Ep. 10 Connor Smith (DCapella, Disney, Session Singer)

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What if you had to choose between embracing your true self and having the career you spent years building? Los Angeles-based performer, studio vocalist, arranger and composer, Connor Smith answers this question, discusses getting work as a session singer in Los Angeles, and what it means to have his compositions published.

As a touring artist and vocal director, Connor has performed throughout all of the United States and is regularly seen in live shows at the Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. In 2016, Connor traveled to Beijing, China, winning the Hope International Music Festival. As an in-demand Los Angeles session singer, Connor’s voice can be heard on film scores, television shows, albums, Disney Recordings®, live production shows and more. An avid a cappella vocalist, Connor was selected to be an original member of “DCappella”, Disney’s  critically-acclaimed a cappella group, with the group’s debut album being released via Walt Disney Records.

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MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Publishing is a tough game unless you have an enormous library of published music.
  2. The session singer world is definitely split between readers and non-readers who sing by ear, but are definitely quick (to learn parts).
  3. Not every session singer can sight read, but it opens up more doors if you do.
  4. You’ve got to be on your toes to sing with people you might not know very well and sing music you’ve never heard before. The people signing your check want it to go quick.
  5. You have to be good at what you do.
  6. If you’re new to the session singer world, you’re starting at the bottom of the call list.
  7. A good demo reel is under two minutes long and shows off your voice, your strong suites, genres you can sing in and the different colors of your voice.
  8. If you want to do voice over and demo work, it’s crucial in this day and age to have your own home studio setup. It can be very very simple.
  9. Ask questions, be aware and observant. Watch the other people’s process.
  10. Dreams and passions are so crucial to our own well being, our spirit, and our quality of life.

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Special thanks to Connor for joining us this week!

Ep. 9 Carol Hatchett (Tina Turner, Sheila E., Bette Midler)

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How do you go from majoring in communications to touring the world as a one of Bette Midler’s Harlettes? Carol Hatchett chats about what she learned working with the likes of Bette Midler, Tina Turner and Sheila E., what compelled her to move from Chicago to Los Angeles, and golden wisdom she gives to her own students.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. You’re going to have to decide what you want and then do the work.
  2. Surround yourself with great people.
  3. When you work with the greats pay attention and take notes.
  4. Stay classy and remember what your purpose and point is.
  5. You have to be skilled at what you do and know the ins and outs of what you do. Understand the work and the reality that goes behind it.
  6. Sometimes you have to decide who you are and what you can live with.
  7. You have to love yourself way more than your desire to book a gig.
  8. Don’t get into this business thinking you’re going to climb to the top. There is no arrival. It’s a business of ups and downs and you have to find yourself in those ups and downs.
  9. Just because an opportunity is there and shiny doesn’t mean it’s gold.
  10. You have to be tough and pliable all at the same time.

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Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to Carol for joining us this week!

Ep. 8 Kacee Clanton (Joe Cocker, Big Brother & the Holding Co., Luis Miguel)

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How do you go from working a day job as a legal assistant to spending almost two decades playing Janis Joplin on broadway? Kacee Clanton answers this question and more, revealing how she ended up on a Broadway stage, what she learned working with Joe Cocker, how she’s overcome stage fright, and techniques she uses to help her singing students to dig deeper in their own work.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. It’s okay to make mistakes. Sometimes it’s just about taking one step back.
  2. As a support singer, be on time, know your material, carry your own bags, and fly under the radar.
  3. Job offers involve good chemistry with others. You can be the best in the building, but it’s really about being the fun hang who has the chops.
  4. Stay out of other people’s issues with each other.
  5. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  6. Outside of your comfort zone is where discovery happens.
  7. Being really good and being really great are two very different approaches.
  8. You have to treat yourself lovely!

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Thanks for listening!

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

Ep. 7 Jay Jackson (Parks & Recreation, Scandal, Dexter)

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Jay Jackson is a seasoned performer and as a singer has shared bills with Nancy Wilson, Poncho Sanchez and Sheila E. Jay has enjoyed a rich and varied career first working as a cook in the Navy, then as a television news reporter for 22 years which led to an accidental career as an actor where he was first cast as a tv reporter on Dexter. He’s gone on to play the hilarious Perd Hapley on Parks and Recreation, Scandal and most recently Good Girls. Jay also discusses the ups and downs of being a live talent booker on the music scene in Los Angeles.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. When creative inspiration hits always be ready to write it down or document it right away. Don’t ignore it.
  2. Remain curious about everything you’re doing.
  3. If you’re interested in being a promoter or talent booker get to know the quality acts in your town by going to jam sessions and live shows.
  4. Figure out which restaurants in your city don’t currently offer live music. Approach them and suggest a they start small with a quality duo.
  5. If a venue isn’t going to do much to advertise they’ll need to give a room at least three to six months to grow.
  6. If you can find quality acts that bring in an audience you can grow a room.
  7. Realistically, live music should be seen as entertainment for a restaurant’s current clientele. The band is not there to save a flagging business!

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 Jay for joining me on the podcast this week!