Sunday, November 23, 2014

Speech Therapy: The Key to Finding Your True Singing Voice!

How you speak could very easily prevent you from harnessing your full potential when you sing. Often referred to as your chest voice, your speaking voice -- in singing -- is in your lower register. The trouble is, if your voice -- when you speak -- lacks clarity, power, balance, consistency and resonance, chances are you will likely fall short of the basic qualities needed to becoming a better singer. Singing is defined as sustained speech over a broad range of connected notes using vibrato, dynamics and emotive interpretation. ‘Connective’ being the operative word -- and the reason why this article can help you understand better, the reasons why speech level singing can tremendously improve the quality of your voice.

As a vocal coach, I have seen countless people walk into my studio and make the same mistake over and over again -- they start to sing on a high octave and completely ignore their true voice -- the lower register. In some cases this tendency is so endemic it takes many lessons to help them kick the habit. When you ONLY sing at the top of your range, where else can you go? Doing this seriously limits your range. I always point this out to my students: make sure you use your lower register -- it helps keep you grounded, not to mention, it helps you expand your range effortlessly.

I’ll give you a very useful tip. Get some old records from yesteryear and have a listen to those. Listen to Frank Sinatra (Strangers in the Night), Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger), Julie London (Cry Me a River), Tom Jones (Yesterday), Nat King Cole (Unforgettable), Andy Williams/Nancy Sinatra/Barbara Streisand (Shadow of Your Smile) and you will see that they all have one thing in common. They use their lower register -- a lot. What I like about old songs is they were very well composed… and made to sound simple and easy to sing. Well, because I use a lot of these songs in my jam sessions with the students I vocal coach, they will all attest to the fact that these songs are far from easy to sing…even though they may sound so, they’re quite the contrary. All the more reason, I say, to practice with these enormous classics. If I’m honest, when I was a kid, THIS is how I learned to sing.
Try speaking the following well-chosen sentences into a tape recorder and LISTEN to your voice very carefully. If you don’t like what you hear, chances are you're not speaking in your true voice. So: work on CHANGING the way you speak by using your lower register to speak (as low as you can get); and then try to sing in that same (lower) register, and work your way up the scale. Use that (lower register) as your base voice (your foundation). You'll be amazed what a huge difference it can make to your singing voice. So, speak the following words, and then try singing them.

Good morning Andy.
How’s your leg?
When are you coming back?
Oh, that’s really wonderful.

In summary: An amateur singer, in most cases (watch and observe), will use ONLY their upper register (or thereabouts) when they sing, limiting their range and the quality of their voice with this one endemic singing faux pas. Combine your lower and upper registers to deliver a well balanced vocal range. Turn to old records for inspiration. It worked for me, I’m sure it’ll work for you. Listen to Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Julie London, Nat King Cole, Tom Jones, Andy Williams and you will see that they all have something in common. They all use their lower register and work their way up the scale. The next time you find yourself singing at the top of your range from start to finish, stop and go back to basics. Work your way into a song from the ground up. You’ll only discover your true voice when you use your lower register.

For piano scales backing tracks to do the scales with, please download FREE mp3 from my HulkShare page here!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singing Lesson: How to Smoothen Out Corrosive Vocals

PUBLISHED IN BUSINESS TIMES NEWSPAPER 21/11/2014 == This is a typical one. Inadequate breath and bad placement cause the corroded vocals you may be experiencing, when you sing. I will elaborate on this. If you sense that your vocal chords actually hurt when you sing, and that your tone is strained and somewhat displaced, then you certainly ARE corroding your vocals when you sing. I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is why is it that when you speak everything seems normal, yet it is quite the contrary when you sing? Does it make any bit of sense to you that when you speak you’re alright and when you sing – suddenly, your vocals are all stressed out and worse yet, you’re hurting? This short article will offer tips on how to go back to basics, relax; how to stop panicking and stressing out your vocal chords; and how to get on with it--smoothly.

Inadequate breath flowing through your vocal chords as you sing is the number one stumbling block (no doubt about it). You must have sufficient breath flowing through that area when you sing. How to fix the problem? Start by opening your mouth wide and just breathe out HAAAA. Make sure you’re not emitting any sound when you do this. Only release the breath. Now, once you’ve got the hang of this, repeat this exercise whilst adding just a bit of voice to it. Gradually increase your voice in small increments whilst ensuring that it stays SMOOTH—in that you’re not feeling any pain or corrosion in that area. Once you’ve struck the ideal balance, use that same balance when you sing ANY song. You’ll not only sound great, you’ll feel a lot better and more in control of what you’re doing.

Applying both the soft and hard tones when you vocalize is also a good combination. The less predictable the better and more interesting you get to sound. Ideally, you’ll want the listener to hear a clear and brighter vocal with a rich blend of tones that combine the smooth with the harder, more edgy embellishments. This helps to quickly capture the attention of your audience. So the next time you’re struggling and falling flat on your notes, remember that all you need to do is breathe.

My Letters from A Vocal Coach column is published in Business Times Newspaper every Friday. For great singing tips, grab a copy!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Diary Of A Vocal Coach On Vanessa Mdee

I met Vanessa Mdee at a mutual friend's funeral in 2010 (of all places). The first thing that struck me about her was that she was EXTREMELY beautiful. I approached her and I remember saying to her..."you're such a pretty girl, you look like a movie star. Who are you?" (Yes, I can be pretty bold). And she smiled, laughed a little, said thank you and then she gave me her business card. At the time, she was MTV rep. And then I gave her MY card...and she went... "WHAT! You're JOETT?" And I said, "Yes, I am!" "OMG, I've heard so much about you, I see your ad in Advertising Dar all the time," she went on. I'm always amazed when people recognize my name. I don't show my face a lot -- especially in the old days I didn't (I hate images), but the brand certainly does do the rounds through advertising and word-of-mouth.

And then she asked me if I would train her. I asked if she was a singer, and she said she wasn't, but that she wanted to get into the business after she'd had the training. She wanted to do this properly I recall her saying. And I said, "no problem, come to my studio and I will train you."

Vanessa is not only one of my best pupils, she's certainly one of my favorite pupils. Yes, because she's exceptionally talented and works REALLY hard to hone her craft. She knows what she wants. And that's what this business is about. It's about commitment. Wanting to do this properly. I think Vanessa Mdee is a shining example of what you can achieve when you put in the time and effort to achieve your dreams. And Vanessa is such a darling. She tells everybody about me and refers a lot of people to me. A very good human being, she is. And what I particularly admire about her is that she got there in the end...through sheer hard work, AND continues to train. Diligently. She is smart enough to realize that vocal training is a continuum. There is no end to it. IF you want to WORK as a singer you'll have to continue to train. Come on guys, Michael Jackson trained his voice till the day he died. I am SO very truly proud of Vanessa. She will always have my support, and I wish her all the success in the world.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Why Voice Training Is Essential for Singers: What the Stars Have to Say (Part 1)

PUBLISHED IN BUSINESS TIMES OCTOBER 24TH 2014 -- If you want to sing, voice training is absolutely essential. In this article, rather than try to impress upon you how critically important a vocal coach is to a singer, I’ve opted to compile the first installment for you to digest on What the Stars Have to Say. First off, here’s what producer, recording artist and singer Michael Jackson had to say about his vocal coach. “A great many voice teachers, in their effort to teach a workable vocal technique, take away a singer’s style and the individuality that established his career in the first place. A great teacher is able to direct a singer toward a healthier, more extensive use of his voice without losing that special quality that sets him apart. Seth is such a teacher. His assistance on my albums ET, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory and his travelling with me on the 1988 World Tour, continues to confirm my confidence in this approach.”

Producer and singer Luther Vandross had the following to say. “A couple of years ago, Stevie
Wonder put me on a counsel phone hook-up with Seth and we arranged to start some voice study. Soon I became involved in Seth’s technique. I bought the book and also sat in on lessons with a junior “Star Search” winner who got a contract with CBS Records (whom I was producing). Seth’s vocal approach makes the high notes solid and easy, with no need to resort to falsetto (unless for some special effect). This approach is a valuable addition to making your styling easy, always available and extending the life of your voice.”

Quincy Jones—the famous producer and arranger who produced Michael Jackson, brings his spot-on perspective to this topic. “When the ‘tracks’ are hot, sweetening and balance still to consider, and release dates still pending, there’s precious little time to accommodate an artist’s vocal indisposition. It has been my experience that myriad problems such as vocal fatigue, lack of control and diminishing vocal quality can be overcome or eliminated by solid, practical vocal technique. Seth has an uncanny ability to prepare vocalists so that there is little time lost to the usual vocal problems. His assistance during Michael Jackson’s 1988 World Tour kept Michael tuned up like a Ferrari.”

In Conclusion: If at all you had doubts as to the importance of voice training, these testimonials from Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross and Quincy Jones should sway your opinion. And if you want to consider private voice lessons that will teach you the very same technique used by Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross in training, Dar es salaam has such a vocal coach at your disposal. Yes, you heard that right. I’m here to help. For more information, simply run a search for “private voice lessons” on this blog.

Author: Letters from A Vocal Coach

Airtel Trace Music Star: New Opportunity for Young Singers?

Singing competitions scale an all new high note with this one: auditioning by submitting your vocals? Phwoar, who would've thought this was even possible in the 90s. I must admit though, that I do like the sound of this. So much so that I actually picked up the phone and rang an Airtel executive to find out more about this and to offer my professional support to aspiring contestants. Well, in my capacity as vocal coach (independent of Airtel) I've taken it upon myself to try to help out those of you who want to audition, but want to get some vocal training before you do. In recent weeks (I remember posting this on Facebook), I've been offering free voice lessons via WhatsApp. And it works pretty effectively.

All you need to do is sing into your WhatsApp recorder and to send that to me on +255 787 364 045. I will listen to your voice and give you some feedback.

NEXT STEP: I'll recommend a training program for you -- you'll download the piano scales from JoettVoiceStudio on VoiceHulkshare -- and then I will record an example of the exercises you need to do on WhatsApp to guide you. It's really that simple. And it won't cost you a penny. Isn't that SO nice?

I'm here to help!

WhatsApp +255 787 364 045

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Level One Wakizungumzia Singo Walioshirikishwa na Joett

Nixon, Abdul na Rahym ndio vijana wa Level One. Sikiliza wakifunguka hapa. Na pia angalia video Joett Presents New Tanzanian Boyband Level One hapa

Joett Music Publishing via ASCAP, USA.
Viber & WhatsApp on +255 787 364 045

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bongo Flava Hip Hop Artist G Fullah Funeral in Pictures

G Fullah alifariki siku ya Jumapili tarehe 5 Octoba 2014 hospitali ya Muhimbili, Dar es salaam, akazikwa siku ya Jumatatu tarehe 6 Octoba makaburi ya Kinondoni. Marehemu alikua akisumbuliwa na tatizo la upungufu wa damu. Alifariki siku nane kabla singo yake ya kwanza "I'm Gonna Live Forever" kutoka, ambayo ameshirikishwa kwenye singo ya Joett pamoja na kundi la vijana (boyband) wa kitanzania Level One. Jina lake kamili, Furaha Mwaigomole, alifariki akiwa na umri wa miaka 28. Ameacha mtoto mwenye umri wa miaka 11. Mungu ailaze roho yake pahali pema peponi. Amen.

G Fullah died on Sunday October 5th 2014 at Muhimbili Hospital in Dar es salaam, and was buried at Kinondoni Cemetery Monday October 6th. He suffered from anemia. He died eight days before the release of his debut single "I'm Gonna Live Forever" October 13th, in which he appears as featured artist on Joett's single alongside Tanzanian boyband Level One. His real name is Furaha Mwaigomole, and he was 28 years of age. He is survived by an 11-year-old son. RIP G Fullah.

Joett Music Publishing via ASCAP, USA.
Viber & WhatsApp on +255 787 364 045