Ep. 25 Jamila Ford (Melody Gardot, Spiritualized, Seal)

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The podcast is hijacked by a special guest host today! On this episode of The Working Singer podcast the tables are turned and I’m the one being interviewed by my good friend and guest from episode one Celia Chavez. We talk about the connection between being a regular “human” and performer, why I started the podcast, and how we “gracefully” handle unsolicited advice. This is a fun show you don’t want to miss!

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. The best teacher you will have will always remain a student themselves.
  2. Have interests outside of singing. See art, read books, get outdoors, absorb other experiences, just ingest it to feed your voice’s story. Absorb it all and let it come out in song.  
  3. Singing isn’t all we do, and any skills, especially people skills, can apply to any area of our lives and expand our voices and expression. 
  4. Detach your self-worth from your work. Find value that is separate from the gigs you’re getting. 
  5. Learn to take your lows and use them to help other people. Create value in any pain or discomfort that you are experiencing! Realize that you can receive criticism (especially fan criticism) in one of two ways: one way will connect you; the other will shut you down. Follow the path to connection! If they’re right about what they’re critiquing let them help you. 
  6. Release your ego and be vulnerable to your audience. They’re there to be healed and transported by you. Let your guard down and connect with them; it might be healing and transporting for you as well!

Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to Celia for guest hosting this week!

Ep. 22 Paulette McWilliams (Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Steely Dan)

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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!

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. A good background singer has mastered the art of blending. You have to emulate tone (of the lead singer), their vowel sound, you have to be mindful of pitch,
  2. You have to give the producer and the lead singer what they want.
  3. A great background singer let’s go of his or her ego.
  4. It’s all about the law of attraction and keeping your dream in your sight.
  5. Keep your eyes on the prize and the prize is you. Keep your focus on yourself and what you’re supposed to be doing and don’t let anyone dissuade you from whatever it is.
  6. You have to be versatile. You have to be confident that you are a vocalist that can sing whatever the job is calling you for.
  7. Get out of your head and follow your heart.

Download your “singing lessons” freebie here!

Thanks for listening!

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

Special thanks to Paulette for joining us this week!

Ep. 20 Ken Stacey (Michael Jackson, Elton John, Bobby Caldwell)

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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.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It’s important as singers and performers that we find a sense of purpose beneath all of it.
  4. Strive for excellence not perfection. Perfection does not exist.
  5. Your notes don’t always have to be perfect.
  6. Practice and perform with intention.
  7. 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!

Thanks for listening!

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

Special thanks to Ken for joining us this week!

Ep. 19 Raffia Ford Thomas (Tito Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton)

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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.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Treat people how you want to be treated.
  2. Do what you can to make people feel good especially when they’re working on your behalf.
  3. If you’re going to open a school, it’s important to have capital.
  4. It’s a great idea to find a facility that is already built out.
  5. Have multiple streams of income to fund your business.
  6. Delegate when you can.

Join the email list and get your “singing lessons” freebie here!

Thanks for listening!

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

Special thanks to Raffia for joining us this week!

Ep. 14 Genevieve Goings (Disney, Choo Choo Soul, Children’s Music)

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Genevieve Goings chats about navigating the world of children’s music, the importance of singers being able to record themselves, and having a basic understand of engineering.

Genevieve is one of the most recognizable voices in Children’s Entertainment. With over a decade as the star of Disney Junior’s “Choo Choo Soul;” an upbeat, urban music video show, Genevieve’s career has grown and is now reaching a second generation of fans. Combined views of content featuring Genevieve on Youtube has surpassed 250 Million views, and in 2017 she earned a Grammy Nomination for her work writing Children’s Music.

She has toured the US and Canada continuously over the past 13 years and has also been invited twice by First Lady Michelle Obama to read with her at the White House Easter Egg Roll in 2015 and 2016.

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Have the capability to record yourself.
  2. Try a bunch of different styles. Narrowing down what you do want to do and what you don’t want to do is good to know. It’s important to be honest with yourself.
  3. The money will come. Don’t worry about getting paid too soon. When the paying job comes, you know you walk in seasoned and you know what to do.
  4. It’s about preparing yourself for the bigger opportunities, because you’re learning all the time.
  5. Get a demo of yourself singing that is professionally recorded and mixed pretty well and is a nice capture of what you do best.
  6. Keep learning so you can be the one that can make stuff happen. The more you can do on your own the better.
  7. Having a comprehension of what it takes to record songs will be really beneficial.
  8. No amount of money can make you famous.
  9. If something seems weird or unfair, it’s worth talking to your songwriting community about it.

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 Genevieve for joining us this week!

Ep. 12 Felice Hernandez (Neil Young, Josh Groban, Michael McDonald)

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Felice Hernandez chats about her Empowered Singer Workshop series, being authentic as an artist, choosing the right gigs for you, and why you should always put your best foot forward.

Get your free cheat sheet here!

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Put together a demo with you singing lead and doing your best work.
  2. In the singing world, what people are looking for is all over the place. Don’t try to be what you think they want you to be. Do what you do well. If you’re faking it, it’ll be obvious and there’s somebody else out there authentic who does it right.
  3. Don’t half ass anything. Take yourself seriously.  
  4. Singers hire other singers. They either will refer someone who does what they do because they’re not available or they refer someone who kills it in an area they don’t.
  5. You should always work to be better.
  6. We all have our own thing to offer. There are so many opportunities to make money in this industry, but you’ve got to know what’s right for you.
  7. Effort and commitment are a big deal.
  8. When work is slow that’s when you go to a place of gratitude.
  9. Be sure to give and provide opportunities for others.

Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to Felice 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.

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 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!

Download 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 Kacee for joining me on the podcast this week!

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.

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. 1 Celia Chavez (Enrique Iglesias, P!nk, Melody Gardot)

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Have you ever had a dream you put on the back burner? You need to listen to this episode. Celia Chavez is a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles who went from deferring her musical dreams to touring with P!nk, Melody Gardot, and is currently on the road with Enrique Iglesias. She has also created her “Harmony at Play” workshop that not only teaches non-professional singers how to sing with a group, but also tightens up the skillset of harmonizing for pros. Listen to her story now and be inspired!

MENTIONS:

SINGING LESSONS:

  1. Be open cool and easy to work with.
  2. Get out and get heard. Find jams and open mics so people know what you do and know what you sound like.
  3. No gig is too small. You took the gig, so treat it with value. Use the opportunity to develop your work ethic and your craft.
  4. Singers hire other singers. Find any opportunity you can to meet and support other singers. Got to open mics, join a choir, or take a sight singing class.
  5. Don’t pre-disqualify yourself before the an audition. Come into an audition as prepared as you can. Sing material you know well. Get any coaching/guidance in areas you feel less confident in, so that you can go into your audition or interview feeling positive.
  6. There is no linear progression to success in this career. You must decide what “success” means for you.

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 Celia Chavez for joining me this week!