I feel has either been taught wrong about breathing or doesn’t do it well enough or doesn’t do it consistently enough or doesn’t even think about it. Even the professionals who know what they’re doing, their problem is consistency; they know how to breathe but over time these lose it. But that’s when you become a vocal coach; you’re really that coach that doesn’t let people slide, it’s very much like being an athletic
TVM: Getting to your method though; how strict are you with your client? MP: 90% of the reason why people lose their voice on the road; because I work with a lot of bands that are on the road, is fatigue and partying too much and
TVM: Are these mistakes you see a lot of your young clients do?
The Vocalist Magazine
TVM: At what point does an artist break away from their vocal coach? Is it ever an ego thing? MP: No, I’ve never experienced an ego thing, there’s just sort of a reality. I always say I’m trying to work my way out of a job; once an act gets signed that I’m working with, then they’re going in the studio, then they’re going on tour and then I’m not going to see them until they’re back in town and stuff like that so I don’t really feel like, at least in L.A. Though there are some people who may not be as public about having a vocal coach, definitely that’s true, but that’s now what’s really happening in the background. They’re definitely very happy to have someone help them with the most important thing in their life that’s making them money, you know?
long period of time. It’s very difficult physically, mentally, in every way to always be at your best. So even if you have a lot of talent, I have to now build you up so you can last through a long tour; I Skype with people just to keep them in shape.
someone like you? MP: It depends, I agree with that, some people are born talented but there’s a difference between being talented and working as a professional, you know? When we hear you and go “oh my god you have a great voice” you know, let’s say they do a 40-minute set once a month, well that’s one thing, but let’s see six nights a week, three sets or you’re travelling all over the world; then it becomes more about vocal health than vocal training so that you can handle the load because it’s very intense on a performer to be on the road for a
pitch, then you don’t have a singer; you’re fabricating one. Some producers I know use auto-tune on great singers just to get that little bit of buzz that people are used to; that sound of auto-tune, even if it’s not correcting the pitch. They just like it as an effect; it really has nothing to do with the singer’s ability.
TVM: What are your thoughts on modern voice modulation; auto-tune, etc? MP: I guess I really don’t care about it that much; like it’s just sort of part of reality. A lot of the time when there’s leaps in technology, I don’t really argue with it, it’s just that’s what’s going on. There are people who are real singers, and then there are people who are performers. I think auto-tune because you can’t sing is you not being able to sing. And auto-tune because you’re the producer or you’re just trying to get stuff TVM: Some believe they don’t need vocal training, done or a touch up here or there is fine, but if you’re but even for the “born talents” why should they see using auto-tune because your singer cannot stay on
TVM: We’re currently having this conversation over Skype, and you mentioned you also give lessons over it. Can you talk about that experience and how it benefits or doesn’t the voice?
“...The thing I notice as far as technique-wise, the biggest problem I see people have both professionally and nonprofessionally is just a lack of having a definite, consistent idea of what breathing can do...” MP: I do a lot of Skype lessons, but to be honest with you, a lot of the times because I Skype internationally and nationally, since I’m a Los Angeles industry vocal coach, there’s also other guys here, guys in New York, guys in Nashville. The guys who are the best of us are going to be wherever it’s happening because that’s where the business is; I mean I probably do 30-40 lessons a week here. If you’re living somewhere that doesn’t have this quality of vocal lessons from teachers, you’re going to get a lot more from a voice lesson on Skype from a good coach then taking somebody who’s regional to you who really isn’t as strong as we are. Also, you have to understand that people like us are very tied in with the music industry, so we kind of know what’s going on before something’s even happening so we also benefit people in being that counsellor kind of role, someone who consult about what’s happening in the market-place that can help singers too that someone not in L.A. might not know what’s going on. TVM: You live in Los Angeles, but how has the industry varied in different cities you’ve been to? MP: That’s a really good question; I’d say Los Angeles is where contracts get signed. It’s a production town, like this is a place where records get made. This is where all the labels are; this is the music business and production heart. There’s stuff in New York, but not as much here; I get so many people coming from New
York to here all the time; producers, famous artists. I never hear of anybody in L.A. going to New York very often. I never hear anyone say “Oh, I need to go to New York to fill in the blank”. But like in Nashville, it seems like a songwriter’s town. There are definitely producers, but there’s a whole different culture of song-writing there, people collaborate a whole lot more on songs. That’s kind of changing here; the issue though is that most of the lawsuits in music are over song-writing, whereas in Nashville people seem to not give a damn; they’re like “Hey, let’s just get together and write!” There’s a new generation of people coming together, and I like that. TVM: I’m curious too, because I’m from Canada and this magazine is based in Canada, have you ever been there to do any music work? MP: Not really, but I have been working with people from Canada and I’m a big fan of many of their acts; such as Alice Glass from Crystal Castles, Grimes and Drake. There seems to be more that I’m hearing from Canada than I have in a long time, in fact one of my artists just got signed to a record label in Canada on purpose, because they wanted to start their fan-base in Canada rather than be in America. I thought that a very interesting way of looking at things. I feel like Canada to be honest is a little bit of an untapped possible sleeping giant maybe.
TMV: On your website it says that you’re completely open to working with non-“A-list” talent, what do you often see in them that you don’t with more established names? MP: It’s funny I mean, there’s A-list talent and there’s Alist fame, you know? They’re not always the same, but the ones you know about have the A-list fame. Everyone I’ve worked with, I’ve seen great things, but I have passed on people who are fairly well know because I didn’t want them to make me look bad [laughs]. And then you get these people out of nowhere who are amazing…really f---ing amazing, you just go oh my god! I get called mostly by managers and labels, so I get a lot of these up and coming artists that have talent, but they just need to be tightened up or they’re losing their voice on tour or the label or the manager is insecure about the singer’s level of strength. Just because they’re not A-list, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be part of them, this is where the artist development part of things go.
me and say “hey man, all my life I’ve wanted to sing, I just want to learn how to sing” and I’m into that, I think that’s cool. I’ve been doing this so long that status is not the thing that makes me jump over hoops and you know, and the lack of status is not going to make me go “Oh no, you’re not good enough for somebody like myself”; I just have a different kind of process. TVM: Just to end off here, how does a vocal coach help establish a vocalist’s identity? MP: I think that…that’s a really good question by the way! I think that identity is the most important thing about a singer, period. I always say to somebody, you can sing great, you can sound so good singing, but if nobody likes you and what you’re doing as an artist, like they don’t feel you or your identity, then it doesn’t matter if you’re a great singer. They’ll go “oh well they’re a great singer but they’re boring.” Identity is the most important thing, so I think a good vocal coach, and this is what I strive to do, is to all the time be reinforcing that thing you see as their strongest vocal element that is having the most connectivity and impact. I myself being a musician and having played in front of big crowds, I know what it’s like to connect with a crowd. There’s a certain kind of identity that goes with that which makes it happen. You can kind of define it that everybody has their own way of doing that, and I think that a vocal coach has to be smart enough, or empathic enough to know what that person’s identity is and to never let them leave it. It’s like you’re always necessarily giving it to them, like being “oh you should be this”, you got to see it because there’s something a vocal coach can’t do, they can make you sound better but they can’t give you what only an artist can do, which is be an artist, that’s their job, my job is to filter all the crap out of there to make sure that it’s just pure. And then also, I am a consultant too, like I’ll have long talks about this with all my clients, like this is what I’m getting from you, is this what you want? So I have to make sure that their identity is solid, and is exactly how they want to represent themselves.
TMV: So even say if someone from a random small town, completely off the radar, but they can contact you, they can pay the price, basically does pure talent just really grab your attention? MP: There’s no reason for me at this point to take anybody just because they can afford the price, you know what I mean? I’ve gotten to a point where I can kind of, not quite pick and choose, but I have to have a feeling about something, like I can tell this person wants to sing more than anything in their life. They may never go anywhere commercially but if that’s their desire, then I want to give them their dream, you know? The other side of it is that people are really delusional and I won’t take them. So in a sense what you’re saying is true, but I got to have a feeling that I’m serving somebody; that I’m not just enabling somebody, or taking their money because they can afford me, I have to feel like what I’m doing is really important to them, for some reason that is important to me; which could even be a non-professional desire, like somebody just wants to learn how to sing. I’ve had people contact
FAITH HILL Vocal Type: Mezzo-Soprano Vocal Range: 2 Octaves E3-E5 Whistle Register: No Vocal Pluses: Faith Hill is a technical singer and as such sounds to have excellent control both at the bottom of her range and at the top. Her skill over her instrument allows her to hold notes for notable periods of time effortlessly, with or without her controlled and measured vibrato. Though able to utilise her voice with a country twang-Piece Of My Heart- she can also forgo it for a contemporary styling, thus increasing her versatility and the genre of music she sing. Faith Hill’s lower range is weighty, dark and with a slight breathy quality. However, it is clear from the quality of the notes produced that they are well supported and within her comfortable range- “days” in I Got My Baby. The lower range is connected well with the midrange and her voice sounds comfortable and easy in this part. Here the voice is rounded, of medium weight, and can sound either clear- The Way You Love Me- breathy Let’s Make Love-or with a slight edge- Bringing Out The Elvis- depending on what is required. The belting range can be separated into two distinct parts: the lower and the upper part. The lower part, up to a C5, is fuller, and more characterful. Here the voice sounds as if it is being produced by a manipulation of the larynx, giving the timbre a slightly nasal, flattened tone. Into the fifth octave the larynx takes a neautral position, and as such the belted notes become clearer and lighter in weight, and lose resonance. However, she has been heard to give notes in the upper range a coarser texture if required- see range videos below. Though not used often, Faith Hill does have a soft, breath heady falsetto which she can switch to easily. Vocal Negatives: Faith Hill’s head voice appears to be non existent. In addition, probably due to the genre she sings, she has demonstrated little vocal dexterity (melisma/runs). Thanks for permission to reprint from DIVA DEVOTEE - www.divadevotee.com
SHAKIRA Vocal Type: Coloratura contralto
Vocal Range: 3 Octaves 1 note E3-D6 Whistle Register:No Vocal Pluses: Unique and versatile vocal styling that incorporates a yodelling like technique as well Arabic influences. The voice has a heaviness pervading throughout, though surprisingly it seems to be most prevalent in the midrange and low belting range. This weight can be removed, revealing a contrasting crisper, lighter and more youthful sounding timbre. Her head voice is strong and bright, becoming more piercing the higher it becomes, but isnâ€™t often used. She is capable of complex meslisma, usually built on a middle eastern musical scale, as well as able to hold sustained notes with or without vibrato. The vibrato itself, is quick but controlled. Vocal Negatives: Her voice sounds as if itâ€™s artificially gaining its weight via her larynx being forced down, as her talking voice is light. Her vocal styling and intonation can also make comprehending her lyrics hard to do.
Vocal Type: Mezzo Soprano Vocal Range:3 Octaves 2 Notes (B2-D6) Whistle Register: Yes Vocal Pluses: Unique and instantly recognizable tone. The lower register carries a dark and weighted tone to it and seems to be where the voice is most comfortable at. Able to change the texture of the notes from dark and thick to a more husky sound. The true skill in this register can be shown in the ability to perform consecutive phrases, within the lower reaches of the third octave, at quick speeds or for extended periods of time [ Narcissus, Versions Of Violence or In Praise Of The Vulnerable Man]. The middle is marked with a nice full and vibrant sound [That I Would Be Good and Thank U] and maintains this sound (up til Eb5). The range, within the head voice, comes effortlessly, as Alanis Morissette spans across the 5th octave, and into the 6th octave with ease, being bright, piercing and marked, with a “siren-esque” character to it. [Can’t Not, Mary Jane and Wake Up] Vocal Negatives:In the earlier years, vocal placement was a major issue but as the years progressed a healthier technique was established reducing this factor greatly (but not completely). Shows some difficulty mixing live, thus trying to “chest” her way the higher she goes, causing tension within the belts. Belts above Eb5 tend to be thin.
ADAM LAMBERT Vocal Type: Tenor
Vocal Range: 3 Octaves and a semitone B2-B5 Whistle Register: No Vocal Strengths: Adam Lambert has expert control over his instrument, producing notes that are well supported, and achieved via great technique. He is capable of singing complex melisma and is able to hold notes for periods of time without wavering in pitch or tone, seemingly effortlessly. He is an expert at mixing his voice so that the breaks between the registers aren’t identifiable, and the effect of this is that it makes the voice sound almost limitless. The lower range is dark and weighty, with a breathy quality to it in its lowest extremes. However it begins to solidify, and gain a more confident tone, quickly as it rises. The midrange is solid, of medium weight and rounded. It can be used with a raspier, edgier texture- verses of Whataya Want From Me- or can be made sweeter, warmer and softer-A Loaded Smile- depending on what is called for. It leads fluently into the belting range. The belting range is Adam Lambert’s strongest suit. The voice possesses an elastic quality that allows it to stretch high up into the fifth octave and though the tone is light- when compared to the lower range- it’s resonant, clear, bright and truly impressive. The upper fifth octave notes can be reached by mixing with the head voice, to create a strong, fuller tone or they can be sung in a rocky, piercing falsetto-Music Again 0.49that is markedly contrasting to the breathy, sweet falsetto many males utilise.These notes can be further polished by the addition of his quick vibrato. Adam Lambert also has a robust and piercing head voice, that, like the rest of his range, displays excellent dynamics and control. Vocal Weaknesses: Adam Lambert’s lower range lacks the resonance and ease of the rest of his range.
Sports Tips for Vocalists
3 Best Sports for Singers By Marta Woodhull*
2. Martial Arts and Yoga
The best exercise for singers is endurance swimming. Whether in a pool, lake or ocean, swimming conditions your heart and lungs, tightens your stomach, expands your back, strengthens your tiny rib muscles, increases you breath capacity, and stretches your throat.
Martial arts or Yoga will tune your focus and help tremendously with stage anxiety. Posture, alignment, breath control, power confidence and energy will also improve. Yoga develops strength, balance, breath coordination, mental clarity, concentration and relaxation. Tai Chi, a fluid Chinese martial art, teaches you to “center” your energy while building a sense of connection to the breath. Karate, Tai Kwon Do, and Aikido are also good but do get permission from the instructor to skip the screams!
Before performing, a vigorous 30-minute swim will settle your nerves, pump up your lungs, and kick your endorphins into gear. Follow with a 30-minute vocal warm-up.
3. Team and Solo Sports
Swimming Precautions: Protect your ears,
Try Bicycling, running, hiking, brisk walks, skating, basketball or aerobic machines like the elliptical cross trainer.
nose, and throat from infections. Wear water-resistant earplugs and use after-swim ear drops available over the counter. Avoid cold ocean water because you can develop bone growths know as surfer’s ear.
Note: Don’t hunch your shoulders on the Stair Master!
*Marta Woodhull, is a top Hollywood Vocal Resource. She is a Grammy Nominated Vocal Arranger , (We Are the World, Best Recordings For Children, 1986) and the Author of “Singing For A Living” by Writer’s Digest Books. She trained at The Juilliard School Of Music, The Aspen Music Festival and The Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts. Woodhull has a Bachelor of Music from Cornish College and a B.A. in History from The Evergreen State College.
The Vocalist Magazine 91
Maintaining Vocal Health: 9 ESSENTIALS By David Otis Castonguay* Radford University
For many school-aged singers, the choral director is the only significant source of professional instruction and advice they will ever receive about their voice. The choral director is their first line of defense for vocal health. A conductorâ€™s skill at diagnosis of vocal faults must be matched by a willingness to refer students to the proper health care professional. This article is drawn from the work of Van Lawrence, M. D., Otolaryngology and Paul Brandvik. 1.
Try your best to maintain good general health. Avoid viral colds (a regimen of washing hands hasbeen shown to reduce the transmission of cold viruses). Some advocate vitamin C and zinc lozenges, while I find these effective I would recommend their use these only after the student has consulted a physician.
2. Emotional and physical stress both contribute significantly to vocal distress. Exercise regularly. Using your major muscle groups in jogging,etc. is an excellent way to diminish stress. NOTE: extensive power weight lifting will place some wear on the vocal folds, this should be avoided during times of extended vocal use or vocal fatigue. 3. Eat a balanced diet. At times of extended vocal use avoid large amounts of salt and refined sugar, spicy food such as Mexican, Szechuan Chinese, as well as excessive amounts of food and/or alcohol. One may note hoarseness in the larynx or dryness of the throat after drinking significant amounts of alcohol, caffienated, as well naturally or artificially sweetened beverages. The body needs water to metabolize these foods and beverages, excessive consumption of these items will reduce the amount of water available to hydrate the voice. 4. Maintain body hydration (7-9 glasses of water a day) and avoid known dietary diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol. Moisture is a necessary lubricant of the vocal folds. When oneâ€™s body is dehydrated laryngeal lubrication diminishes and wear takes place at a much greater rate than normal.
5. Avoid dry, artificial interior climates. Laryngolo-
gists recommend a humidity level of 40-50%. Much body moisture is lost while breathing air in low humidity climates, i.e., air conditioned or heated rooms (routinely 10-20% moisture), cars, buses, etc.
Avoid smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes. These are bad for the heart, lungs, and vocal tract of not only yourself, but others around you as well. Avoid other irritant inhalants, i.e., marijuana. In addition to the debilitating effect on the vocal tract, you need your head on straight when you sing.
7. Avoid breathing smoggy, polluted air, i.e., car exhausts, smoky bars and lounges when you are vocally tired. 8. Avoid the use of local anesthetics when you are singing. The anesthetic effect masks any signs of injury, therefore encouraging further abuse of the folds. Additionally, singing under their influence is like playing the piano with gloves on (Chloroseptic, Parke-Davis Throat Discs, etc.).
9. Question the use of progesterone dominant birth control pills. These cause a virilization of the female larynx and a decrease of range in your upper register. There may be no other solution for your particular situation, however. The treatment of endometriosis often includes pharmaceuticals which cause permanent vocal changes. Inform your doctor that you are a singer if you are undergoing treatment for this disease.
*DAVID OTIS CASTONGUAY - ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MUSIC Radford University
The Day Jordin Sparks Stopped Singing by Megan Gloss*
Case: American Idol winner Jordin Sparks Diagnosis: Acute vocal fold hemorrhage
may need to be surgically removed.
How to Avoid It
Success has not always come easy for powerhouse vocalist and “American Idol” champ Jordin Sparks. Crowned the youngest winner in “Idol” history in 2007 at 17, Sparks’ singing career was about to surge when it came to an abrupt stop. Fans waited with baited breath while headlines speculated, “Will Sparks ever sing again?” “Could the ‘Idol’ star lose her winning voice?” “It’s definitely crazy,” Sparks was quoted as saying. “After the ‘Idol’ tour, recording my first album and doing a lot of promo, all of a sudden something felt wrong, and I didn’t know what it was. After crying myself to sleep over it, I went to a doctor and was told, ‘Um, you really shouldn’t be singing at all right now.’” It was an unfathomable fate for Sparks, with her dreams of a singing career on the brink of becoming a reality. Numerous crooners, including Elton John, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, pop princess Jessica Simpson and folk singer Art Garfunkel have reportedly had their careers temporarily sidelined by vocal injuries. Sparks was diagnosed with a vocal fold hemorrhage.
What is a Vocal Fold Hemorrhage?
According to the Bastian Voice Institute in Chicago, the vocal folds are comparable to a glistening pair of lips that vibrate against one another when singing, located within the larynx or voice box. The surface tissue of the folds – called the mucosa – and tiny capillaries make up this instrument. A vocal fold hemorrhage results from vigorous vibration (over-singing or over-use of the voice). One of the capillaries bursts and blood leaks out, bruising the mucosa. “This can happen to anyone as a result of extreme vocal trauma,” said Robert Bastian, M.D., of the institute. Most of this bruising self-repairs in short order, with time and vocal rest; in many cases it can be safe to do gentle singing a week after the event, provided vocal capabilities, such as range and clarity, have returned to normal.
The primary approach to a hemorrhage is prevention, as well as behavioral management and facilitation of the singer’s recuperative powers, Bastian said. Singers are encouraged to warm-up slowly and softly, focusing attention on low breathing from the diaphragm, relaxing the tongue, neck and jaw muscles and focusing the sound and vocal resonance in the “mask” area of the face. Singers also are advised not to “over-sing,” that is, to push their vocal mechanism beyond a comfortable volume, capability and range. Continued healthy practice habits will build the voice up over time, according to voice teachers. Singers that suffer extreme vocal demands and rigorous schedules also are encouraged to provide their instruments with vocal rest and proper hydration and care. The good news is that even if surgery is required, singers, like Sparks, can return to a productive career – though, hopefully, a career which pays greater attention to vocal health.
Now, with a string of hit singles and two multimillionselling CDs behind her, the singer hasn’t lost her spark or the voice that earned a record-shattering amount of votes on “Idol’s” sixth season. But Sparks senses that it was a close call. “It could have been very bad. I could have never sung again or done some permanent damage to really hurt my voice and sound completely different. For someone who didn’t know and who had never seen what the vocal cords look like, it was very scary.” The singer was ordered to strict vocal rest but made a full recovery. And these days, she takes a lot of precautions. “I know I can’t just go out there and sing. I have to warm up. I love to talk and love meeting new people, but now I have to limit myself and be careful.”
However, sometimes a polyp forms; this looks like a blood blister in top of the fold. If this polyp persists, it
*Megan Gloss is a classically trained singer and journalist based in the United States. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for permission to reprint from VoiceCouncil Magazine - www.voicecouncil.com
“I know I can’t just go out there and sing. I have to warm up. I love to talk and love meeting new people, but now I have to limit myself and be careful.”
Thanks for permission to reprint from VoiceCouncil Magazine - www.voicecouncil.com he ocalist agazine
Fact Sheet: The Voice and Aging
The American Academy of Otolaryngology
As we age, our voices change. The most dramatic voice changes are those during childhood and adolescence. The larynx (or voice box) and vocal cord tissues do not fully mature until late teenage years. Hormone-related changes during adolescence are particularly noticeable among boys. The rapid changes in the size and character of the larynx causes characteristic pitch breaks and voice “cracking” during puberty as we learn to use our rapidly changing voice instruments. - Reduced volume and projection of the voice (or “thin” voice) - Reduced vocal endurance - Difficulty being heard in noisy situations - Tremor or shakiness in the voice
After several decades of relatively stable voice, noticeable change can occur in the later years of life. As our bodies age, we lose muscle mass, our mucous membranes thin and become more dry, and we lose some of the fine coordination that we had in younger years. It is no surprise that these changes occur in the larynx as well, and this leads to changes in our voice. Your doctor may call these changes vocal cord atrophy or bowing, presbyphonia, or presbylaryngis. Changes in the Voice as We Age.
These symptoms are amplified by the reduced hearing ability that commonly occurs in our peers as we age. NOTE: Much of the time, hoarseness and vocal difficulties are not simply age related change. Any change that you notice in your voice should be a warning sign that something may be wrong. See your otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat doctor). Almost all voice problems are highly treatable.
Below is a list of commonly reported voice changes as we age: - Higher pitch voice in men - Lower pitch voice in women
Learning How To Navigate Your Burgeoning Career Is Only A Click Away H
By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Bob Baker
ow exactly does one market themselves as an artist without the big record label and all the fancy accoutrements that accompany that deal? How exactly can you have a successful career without the lawyers, publicists, business managers, just plain managers, social media strategist, and the list goes on. Is it really possible to “Do It Yourself”? According to Bob Baker, there is no limit. Baker, an author, speaker, musician, and overall essential piece to your dream of stardom puzzle, helps vocalists by guiding them on how to get their name coming out of everyone’s mouths and their music blasting through everyone’s speakers. Coined a reputable fountain of knowledge by his appearances on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and featured in various publications such as The Guardian, Canadian Musician, VIBE magazine, E! Online and more. 100
“Another mistake is putting the medium before
the message.” TVM: I have the pleasure speaking with whom some would say is the Godfather of Independent music marketing, Bob Baker. Bob, how are you today? Bob Baker: I’m doing great, thanks. TVM: Good to hear. How did you get your start in the music industry? Bob Baker: Well, I started like a lot of people as a musician. Back in my teens I started playing the guitar and singing in rock n roll bands, so I had a lot of the same ambitions that a lot of people at that age had. I worked as a full time musician in the 80s but, at the same time, I had this interest in writing and the written word. In addition to my love of writing, I also had an entrepreneurial spirit; I just knew I wasn’t going to be happy working a traditional 9 to 5 job. In my mid-twenties, I started publishing a local music newspaper in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri for 10 years. During this period, my first book was published and I began writing columns in my paper advising musicians on how to book gigs, attract fans, make more money, etc. By the end of the run of the newspaper, I had pretty much decided that being an author, teacher, and speaker was where my future was. So I put the paper to bed and began using the
internet as means of communicating with my readers. I actually had taken the independent route with publishing my book; I didn’t seek or worry about book publishers, retail stores, or libraries. I started spreading articles on the internet and building a following. TVM Wow, that’s awesome. How long have you been working in music marketing? Bob Baker: Since 93’ which is also when the first book came out and when I became more active locally through writing columns, workshops, etc. Initially, I had no credibility or reputation as a music marketing expert. What I did, is set up panels, in which I would gather up local music journalists and I would be the moderator; I would be fielding questions in addition to asking questions of my own. A few months later I would get together a group of people that were talent bookers at local venues. By association, being the resource that put these events together, I was beginning to build a reputation, locally, as a music marketing guy and once I got online, I just took that message and spread it.
TVM: Interesting, how would you describe your marketing style? Bob Baker: Well, I guess there’s two ways to look at that question, my own marketing style and then there’s a style that I recommend that people do. I think that one of the things that I bring to this topic is that I’m a musician myself, so I’m not just dictating from the sidelines; I’ve actually been in the trenches by playing hundreds of thousands of gigs over the years. I know what it’s like to be in the shoes of my reader and I come at marketing with a conversational tone. Music marketing can, at times, be somewhat confusing and frustrating, so I try my best to break it down so that people can be more familiar and comfortable with it. TVM: So kind of like, ‘Oh! It’s do-able!’? Bob Baker: Exactly! I give people plenty of examples and steps that they can take. I like to think that I demystify the topic of music marketing. Really, if you’ve ever been a music fan, purchased a cd, or attended a concert, you know a lot more about music marketing than you think. The only difference, as an artist, is learning to re-apply those concepts. I also advise that people lighten up about marketing when it comes to their own style. A misconception of marketing is that people think that you have to be this salesy person who is boastful and there’s some elements of those but really it’s more about being authentic and being eager to share your music with the people. TVM: Right...what are your responsibilities as a music marketer? Bob Baker: I wouldn’t refer to them as responsibilities; that’s something that I would apply to more of a day job. When you work for yourself, which I have been doing for most of those 20 years, but I’ve had to work, like a lot of musicians, to make ends meet but for the past decade now, I’ve been completely self employed. So you have to have a lot of
self discipline when it comes to your responsibilities and so I look at it as the things I need to do reach more people and generate enough revenue to make a living. The things that I do on a regular basis are, blogging, which I have been doing since 2004, podcasts, and videos...I’m on Youtube. In my world, I’m an information publisher in the music world, so my responsibilities are continually sharing my advice and content in the places where my readers are going to find it. It’s a similar list of responsibilities that musicians, songwriters, and singers would have in that, you want to share pieces of who you are online in the place where your fans are going to find you. TVM: That’s rather insightful. Well, what do you look for in an artist to market? What are some factors that may determine whether or not your will work with them?
Bob Baker: That question doesn’t really apply to me specifically, because, again, I am more of an information resource. I do a little bit of short term consulting but I don’t really take on artists in the sense that you have to go through some process and past the test (laughs), or whatever. I don’t represent artists or handle marketing campaigns. If somebody wants to consult with me, generally, there’s no specific criterion. Artists that I prefer to work with, however, are those that understand what needs to be done. They’re not afraid to get their hands dirty and do some of the work, they are talented and ready to work to build that fan base; they understand that success is a long term process. TVM: In terms of the artists that you have consulted with, do they have similar music styles or varied ones? Bob Baker: They are very diversified! I’ve worked with musicians from hip hop, to rock, jazz instrumentalists, etc. My personal taste is pretty wide and varied. I grew up on rock n roll and power pop, which is my personal favourite. But, I enjoy working with anyone who is doing good work and who are eager to embrace building their careers. TVM: Well alright then. Tell us about the challenges, if any, in music marketing today? Bob Baker: Basically, especially when you’re starting out, the challenge is a combination of things but it’s easy to be overwhelmed. We live in an amazing era where there are opportunities at the average artist’s fingertips that were not available 5 or 10 years ago. Things like distribution or reaching an artist used to be tools that were available to a few, exclusive people and now everyone has access to those tools. It is a great thing but it is also a bad thing because everyone has access to those tools and everyone has access to those tools, because it seems as if everyone is out there promoting their music so it becomes a crowded marketplace. All these things and technology can confuse an artist; it’s like, “how do I find the time to do all of this and still produce good music?” That’s the challenge. I’d like to remind everyone that there is a communal frustration because everyone faces that challenge; I mean I read about artists, all the time, who have these viral videos that have garnered such success from them. You just have to focus your attention on serving a niche audience and gathering a following, which can get the attention of the right people.
TVM: What are some common mistakes that you notice some artists make when attempting to market themselves? Bob Baker: One problem is thinking that you have to have everything perfect before you step out to take action. I know a lot of people who purchase my books or consult with me think that they need to know the exact path so that they don’t get anything wrong. That’s a mistake because you will never know and so the key is to just take action and learn by doing. Taking action leads to the feedback from the world and your fans that will dictate your next steps. Another mistake is putting the medium before the message. What I mean by that is, some artists will have an album and they start thinking about
the tools they will use to promote it; Facebook, Twitter, press release, etc and they forget about what message it is that they want to send. You need to stop and really think about that message. You need to think of ways to make what you’re promoting interesting to make it stand out.
TVM: When do you think an artist should seek out a music marketer? At what stage in their career? Bob Baker: There’s a lot of discussion about getting help with music marketing and I think that’s why a lot of independent artists think that a record deal is a solution because record companies have a staff of people who will handle that for you. But the truth is, I know dozens of artists who have been signed and they are actually disappointed by what the label does to help market them so that isn’t always the solution. My recommendation is that the earlier you are in your career, the more you should do most of it yourself. It’s important to really understand how to market your own music so that when you get to the point where you can delegate the task to someone
online courses, etc. As well, through building your fanbase, you can also employ the help of superfans who will share your music for free. TVM Interesting idea! What are some of the pros and cons working in music marketing? Bob Baker: Pros are getting more involved in music that you care about by being part of their success story in more of a hands on kind of way. For anyone wanting to look into music marketing as a profession, maybe start off with friends of yours or bands that you admire and asking them if you could help. You may not be paid for it at first, they may or may not have the budget but you can gain experience and make some connections. The cons are that the music business is seen as a glamorized career and therefore a lot of people vie for it which makes it difficult to be financially successful. You have to be willing to put in the time to make yourself stand out and sometimes work for little or no money for a while in hopes that someday you will make some money. TVM What advice can you give to any up and coming artists looking for a little marketing guidance in their career? Bob Baker: My mantra for years has been: FOCUS ON FANS. Having a great fan base is crucial to a successful career because they are the people who spend their money on your shows, cds, and spread the word about your music. There’s a duo called Karmin, Amy and Nick, two years ago one of their videos went viral and they started getting offers from record labels. They have since had Billboard hits, been on Saturday Night Live and all these different shows. But before their video went viral they were so active in cultivating a relationship with their fan base through social media and I think that’s what set them up for the success that followed. Don’t worry about record labels, A&R people and such; know who you want to reach with your music/your ideal fan and how can you develop a relationship with them and get them on a mailing list which is very important.
else, you know what needs to be done and have a realistic expectation of what can be done. You also become an educated entrepreneur and as a musician, that’s what you should be. Also, even before you seek out any help, it is important that you educate yourself. Through buying books, reading blogs,
TVM: Great! Lots of advice; thank-you. Where and how can our readers find out more about you? Bob Baker: thebuzzfactor.com, musicpromotionblog.com are the two main sites that I have. TVM: Bob Baker, it’s been a pleasure. Bob Baker: You’re welcome.
The Power of The Attorney
regory Bloom is well versed in all things entertainment law and he took some time away from his legal duties to his multiple clients...he had to keep it hush, hush; you know, attorney-client laws as they are...I have no doubt his roster reads like a whoâ€™s who of the entertainment industry. Greg gives The Vocalist Magazine the low down on everything from the duties of an entertainment lawyer, the actual complexities of copyright (itâ€™s not as simple as mailing yourself a copy of your original work) and everything in-between. By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Gregory Bloom 107
to a record deal isn’t always the best thing for your career.” TVM I’m speaking with entertainment attorney, Greg Bloom. Greg, can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how long you have been practicing? Greg: Sure. My name is Gregory Bloom I am an attorney in Miami with offices in New York and Washington. I graduated law school in 2006. TVM: Okay...did you begin practicing right away or did you have some down time? Greg: I had a little down time, about a year and a half. Whilst in law school I began an athlete representation company where I represented mixed martial arts fighters and boxers. It took off while I was in law school and it continued through graduation so it took me off the path for a few years until I came back to practice sports and entertainment. TVM: I see. What are some of the key elements of being an entertainment lawyer? Greg: First and foremost, we want to ensure that our clients are legally protected through any business ventures and their intellectual property; especially in the music business. TVM: Makes perfect sense; what areas of entertainment do you specialize in? Greg: The firm covers everything from music, film, television, literary work, and sports; we really are a full fledged entertainment firm. . Also Get somebody who knows entertainment law, because you can’t just have your family real estate lawyer look at a movie contract. Have a trained entertainment or music attorney
who understands the industry because they will know what is standard and what is odd in the contract rather than not. I’m not really sure how it works in Canada, but that’s how it is here in the United States. TVM: In terms of music, do you review record label contracts? Greg: We review record label contracts, we assist clients creating independent record labels, negotiating deals with publishing companies and record companies. TVM: Oh wow, that’s quite a full plate. To potentially become a client of your firm, what exactly do you look for in an artist? Greg: Well, we’ll represent anyone who has an issue but it really depends. We work with established and new artists; it just depends on what they need and whether or not we can assist them. A lot of the guidance we give to newer artists is to educate them in order to be able to navigate the new landscape of the music industry because of the shift within the industry from being based more on hard copy sales to digital downloads. TVM: Right. What is the most challenging part of your job? Greg: Being in the entertainment industry, you come across a lot of strong personalities who think that they know the industry from a legal capacity even if they are not attorneys. You have to show them what is correct but do it in a way that you don’t insult them.
TVM: Ohh, okay. What are some things an artist should consider when deciding whether to work with a lawyer or not? Greg: Number 1, they have to make sure that they are qualified. There are a lot of attorneys who will list entertainment law as something they practice but it may be only 10% of what they do and their main specialization is real estate or family law, etc. Not to insult anyone who does that but it’s as if you’re saying that you have extensive knowledge on something when it accounts for less of what you do on a regular basis. So I would make sure the lawyer really specializes in entertainment. TVM: May I ask how many music artists do you currently represent? Greg: It’s the biggest percentage of our business actually. I would say probably between 40 and 70, somewhere in that range. TVM: Wow, your specialization is pretty clear. Is there something that drew you towards entertainment law? Greg: I sort of fell into it. I actually worked on Wall Street before going back to law school and while I was there I started focusing on the sport aspect. It was very upsetting to me to see how a lot of people
in these industries get taken advantage of so that was one of the main reasons I went into the entertainment industry. It’s really a good feeling when you are assisting people from avoiding bad deals or turning bad deals into good ones. TVM Are there any other legal guidelines that you would recommend to an artist? Greg: Definitely. I would say to always treat your career like a business because you never know how long it’s going to be and you want to capitalize on your time in the spotlight. “Getting signed to a record deal” isn’t always the best thing for your career. If you’re an artist just starting out and you have talent, you may get signed they may keep you in a deal that is not as favourable as it could be two or three years down the line. If you are to treat your career like a business, you need to build your strength independently before you enter any kind of agreement with anyone, from a negotiation standpoint. The harder you work on your own, the better deal you can come to the table with. TVM: That’s really interesting; so it’s important to build your career on your own first and be more hands on with your artistry.
Greg: Yes, especially with everything that an artist can do for themselves in this digital age. It used to be that the only way to get signed was to put together a demo tape and send it to an A&R in a major metropolitan city like, LA, New York, or Nashville and hope to get signed. Now you can sit in front of a computer record and upload music and a video from the comfort of your own home and garner worldwide interest. It’s a lot easier for an independent artist to thrive now, than it used to be. TVM: I see...for individuals who are signed to record label who owns the copyrights to music? Greg: There’s actually two separate copyrights; a sound recording copyright and a composers copyright. The record company owns sound recording copyrights and a publishing company owns composers copyrights. They’re two separate things that have two separate revenue streams. The rule of copyright is that you own what you create the minute it is put into a tangible medium of expression. So if you sing in the shower a song you have created you do not own it but the second you record it; you own the copyright in that song. You also must file your product because it puts the world on notice of your ownership and also in case anyone ever challenges your ownership. From the moment of creation you own that song and as an artist, you own it for your lifetime plus 70 years. So you can make money all the way down to your great, great grandchildren from something you create today. TVM: Really? Wow. Does that apply only to singersongwriters, or does that go for singers who don’t write their own music as well? Greg: Everyone, from producers, songwriters, singers...it depends what your contribution is to the music. On the sound recording side, whoever has put music or lyrics onto that particular recording, traditionally, will own some of that copyright. On the publishing or composer side, the person singing may not have any ownership because they did not write the lyrics and they didn’t compose the music. Unless you are a new artist or producer and you’re bringing your song to a Beyoncé or a Céline Dion they’re going to say, ‘well, I want to attach my name to this so I want 20% of the publishing’. TVM: Who is responsible for ensuring that artists receive the royalties for the work they’ve created? Greg: There’s a few different people and or organizations that would be responsible for that. Remember I said there are two copyrights, so for the sound recording copyright the record company, a Sony or any independent record label are responsible for getting your sound recording royalties. But when it comes to publishing, it breaks down into 2 areas; you have what they call a performing right organization in which you
have ASCAP, BMI, SESAC which are the ones we use in North America. They are responsible for the writers share of the publishing/composer copyright and then there’s the publishers share which, depending on whether or not you have a publishing deal with say, a Warner, or a Sony, or a EMI, it would be responsible for certain royalties such as, sync licensing (when you put your music on a television show or in a movie), public performances, etc. TVM: But in today’s society of do it yourself, knowledge is at our fingertips. Why do you think it’s important for artists to get themselves an attorney? Greg: I always tell clients that it’s not like buying a pair of shoes, in that you don’t get an automatic response. You don’t see the immediate value of retaining an attorney that costs thousands of dollars but we’re like car insurance; you see the value of having it the day you get into an accident. You’ll come to retain an entertainment attorney, I’ll write pages and pages of contracts that are meaningless to you but if someone tries to steal your intellectual property or if you have any problems; you’re thankful that you have the proper documents in place. We always suggest doing this up front, I realize that it’s not always in your budget but it’s important because we make sure that you’re protected from day 1. Once you get further into your career and your music is generating serious revenue, it’s going to be a lot more expensive to fight for that music if you don’t have everything properly documented from the beginning. It’s very important to obtain professional advice when it comes to your career. TVM: Well, what are some common mistakes that artist’s make with music contracts? Greg: The most common mistake we see is people just pulling stuff from the internet. People will just search for contracts on the web and they are actually just templates. There is an assumption that these contracts have everything that an artist needs but in reality they only have about 30% of what should be in there and some of the stuff may not even pertain to your particular situation. Each document that we draft is specific to each artist’s situation and we make sure to be current on trademark, copyright, and all laws that deal with music in general. In addition to proper contract clauses, keeping with current industry standards, and pretty much ensuring that you receive anything that is in your best interest as an artist. TVM: What are your thoughts on the whole mailing yourself a copy of your original work in a sealed envelope? Greg: Right, they call it the poor man’s copyright.
Greg: I mean, in the worst case it may but we wouldn’t recommend it. All that does is that it puts a date on the creation side of what you’re claiming. So in that case, someone else would have to prove that they created this song or melody prior; it’s sufficient in that respect. However, like I said before, you own what you create the minute it is put into a tangible medium of expression. The reason you copyright something, you can actually go on copyright.gov, it only costs $35...I know it’s a little more expensive than the cost of a stamp... TVM: (laughs). Greg: ...if you mail it to yourself, you own it anyway, so it kind of defeats the purpose but by correctly copyrighting your work you can reap the benefits of being protected against anyone who may go after your work. TVM: Right. Do you accept any unsolicited material and if so, what do factors do you consider in artists? Greg: We get calls like that on a daily basis numerous times a day. Most of them are coming to us because they’ve called a record company and the first form of action from those companies is to inform people that they need an attorney to shop your music. We advise our clients, especially those who are fairly new to the music business; we lay out a 6-12 month business plan for them. We have a lot of relationships with various publishing and record companies so if we called them for every single artist, we would lose our reputation so we know the first 5 questions the record company is going to ask us: how big of a fan base does the artist have, how many units have they sold, have they done any shows, etc. We try to set down a structure for the independent artist to take care of all of these things; we want to be sure that when it’s time for them to go to a major label that, not only will they have the answers to all of these questions, but they won’t have to go with their hat in hand and take any deal the record company is willing to give because they will have more of a negotiating point based on their touring, performing and basically, a solid fan base. TVM: That’s really interesting. So basically, as an artist, it’s really important for you to do your own work before you approach a record company or entertainment lawyer? Greg: Well, being the next Justin Bieber comes along once; it’s like winning the lottery. It’s very rare that someone is going to be found on the internet by a top guy like Usher and then become a huge sensation. There’s a certain path you have to take because, as we tell our clients, this is a game of percentages; when you walk in the door as a new artist you have a 5 million to 1 shot of making it but if you start to grow a fan base with a website, public performances, etc. you increase your odds of making it. TVM: Well said. Thank you so much Greg for enlightening us on entertainment law and providing us with more information to protect ourselves. Greg: My pleasure. I’m excited to reach your audience and hopefully I was helpful.
To find out more about Gregory Bloom and his associates, please visit: www.chaselawyers.com Legal Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. Gregory Bloom is an attorney in the United States licensed to practice law in USA.
Artist Management & Publicity The Christie Way F
rom Indiana to the always hot state of Florida, Stephanie Christie is a hard working woman in a male-dominated industry. Christie manages to give each client her time and energy because she believes in them. Christie currently owns and runs a publicity and management company with her name literally and figuratively on the line. Through our interview, she exudes the pride and passion that must accompany her chosen career path. With a warm demeanour worthy of her current location, she takes The Vocalist Magazine through the various and often forgotten details of artist management and publicity. She values self knowledge regarding your career and a hands on approach with each of her clients. Determined and focused on success, Christie works with various up and coming artists including someone who was on this past season of NBCâ€™s The Voice on team Adam. At the end of our interview, I was left with the impression that Ms. Christie has the ability to put her clients at ease because of the advice she shared; it was clear that this woman knows what sheâ€™s doing. By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Stephanie Christie 114
TVM: I am speaking with publicist Stephanie Christie. Stephanie, could you introduce yourself to our readers? Stephanie: Sure..I started out in film and television and wound up working in music by accident. As an actress myself, I worked a lot in commercials and indie films and wondered into publicity because some of these films didn’t have the funds to hired a publicist so I ended up learning the business through experience. One thing led to another and I ended up doing PR for bands. Once the word gets out and you work with one band it just snowballs from there. TVM: That’s awesome. How long have you worked in publicity? Stephanie: About 10 years and then I also manage bands. I started out working with just one band and now I work with anywhere from 4-8 PR clients at a time which vary from bands, individual artists, as well
TVM: What kinds of artists do you work with? Do they vary in musical genre? Stephanie: Yeah, for sure. I actually started out working with acid rock bands for many years but as musical trends changed, acid rock, in terms of marketability, began being mixed with more alternative and pop. I’ve now worked with several pop acts; which I found that is a really fun genre that is extremely competitive. I actually had an artist who was on The Voice so that was kinda fun because I got to mix the television with the music. TVM: Wow. May I ask which artist? Stephanie: Sure, it was Benji Kuriakose, season 3 on team Adam. For his blind audition he sang a version of Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door which actually shot up to number 5 on itunes and he received millions of views on Youtube.
“Some artists want to jump in before their ready for a publicist but until you can afford your own publicist there’s a lot that you can do on your own.” as actors and events clients. For example, I am currently working on the AFL (Arena Football League) red carpet; I’m working on inviting key celebrities, KISS will be there, etc, to walk the red carpet. TVM: That sounds exciting. Focusing on the music industry aspect of your career, when did you realize that you wanted to become a part of the music business? Stephanie: It was such an accidental thing that I think it just grew on me. I always thought that film and television was where I wanted to be but I started with PR and I just couldn’t stop. It takes such time to build relationships in the industry and you become so attached to the bands you’re working with; it’s almost as if you begin to take some ownership of these bands and what they’re doing. It becomes this process in which they almost become your children. A year into me beginning PR, I was hooked! (laughs).
TVM: That’s great. How many other acts do you currently represent? Stephanie: I have a few artists actually, The Chuck Shaffer Picture Show who is on tour with Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction, Brie; a pop artist with a Keisha-like sound, and two or three other PR clients who I do more of specific event public relations for. In total, I would say I work with about 7 artists.
TVM: What do you look for in an artist as to whether or not you will work with them? Stephanie: For me, you have to be very selective in choosing who to take on as a client. It matters whether or not they have something already going; touring, a new release, an interesting back story, content, marketability, something to say, etc. I have to have something to promote because if I keep pushing things that doesn’t really have any content, pretty soon I’m going to lose my credibility. Talent is also a huge factor; you have to have something tangible that I can get behind because I have to believe in my product in order to help others believe in it too. I have to also like the artist because to be able to adequately prepare them for interviews and such, I’m going to have to spend a great deal of time with them; there’s that whole likeability factor at stake. Uniqueness is also a big draw for, not only, me but for media as well.
TVM: Right. So you basically said that an artist has to do some work on their own before they contact you. What are some common mistakes you find that artists make when approaching you? Stephanie: Over selling. I get a lot of lengthy emails telling me just how amazing a band is. My first question to a band is generally ‘who do you sound like?’ and a common mistake that artists make is by saying ‘we don’t sound like anybody.’ You DO sound like somebody and knowing who you sound like gives me an idea of who I’m going to hear when I listen to your CD and it also tells me that you know who you are. A big part of success and failure is that you need to know who you are and where you fit in. I want an email telling me who you are and then links so I can judge for myself. I hold artists to the same standard I hold myself to; I don’t make promises, if I can’t deliver. TVM Have you ever gotten any crazy requests from artists? Stephanie: (laughs), I remember one of the very first bands I worked with and I was hired by their investor/manager, whenever you have a manager and an investor, you tend to have an inflated sense of value/a non objective one. In our initial meeting he just had all of these grandiose ideas of what he wanted for the group; I recall hearing something about spots on The Tonight Show, Oprah, etc. At this point I hadn’t even listened to the CD yet! It’s not that the group wasn’t talented, it’s just that there is a process that as an artist, you have to go through and it seemed that they thought that with the right funding, they could just bypass all of the steps. I just had to bring them down towards what’s realistic. TVM: At what stage do you feel that an artist should seek out a publicist? Stephanie: I think it goes back to the whole idea of whether or not you have something important happening. Do you already have content already in place; songs on iTunes, an album, a new music video, basically something to promote? Social media numbers are not necessarily reliable because those numbers can be manipulated so I don’t put a ton of weight on that but a social media presence is still very important. Also a working calendar; are they playing shows beyond their city. You just need to have something happening before getting a publicist otherwise, it’s just going to be a waste of your money. TVM: Makes total sense. What should an artist look for when seeking a publicist? Stephanie: It needs to be someone that you trust in that they have your best interest at heart. As a publicist, I have to be very careful about where I send my clients for example I wouldn’t submit them to have their CD reviewed for a publication that I know is looking for victims (laughs) and that wants to rip apart artists for comedic fodder. You have to surround yourself with people who will be mindful of your career and who won’t set you up for failure. You also should make sure you align yourself with someone who is actually going to do the legwork necessary and not waste your time. There have been times that publicists just use fans of an artist to conduct interviews/blogs about the band. You want to be with someone who will do real research into interviewers or journalists meaning who they’ve talked to in the past and such. Also it’s important to work with
“...I recall heari something abo on The Tonigh Oprah, etc. It’s the group wasn ed, it’s just that is a process th artist, you hav through...”
ing out spots ht Show, s not that n’t talentt there hat as an ve to go
someone who is dependable, who will respond to phone calls and inquiries. You want someone who you trust to get back to people in a timely manner. TVM: Okay, so there needs to be some kind of connection between an artist and their publicist? Stephanie: I think so. I mean anyone you surround yourself with needs to take ownership in what you’re doing. Your team is the most important part it’s important that you surround yourself with people who have the same vision because you are twice as likely to succeed. TVM: Interesting point. Earlier, you spoke about the issues you faced because of the interesting requests, have you ever faced any struggles professionally? Stephanie: Well, I’m a woman in a man’s world. So that can either be a plus or a detriment however you look at it. When I first got into the business, it was a little difficult to break into; to get phone calls returned and to be taken seriously. I just got a little push back and as a matter of fact, I had a band playing a gig and it was not what it was supposed to be because another band expected to use the equipment of the band I was representing on stage... TVM: Wow Stephanie: and I was on the phone with the promoter telling him that it was absolutely not going to happen but they would love to play at your venue, very excited about the opportunity but it’s not fair to put them in that position; we can’t do that because their equipment is everything to them. The guy then told me something to the effect of ‘this is what I get working with a woman in the music business’. He kind of put into words what a few men that I have worked with in the business felt. I never really run into it now, especially since there are so many more women in PR and the music industry as a whole. TVM: What sort of advice would you give to people who want to be publicists? Stephanie: I would advise to be a good writer; writing skills are very important as are communication and networking skills. People that love speaking to others, nurturing and value building relationships are good publicists because people want to work with them. I think that if you want to be a publicist, make sure you’re the type of person to actively hold a conversation with someone and reaching out to them not only, when you need something, that you also offer your help to them without asking for anything in return. Start small, even in school build relationships with your instructors, your internship bosses, etc because when you do need something, they’re more apt to help you. TVM: What advice could you give to up and coming artists from a publicists perspective? Stephanie: Well content is everything; some artists want to jump in before their ready for a publicist but until you can afford your own publicist there’s a lot that you can do on your own. When someone like me steps in, I will already have a lot to work with. Writing and recording a lot is also very important and not putting out everything, only releasing your very best because Google never forgets; the last thing you want is crappy home videos of you on the internet forever. Put a lot of time and energy into your music and keep pushing yourself to learn. Write yourself a decent bio, take the time to put something thought provoking out there about yourself and go to music conferences. I speak at a lot of music conferences and I notice the growth in bands that attend numerous seminars on music licensing and the business end of artistry. Most of these bands had no idea about what it takes to make it and I found such growth and understanding within them after several conferences. TVM: Very interesting. Thank-you Stephanie for your time and the advice imparted to our readers. Stephanie: It was my pleasure.
By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Jeri Goldstein 120
How To Be your Own Booking Agent According To Jeri Golstein
ormer agent and manager turned author, music business and performing arts consultant Jeri Goldstein acts as a guru to individuals guiding their own music careers. For 20 years, she has worked with some of the top acoustic artists; booking national and international tours for artists in music, theatre, and dance. Goldstein’s award winning book, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent: The Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide To Successful Touring, self-published in 1998, is used in music business courses across Canada and the United States. Jeri shared with The Vocalist, some of the wisdom she has acquired that will help aspiring artists gain control of their own careers. 121
TVM: I have the pleasure today to speak with Jeri Goldstein author and owner of performingbiz.com an entire website devoted to successful booking and touring strategies for musicians and performing artists. How are you today Jeri? Jeri: Great. Thanks Nana, for speaking with me. TVM: No problem. It’s wonderful to speak with you considering your extensive experience in the music industry. You specialize in managing vocalists and booking them performances, so could you please tell the audience a little bit about your career and explain what exactly a booking agent is? Jeri: Well when I first started, even back in college I had been booking acts into my local coffeehouse at the university and became involved with a number of those acts by starting to book them professionally by just simply getting them gigs at other venues, colleges and universities. So essentially a booking agent is somebody that works with an artist, they could be a performing artist, singers, sports figures, but a booking agent is the one who makes the artist available for gigs and for performance. In relation to most musical performances, that basically means they get them concerts, performances and venues appropriate for that artist’s talent. TVM: Who was your first artist in college and actually which college did you attend? Jeri: I went to a state university in upstate New York. I worked at the university running the college coffeehouse and from that I booked a lot of singer-songwriter type artists from New York City and around the north eastern region. From that experience I ended up working with a number of artists for about 20 years after I graduated. I worked with country, bluegrass, and folk artists, vocalists, children’s artists, theatre folks as well as a dance troupe. TVM: That sounds amazing. What exactly, would you say, you look for in an artist as a deciding factor as to whether or not to represent them? Jeri: Generally, when I was working as an agent, now I consult with musicians around the world and help them navigate their careers to help them be better bookers for themselves and for their own career development. When I was booking artists, I looked for the artist to be fairly self- sufficient so that they were very knowledgeable about their own talent as well as somewhat knowledgeable about the business end of things so that they could be a partner with me in their career development. I was not necessarily interested in working with artists that just wanted to hand over all the responsibility to me and I think that’s one of the key factors that many artists who have a problem maintaining a relationship with an agent or a manager is that they dump their career and development on to someone else and don’t take the responsibility of becoming a fully integrated partner in their career development.
TVM: Interesting, that totally makes sense. Would you say that there are any other mistakes many artists make? Jeri: I think that it’s really important, especially in this time frame, this technological time frame when having control over your recording career, having control over your touring and booking is essential in having a successful career when you know what goes into it. I think understanding the variety of aspects that go into helping to market yourself are also extremely important as well as having that sense of drive to reach what your goals are and making ongoing goals that you can talk with other team members about who are also working with you on your career. The idea is that you as an artist are like, ‘here’s what I see for my career, how can you help me make that happen?’ TVM: Do you also find that some artists up and coming and established, tend to forget about these various aspects? What do you advise is the first thing they should do as a fresh new artist? Jeri: I think that artists that are just beginning are mostly thinking about their art and honing their skills to become better at what they do and that is the first thing that they need to be doing because many artists jump into the fray far too early. They start looking for gigs or they start becoming interested in, ‘oh, I need to find an agent’ and it’s far too early in their career development. So honing your skills to be exceptional is one thing but the other thing is to develop an audience. As you work on your skills, it is important to develop an audience and know who that audience is and how they are appropriate to you is going to be imperative in how you then find the right venues to play in, how you get the appropriate media outlets to cover your development, and how begin to market yourself to potential team members, such as agents, managers, and record labels if you choose to go in that direction. TVM: So artists would have to market themselves to a booking agent as well? Jeri: Absolutely. I get so many letters that would say, ‘hey, you wanna book me?’ without really discussing anything about them, what their looking for or where they are at the present moment. So having a full understanding of what you have to offer as an artist, what kind of programs do you offer, how have you taken whatever skills you have developed up until this point and framed them into something that is actually marketable? Just to be a singer-songwriter and have 100 songs in your repertoire is not necessarily saying that you’re marketable. How you market yourself helps team members know how best to serve you but you already have to point yourself in the right direction. I think this is one of the biggest areas artists fail to focus some attention on. Ok, I’ve written all these songs, let’s get them together in a theme, can I create
a show? For example, the best love songs from 1950. What can I do with this material? I’ve got a number of artists, vocalists and vocal coaches that I work with and they have shows that they’ve put cleaver title. And that makes a huge difference in how well they can sell themselves. TVM: So pretty much as an artist, you have to do all of the background work first before you approach anyone, such as yourself. Jeri: Oh yes. What I do with artists now as a consultant and career development expert is that I help them formulate these aspects of their career and help them to recognize what they have to offer. I can look at an artist’s website and tell them, ‘you have this and this going on, why not put them together and create these various programs?’ I help artists develop that kind of marketing savvy and help to educate them as to what’s going on in their own career and who may be the best audience for them to reach out to. TVM: That makes total sense. Could you name a few artists that you have worked with past or present? Jeri: Um, well I’ve worked with people you’re probably not going to know. TVM: That’s okay! Names are always great. Jeri: I know, but to me, what’s more important, is not that you work with a particular artist, what’s more important to me is that any artist no matter where you are in your career development, has the potential to find the appropriate audience and have success at the level that you determine. When you namedrop it seems to make the artist either untouchable, or it renders the advice given unimportant because it’s like, you’ve only worked with that person so it doesn’t matter. Much more important is that any artist finds their audience and the success level that is right for them. When you look at the names that are familiar to people because they’ve so called, in quotes and italics, have ‘made it’ that sometimes can be off-putting to an artist who is just beginning who goes, ‘I’ll never be where they are.” And that’s not the point, the point is the artist determines their own level of success. Some artists wanna tour the world, other artists want to just sleep in their own beds at night and stay in their own town but play gigs locally. Each one is absolutely a perfect level of success. So it’s just how they make what they want in their lives happen for themselves given their talent, who their audience is, and where they want to go in their careers and their goals. So I don’t necessarily aspire to work with the most famous people, I aspire to work with artists to make them successful depending on what they consider their level of success, how far they want to go, and to help them understand that they have things to offer that they are probably not even considering. I help artists maximize their potential.
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TVM: Okay, that sounds great. Do you have any other plans on the horizon? Jeri: Right now I’m focusing on creating 4 modules for my next online course and I’m putting together some more cause I have an online course, Booking and Touring Success Strategies, and that course is a 5 module audio course that gives artists this kind of background information. How to think about touring, how to think about their pitch markets or their potential mechanisms and strategies for touring and how to understand better how to get themselves out there to make money instead of losing it (laughs). TVM: (laughs) Yeah, very important! I think the work you’re doing is amazing because you give artists a starting point towards reaching their goals. Your website performingbiz.com is very helpful. Jeri: Yeah there’s lots of articles, my Monday morning biz booster hot tips gives people a lot of specific to do’s on how you can build your career. The book How To Be Your Own Booking Agent is used at many colleges and universities and music business courses at Berkley College of Music, even The Harris Institute up in Canada. I made sure to look at Canada, the US and international touring to answer a lot of questions that artists kept asking me, the website moves from I think I’d like to have a performing career to how to get out there, negotiate gigs, deal with contracts, deal with marketing, all the way up to when to quit your day job (laughs). TVM: (laughs) You seem to be all about self-sufficiency and you empower people with the tools necessary to do it themselves. Jeri: I think that it’s important that artists recognize that they have to do it themselves to a certain degree to get going before you can attract the high-powered or even the local agents or managers. It’s your career. If you are not in charge of your career, there is more of the likelihood that you could be mislead, or ripped off, and not fulfill the goals that you want to achieve and that piece of the puzzle is all in your hands. That’s why I felt that it was so important for artists to have the tools and the resources at their fingertips to be able to take it on themselves. Technology has also helped a great deal with that theory because it allows the artist the opportunity to maintain, develop, and excel at taking care of themselves. TVM: Very well said. Thank you so much Jeri, for squeezing us into your busy schedule, it’s much appreciated. Jeri: You’re welcome.
Cyber Public Relations The Right Way By ARIEL HYATT The World Wide Web can be an extremely intimidating place; especially when you are uncertain of using it to your advantage. Ariel Hyatt is a woman who understands the importance of the internet as a marketing tool for self promotion in the web 2.0 era and she wants the world to know how to adequately use this inexpensive tool to connect with one another and achieve the success that you ultimately crave in the music business. Hyattâ€™s list of experience is a mile long and she has worked with, arguably, some of the most influential personalities of our time. She is also the president and founder of her own company, Cyber PR where they work with mostly independent musicians/bands and she helps them to find their brand, understand online marketing, and she is the author of three books on social media and marketing for artists. Ariel gave The Vocalist Magazine some essentials that every aspiring artist should know. By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Ariel Hyatt 126
Cyber Marketing and Self Promotion For Vocalists By Ariel Hyatt a thought leader in the digital PR world:
the founder of a successful PR firm, international speaker & educator. The author of two books on social media and marketing for artists. 1 What do vocalists need to know about the current music environment? Artists need to know that unless they care about their fans and take the time to be interested and interesting, they’re not going to get very far. Most artists that are just coming up are actually not ready for a big national publicist; they have to start on a grassroots level which is what we do. We work at a level where it’s appropriate to start, we’re very personable; you can just pick up a phone and call us, you can’t really do that with most PR (Public Relations) firms.
2 What advice do aspiring vocalists need in terms of marketing themselves?
Build a tribe online. It is never too early to start that. Do not wait until you’ve recorded your album or have the perfect band, etc. It takes a very long time to build your brand online and so start right away, start experimenting, start trying to find your voice. Figure out what your audience wants to hear, figure out who they are and that needs to start today.
3 What are some of the mistakes vocalists are making when it comes to marketing themselves on social media?
Too much self promotion! Stop talking about your products, stop talking about yourself. Far too often it’s hey, I’m in the studio, hey my album is out...just stop; no one cares about that stuff. They only care about that stuff if they care about you first and that is much more important than all of the self promotion. I would caution artists that your first three months on social media, don’t say anything self promotional.
4 Top three tips for vocalists when creating and updating their social media pages, other than no selfpromotion.
* Share photos, people love to be taken along for the ride, visualization is really good. * Don’t be scared to stand for something. I don’t care if you stand for vegetarian cooking, something political, maybe it’s a cause, etc. Whatever it may be, just stand for something and don’t just talk about yourself. Talk about things that are greater than you, now that doesn’t mean you talk about things/issues that you know nothing about. * Do not be one dimensional. I think the worst thing you could do is be no one online. Find something to share; things that inspire you make you laugh or cry, I mean there are a million things to share, pick something!
To find out more about Cyber PR and Ariel, check out www.cyberprmusic.com
By And Credit Photos:
dy Fidel : Joanna Kulpa
TVM: At what age did you discover this passion? Joanna: It’s always been in my life. My mom taught me to sew at a young age. I started by designing clothing, and then slowly got into the styling aspect of it. I made my bikini from a curtain fabric at the age of seven. And this was in Poland. I wanted to do what she was doing. TVM: How did it make you feel? Joanna: My mom was sewing so much at the time. I looked up to her. It was so exciting because it was something she had taught me. TVM: Have you always wanted to be a wardrobe stylist? Joanna: Growing up I always thought I would sew because that was my background. I could not see myself doing anything else. I moved to Toronto in ’83. During fashion school I worked at a clothing store and I was like: how am I going to break into this? How am I going to design my own line? I always envisioned a piece I wanted to wear. And if I couldn’t find it— I would make it. TVM: What does a wardrobe stylist’s job typically consist of? Joanna: Collaborating really closely with a team or the client. Making sure we’re on the same page. You source. You prep. You shop. You find these items. First you put a look together, and then you go and look for it. Sometimes you’re not going to get what you had in mind so you have to find other things that will work well. When you bring everything on set, you have to make sure everything is organized. Everything is steamed and prepped. You can plan looks beforehand, but things change. Sometimes I’ll look at something and be like— whoa that didn’t work for this client. Or, it doesn’t look the way I thought it would. You have to have more options. If you’re doing eight looks, you want to make sure you have 16. TVM: Do you follow a routine? Joanna: Yes. I mean… it depends on the client. But usually it is the same routine. You pick their brains just to make sure you have all the information you need, and to make sure you’re on the same page. This is more the advertising clients. For a fashion editorial, it’s the same idea. You just collaborate. You have more freedom because you can bounce ideas off with the makeup artist and the hairstylist and the photographer. TVM: What about for vocalists? Joanna: With singers you really have to make sure that they will like what you pull, and feel comfortable in it. I’ve shopped with a singer We’ve actually gone out together and did a fitting at a store just to make sure they were com-
fortable. It’s them. It’s their skin. If you push something onto somebody it’s going to show in the video. It has to be them. TVM: How much time does it take to come up with a look? Joanna: When I know the job is coming up, I’ll instantly start thinking about it: sitting down and sourcing and trying to figure out what the look or the looks are going to be. It can take me three or four days to prep. Mentally, I’m in it as soon as I find out. TVM: How important is a stylist for an artist? And how soon should an artist seek one? Joanna: I think it’s very important because they’re thinking about other things. They’re maybe stressed about their vocal lessons, or they’re preparing for a music video or an award show. They’re worried about other things. It’s so much easier to have someone there and bring a closet to them. It makes sense. They must be comfortable with you. It takes some pressure off when they put their trust in your hands. TVM: Do you think an artist should have a consistent stylist? Joanna: It’s very important if they are in the spotlight a lot. TVM: How would you describe your personal style? Joanna: Sorta effortless with an edge. I like jeans and a t-shirt. The t-shirt may be tucked in in a certain way. I do like to wear chunky bracelets or more than one necklace. I’m kind of stuck to the same piece of jewellery until I get tired of it and say— Okay! It’s time to switch it up. TVM: How do you keep up with the trends? Joanna: For editorials, I try not to get into the whole trend thing because trends don’t work on everybody or every body. Someone may look good in high waisted pants, and someone else may not look good. It all depends on who the person is. You want to make sure everything is current, but there are some classics that work on a lot of people. TVM: Can a look make or break an artist? Joanna: Yes, it does have a bit of an effect. They definitely would need somebody to guide them. If it’s a young and poppy artist, and young girls and boys are looking up to him or her, what they wear and what style can sort of… it wouldn’t completely break them, but I think having a style helps. TVM: What advice would you give to emerging vocalists? Joanna: Be consistent in your style and make sure you do have somebody to guide you. If you are known for being that wacky artist who can break boundaries— That’s great! Like Lady Gaga for instant. You want to stay
consistent because you have followers. People are looking up to you. It’s for your image in a way. You become a brand. TVM: What advice would you give to stylists? Joanna: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to network. And networking is very hard. I always say to aspiring stylists: call me and pick my brain. I’ll answer the question honestly. Find that mentor. You need someone to guide you. Find a stylist that you can shadow and assist. It’s not an easy industry, but if it’s your passion— Go for it. You have to work your butt off. You do in this industry. It’s always changing and you always have to keep up. It’s a little bit of a rollercoaster. If you’re fresh out of school and a nine-to-fiver, you have to understand what the job entails. You’re not working every single day. You have to be prepared. It’s a lifestyle. TVM: How can one find a mentor? Joanna: You have to network, ask questions, and research. If there’s someone local that may know a stylist, talk to them. There are people who will shut the door, and there are others will open up and help. TVM: What can we expect from you in the future? Joanna: I would like to work more across Canada and maybe internationally. That would be incredible. I’d like to do more fashion editorials. Music videos are great! Yeah, keep on going. I’m growing, so I like to think that in time you become better. You’re constantly moving forward and becoming better at what you do. I always look forward to that.t I want to work with is Mickey Drexler. If I ever had the opportunity to work with somebody as amazing as that I would be so honoured! In terms of style, I’d love to work with someone like Gwen Stefani. Right now, I’m really focusing on new talent and emerging talent, and bringing that sense of fashion out of them. More so than working with somebody who’s already established their style.
THE LOOK BOOK
Style File:Erica W Ottawa based sought after stylist expert, Erica Wark, went from walking the runway to styling the models on it. She has worked with various journalists, to politicians, to a pop star and this is just the beginning. By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Erica Wark 140
TVM: Today I am speaking with stylist expert, Erica Wark. Erica, how are you doing today? Erica: I’m great. How are you? TVM: I’m fine thank-you. I’m just wondering if you could tell our audience a little bit about yourself. Erica: Sure! Well, I wear many hats (laughs). I am fully self-employed in the fashion industry and I do anything from writing articles, to styling photo shoots, to doing on air segments for different television shows including CBC’s Steven & Chris, Entertainment Tonight Canada, Breakfast Television Toronto, etc. I also work with private clients, help them shop and put pieces together. TVM: Very interesting. How exactly did you become a stylist and why? Erica: That is a great question. It all happened very organically, I didn’t intend to have the job that I have now. Since I started modelling at 13, I knew I wanted to work in fashion because I loved working with clothes. I decided after high school to study journalism and after obtaining my degree, I always knew that I wanted to marry the two together but I had no idea how I was going to do that (laughs). My modelling agency at the time actually hired me to do various styling jobs and I realized how much I liked and was good at it. It all started to blossom from there. TVM: Where do you get your inspiration? Erica: From everywhere. And simply because I’m never styling the same thing, every segment, magazine, and client is completely different. This gives me more variety and makes me better at my job. Anything from movies, celebrities, trends, magazines, online, or even architecture; you really get inspired from where you’re looking. I think the beauty of fashion is that it’s so versatile and constantly evolving so you never get sick of it. TVM: Um hm. When did you realize that you were good at your job? Erica: (laughs). Well, I don’t feel like I’m really good at it, I feel I’m always striving to be better. I realized that I could potentially do this as a living, probably two years ago when I had the opportunity to work with Hollywood Era that was for Walmart Canada and I styled Ashley Tisdale in LA for the photo shoot. TVM: Other than Ashley Tisdale and you’re work with various television shows, which other artists or personalities have you worked with? Erica: I’ve done a lot of local artists from Ottawa, a lot of the morning hosts from the television networks here, people in politics...
TVM: Really, like who? Erica: Unfortunately (laughs) I am unable to divulge that information. Clients are kind of particular about keeping their stuff low key. TVM: Right. Erica: I really feel as much as it’s great to have celebrities, and that’s cool, I feel like my mission in fashion is to reach the everyday individual. That’s sort of where my career has been focused towards. TVM: Do you follow certain trends when styling an artist or personality? Erica: It’s really based on their personality. I first consult with my clients and ask them what they are looking for because generally speaking when they call me they are looking for a change but they still want to feel like themselves. The worst thing about makeover shows is that they veer so far away from the participant’s comfort that they go back to their old ways. I want to know that those I work with can manage those looks once I’m gone. I feel like “trend” is sort of a loose term now and that it’s no longer about trends season by season because there’s so many, it’s more about the individual. TVM: Do you have any advice for any budding stylists? Erica: My advice is to definitely intern with other companies, stylists, or magazines. That is the key to success because not only do you learn the ropes, but you also meet fantastic contacts for networking. I did two unpaid internships in New York, I also did work with freelancers and I just learned from other people in the industry. I feel that internships are crucial in any kind of industry. TVM: Well alright then. What does fashion mean to you? Erica: Omigosh, that’s a good question. Fashion means everything to me. When you’re self-employed building a brand for yourself, it really becomes your lifestyle as opposed to a job. I genuinely love going to work every day, it feels like such a blessing and it’s become a part of who I am. Fashion and I are like one being; I owe everything to fashion and I am fortunate that I am one of the few who get to do this every day. TVM: So, lucky Erica, how would you define great style? Erica: Confidence. Confidence is everything, you have to feel good in what you’re wearing because it could make or break an outfit even on celebrities. I think JLo is such a good example, she may not be the best dressed out there but she owns everything she wears and it makes you love it.
TVM: Nice example. What does the job of a stylist typically consist of? Erica: A lot of schlepping (laughs). I call myself the personal schlepper because it is a lot of hard work; it’s not glamorous at all. I’m often in stores pulling clothes, carrying clothes to locations, steaming clothes, pinning clothes, dressing and undressing models, and it’s a lot of email work. For one photo shoot, you can easily spend over 30 hours just emailing people. There’s a lot of background work that leads up to the big moment of a spread in a magazine or a 5 minute television segment. It’s a lot, but it really pays off when you see the finished product of what you’ve created. TVM: Well said. How would you describe your style? Erica: I would describe my style as very chaotic in the sense that it’s always changing. I mean, I really don’t have a sense of personal style because I am so focused on trying new things and stepping out of my own comfort zone to, basically, practice what I preach. I can’t be telling clients to push boundaries if I’m not. Ultimately, I like to be comfortable in what I’m wearing but I also like to be chic, so I think my style is a combination of the two. TVM: Okay. What do you love about being a stylist? Erica: I love watching fashion shows and seeing the clothing for the first time. It’s like watching live art go down the runway. I get to curate that and work with it in my job, I mean, how lucky am I? It’s like playing dress up with Barbies, I mean we used to love doing that when we were young. And at 27, I’m still able to do that. It’s a complete dream come true. TVM: That’s amazing. How important do you think a stylist is for an artist? Erica: That’s a really good question. I think it depends on the
circumstance of the artist themselves. But I would recommend at least meeting with a stylist and having them go through what you currently work with, discuss where you would want to be eventually, finding a style that works within budgetary constraints, and finding your own style that reflects who you are as an artist. TVM: How soon should an artist seek a stylist? Erica: I think finding their own path first is most important. They have to perfect and understand what they want as an artist first. Once they have developed that and are confident with those choices is when they should find a stylist. TVM: Once they have all of that, how do you determine the best style for your clients? Erica: Again, it’s really about sitting down and having that conversation about what they are currently doing, where they want to go and finding that balance. Research is key with styling as it probably is with most jobs for finding out what brands and designers work specifically with that artist. TVM: What are your top 5 styling tips for any aspiring artist? Erica: Be consistent, if you decide to go one way or the other, stick to it because you don’t want to confuse your audience. Wear it with confidence, as I was saying, confidence is king especially when you’re a performing artist. Be true to yourself. Dress comfortably, because sometimes you can be up on stage for 3 hours and you wanna make sure the fabrics are comfortable and you’re not sweating through them in the first hour. And probably the most important and often forgotten is making sure that you can actually walk in the shoes you’re wearing (laughs). TVM: (laughs) Right! Erica: So many times you see celebrities wearing these sky high shoes that they literally cannot
walk in and that is completely unrealistic. We’re not all Beyoncé in 4 inch heels and if you’re not comfortable, you have to find something that works for you. TVM: Do you think that looks matter for an artist? Erica: I don’t think looks matter per se, I think it’s about the talent and the musician. I certainly think image is important though. What I mean by image is the overall perception of your brand. So that’s why it’s crucial for stylists, hairstylists, and makeup artists to sit down with an artist and have that conversation in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page. TVM: Would you say that style could make or break an artist? Erica: Um, hmm...that’s a good question. I think it depends on the type of artist, for example, Mumford & Sons are super casual, and they wear jeans and t-shirts, relaxed and easy breezy. Then you have someone like Lady GaGa, who wears meat on her body and I think her image is really important because she is becoming this icon for fashion but I don’t think if Mumford & Sons changed their style it would really matter. TVM: Well alright then. So what great things can we expect from Erica Wark, stylist expert, in the future? Erica: Wow that is a good question. I have no idea! I feel like at this point in my life, the sky is the limit. I’m gonna keep pushing the boundaries of fashion, doing my best to help build a fashion community here in Ottawa and Canada as a whole, and I wanna just keep doing what I do every day and hopefully I can continue doing it for many years to come. TVM: That sounds great. Thankyou so much for speaking with The Vocalist today and I wish you nothing but success in the future. Erica: Aw, you’re so sweet. Thankyou.
“I would describe my style as very chaotic in the sense that it’s always changing.”
INTERVIEW WITH BEYONCE FAVORITE
rofessional make-up artist and lifestyle expert Sir John Barnett has worked with global celebrities including Beyoncé Knowles on the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour and beauty icons like Naomi Campbell, as well as major fashion designers: Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and more.Sir John’s go-getter attitude, work ethic, and unique eye have taken him and his art all around the world. He is currently a contributing editor for Vogue Italia, where he reveals all his beauty secrets and top tips, including Beyoncé’s celestial inspirations. Follow Sir John on Instagram to stay tuned in to the fashion world. By Andy Fidel - Credit Photos: Sir John B. 148
TVM: What is your signature? Sir John: (Laughs) it’s going to be a signature glow: some kind of luminescent property to the skin. Or definitely smoky eyes. Your signature is basically what—sometimes—you want to run away from, but can’t. People ask you for it. TVM: Do you prefer working with models or established personalities? Sir John: I really want to bring light to the fact that who really helped my career were the girls. I can actually project artistic views or the mood I’m feeling through on their faces. They happen to be the screen I can project my worn on (laughs). So I’m going to say it’s going to be models. Personalities: they’re great. Working on Beyoncé is amazing and it’s like the dream. But when you work with a model, there’s raw clay there. You actually have a chance to really build a story instead of collaborating on something that’s already built. TVM: Are you currently working with both? Sir John: Right now I’m on a world tour with Beyoncé for “The Mrs. Carter Show”. So that’s taking up a lot of my time. We just wrapped the U.S. and England, and then we have to go to South America. But I took some time off for myself. I’m going to leave Columbia and go straight to Paris’s fashion week to see a couple of shows. Just need to stay relevant in my business. I don’t want to turn my back on what made me popular in the first place. You know, fashion. TVM: Some people carry a notebook around to jot down ideas. What’s your strategy? Sir John: (Laughs) I’m a HUGE lover of Instagram. I live in a very visual world. Instagram is my journal. It’s my way to archive things that I’ve done: to remember where I was last year, what made me happy, what places, or even quotes I was inspired by. TVM: Where do you get your inspiration from? Sir John: I’m going to be honest with you, and this might sound really corny, but I get the inspiration from the women I’m working with. I’ve worked with the most amazing women in the world, seriously. For example: last month I did the cover of Harper’s BAZZARD, ESpagne with Naomi Campbell, and the inspiration was her. My inspiration was Beyoncé was Beyoncé and how she emanates such radiance on stage. I wanted to reflect that in the make-up. I’m not inspired by the competitors or anything else around them. TVM: Is it important for a vocalist to have a consistent make-up artist? Sir John:This might lead to my detriment somehow… (laughs). On the contrary, it might be good to have multiple artists throughout your career. Sometimes
you can grow out of a look. You can grow out of an aesthetic. You can organically morph into a new person just by doing releasing new album or having a baby or getting married. With all these things life throws your way. It’s good to have someone with fresh eyes to look at you in a complete different way. You should jump and see if you can find that right hand. TVM: What does your job consist of on Beyoncé’s The “Mrs. Carter Show” World Tour? Sir John: There are dancers and everybody else, but Beyoncé is my client. I don’t really work on anyone else. TVM: What would you say are your favourite makeup trends? Sir John: Trends… trends… trend is a tricky word because it’s recurring. I would say traditional make-up approaches, which are high lighting and low lighting. A series of architectural contours would be my favourite trend: to make the shapes of the face really keen and pronounced. Contour and highlight would be something I would love to do to everyone. TVM: What is your top tip for a vocalist at home trying to look fresh and ready to go in 10 minutes? Sir John:The eyes first would be ideal to save time. And also to edit. Edit where you want to go. Know what your direction is. Know what you want to highlight and showcase. And let everything else be minimal. Some girls, they just want to do too much of everything. So what I want to do is smoky eyes, a glossy lip and contour my cheeks. There should be an emphasis on something and everything else should fade away. TVM: Do you have any favourite products? Sir John:I love the Tom Ford brand, personally. I know the makeup artists (Charlotte Tilbury) who formulated the collection with Tom. She basically took his ideas and translate them into a well-edited collection. I love La Prairie Skin Care. I just like mediums; I like different textures. I like to play with things a little bit— I’m not just an eye shadow guy. I like to use gloss on the eyelids and shadow on the cheeks, and washed of blush on the temples in a way that is not completly visible. It just looks like the skin is glowing from within, you know? TVM: Do you practice on a “test-subject”? Sir John: No longer (laughs). I just go. I have these images floating around in my head. I put my hand to skin, and make something happen. I really don’t have a “test-subject”. At this point in my career, I just go for it.
Smokey Eyes How to: By Sir John Barnett 1) Start w/ an eye kohl around the
top and bottom lash-line. The base of a smokey eye is one of the most important components. (The perfect eye kohl should be close to the color of your intended shadow.) The difference between eye kohl and a regular eye pencil is that kohlâ€™s have a lot more maneuverability when blending. Kohl pencils smudge with incredible ease. Perfect for layering under a powdery shadow. Pencils offer durability to the shadows by giving the pigment something to grab onto. Resulting in a richer more opaque application of color. To get the best results with your smokey eye shape, you need the right tools. I suggest using smaller firmer brush for the initial blending of the kohl so that you have a strong foundation. Fading your base medium is extremely important. (If not blended properly, your shadow will stick to non-blended areas & create a disaster.)
2) Start to take a short dense brush
& with your darker shadow. Pack color on top of your primer/ pencil. Really saturate the pencil/ base. Working your way up from lash line fading away at the crease.
3) Take a clean blending brush & soften the edges of the color you deposited. Practicing your fading technique is crucial. No color should rise above your crease, in other words the brow bone should stay clean.
4) Use a similar technique at the bot-
tom of your eye, except this time use a smaller brush. Set your pencil with shadow. Then begin to diffuse any sharp lines with your clean brush.
Tip: keep your shade of choice neat and contained close to the lash line washing out. Better to start off slow building your intensity as you go along, instead of aggressively saturating your eye too quickly. Often resulting in raccoon eyes, which is not the direction this trend is taking us.
5) At this point you should see a graduation of pigment. Starting intense at the lash line dissipating to nothing at the crease & below eye.
6) Add a bit of shimmer to your brow
bone. The skin on the bone should be shinny, creating the look of radiant flawless skin. Simultaneously where the darker color and the highlight meet should appear seamless!
7) Armed with a q- tip & water based eye makeup remover clean up around the smoke. Then apply a concealer & foundation. With a clean blending brush diffuse any lines where the eye meets the concealer/ foundation. Lastly, set your concealer with a fine translucent powder. Doll up your lashes with a volume enhancing mascara & go. - See more at: http://sirjohn.carbonmade.com/
TVM: Would you say that confidence came with time? Sir John: Um… within a short amount of time. I don’t think you always have that luxury to have someone sit and you just play. I’m on a job and you’re kind of nervous for the job. Will “the look” translate, etc? You just go for it. A true artist doesn’t really have time to prep and do someone for a mock trial, or something like that. Don’t overthink it too much. Once you start to overthink a project too much in this business, it becomes contrived and you lose artistic value. TVM: Can you describe one challenge you constantly face in your practices? Sir John: I feel that in our business, there is no competition. We’re artists; we’re not horses. We shouldn’t compare each other to each other. Sometimes I feel everybody is looking into the next man’s pot. And it destroys what you have when you’re comparing your artistry or your aesthetic to another person. You can find inspiration or align visual interpretations, but you should never look outside of yourself when it comes from the hand. And time! (Laughs) we want time; we want our time. Sometimes you’re allowed the time you’re supposed to have to create a look. And that’s when you can feel cheated as an artist. Every sector of our business is allowed a certain amount of time to do the job extremely well. TVM: That seems like a lot of pressure. Sir John: (Laughs) yeah, but you know what? It’s a business where you have to get the girls ready for a show. And you don’t have time.
TVM: What’s one thing you’ve learned from working with Beyoncé? Sir John: What I learned from her is to use time wisely and to have a serious work ethic. She is a very, very, very hard worker. And I thought I was until I met her. When you’re off the job, you’re still not off the job. You can be editing; you can be doing other things. She uses time wisely. Relationships are key in my business and how you treat people. The business is so small— it really is. The higher you get in fashion, in music, in media, the smaller it becomes. If you treat someone like sh*t one day, it can really come back to you. It’s important not to burn bridges. It’s one of the things that gave me success in my career. TVM: What do you enjoy most about your career? Sir John: Travel. I like to go and see new places. Just the fact you can go from South Columbia to France, and then France to Morocco. I don’t think I would have been able to if it weren’t for the business. It’s also a really large platform to do something else in life, if that’s what you would like to do. TVM: Where do you hope to be in five years? Sir John: I want my furniture to be in hotels. I’m slowly bridging the gaps or turning the corners into home & lifestyle, from Fashion and Beauty. If I can do half as well as I’ve done in Beauty, I will be very happy.
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J U L BLACK L Y By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Jully Black
ully Black is exemplary of the talent that exists in Canada. An accomplished vocalist and songwriter who has penned tunes for the likes of Nas and Destiny’s Child, Black has worked with a variety of talents and shared the stage with some of the greatest artists of our time, from Celine to Kanye. Jully shows no sign of stopping and displays her Canuck pride with being “Made in Canada”. Donned by the CBC as one of the 25 Greatest Canadian Singers of all time, she caught with The Vocalist Magazine to share the recipe of her success.
â€œI almost lost
my voice forever, it
was just last April, a little over a year ago...â€?
TVM: Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Juno award winning triple threat and Canada’s Queen of R&B, Ms Jully Black. Hi Jully, how are you today? Jully Black: I’m wonderful, how are you? TVM: I’m fine, thank you! Could you tell us a little bit about your new album and when we can look out for it? Jully Black: Well, the new album is called, “Made in Canada”, we just changed the name and I’m excited about it. It’s what we call the new Motown sound rivaling my Revival record with the horns, the string section, and it’s very danceable. My producer Young Pete Alexander was raised in Atlanta, so he was able to bring some of the southern flavour to the sounds that I love which are the Etta James and the Tina Turner’s of the world so, we think the timing is fitting for what, you know, Justin Timberlake brought back, or Robin Thicke and Miguel. You know, that r&b/soul is coming back to the mainstream and we’re excited about that because that’s just something that needed to happen because music got really loud on the radio, it’s still pretty loud. To me, when you make timeless music that’s not going to be a trend, you know, here today gone tomorrow, it takes time. It’s been 4 years since my last record so we took time and made this record in Canada, so the title is definitely fitting. TVM: How would you describe your voice... Jully Black: Wow, you know, no one’s every asked me that question. In all these years, not this question...um, I would describe my voice as rich, soulful, I think that the texture is unique, I sing with feeling. I hear it in my head and I feel it in my body so it’s hard for me to describe how it resonates to people. Personally, I don’t think that I sound like anybody else and God gave me a tone that I just think resonates with people, so the words that I’m singing people can relate to. I think my voice is just packaged the right way...it’s hard for me to explain, because I’ve never been asked this question before. I just think my voice is more about the purpose behind what I’m saying, you feel it when I’m singing it and I could get technical like I’m an alto, but it’s really about the feeling that I think bounces off of people’s bodies. TVM: How would you describe your music? Jully Black: I would describe my music as soulful, it’s flavour, I mean. Flavour you want it to be, it is. It appeals to all ages, all nationalities...the beauty of being born and raised in Canada with limited resources, as far as black music is concerned, is that outside of my home I was introduced to a wide variety of various genres of music and at home it was reggae, gospel, and r&b, so all of my influences are in my music and I think that makes it so relatable and something that everybody can appreciate. TVM: At what age did you discover your passion? Jully Black: I discovered my passion for music at 6 years old in church.
“What I eat totally affects my voice so I have to plan.”
TVM: Wow, that’s young. Jully Black: Yeah, I mean it was kind of that question of purpose, what am I meant to do on earth and I think, once you realize what the one this is that you would do for free is and kind of hone in on that and for me, I realized that at 6. TVM: You’re quite the accomplished songwriter, what moves to write songs and is there a particular song that you feel most proud of? Jully Black: Oh, good question. Well, I’m very observant as to what is going on in the world and in my very own world. Most of my songs are very personal and a lot of them are also experiences of my friends and family so a lot of times my family is like, aw great, she’s gonna write a song about us...be careful. So yeah, that’s basically the process of where my songs come from. There was a B part to that question... TVM: Yes, I wanted to know whether there is a particular song you’ve written that resonates with you. Jully Black: Oh that’s so beautiful that resonates to me. Right now, it’s not released yet, there’s a song on Made In Canada called, “The Moment,” and it’s the most beautiful, truthful love song and the lyrics are so profound. Just the perfect modern day Romeo and Juliet story, you know? One of the lyrics is, “if love is our pen, we’ll write in the stars and heaven will show it” so beautiful! I love that song. It’s only a piano and my voice. TVM: So your voice is really prominent and it’s all about your voice? Jully Black: Yeah, no extra stuff. It kind of channels Adele’s song “Someone Like You” you heard her voice on that song and you couldn’t help but just stop and pay attention. TVM: Right. Are there any challenges being a solo artist versus being in a group? Jully Black: I was in a group years ago, like in 1994, it was a short lived group but still, nevertheless, I was in a group. The challenge was being in a group because I was born to be a solo artist, I started singing by myself at 6 and often times people don’t have the same vision or even the same passion. I eat, sleep, breathe, bathe, everything music and so, you need people around you who have that exact same headspace. Interestingly enough, I need the same thing with my producers, my management, same thing with my band and my glam squad. The people around me have been with me for several years so I’ve realized the necessity of like-mindedness. I mean, it takes a village but you need to determine who is responsible for what task and, more importantly, who is the leader; TVM: Earlier, you briefly spoke about various musical influences, could you elaborate? Are there any specific people who influence you vocally? Jully Black: Oh absolutely. I’ll throwback to Tina
Turner, love love love Tina Turner. Throwback to Etta James...I actually got to open for her at the Ottawa Blues Fest and this was years before I even did (the song) “Seven Day Fool,” I didn’t even know that she had that song, “Seven Day Fool” until years later because that song was a ‘B-side’ it wasn’t a single of hers. Everyone knows “At Last” and the like but this little gem was sitting on this compilation and I discovered it, so she’s always been an influence, rest in peace. Whitney Houston was the very first artist I could listen to, I was raised in the church and her song was the very first song I was allowed to sing. You know, when you’re raised religious, there are certain songs....secular music you aren’t allowed but this music was passable (laughs)! When I got older, there was Madonna, there was Cyndi Lauper, who played a big role, I used to listen to “True Colours´ all of the time. My musical pallet is very broad, I was raised listening to Blue Rodeo on the radio, so when I met Jim Cuddy, he became a mentor of mine. TVM: Wow, that’s amazing, I didn’t know that. Jully Black:Yeah, absolutely. That’s actually why I’m so excited that we renamed the album Made In Canada because there is a lot of things that have happened over the past 20 years, I started, professionally, since I was 15 years old, so, there’s a lot of musical influences as far as Canadian ones but the main ones would be The Blue Rodeo’s of the world, and when I got to high school it was Alanis Morissette, oh man! (Laughs), yeah, I’m a little rocker on the inside! TVM: It’s really interesting that you have such a diverse collection of music that you listen to. What is your overall vocal regime? Jully Black: Well, last year, I suffered a vocal hemorrhage... TVM: Oh my gosh. Jully Black:Yeah. I almost lost my voice forever, it was just last April, a little over a year ago. Before then, I took my voice for granted, I didn’t train from the time I began singing at such a young age and it just was something that was given to me at a young age and I didn’t realize that I had to care for it and have specific diets, etc. But all of these years, it took that happening and so, I do have a specific regimen. I have to stop eating 3-5 hours before I hit the stage, lots of teas but specific ones like Camomile, because it’s a relaxant, as you know; people drink it before bed, it helps to relax your anxieties and such before you hit the stage. I stay away from spice, citrus, tomatoes, anything tangy or with acidity, I’m also Episcopal Presbyterian so I don’t eat any chicken or beef I eat fish and veggies. I work out a lot, there’s non-show day exercises and show day exercises, I don’t lift weights on show days because you’re putting pressure on your neck. So yeah, I mean, I could do a whole rant on my vocal regiment. Six water a day, no matter what, hydration because we’re made up of mostly water, um 8-9 hrs of
sleep, especially pre show days...lots of stuff (laughs)! TVM: (laughs). Jully Black: Because you know why Nana, it’s like, if you think about athletes, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, etc, there are things that athletes have to do to be the best. So last year is when I locked into the fact that I’m a vocal athlete and that’s why the greats who are still doing it, 60 or 70 years later...you know, when I think about the ones who have just passed recently, you know like the James Browns or whomever, they stood the test of time and they actually did party and rock ‘n’ roll and all of that. But, there’s a certain level of discipline needed to be great. TVM: Well said. When would you say that you’re at your vocal best (morning, afternoon, or evening)? Jully Black:Oh no chile, I’m Barry White in the morning, Jully Black in the afternoon. TVM: (Laughs). Jully Black: I’m telling you, morning shows are tough. If I have to sing at Breakfast Television or Canada Am, etc I got get up, have my breakfast and be warmed up by 4am for an 8 or 9am performance. It’s tough. Think about anybody who gets up in the morning, it’s crazy, I mean we sound crazy, then, imagine having to sing. I can still make my voice sound great in the morning, it just takes work.
you came into the show will not be the same way you leave the show. TVM: Okay. You have an amazing presence on stage and also in front of the camera. Where do you get that from? Jully Black:: Oh wow...well thank-you for that compliment. Um, where do I get my confidence? I would say God, to be honest with you, I really feel that, the reality is there is only one of each of us and I think that too often we aspire to be like what we see on tv, in magazines, etc. I mean it’s good to have goals and be inspired by people but at my height it was hard. When you’re 5’10, I’ve been that height since I was 10 years old; I’ve always been really tall for my age. It was either going to be that I had 15 issues with my height or I’m going to lock into my family so, my mom let me know at a very young age that I’m special, I’m beautiful, tall is great, you know? God made you that way for a specific reason. I think those values just transferred over into adulthood. TVM: Do you find what you eat affects your voice? Jully Black: Yes, what I eat totally affects my voice so I have to plan. I really follow my food, I just watch when I want to have, for example, spice. I’m not going to be a prisoner of my voice, I just plan it all. I know if I have a show that day, I make sure I over hydrate and enjoy!
TVM: I see. Is there a difference for you vocally between performing in the studio and performing live? Which do you prefer? Jully Black: There’s a big difference but now, I actually enjoy them both equally, I used to focus my love on the live shows. The cool thing about the live show is, you get one shot; there’s no re-dos. You gotta be dead on, you know what I mean? If you miss something, there’s no time to blame yourself, you gotta keep it moving. It’s really about living with the now with the live show. I just recorded a new song last night called “Oneway” and it’s awesome to hear note one to a completed song; all the colours and all the harmonies...it’s like being a sculptor because you put this piece together and there’s this gratifying feeling afterwards...you know, two/three hours later when there was nothing before and now there’s an entire song.
TVM: That’s cool. How have your vocal practices changed since you first began recording and performing? Jully Black: Now, with technology, it’s a lot easier because I have apps on my phone...there’s something called Vocal Tool Kit that I use, not to mention, I started seeing a speech pathologist and I recorded my sessions so I can do my trills/exercises on the go. I was doing it wrong before, I thought I had to do them for at least 30 minutes but she was like, no, 10 minutes is all you need and let your voice relax...you always learn something new.
TVM What is your aim when you perform? And what do you want your fans to take from your performance? Jully Black: Well my formal goal is to make a connection period and I treat the audience as if it’s just me and one other person. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 people or 10,000, you get my full energy. I am of the mindset that I owe my audience my best, they don’t owe me anything at all, I have to earn their applause. I want them to leave feeling good and feeling inspired. At the end of the day, let me put it this way, the way
TVM: (Laughs), oh no! Jully Black: My ears are just incredible and I think, growing up in high school, I couldn’t and still can’t sight read, so I trained my ear to keep up and now they’re just super razor sharp (laughs). Then vocalists will come in, the background singers and then we just rock the rehearsal like it’s a performance.
TVM What is a typical rehearsal like for you? Jully Black: Between 4 and 6 hrs. For a couple hours, it’s just the band getting the music in order and if I’m there...the band says that I have dog ears, I hear every incorrect note...
TVM: Okay. Describe a challenge you constantly face, in those practices.
“I would describe my voice as rich, soulful... I sing with feeling. I hear it
in my head and I feel it in my body...”
“I realized at 6 years old that it was a language and a voice, no pun intended, but God gave me an additional voice to reach people and music
is something that is the universal language...”
Jully Black: Um, I don’t face any challenges. The reason why I don’t face challenges is because of the way I think. If something is challenging, I don’t look at it as a challenge. I just look at it as something that I need to take time to work on. It’s all about the way you think. TVM: Do you feel a connection between physical workouts and vocal workouts? Jully Black: Vocally working out is a lot tougher because your vocal cords are as thin as the tip of your finger nails so you’ve got to be very mindful of how much time you put into it and that you have to build up to it. I can’t just blare up my voice, you know what I mean? I really have to know and feel if my voice is ready. I’m even gonna have to take a beat after this (interview), speaking for long periods of time is actually harder than singing. TVM: Wow, I didn’t know that, really interesting to learn. How regularly do you workout your voice? Jully Black:I’m supposed to do it every day and I’m still not disciplined. I do include it into my day though. I run into the shower steamy so instead of putting the steam machine on my face, I make the washroom very steamy and use that as my steam time. I try to just do things that don’t make it so much of a routine cause with routines I get bored. That’s just me being a brat because I’ve been singing so long without having to do it. So yeah, I should work it out more on the daily but I do sing everyday. TVM: What do you like about that voice you sing with everyday? Jully Black: Um, I like that it’s readily available, I like that it’s mine. That’s question I’d prefer other people to answer. TVM: Well okay, makes sense I guess. What do you feel differentiates you from other vocalists? Jully Black: I would say my tone. I’m more of a tone girl than a vocal acrobat. I don’t do lots of voice tricks. A lot of the American girls, they do a lot with their voices which is beautiful but I realize my voice is about how I hold a note and my tone. You’ll know a
Jully Black tone more than my (vocal) acrobatics. TVM: Right. Today’s music industry is extremely competitive, what do you think it takes to pursue singing as a career? Jully Black: It really just takes passion, that’s it. Nothing’s changed from back in the day, I think that was has changed is that people want the quick fix. They want it yesterday instead of working for it. There have been examples of overnight success, so people coming up think that that’s the way it should be for everybody. TVM: For individuals who want to be vocalists, what advice would you give them? Jully Black: First of all, I would ask them why? Why, do you want to be a vocalist and if it has anything to do with being a superstar, I think they should reconsider. TVM: Well, why did you want to be a vocalist? Jully Black: I realized at 6 years old that it was a language and a voice, no pun intended, but God gave me an additional voice to reach people and music is something that is the universal language so being able to communicate with melody, I have been able to reach way more people than I would if I was a politician. TVM: Well anything could happen...where would you like to be in your career, 5 years from now? Jully Black: I would like to have international success where I’m able to influence change. Like, one of my goals is to be the influence for those who do not have influence. There are people in the world whom will never have their voices heard, but if they subscribe to the messages that I put out, then I can be the influence for both of us. TVM: Well alright then. Thanks so much for speaking with The Vocalist today Jully, it was a pleasure and I wish you more success in the future. Jully Black: No problem. Thank you.
KIEFER By Andy Fidel Credit Photos: Tom Kiefer
“My Mom told me if I g through high school and g my diploma — she’d buy m
that guitar. That was all th motivation I needed.” 176
got got me
When American Singer/Songwriter/Musician Carl Thomas Keifer steps out: the crowd goes into a wild frenzy. He is best known as Cinderella’s frontman Tom Keifer— the band that ruled the 80’s. Now, Tom Keifer rocks the stage with his new solo album The Way Life Goes. Tom Keifer has always been surrounded by music. Even as a lad. With guitar lessons and great rock bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin: “I realized early on the difference between playing in a cover band and my heroes… The difference is they had their own music.” During Cinderella’s third-album tour, Tom Keifer lost his voice. Was told he would never sing again with a paralyzed vocal cord: “It just felt like I was singing against a wall.” The Way Life Goes shows how much love Tom Keifer has for music: “I didn’t feel whole. That’s what kept me pushing…” After 10 years of vocal exercises and speech pathologists, Tom Keifer regains his voice. And releases an inspiring album: “All the songs are about life and struggles, the ups and downs, what we’ve been through and what other people go through.” TVM: At what age would you say you discovered your passion? Tom: At a very early age. I wanted to play the guitar when I was about seven or eight, and that’s when I first started learning. My mom had a teacher come to the house. I had a little acoustic guitar. He taught me the basic chords and how to strum and sing songs. He taught me Beatles’ songs and folk songs, and we would just sit in the living room and strum. (Laughs) that’s where it all started. TVM: Do you remember your first performance? Tom: (Laughs) I was in the third grade. I got together with two of my buddies, and we played in the auditorium. We could barely play. But we thought we were amazing (laughs). That’s the gift of being young: you’re just fearless, living through intense things. It could be a love story or I just met a guy, or I feel like I’m being rejected ... I don’t know (laughs). TVM: Have you always had that confidence to go on stage and perform? Tom: Yeah! There have been examples over the years where I have been nervous. But for the most part, no. I’ve never really struggled with that. TVM: Is it true you were bribed into finishing high
school with a guitar? Tom: Yeah, yeah. That is true. I was struggling with academics in high school. My mom, being a very wise woman, saw there was a Les Paul hanging on the wall of the local music store. She knew I wanted i t. She told me if I got through high school and got my diploma— she’d buy me that guitar. That was all the motivation I needed (laughs). TVM: When did the songwriting come along? Tom: Ever since I started playing the guitar. I would make up my own songs. I loved The Monkees when I was eight years old. I’d make up little songs even at that age. I think the really serious songwriting started in my teens with the desire to get out of the club scene. I realized early on the difference between playing in a cover band and my heroes Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The difference is they had their own music. So I wrote and tried to achieve that goal. TVM: When did you start having vocal problems? Tom: It was Cinderella’s third album tour in 1990-91. Towards the end of that tour, my voice just went haywire overnight. I woke up one day and my voice was just cracking and breaking. I couldn’t hold pitches.
Tom: It just felt like I was singing against a wall. It took a couple years for experts around the country to find the problem. Eventually, I was diagnosed with a partially paralyzed vocal cord. The reason it took so long was because it’s not something commonly picked up in a regular office exam. This is neurological. When the doctor finally walked into the room and said: “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is you’re not crazy. There is something wrong with your voice. The bad news is you’re probably never going to sing again.” He told me what it was and that there wasn’t any medical cure for it in terms of surgery or medicine. My only hope and prayer at being able to sing again would be to retain my voice with speech pathologists. And it’s not an exact science. Most people are not able to regain their voice. It’s taken me, honestly— ever since then. I’ve really made head way where it just feels right again. It’s still a lot of therapy. I work every day to keep it in shape. TVM: What was happening to your voice? Tom: My voice would crack and yodel kind of like the kid in The Little Rascals (laughs). It sounded muffled and had a dark quality to it like I was singing into a towel. It didn’t want to lift up into the head voice. My voice still has that quality to it some days when I wake up. It’s challenging. With a condition like this, you’re riding the fence day to day. But I will say this: I’m thankful. I thank God every day. Even with these struggles, I’ve managed to find a way to retain it and to work in a way I can do what I love to do. Anyone who is struggling with something in their life and have been told is impossible— don’t ever give up. I’ve been able to cross that bridge. TVM: Did you seek help right away? Tom: Oh yeah, immediately! TVM: I have listened to your solo album, and I must say: Your voice sounds amazing. Tom:: Thank you, I appreciate that. Those vocals took years to get into shape. It was a real leap of faith because I actually couldn’t sing during that period. I had to do everything but stand on my head, and sing them one at a time. It was quite the effort to get those vocals down on tape. But it was something I felt I needed to do. The entire project took 10 years. TVM: What made you keep going? Tom: Anytime I thought about the alternative. I usually refer to my early tutorial lessons as singer-songwriter lessons because he didn’t just teach me the guitar. He taught me songs. The three came together. It’s who I am. When I was struggling with my voice, I was told there were a lot of other avenues. The problem was I
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didn’t want to do down any of those avenues. It didn’t feel the same; I didn’t feel whole. That’s what kept me pushing to regain the ability to express guitar, song and voice together as one. TVM: Do you feel like you’ve regained that wholeness? Tom: I’ve regained it. I mean, it functions. It’s been gradually getting stronger and stronger over the years. I feel I have a handle on it. I know what I need to do before a show and after a show, and the regiment I need to do to keep it working correctly. It’s sometimes better than before and I tribute that to all the training I’ve had. Practice makes perfect (laughs). When you’re doing two hours of vocal exercises every day, something’s gotta pay off. TVM: Let’s talk about your album, The Way Life Goes. How did you pick the title? Tom: It’s one of my favourite tracks on the record. My wife and I produced the record together. She wrote a lot of the songs too. When we were gathering all the credits and lyrics, it just made sense. All the songs are about life and struggles, the ups and downs, what we’ve been through and what other people go through. It just stuck a chord. And it stuck. TVM: What inspires you to write songs? Tom:For me inspiration is always life. Music is about real things. Songwriting always starts with a lyric, a song title or a line. There is no process. I don’t carry a tape recorder around. I can be walking down the street, driving down the road or shopping, and an idea pops into my head. That’s how it starts. It can happen anywhere. I can hear something in my head and at that point I’m racing to get an instrument (laughs). TVM: Would you consider yourself a spontaneous writer? Tom: I can go for years without writing songs. It has to stick with me. That’s my filtration process for what is good and what is worth working on. If I’ve got to record it on a voice memo to remember it, then it’s probably not that special. A lot of ideas pop into my head. The ones that stick are usually the ones that keep haunting you in the back of your head. TVM: How do you vocally warm up before and after a show? Tom: The warm up is a series of vocal exercises: sounds and vowel sounds. You have to concentrate on your breathing and placement. It can take me about anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours for me to go through the whole regiment. It stretches everything out and gets everything in place. I usually start about three hours prior to the show. It’s sometimes longer than the show itself, depending on the condition of my voice that day. And then, there is a cool down after the show that takes about five minutes. It’s always like walking after you run. I have to do that whether I’m on tour or not. I can’t ever get behind. TVM: Are you afraid of losing your voice? Tom: Almost every minute of every day. I’m not kidding. It’d been as much of a physical condition as an emotional one. My confidence to perform was destroyed when it hit me. I’m only starting to gain that back in the last few years. TVM: How would you describe your voice? Tom: Strong and stable, but needs to be maintained daily. (Laughs) I think that’s the best way I can put it. listening to you. Aww good, it was a nice interview. Thank you and have a good night!
SE A GAR RE 184
By Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Sean Garett
By LUISA DE ARMAS Credit Pictures: Nuela Charles
“The Pen” is responsible for some of the biggest songs of the 21st century. On the day of my Sean Garrett interview, I was a wreck. He is responsible for some of the biggest songs of the 21st century, songs I grew up adoring and those that are still in heavy rotation. I was actually going to speak to the man who created Put It Down by Brandy, Yeah by Usher, Soldier by Destiny’s Child, Enough Cryin by Mary J Blige...and the list goes on! There are few people in the world who have the ability to create some of our favourite songs from scratch but Garrett Hamler, known to the world as Sean Garrett, has the gift. Nicknamed ‘The Pen’ by none other than Hip Hop royalty himself, Jay-Z. He has been compared to one of the greatest producers of all time, Sir George Martin (mega producer for a little known boy band called The Beatles who produced 20 number 1 singles in 6.5 years), because of the amount of success Sean has achieved in under a decade, 18 number 1 singles in 8 years. It is no secret that this man has made a name for himself as a certified hit maker but what about his future as a vocalist? Sean has made a return to his artist roots, decided to pick up the mic, and give The Vocalist Magazine some insight into his mindset, vocal regime, advice to those trying to make it and everything in-between. 187
I could give any advice to the readers it would be to, not only, train your voice, but to train your mind to have a bigger imagination than just the normal perspective of singing.â€?
TVM: I have the extreme pleasure of speaking with a man who needs no introduction, Mr. Sean Garrett. How goes it today Sir? Sean: I’m doin’ good, I’m doin’ good, nice to meet you. TVM: Nice to meet you as well. Before really getting into the meat of the interview, I think I read somewhere that you speak several different languages. Just out of curiosity, which ones? Sean: German, (laughs) for starters. TVM: I’m sorry, German? Sean: Yes. TVM: Wow, that’s awesome. How do you say hello in German? Sean: *Guten tag, wie geht es dir? TVM: Oh, nice. Well, you have achieved a great deal of success in a remarkable amount of time, something like 18 number 1s in 8 years. You’ve been likened to Sir George Martin, express some of your thoughts on that? If you can even put that into words. Sean: Well, I’m humbled by the fact that I could be held in conversations with someone like George Martin and other greats. I just worked really hard and can appreciate the opportunity to even be doing what I’m doing. It’s a great challenge always to make the entire world think and get them excited, you know what I’m sayin’? So, I’m just in awe to be compared to someone like that. TVM: Some, would consider you a multifaceted artist, who pretty much creates records from scratch. What a lot of people don’t really know is that you were actually signed to your first record deal as an artist, in your teens. What do you feel was the catalyst for you to begin your incredible career? Sean: I think being an artist was one of the catalysts. You know, as an artist I had the opportunity to learn a lot of the things that I’m able to do. I wouldn’t be able to go in the studio with various artists, such as a Beyoncé, an Usher, a Fergie or an Enrique Iglesias and be able to come up with these types of records if I was not initially an artist going though the trials and tribulations associated with being an artist. You have to have doors closing in your face, you have to be told ‘no’, you have to be told you gotta get better, that’s not good enough, etc. A lot of these things helped me become better at my skill and prepared me for the chances that have come afterwards. If I wasn’t an artist first, there is no way that I would have accomplished any of the feats that I have accomplished so far. TVM: Interesting. Could you tell our readers a little bit more about Sean Garrett the vocalist? How would you describe your voice?
“It’s a great challenge always to make the entire wor think and get them excited..
Sean: You know, what’s interesting about my voice, is that I was told many times that I couldn’t sing, or people said I had a weird voice and tone, your voice doesn’t match your body, etc. It encouraged me to become very focused at coming up with a unique style. I kind of taught myself how to sing with the influence of my mother, who was a very religious woman who grew up in the church; I grew up overseas but I was just a great fan of music, practically from birth. Being from Atlanta and growing up abroad diversified my vocal influences. I listened to everything from The Beatles, Gloria Estefan, New Edition, George Michael, etc who were apart of learning how to truly appreciate music from different facets of life. It gave me the opportunity to study different genres, mix different styles, and be creative. Now, I’m able to use my voice in a variety of ways. I can hold my own on a stage, in the video, in the studio, in the pop and urban world; you know what I’m sayin’? I’m very appreciative of having these experiences that I have had, which have made me a lot stronger and a triple threat. TVM: Right. Do you have a regular vocal routine? And if so, could you tell TVM a little bit about it? Sean: Yeah, I always try to warm my voice up. I’ve spent a lot of time with vocal coaches. One of my favourites is Mama Jan, from Atlanta and I’ve spent part of these sessions with her learning different techniques, breathing techniques, warming up my voice through scales and mixing that with different styles. You know, jumping into different characters, it’s kind of like you add your imagination with the vocal to create a style for those characters and different emotions, it’s like acting. So, if I could give any advice to the readers it would be to, not only, train your voice, but to train your mind to have a bigger imagination than just the normal perspective of singing. TVM: Okay, great advice. You kind of take a pretty picture and it looks as though you’re not a stranger to the gym. Do you find a connection between vocal workouts as well as physical ones? Sean: Yes, I would definitely say that because it’s all about exercise, it’s all about repetition; you improve with repetition. Your muscles become a little bit more defined every time they are worked, same thing with your vocal cords. The more you work them the more flexible they are, the more ability you have to push the boundaries. So I definitely see a big parallel to working your body out and your voice. TVM: Hmhmm. What do you feel differentiates you from other vocalists?
Sean: Well, first of all, I feel I definitely have a unique voice. As you can hear, my speaking voice can be viewed as fairly deep in comparison to my singing voice, which is a lot sweeter with a distinctive tone to it. A lot of people think I’m singing in a falsetto when I’m really singing in my full voice. I feel like it gives me an edge because of the style of my tone and cuts through the type of tracks that I like to sing on. I can belt, but at the same time I like singing syncopated and melodic; I like mixing the two and I like to be powerful at the same time. It’s just about exercising, like calisthenics with your voice. Being able to sometimes romance, sometimes enhance, sometimes throw a power punch...you know, sometimes I wanna finesse you...it’s just the techniques that I choose to use. On my new single, Anytime feat. The Amigos, it’s a sexy sound using my lower register but at the same time there’s a certain kind of sweetness that’s glossed over it. I think it speaks volumes to certain people that like that sound. TVM: Right. Well, for the record I think your speaking voice is also kind of sweet. Which do you prefer more, recording in the studio or performing live? Sean: I like them both because in the studio you’re alone and you can try different things and then when you perfect it in the studio, you can go out and perform it for the fans where you can reap the reward of their reaction to what you worked hard for in the studio. TVM: In terms of performing in front of a live audience, what would you like your fans to take away from your show? Sean: I would like my fans to feel like I gave them all I had, that I’ve influenced them to a certain extent, gave them a different perspective of what they thought of a performer like myself; I like to be different, I don’t like to look like anyone else, I don’t wanna be like anyone else. I enjoy being Sean Garrett; I’m in my own lane. I feel great about being able to perform my own songs and then play 10 to 12 number 1 records back to back that I did for someone else; you know, that’s an amazing feeling. I know there are not a lot of performers that can do that, so that’s what differentiates me from the pack. TVM: Cool. So Sean, how would you describe your own music? Sean: I would describe my own music as songs carried by the guy next door. He’s not just in a shiny suit, he’s not just an entertainer; he brings a different kind of energy than some of my other counterparts that I’ve worked with. For example, Usher, I think he’s a different type of artist because he’s polished in a different sort of way. I like wearing my Timberland boots, I like wearing my leather pants and fashionable
fly sweatshirts, and I like dressing totally different than what R&B/Pop artists are supposed to dress like. I like having an edge...I like to draw from Hip Hop a lot because that’s in my soul; it’s in my blood, but I love pop culture too, so I like to mix the two as well as urban culture. That’s what I like to represent musically. TVM: What inspires you to write songs? Is there a particular song that stands out for you? Sean: I mean all of the songs that I do have a place in my heart. I can’t create or start to create from any other place than one of love so I find love in something; the artist, or in the music, the beat/melody and I start to develop it from there. I mean love makes people smile, I love to create tracks with a memorable melody, I love to create stories that make people reminisce, or ponder or challenge themselves; love harder and make a point. A lot of the time my records come from feelings I’m having or something I see others going through that would like to change the ending to. So often times, I creatively change the ending to how I would like to see it turn out. TVM: Okay. Even with all of these new opportunities, you know, Youtube, Myspace, and various singing competitions shows and the like for artists to get their stuff out there, the music industry is still really difficult to break into. What’s the secret to your success? Sean: I just feel like God is one of the most important secrets to my success. Just remaining humble and remaining patient and waiting for your blessing to come. A lot of times I feel like you have to be prepared for success and believe that it’s going to happen. When the opportunity does present itself, if you’re not ready, you will fail. So practice makes perfect, which is probably one of those common things that your parent or teacher may have told you once or twice (laughs). People can take that for granted but I never have. That’s why I’m always learning and striving for perfection within myself and the people that surround me. You know, it’s not going to be easy, I don’t expect it to be easy and if you chip at anything long enough, it’s hard. TVM: Very true. You work with a lot of hot, up and coming artists, what advice would you give to any of them or anyone who aspires to stardom? Sean: Remain diligent in your process, remain focused on what the prize is and that’s winning, and just being prepared. Prepare yourself for the win, don’t just fool yourself by thinking you’re gonna just show up and like, cram for the test the night before. That does work every now and then but it’s not a guarantee. Being prepared will always guarantee you success, in my opinion.
â€œJust remaining humble and remaining patient and waiting for your blessing to come.â€?
TVM: Hmhmm..that kinda sounds like something my dad would say (laughs). Sean: (Laughs). TVM: What projects do you have in the works? I recall hearing something about a reality show and part two to your mixtape, The Inkwell... Sean: Yeah TVM: What should we look out for? Sean: Yeah, both of those. My new single, Anytime featuring The Amigos, very excited about that and it’s been going crazy on the internet; it’s only been out five days and it’s been doing remarkably well. My new reality show is coming, I just finished working on Miley Cyrus’ new album, working on a number of new albums coming out a couple of on the edge people who wanna surprise everybody and working on some endorsement opportunities, movies....just working. TVM: Awesome, so you’re going to be everywhere basically. Sean: Well, wherever they accept me, where they allow me to go (laughs). TVM: (Laughs) Okay, makes sense. Where does ‘The Pen’ aspire to be in 5 years? Sean: Ah, 5 years...I would expect to be approaching legendary status. Hopefully I would have doubled my number 1’s, right now, I’m at 18 so I’m prepared to be somewhere around 30 or 40... TVM: Wow. Sean: In 5 years I’m hoping that I’ve changed the whole secular scope of what people’s expectations are of Sean Garrett ‘The Pen’. TVM: Well alright then. I have a feeling that you’ve already changed Pop music now, so I have no doubt that your 5 year plan will happen. Random question time, if I confiscated your Ipod, what would be the most played track and why? By played track, I’m talking about those oh so shameful tunes we all love reasoning aside. Sean: I would say ahhh...man, I jump around so much you know? I like A$AP Rocky, of course I love Jay-Z’s new album; I listened to that whole album. But I also listen to a lot of old music; I like listening to some New Edition, High 5ive, Biggie, Pac, The Beatles... TVM: Sean, those are not shameful! Sean: Ohh!
TVM: Like SHAMEFUL songs; you know, the ones you love but keep it on the lows because everyone hates on them but you love them anyway...those ones. Sean: Ohh, I know but...let’s see, shameful songs... (pause). Like some of those songs are kinda shameful, you know, cause everybody has an opinion, so I do know that songs I listen to, not everybody’s gonna like, you know what I’m sayin’? TVM: Yeah. Sean: You know, I couldn’t really tell you a song...like, I might enjoy some songs you don’t like and some other people will feel differently. Shameful is more of an opinion because what I like you might not, you know what I’m sayin’? I like to listen to everything and I’m not so biased when it comes to people’s art. I don’t like to judge whether something is bad or good, I just like to enjoy the elements of music. Everyone has a perspective on things, the Kendrick Lamar album, has mixed reviews but the majority of people really loved it; like when I listened to it, I really loved it...it just depends on your perspective. I dunno, maybe I’m just...I apologize; I don’t really know how to answer that. TVM: That’s alright, we can keep it PC (politically correct), mine is any and everything boybandish. Sean: Oohh, (laughs) for real? You like the boyband music? TVM: Oh yeah. Sean: Oh that’s cool, see, me too. That’s why I mentioned New Edition. I like, Nsync.. TVM: Backstreet Boys.. Sean: Yeah..I like a couple Justin Bieber songs. TVM: Oh no Sean, those aren’t shameful; they’re awesome. Sean: (laughs), see, that’s what I mean, some people might say they’re shameful, you know what I’m sayin’? Some people wouldn’t wanna say they listen to it. TVM: (laughs) That’s why I wanna know! Sean: (laughs). TVM: Thank-you so much for taking the time to speak with us, despite your crazy schedule and we are all in hot anticipation of what comes next from Sean Garrett. Sean: Thank-you so much sweetheart, you’ve been great.
GLENN LEWIS By Andy Fidel Credit Photos: Glenn Lewis
orn Glenn Ricketts, the melodic soul singer/songwriter is better known to his fans as Glenn Lewis. The Grammy Award Nominee and Juno Award Winner is back, much to his fans’ delight. Glenn Lewis has won millions of hearts with his first album, “World Outside My Window”, and now continues to surprise and enchant his audience with his easy-going charm. It is hard to believe Glenn Lewis used to be an introvert. He opens up and chats with The Vocalist Magazine with a sitcom-like laugh track between each and every question. He even sang the song he wrote for a girl when he was a teenager: “I never got the girl, but I developed a deeper love for music. I practically sang in front of the whole cafeteria. So I might have embarrassed her, I don’t know. I was kind of cocky.” Glenn Lewis’s forthcoming album Moment of Truth will be released October 15, 2013. 198
â€œSometimes I barely even warm up... I just open my mouth and keep my fingers crossed, and hope the best.â€?
INTERVIEW TVM: Are you currently in Canada? Glenn: Yeah, it’s good to be home. I just got off the road on a pretty intense month of promo for the single and for the album. But it was beautiful! I had the opportunity to travel to cities I haven’t been or haven’t been in a while. Needless to say, it was very cool. TVM: How does it feel to be back on the road? Glenn: Ah! Awesome. The funny thing about it is I love making music and I love performing live— I’m passionate about it, but I also love to travel. I wasn’t always the social guy. I was kind of an introvert when I was younger. But now, I love meeting different people and learning about different cultures. I get to do a job where everything is connected. TVM: At what age would you say you discovered your passion? Glenn: I would say 14. Expressing through music was just kind of cool ‘cause it was the use of melody and words, and you can find interesting ways to construct statements. It’s all interpretation. TVM: Is it true you entered a talent contest in high school? Glenn: I did! I figured it be a cool even if I didn’t have any talent at all. So I sang “I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder. This was when I was attending Eastern Commerce High School. So I got up there and I sung the record. And funny enough— I messed up on a line at the end of the song and I said: Oops! Everybody in the auditorium laughed. And when I got off everybody greeted me at the bottom of the steps and they were like: “Yo! We didn’t know you were singing. We thought you were lip singing.” Which was weird. Why would I be lip singing? It didn’t make any sense. That’s when everybody was like: “Ah man Glenn, you can really sing. You sound just like Stevie.” TVM: Was that your first stage performance? Glenn: I would have to say one of. I did a talent show in Trinidad. I lived there from the ages of nine to 14. I remember my mom teaching me songs when I was younger. So I’ve sung in front of someone or people before, but that was probably when I decided that I wanted to do music. Everything else I was kind of doing it because my mom wanted me to. TVM: Who would you say influences you vocally? Glenn: Anybody that sings with passion and who sings with heart: someone who dedicates themselves to their craft and has a unique voice in their expression. Someone who inspires me. I can name a few, but that’s the umbrella I would say the inspiration falls under. TVM: Does Stevie Wonder fall under that umbrella?
Glenn: Oh absolutely! As a matter of fact Stevie Wonder’s influence actually runs deep within music. To no fault of my father’s: I didn’t have him for a large portion of my life. I had him up until the age of seven, and then the next time I saw him I was 14 going on 15. And after that, I didn’t see him for 18 years. My dad sounded a lot like Stevie. So I realized many years later that Stevie raised me through his music in a lot of ways. That was my way of connecting with my father. So a lot of the topics and concepts in his songs contributed to shaping my perception of the world around me, and how I fit into the world. So Stevie is definitely a musical influence. TVM: Did you start songwriting at the same time you started singing? Glenn: It came at the same time. I was 14 when I wrote my first song. And the inspiration—like anything else for a man or a young boy—was for a girl (laughs). I wrote this song… I can’t remember the title, but I remember the melody and a little bit of the lyrics. But yeah, it kind of went hand in hand. I never got the girl, but I developed a deeper love for music. TVM: Now you got me curious. Could you sing it for us? Glenn: (Laughs) yeah! TVM: Did you record it or did you sing it to her? Glenn: I practically sang in front of the whole cafeteria. So I might have embarrassed her, I don’t know. I was kind of cocky (laughs). I learned how to balance my cockiness now. TVM: Where would you say you got that onstage confidence? Glenn: That’s a really good question. Honestly, it’s a fight. It’s a fight even now. ‘Cause sometimes I have excited energy and I can’t wait to jump on stage. And then other times I have nervous energy because I want to leave a good impression. I want to get through to people and communicate with them. I want to reach them. So sometimes I’ll get a little nervous. Sometimes it’s a combination of both energies. As far as where it came from, I couldn’t really tell you. TVM: What moves you to write songs? And is there a particular song you feel most proud of? Glenn: It’s a little bit of anything. Needless to say, I’ll speak from experience which I would assume is probably the most obvious tool for inspiration. Sometimes it can be an observation. I can see a friend going through something and I’d be like: Wow! What would I do if I were in that situation? Or I might see a movie that has some sort of interesting love twist. So inspiration for songwriting can often derive from a lot of different sources for me.
would like to set up a legacy with great music.”
TVM: How would you describe your music? Glenn: My music is signature to my soul and signature to my emotional and intellectual expression. TVM: Touché! Glenn: You like that? (Laughs) Hey! TVM: How would you describe your voice? Glenn: My voice is— Ah! I think the best way to describe my voice is to say it’s a collection of all the greats that have inspired me and that have merged into one voice. TVM: When would you say you are vocally at your best? Morning, evening or night? Glenn: Evening and night. Mornings, I could pull stuff off. But I’m not always confident it is going to come out. I’m a little bit nocturnal. You get me going and I could pretty much work all night. TVM: Is it because it leaves you time to warm up? Glenn: Yeah. Just naturally, you know, through the course of the day. You get up and after a while you might talk to a few folks. Or I might start humming to myself. I would say my magic hour is like four o’clock in the afternoon. Anything afterwards is golden (laughs). TVM: What is the strangest comment someone has told you about your voice? Glenn: (Laughs). That I’m— like a magical unicorn. TVM: What? Glenn: It was in an interview (laughs). As a matter of fact it was in an interview yesterday. That is easily hands down the strangest compliment I’ve ever gotten. TVM: Is there any difference between recording in the studio and performing live? And which one do you prefer? Glenn: I have fun creating in the studio. But if I had to tell you a preference between the two I would have to say live. Live: there’s nothing like it because it’s in the moment. It’s spontaneous. I actually feel more comfortable that way. You have to display a certain discipline when you’re recording. It’s a delicate balance between having “feel” and trying to capture something that’s in the moment so people can feel it. You have to give them something that is palpable so they can digest the record easily. So that requires discipline. Live, I can kind of cut loose and do whatever. TVM: Would you say that “looseness” comes with time? Glenn: Yes. When you’re in the studio: you’re analyzing yourself. When you’re in the moment: you’re just free to be. Gradually over time as you become more comfortable with yourself, in your own skin and personal expression as an artist, it just flows. TVM: Do you have an overall vocal diet? Glenn: No. You know what? I’ve been told by many sources that I am reckless (laughs). ‘Cause I’ll eat cheeseburgers and drink milkshakes before playing. If I know I’m going to sing, especially if it’s first thing in the morning, I need at least five or six hours of sleep. If I don’t— that will spell disaster. Especially if I got to do something important. TVM: So you don’t find what you eat affects your voice? Glenn: Nah. Sometimes I barely even warm up. A lot of the time I just open my mouth and keep my fingers crossed, and hope the best. To be honest with you, I think what has contributed to that is I sang from the age of 16 to the age of 22. No exaggeration: every single day for a minimum of four hours a day. Holidays and everything! To the point that, as much as people around me love me and support me, at times I’m pretty sure they wanted to tell me to shut up. (Laughs) I was constantly singing. Just working out. Like any muscle, right? It’s made it easier for me in my later years. listening to you.
TVM: Did you take vocal lessons? Glenn: My teachers were CDs. I was cassettes before that so I’m probably revealing my age. Anyone who I thought was amazing, I felt like if I can keep up with them, then I’m good. I was inspired to try and reach that— to see if I even could. Unlike a lot of singers in my genre, I didn’t come up in a church. I learned by listening to artists. (Laughs) Constantly with my headset on, just listening and studying and digesting. TVM: Can you describe one challenge you constantly face in your practices? Glenn: I constantly face my own scrutiny as a vocalist. I’m always listening to what’s not there, or what I can improve on. My biggest obstacle can be me at times. I’m my own editor; I’m my own jury and I’m my own worst critic. Not very often do I give myself a pat on the back. And it’s not out of lack of confidence: it’s just out of always wanting to push myself and always believing there is something to learn. TVM: What do you like most about your voice? Glenn: My tone. TVM: What differentiates you from other vocalists? Glenn: If it’s one thing I feel like I’ve accomplished in my craft is that I have an excellent blend between what is currently the best of R&B and what was the best of R&B in the yester-year. I’ve been able to find and borrow from both eras, and find a middle ground. A lot of vocalists in this genre tend to sound like they came out of church. My tone and approach: I borrowed certain aspects of it from older gospel artists. I think that gives me a unique identity. Honestly, I love the questions and even the answers I’m giving you. I don’t want to jinx myself right now, but this is turning out to be possibly one of the best interviews I’ve ever done. This is really dope (laughs). TVM: Thank you! I’m flattered. Glenn: I like the naturalness of it. For the most part, I felt like a lot of the answers have been very direct and to the point. So I’m really curious to read it. TVM: In your upcoming album, Moment of Truth, you collaborated with Melanie Fiona on “All My Love”. How was working with Melanie Fiona? Glenn: It was awesome! She is hands down—without a shadow of a doubt—one of the greatest female voices of our generation. She is continuing to prove that. And she’s also a good friend. We had a chance to just vibe out and have fun. As vocalists we can’t help but challenge each other. It was a total comfort zone for the both of us and easily one of the best collaborative experiences I’ve had. TVM: In today’s competitive music industry, what does it take to pursue singing as a career?
Glenn: Persistence, patience and the on-going pursuit of defining and redefining your craft so that your artistic expression becomes unique. TVM: How much time and work goes into a song? And go you share or hide a song in process? Glenn: I get excited when I get an idea. And I’ll share it to the people close to me. The process can vary. Sometimes a song can come out in 25 minutes; sometimes it may take weeks for a song to get done for whatever reason. The process is always changing. TVM: What was the hardest song to write and/or sing? Glenn: Um… oh man that’s a really good question (laughs). The hardest song to write was a song that was supposed to be on my second album when I was on Sony. The album was entitled Back For More and the record was called “Selfishly” ‘cause I was predicting the end of the relationship I was currently in at the time. So I remember that and I remember how I felt. And that was tough because I really loved her. The most difficult song to perform is a current song on my album called “Ugly Face” because I couldn’t see myself singing it at first. Eventually though, it became easy. I started to hear myself back every time I would do a take. But at first it was difficult. TVM: Where would you like to be in your career five years from now? Glenn: I would like to set up a legacy with great music. Five years from now I would like to be three or four albums deep with a catalogue of amazing songs. Hit after hit. Hopefully, I’ve diversified and have gotten into different streams of the business. Maybe find an amazing artist that I believe in, and help them along their path in finding their artistic identity. Maybe even step into acting. (Laughs) I love acting a fool, so why not get paid for it in front of the camera. And hopefully, I’ve touched a lot of lives and influenced them in a positive way. In the same way other artists have affected mine. I hope I have had that effect on others and leave a mark that will leave the world in a better state. TVM: Last question, if you could collaborate with anyone, dead or living, who would it be? Glenn: Oh wow. Um… Michael Jackson. TVM: And that’s it! This was a real pleasure, Glenn. Thank you for taking time off your schedule to sit and talk with us. I wish you all the best! Glenn: Very cool. I love the questions and love the flow of this interview. I had fun with you too— I can’t wait to read it! Andy, thank you so much for your time. listening to you. Aww good, it was a nice interview. Thank you and
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“I constantly face my own crutiny as a vocalist. I’m lways listening to what’s ot there, or what I can mprove on.”
World Festival Nuits D
What You Ca Grammy Award Winn
d Music: D’Afrique
Founded by Lamire Touré in 1987, Nuits D’Afrique is an annual festival in Montreal that really kicks off the summer. It takes place in July and runs for roughly two weeks of family oriented fun that enlightens, educates, and brings people together. The festival is a giant production that requires the blood, sweat, and tears of numerous individuals to make this more than 90 concert, activity filled spectacle run so successfully an Do To Perform In the same stage as for several years. It is dedicated individuals ners like Angelique Kidjo in the future. like National Programming Director Hélène Dimanche, whose tireless efforts make NuBy Nana O. Yeboah Credit Photos: Festival Nuits d’Afrique its D’Afrique possible year after year. One would think that it would be extremely difficult to have the opportunity to perform at such world renowned festival but Hélène gives me insight into the festival and what you can do to perform on the same stage as Grammy Award Winners like Angelique Kidjo in the future. 211
National Programming Festival Nuits D’Afrique Director Hélène Dimanche I have the pleasure of speaking with Hélène Dimanche who is in charge of National Programming for Festival International Nuits D’Afrique. TVM: Hélène comment allez-vous? Hélène: Je vais très bien merci, et vous? TVM: Très bien merci. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what attracted you to Nuits D’Afrique? Hélène: Well I was working in France and I had the chance to travel to Canada and I found an internship in communications at Festival Nuits D’Afrique and I fell in love with it. Mr. Touré is an amazing man and the company is equally as wonderful; it’s like a big family. There is no way you can find this kind of festival anywhere else. I’ve been working here for about 6 years now and I work with the programming of mainly local artists. TVM: How does it work? Do you work towards the end result all year round? Hélène: Actually the festival is only 15 days but it takes more than 6 months to make it happen because of all the logistics and the many things we deal with. Nuits D’Afrique isn’t the only festival, there is Production Nuits D’Afrique which are year round concerts that we invite international artists to perform at Club Balattou where there are 5 shows a week; it’s kind of the laboratory of the festival because we develop artists there and guide them towards furthering their careers. We also have Les Syli D’Or De La Musique Du Monde which is a contest for artists, especially Canadian ones, to help them start a good career. TVM: In terms of artists that you book for the festival, do they need to have previous experience or can they be amateurs? Hélène: We open the door to anyone we think may be great on stage. You need to be comfortable on stage, interact with the audience, etc. We give everyone a fair chance but if you win Les Syli D’Or you are guaranteed a spot at the festival. Like most of the concerts you’ll see artists who have 2 albums, some don’t have any and this is the first time there even performing on a big stage. TVM: Really? So for artists who don’t have that much experience where do they end up performing; the indoor or outdoor venues? Does it matter? Hélène: Depends on the show actually, like some shows are better indoor versus outdoor and vice versa. Music that is very calm usually it would take place in a more intimate venue. A show were the artist talks to the audience and it’s loud and exciting would be better outside. So for outdoors we program bands that move people and make them want to dance.
TVM: What kind of artists do you look for? Are there any specific qualities you seek? Hélène: First, good music (laughs), second we look for world music but that’s kind of a tricky term because everyone is kind of world music. We ask them to be good musicians, professional; if you have to be there at 8 don’t be there at 9, we want you to be able to work well as a team. TVM: Is there a specific audition process to become a part of the festival? Hélène:There are two different processes, international bands have to go through three showcases worldwide to figure out who is the hot band that year, who we should have, etc. We also keep contact with international journalists for any suggestions they can make about the artists from their countries. We request that international artists have a CD, have toured North America; because having a one shot concert here is pretty expensive. It’s better if they have at least 3 different dates here. For national artists we see them live or because they were in the Syli D’Or, played at Balattou, or we listen to their CD. So there isn’t really an audition, it’s a different process. TVM: Nice. What aspects of your job do you like the most? Hélène: This one now (laughs), I love the feeling of the festival, the audience going crazy because Angelique Kidjo is having an amazing show; this is what I prefer about my job being around the stage and working the stage.
“First, good music,
second we look for
TVM: Looking towards the future, what’s next for the festival? Do you have any artists in mind? Hélène: For now, there are so many new bands in Montreal that I would love to work with but we’ll see. We are always looking for new different talent to promote. Like we have Nuits D’Afriques Sound System which is more electronic rap/hip hop, urban music type bands that we always try to promote under the whole umbrella of world music. TVM: I have had the pleasure of being at a few shows now and there seems to be a real family oriented atmosphere, any thoughts? Hélène: Yeah, we do want this to be a family event. I mean you’re gonna see many children around at the outdoor venues. Lamine Touré always says that he makes this festival for children. He wants them to know their culture because children are so far from their culture. TVM: What do you feel is the overall message of the festival? What would you like the audience to gain from the festival? Hélène: Be curious to see band and culture that you don’t know. All the people who come for the first time generally have a great experience and they feel so comfortable. I want the audience to go an check things out; give it a shot. You can travel here and it’s less expensive than a plane ticket. TVM: Thank you so much for your time and I can’t wait for next year. Hélène: Thank you so much!
For more: www.festivalnuitsdafrique.com/en
A premiere, intimate venue for music and art, this licensed Plateau district establishment also serves as a cozy bistro and cafe, serving coffee, sweet treats, breakfast, light lunch and late-night snacks. Local, regional and national music acts are showcased. Address: 5490 St. Laurent. Telephone: 1 514 509-1199
Located on rue Saint-Denis in an area full of popular French bars and clubs, Pub Saint-Ciboire is popular among fans of Quebecbrewed beers as it offers 12 local lagers and ales on tap including Blanche de Chambly, Belle Gueule and Boreale. For a very Quebec experience, visitors can try out a tasty Quebec brews while watching one of the local bands that play at the pub on a regular basis. Address: 1693, rue Saint-Denis Telephone: 1 514 843-6360
House of Jazz
A landmark since 1968, this live music club brings the best of emerging regional artists and well-known international jazz performers to downtown Montreal. Louisiana-style culinary offerings are featured, in addition to extensive cocktail selections and terrace dining. Address: 2060 Aylmer St. Telephone: 1 514 842-8656
This concert venue in downtown Montreal has a capacity of 2300 people and often gets packed to the rafters during performances by artists such as Beck, David Bowie, Ben Harper and Jean Leloup. When not being used for a show, the venue transforms into a nightclub. Address: 59, rue Sainte-Catherine Est Telephone: 1 514 844-3500
La Casa del Popolo
La Casa del Popolo is not only a fair trade cafe offering light snacks. It is also a bar, a live music venue and a gallery. Address: 4848, boulevard Saint-Laurent Telephone: 1 514 284-3804
Open in the early 80s, Club Soda has since become one of Montrealâ€™s busiest and most popular venues. Aiming to give new artists and producers of all performance genres an audience, the clubâ€™s stage has been graced by many now-famous performers such as the Tragically Hip, Jann Arden, Soundgarden, Chris Isaak, Oasis and Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. Address: 1225, boulevard Saint-Laurent Telephone: 1 514 286-1010
Filled with local in-the-know music fans, Club Lambi is one of the venues for the Pop Montreal indie music festival. The club boasts a friendly atmosphere and hosts up-and-coming and on-the-verge bands and artists. Address: 4465, boulevard Saint-Laurent Telephone: 1 514 583-5098
Live music, art exhibitions, weekend brunches and comprehensive cafe and bar services are hallmarks of this downtown bistro, which features menus of comfort foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Address: 1832 Ste-Catherine E. Telephone: 1 514 564-4440
Nestled in the historic quarter and offering live jazz performances seven-nights-a-week, this bar and restaurant features a menu of Mediterranean-inspired selections, extensive cocktail offerings and large-group menu options. Address: 1 St. Paul St. West. Telephone: 1 514 287-9582
local rock acts as well as bands from across Canada and the US. The club also hosts DJ nights when the music played includes hardcore, punk, rock, alternative and old school depending on the night. Address: 2031, rue Saint-Denis Telephone: 1 514 844-1301
Since the 1920s Theatre Plaza has worn many hats. From a bowling alley to an illegal Asian karaoke bar. Today it boasts a newly refurbished look and hosts and hosts some of the hottest bands around. Address: 6505 rue. St-Hubert Telephone: 1 514 278-6419
Located in the Dominion Theatre, a heritage building constructed in 1913, La Tulipe is a former movie theatre that is now used as a concert venue. Visitors can expect to see rock shows, French-speaking singers, jazz concerts and musical reviews. Address: 4530 avenue Papineau Telephone: 1 514 529-5000
La Sala Rossa
Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill
Run by the same people as Casa del Popolo (and located right across the street), La Sala Rossa is a restaurant serving Spanish tapas and paella as well as a weekend brunch. The club portion puts on a range of entertainment including cabarets, breakdance competitions, live bands and more. The venue often hosts some of the world’s most popular indie rock bands. Address: 4848 boulevard SaintLaurent Telephone: 1 514 284-0122
Having moved to rue Prince-Arthur after receiving noise complaints from the neighbours at the previous location, Cafe Campus is better than ever with three floors and live shows that see the club packed to the rafters. The venue also puts on theme nights such as retro Tuesdays, Blues Wednesdays and Francophone Sundays. Address: 57, rue Prince-Arthur Est Telephone: 1 514 844-1010
One of Montreal’s many live music venues, Cafe Chaos presents
Located downtown and a vibrant venue on Montreal’s jazz scene, this bar and grill features nightly live music and a menu of North American classics. Extensive cocktail offerings and late-night dining services are available. Address: 1254 Mackay St. Telephone: 1 514 931-6808
Home of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, the Bell Centre also hosts a number of big-name music artists making stops in Montreal during world tours. Past and futures bands and performers at the Bell Centre include The Cult, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Madonna and U2. Address: 1260, rue De la Gauchetiere Telephone: 1 514 790-1245
Bar Chez CloClo
Located in the Plaza St-Hubert district, this casual bar and lounge features live music acts, karaoke nights, social dancing and DJ dance parties. Address: 6944, rue St-Hubert. Telephone: 1 514 727-0308
An alternative club with style, Les Foufounes Electriques features two beer gardens, three dance floors and a daily happy hour that lasts from 4 pm to 6 pm. The club hosts live rock, hardcore and industrial bands and also puts on club nights such as GoGo Tuesdays, Under Attack Wednesdays, Sweet n Sour Thursdays and Electrik Saturdays. Music includes alternative, old school punk, rock n roll, hardcore, hip hop, 80s rock, pop and ska depending on the night Address: 87, rue Sainte-Catherine Est Telephone: 1 514 844-5539
Le Divan Orange
Le Divan Orange is a newcomer on Montreal’s live music scene but has nonetheless become a favourite among those looking to discover some cool new talent. The club hosts both English- and French-speaking bands that represent a range of music genres. Address: 4234, boulevard SaintLaurent Telephone: 1 514 840-9190
Grumpy’s is a live music bar that offers different themes each night of the week. Various nights include 80’s Goodness Sundays, Grumpy’s Happy Mondays, Jazz Night open jams on Wednesdays, Moonshine on Thursday bluegrass and old-time jams, live bands on Saturdays and more. Address: 1242, rue Bishop Telephone: 1 514 866-9010
Le Theatre Corona
Le Theatre Corona is mainly used for theatre performances and musicals but also occasionally hosts popular bands Arcade Fire. Address: 2490, rue Notre-Dame Ouest Telephone: 1 514 931-2088
Live music is the hallmark of this club, which showcases an eclectic mix of performances, including reggae, hip-hop and world music. Daily happy hour and nightly DJ dances are also hosted. Address: 4328 Boul St-Laurent. Telephone: 1 514 987-1174
Le Petit Medley
Live, local talent hits the stage weekly at this casual pub and lounge, which features complete bar services and a menu of pubstyle favorites. Complimentary wireless Internet is also available to patrons. Address: 6206 rue St-Hubert. Telephone: 1 514 271-7887
Le National concert hall presents a range of local and international music artists and bands. The popular C’est Extra and Pop 80 nights are held, here and the space can be rented for special events such as concerts, product launches and corporate parties. Address: 1220, rue Sainte-Catherine Est Telephone: 1 514 845-2014
Located in the heart of Plaza StHurbert, this casual lounge features a weekly line-up of live jazz performances, an ambient social atmosphere and extensive bar services. Address: 6289 St-Hubert. Telephone: 1 514 272-3753
In addition to operating as a tea house, this casual bistro also features dining for lunch and dinner and hosts weekly live dinnermusic events. The on-site boutique also carries an extensive selection of tea sets, tea pots and other brewing essentials. Address: 1348, rue Fleury Est. Telephone: 1 514 384-5695
MUSIC EDUCATION McGill University - Schulich School of Music Description : Intensive and complete jazz program, including theory and practical instructions. Wide variety of venues to perform, including McGill University and various restaurants & jazz clubs.
Université de Montréal
Description : Our jazz program distinguishes itself in that it not only takes into consideration jazz music from the 1940s to the 1970s but also, fusion and contemporary jazz music from the 1970s to today. A number of styles are thus covered, such as ragtime, swing, be-bop, hard-bop, free-jazz, acid-jazz, funk, fusion, latin, etc. The program follows the evolution of jazz all the while adapting to the new styles that can attach themselves to these. Of course, the blues and the jazz standards remain the classic repertoire and the basis of teaching.
Université du Québec à Montréal - UQAM
Description : We have a jazz guitar & jazz vocal ensemble, a latin combo, and a jazz history course. UQAM offers a popular music program allowing a vast array of musical styles (popular song, jazz, world music, rock, folk, country, etc.)
University Laval - Faculty of Music (Québec) Description : We offer popular and jazz programs including piano, bass, guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone, saxophone & voice.
University of Sherbrooke - Faculty of Music
Description : Our jazz program allows students to perform standards, to improvise, arrange, compose, teach and use the technology.
University Bishop (Lennoxville)
Description : Jazz & blues guitar...standards & jazz repertoire 1930-2000, improvisation & combo coaching + jazz history in a small, friendly & relaxed atmosphere, jazz concert(s) & masterslass(s) with invited artists every year.
Cégep Saint-Laurent (Montréal)
Description : It’s tradition, the diversity of it’s ensembles, the recording studios & the music department of the Cégep de Saint-Laurent all join together to allow the student to develop many aspects such as interpretation, composing and arranging in a unique environnement. Québec’s largest music department, the first to teach jazz, the first music department to give a technical music program, the first Cégep to offer double DEC.
Cégep Marie-Victorin (Montréal)
Description : Concerts given by students in training - in and outside of the cégep. Stage Band and many ensemble possibilities and quality auditive training. A new music pavillion equipped with the latest technology. A team of teachers specialized in their field and recognised in the jazz world. Vast choice of large ensembles.
Cégep Drummondville (Drummondville)
Description : The Cégep de Drummondville is the only college institution to offer these four programs : Pre-university Music DEC, DEC - Professional Technique Music & Song, AEC in Creation & Sound Mixing as well as Mixing and Recording.
Segal Centre for Performing Arts
Description : Group music courses for teenagers. Different genres: jazz, rock, blues, pop. Guitar, bass guitar, saxophone and drum courses. Students are eventually matched with students from other groups in order to introduce students to playing in a group. Beginner and intermediate levels. We also offer coaching to either existing or newly created Rock bands or Jazz combos (all ages). Courses in music history (including the All American Song Book history class) as well as a guitar class are available for adults.
Cégep Alma (Alma)
Description : Arranging & writing, drums & percussions, saxophone, keyboards & piano, voice , doublebass, electric guitar & horns. Improvisation et instrumental comprehension, musical groups productions, specialized music pavillion, professional recording studio, 2 concert halls.
JAM VOCAL Online Singing Lessons via Skype All Vocal Styles from Amateur to Professional For Information:
VOCALIST - INSPIRATION
PATUELLI DON’T NEED “LAZY LEGS” TO DANCE By Andy Fidel Credit Photos: Luca Patuelli 223
uca Patuelli is a B-Boy. The native Canadian was born with a rare muscle disorder known as Arthrogryposis: a rare disorder that can affect any part of the body, which in Luca’s case it affects his legs. One of the most extraordinary features of Luca is that he never let his disability slow him down. He was skateboarding prior to breaking. He even created his own style. “I was actually pretty good at it,” says Luca. “I was ollieing, grinding, 50/50… I was a little skate-rat and get chased by the cops.”
“You have to understand your body.”
After having surgery on his knees, Luca couldn’t skate anymore. The scars changed the angle of his knees. Because Luca couldn’t skate, his friends suggested he try breaking. “And I fell in love with it,” says Luca. “This is who I am today. Luca Patuelli then got his nickname: “Lazy Legz”. That same afternoon, he went to a t-shirt shop and got the name printed on his shirt. “I’d never take that shirt off,” says Luca. “I would wear it every single day. I have it somewhere bagged and it’s full of sweat stains (laughs). I would never take it off.” In 2007, Luca created a super team of the world’s best disabled break-dancers: the ILL-Abilities Crew. Together, they perform and inspire people around the world and help spread the motto: No Excuses, No Limits. Luca is also one of the founders of Projet R.A.D.: a dance program where kids of all different ranges of disabilities can learn to dance and perform. Maya Angelou once said: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” The Vocalist Magazine wanted to know more about “LazyLegz” the Super Hero of Luca Patuelli.
“It’s not what you can’t do; it’s what you can do.”
“We’re not disabled, we’re amazing.”
For more: www.lazylegz.com TVM: Who is “LazyLegz”? Luca: I ask myself that every single day. I have no clue who he is— no (laughs). LazyLegz is my alterego. It’s my superhero name to myself. It was given to me when I was a junior in high school. This nickname describes me perfectly because it’s a joke on my situation. You know? I have two lazy legs. But I don’t really let that get in my way. It’s just telling the audience that I have an open personality. I’m very comedic about it. That’s who LazyLegz is. It shows that open side of me, that other character saying: I can do whatever I want. TVM: What did your parents say when you told them about B-Boying? Luca: They didn’t really want me to skate, but they couldn’t really stop me because it was something I loved. So when I discovered breaking, they figured it’d be the same thing. After winning some competitions, my parents became my biggest fans. They started to understand that there was something for me in dance. TVM: What move did you break your leg doing? Luca: I had created a move where I was balancing on one band in between my two legs. My legs are in the air and I’m spinning on one hand. And I span too fast. TVM: Would you ever re-attempt that move? Luca: Only when I’m really desperate. In a battle when I run out of moves, I’ll do it. But I do it in a different way so my feet don’t touch. But I’m always kind of hesitant when I do it (laughs). TVM: Do you create your own moves? Luca: I get inspired by other people. Obviously the way I do it is completely different from the average person, but I think that’s what the beauty of breaking is. Gives you that freedom to experiment with what your body can do and what it cannot do. That’s what breaking my legs taught me. Before that I would just fling my body around. If you want
to maintain a career with it, you have to understand your body. TVM: How was ILL-Abilities created? Luca: It has never been done before. There are allstar teams everywhere in the world, but there is no all-star team of the best dancers who have disabilities. TVM: What does ILL-Abilities mean? Luca: It’s really a play on words. For me, it’s really to flip it around. Ill means sick, but in the Hip Hop world what’s bad is good. So sick means amazing. We’re not disabled, we’re amazing. We really want to show that everyone can dance. It’s not what you can’t do; it’s what you can do. TVM: What does “No Excuse, No Limits” mean? Luca: I’m not saying that there aren’t any limits to what we can do. It’s just about adapting what you can do. Adapting it so that you can do it. But you do it your way. TVM: How did you come up with the saying? Luca: Growing up, my father taught me “your first failure is not to try”. And I was very inspired by the “Just do it”. TVM: What is your personal goal? Luca: I really want to conquer the world (laughs). I strongly believe in this dance program. Dance helped change my life and gave me the confidence to be who I am, so I want to share that with the world. I can already see a different within our students. When we teach kids to dance, we don’t expect them to be professional dancers. We want them to enjoy themselves. ILL-Abilities has the power to really inspire people throughout our performances. I want the word: ILL-Abilities and the motto: No Excuses, No Limits to become a household name for people all around the world. And it might not happen in my lifetime, but I want it to eventually get there.
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THE VOCALIST MAGAZINE (FALL 2013 ISSUE) We are honored to feature Justin Timberlake, a businessman and vocalist as our Headliner in this is...
Published on Oct 1, 2013
THE VOCALIST MAGAZINE (FALL 2013 ISSUE) We are honored to feature Justin Timberlake, a businessman and vocalist as our Headliner in this is...