How does someone go from having no intention of becoming a singer to being one of the top session singers and vocal contractors in Los Angeles? Find out on today’s episode as Tim Davis (Glee, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga) chats about being a session singer in Nashville, how he became the vocal contractor for the hit TV show Glee, and how his foundation of faith, skill and self awareness helped him carve out his life.
Paulette McWilliams has recorded and/or toured with the likes of Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Marvin Gaye, Celine Dion, Lauryn Hill, LL Cool J, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, Ray Parker Jr., Billy Idol, Michael Buble, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Irene Cara, Johnny Mathis – just to name a few! Paulette chats about her journey into music, what makes a great background singer, and how to stay focused while on the winding road of a singing career. Pour yourself a nice tall drink and settle in for this wisdom packed interview, folks!
Dr. Reena Gupta, MD FACS is the director of the Division of Voice and Laryngology at Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, CA. She is board-certified in otolaryngology and fellowship-trained in Laryngology/Care of the Professional voice. Dr. Gupta specializes in the care of injuries that occur in singers, actors, and other professional voice users. She uses state-of-the art equipment and a carefully-trained ear to ensure accurate diagnosis is established. Treatment is tailored to the diagnosis, with care taken to be conservative and collaborative with the patient.
Mindy Pack is part of an incredible voice team in Salt Lake City with top ENT David Palmer, SLP and Vocologist Karin Titze Cox, and voice scientist and Vocologist Dr. Ingo Titze. Mindy holds a certificate in Clinical Vocology from The National Center for Voice and Speech. Mindy holds certificate in laryngeal manipulation. Mindy is the creator of one of the top Educational Apps called Voice Tutor.
Mindy has a full studio in Salt Lake City, Utah and students around the world via Skype or Face Time. Her studio has a roster or clients from the novice to the professional, all genre’s and styles, the injured or rehab voice, transgender, motivational speakers, and any other voice user seek out her help. Clients are in all genres and styles of music. Her clients have been seen on world tours, national Broadway tours, AMA’s, Grammy’s, Saturday Night Live, International Award shows, You Tube Sensations, College Scholarship Winners, Reality TV Shows, Cruise Lines, and local and national performances to name a few. She also just opened a studio in Los Angeles, CA.
Have a pre show routine where fifteen minutes before the show you have alone time and visualize your success. Don’t engage with any negative people in the room or otherwise. Get yourself in the headspace of success.
Look for a fellowship trained laryngologist who will do a rigid strobe during your examination.
Get your voice checked when you’re feeling good.
Vocal injuries happen with voice use in the context of illness, high stress, lack of sleep, or a reflux flare [just a few examples].
You only get hurt when you ignore symptoms and keep using your voice. It’s preventable and it’s not about technique.
It’s imperative for any professional voice user to check in with a voice coach regularly because they are an unbiased set of ears who, if they’re good, are going to be able to hear the subtle difference.
It’s better to be proactive than reactive.
Don’t be afraid of a diagnosis. Be empowered by it because now you know what you have, so you can tackle.
Knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have, the more power you have in your own voice and your own career.
Every singer’s voice is buildable.
Make sure you get a coach that understands your goals.
Veronica Puleo from the Replicas Music Agency returns to talk to singers about how we can level up as professionals. I spoke with Veronica on episode 16 and a few days after the interview she sent me this really great email with some more specific advice to singers on being super pro in the corporate/wedding/cover band world. I just thought why not just do a bonus episode and talk about this? So you guys can have the benefit of this information first hand from someone who is a singer and hires singers on a regular basis!
Vocal coach and session singer Ken Stacey has toured with Bobby Caldwell, Elton John, has worked with Michael Jackson and currently tours with Ambrosia. He chats about leaving behind law school to pursue singing full time, becoming a talent scout/first line judge on American Idol, and how vulnerability and authenticity helps performers to stand out. He also goes into detail about his “Ready 4 the World” masterclass.
Talent is not enough. It’s your human vulnerability and authenticity. It’s how you’re going to be your best self and it’s how people are going to get to know you.
It is not about being the best. You will not be able to outsing the world. You will not be able to out attractive the world. At the end of the day, if you cannot connect with people, you will not build the kind of audience and industry support that is going to be necessary to carry you through a life long, long term career.
It’s important as singers and performers that we find a sense of purpose beneath all of it.
Strive for excellence not perfection. Perfection does not exist.
Your notes don’t always have to be perfect.
Practice and perform with intention.
At any stage in your career, It is the core of vulnerability and authenticity that is going to lead you to the next path and make you stand out.
Join the email list and get your “singing lessons” freebie here!
Raffia Ford chats about her experience touring as a backup singer for Tito Jackson, competing on P Diddy’s “making his band,” how to ask for what you want, negotiating for yourself as an artist/singer, and her time studying music education at Berklee College of Music, and what lead to her opening her own music school.
A true “working” sniger in every sense of the word. Singer/rapper and CPA Tamara Bubble is killing it in the music licensing game. We chat about her journey into music, what making it means to her, and how her day job helps her focus on her music. Tamara and I met in Cathy Heller’s Access Music Licensing Course and in less than a year Tamara was already speaking on music supervisor panels, had seven of her song licensed on BET’s Hustle in Brooklyn, and synced a song on the trailer for the HULU original “Shrill.” If you want to get your music licensed in music and television, you need to hear this interview.
Laura Jane opens up about how her gig with Enrique Iglesias almost didn’t happen, the balance between being a singer for hire and being an artist, and what she learned working with the late great Teena Marie. She also discusses mentoring young artists and her upcoming workshops.
Veronica Puleo co-owner of The Replicas Music in Los Angeles discusses how she started her five star music and production agency, generates business, nurtures relationships, and what her criteria is for hiring singers and musicians. We also touch upon what is pro behavior at gigs and why your agency should have a strong contract with a client.
Gerald White is one of the most successful and in demand studio singers and vocal coaches in Los Angeles. You’ve heard his voice on Glee, Toy Story 3, The Simpsons and Avatar, just to name a few. He chats about how advice he almost didn’t follow lead to his thriving career as a session singer, his popular sight singing workshop at the SAG-AFTRA building, and his philosophy on the value of being a teacher.
Say yes to every opportunity that comes along even though it may not be the exact thing that you want to do.
The demo is worthwhile only after you’ve met the person that you need to meet. The best demo is really short and it has to be what you do the very best. Don’t stray far from from the style that you do.
Assume that the person listening to your demo is going to get through 20 or 30 seconds. They make up their mind really fast.
You have to get out and sing in every group that you can possibly sing in. You have to be seen. You have to be known. You have to be out there doing your craft.
It’s rare that someone just hires someone out of the blue. They will vet you. Are you out there hiking your craft, are you dependable, do you show up on time, are you fun to hang out with.
Vocal contractors want to know who the new talent is.
The voice is an extension of everything that’s going on in your life.
Don’t burn bridges.
You have to be wise about what you say, and how you treat people.