Sunday, December 16, 2018

Vocals Quick Fix (Pre-Studio Recording Sessions & Gigs)

When news of Nigerian artist Tekno surfaced recently, regarding what they alluded to being the collapse of his voice box, I thought the time had come to at the very least, try to fix an endemic problem afflicting African singers.

Shouting and putting weight on your throat when you sing damages the vocal folds. And this is why Tekno is in trouble today.

From my eight years experience as a voice coach in East Africa, I have come to realize that voice training—unlike with our friends in the West—is not deeply rooted in African culture and that the way around their inability to deliver a song with dynamic range, resonance and control has had the auto tune conveniently come to the rescue. And so—sadly, listen to almost any mainstream song by an African artist and you’ll find the excesses of auto-tune use. It’s as though the entire industry, is built on it.

But it is never too late to begin to fix the problem.

Vocal rebalancing that ultimately frees the singer from ‘strain and pain’ takes consistent training, and this is something I find lacking in the attitudes of most African singers I have had the chance to work with over the years.

On that note, I have decided to create and make available to the struggling vocalist, a Vocals Quick Fix solution for African singers. What this means is that an artiste can get a pre-studio recording session vocal warm-up and similarly, before a live gig.

It requires no long-term commitment and very little effort, but in 30 to 40 minutes it will adequately prepare the voice for a recording session or a live concert.

I did this with Jux on Vanessa Mdee’s opening night to their In Love & Money Tour in Mwanza, Tanzania.

After giving Vanessa a vocal warm-up, I worked with Jux for about forty minutes. When he took to the stage a couple of hours later, Vanessa—who has been my student since 2011—looked at me in shock backstage and asked, “What the hell have you done with his voice? I’ve never heard him sing like that. He is SO opened up!”

What I’m trying to say is, rebalancing the voice for a gig OR for a recording session is something that can be done in just a few minutes, but to maintain that level of vocal delivery and to further develop your range and vocal technique, you’ll need regular training.

Jux never came back for more voice lessons, and most African singers don’t have that resolve. They’re always in a hurry to get that next record out, and to go gigging to rake in the cash. They don’t see the need to train. But when they do, as did Jux, they get to see the immediate benefit.

When Jux came off the stage that night I asked him, “so how did it feel?” And he replied with a really broad smile, “Joett, it was SO easy. Thank you SO much!”

Vocals Quick Fix (Pre-Studio Recording Sessions & Gigs)

I have created something that is tailored to the mindset of African singers, a program that doesn’t involve a lot of time and requires absolutely no long-term commitment from the artist whatsoever. It is what it is. A ‘Vocals Quick Fix’ for the job at hand. Plain and simple! This, I feel, should work well for Africa.

How It Works

I’ll want to liaise with recording studios and artist management anywhere in Africa. My modus operandi is pretty simple. If you have an artist going into the recording studio and they need help getting their vocals in order, I will gladly work with them for up to an hour prior to the recording session. And in the case of the live gig set—similarly, I will prepare them for it right before they hit the stage.

Ideally, if I’m going to travel to your country and city, you might as well book a five hour program so as to get even MORE value for YOUR money! The five hours will be evenly spread into an hour-a-day slots, and can be scheduled to begin four days before the recording session, with the fifth and final hour taking place on the day of the recording session OR the gig, as it were.

Next Step

Let us discuss the finer details and options via correspondence.

And last but not least, you'll find tons of helpful tips and articles for singers in my new book 101 Letters from a Vocal Coach.

You are the instrument, learn to sing like a pro!

JOETT – Voice Coach & Author
“101 Letters from a Vocal Coach”

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