Ep. 6 Melanie Taylor (Aerosmith, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow) Part 2

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In part two of this interview with Melanie Taylor she discusses her work with Donna Summer, what she’s learned working with Barry Manilow, her thoughts on cultivating interests outside of singing, and her advice on singing as a business.

She is a seasoned performer who in her extensive career has worked with the likes of Aerosmith, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, The Righteous Brothers, Connie Stevens, Donna Summer, John Mayer, Joe Walsh and many more. Melanie shares what she’s learned along the way, how she helps young artists develop their creative process, and insights on what it takes to be a serious performer. 

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. You never know what’s going to show up for you when you’re in a different season.
  2. When you’re singing you’re telling a story. You have to know who you’re speaking to or who you’re singing about, why you’re singing to them, where you are, what you’re doing and not doing, and know how the story is going to play out. These things will completely change how we hear your song and the meaning behind it.
  3. The work you do is your investment in your craft.  What you put into it you will get out of it.
  4. Watch yourself in the mirror when you’re singing.
  5. Figure out a way to open up and have ease in your body that will make your song and performance richer.
  6. You have to be a well-rounded person. Cultivate your interests and be interested in life – travel, books, museums, culture, etc.
  7. Don’t be afraid to be more of who you are.

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Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to Melanie for joining me on the podcast this week!

Ep. 6 Melanie Taylor (Aerosmith, Bette Midler, Donna Summer) Part 1

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Melanie Taylor is a seasoned performer who in her extensive career has worked with the likes of Aerosmith, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, The Righteous Brothers, Connie Stevens, Donna Summer, John Mayer, Joe Walsh and many more. Melanie shares what she’s learned along the way, how she helps young artists develop their creative process, and insights on what it takes to be a serious performer.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Decide what kind of learner you are — aural, visual, kinetic — to help develop a creative process for yourself.
  2. Be mindful of things that work for you (during your learning process) that might not work for others.
  3. Give yourself uninterrupted time to learn new material.
  4. When you’re going over new material jot down questions you have and make sure to get them answered for your own clarity. Having them answered clears the way for learning and absorbing the material.
  5. Glance at your material just before bed to help reinforce what you’ve just learned.
  6. Be gentle, but be focused.
  7. Know the logistics of whatever gig you’re on — location, dress code, meals — if you don’t know, ask.
  8. Do your best to over prepare and to be a strong link in the performance chain.

Get your freebie “singing lessons” pdf here!

Thanks for listening!

Subscribe & review on Apple Podcasts, join the Facebook community, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Special thanks to Melanie for joining me on the podcast this week!

Ep. 5 April Kelly (How to Lead Your Own Wedding Band)

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Are you a singer who’s decided you’re tired of being on the road? Are you looking for ways to sustain yourself as a professional singer in your own home town? Then this is the episode for you! Meet April Kelly who discusses her experiences being a touring recording artist with a record contract and singles on the Billboard charts to becoming the leader of her own successful New Jersey based wedding band, Band of Gold, for the past twenty plus years. You’ll get advice on how to determine whether being the leader of a wedding band is for you, how to be an effective band leader, how to choose the right band mates and much more.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. When you’re booking a wedding gig ask the couple what they’re looking for and how they envision their day. Be honest with yourself and the couple about whether or not your band is the right fit for that particular gig.
  2. Have your agreement in writing so that everyone knows what to expect. It can be a simple one page document that outlines details for the day or even an email confirmation. It will create peace of mind for the couple and for you as a band leader.
  3. As a leader you are responsible for the happiness of the band. Make sure you know ahead of time about pay, meals, parking, load-in, sound, electrical outlets, etc. All of these things will keep the experience smooth for you and the band on the day of the event.
  4. When trying to decide what to charge for your service, you have to consider what all of your expenses will be. The location of the wedding also makes a difference. It’s a good idea to ask around to see what other couples spent or what other band leaders charged.
  5. Make a promo video that delivers your message.
  6. You need to have a wide range of music you perform from jazz standards to oldies to top 40 hits.
  7. Invest in a PA system.
  8. Reach out to someone who has a successful wedding band and ask to shadow them for a day.
  9. If you are looking to be a working singer, you have to be professional. You can’t escape that part.
  10. At your gig, put out business cards.
  11. When you perform at a couple’s reception you have one opportunity to do it right. Decide if you’re a person who wants that pressure.
  12. Your great voice won’t matter if you do business poorly.
  13. Make sure you have a two pronged approach: you have your business together and you have your voice in great shape.
  14. The end result of a professional approach are referrals.

Get your freebie “singing lessons” pdf here!

Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to April for joining me on the podcast this week!

Ep. 4 Windy Wagner (Joe Walsh, K.D. Lang, Selena Gomez)

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Have you ever met a singer with an incredible career and wondered how they did it? The road to a singing career can be full of twists and turns, and every journey is vastly different. Meet Windy Wagner, who early on even with a full time day job, always sang.  She had a band, wrote songs and even had a record deal, but like many singers, reached the point where she had to take the leap and make singing her full time career.

Just 18 months after leaving her full time job, Windy was working with the likes of Barbara Streisand and David Foster just to name a few.  Windy has gone on to tour as a background singer for K.D. Lang and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. She is one of the most in demand session singers, vocal contractors, vocal arrangers and songwriters in Los Angeles with her work appearing in tv shows (Glee, Pretty Little Liars), commercials (Barbie, Lexus, Macy’s), and films (Legally Blonde, Pitch Perfect).  She shares how she built her successful singing career, discusses her ‘Art of Pop Vocal Production’ workshop, and her advice on creating thriving singing career.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Keep your reel updated and send it to your clients, colleagues, and friends to keep yourself top of mind.  Do this when you have a new video or song as well.
  2. Be observant when you step into a new professional situation. Take the temperature of the room, figure out who’s in charge, and gauge the vibe.  Every job, live gig, session, room has a temperature you have to take.
  3. Do what you can to set yourself up so that you have as few financial obligations as possible while you’re pursuing your singing career.
  4. Take the steps toward what you want and follow through.  There is a big difference between being a great singer and having a career. The through line amongst the career singers is that they follow up and follow through.
  5. Take a workshop to sharpen you skills and gain new ones.  It’s also a great way to build your singer community and get in the room with someone who might someday hire you!
  6. We have to be willing to be vulnerable to hearing the not so great things in addition to the great things.
  7. You have to be flexible. Be able to receive criticism and fix things (pitch, tone, enunciation, etc.) on the spot.
  8. What’s great for working for yourself is that you can choose who you work for.
  9. Always keep in mind that you’re providing a service.
  10. Have a small network of singers you can rely on to step in for you if need be.  You want them to be reliable, take care of their voices, show up on time, and have a flexible attitude.
  11. Don’t give up.  If you give up, you will never know what might have happened!

Get your freebie “singing lessons” pdf here!

Thanks for listening!

Subscribe & review on Apple Podcasts, join the Facebook community, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Special thanks to Windy for joining me this week!