Our Working Singer this week is guest Edie Lehmann Boddicker who went from being a concert pianist to an in-demand session singer and now vocal contractor. Her voice can be heard in films like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Hidden Figures and has worked with iconic artists like Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, and Madonna just to name a few.
Edie discusses the importance of singing as a team sport, describes “horizontal listening,” what she looks for in the singers she hires, and what it takes to bring longevity into your singing career.
Michelle Tyler is the lead singer and founder two successful tribute bands for over a decade: “Mirage: Visions of Fleetwood Mac” and “Bella Donna Tribute to Stevie Nicks.” Michelle gives insights on how she started her tributes, her strategies for keeping a full performance calendar, how to pull together stellar promo that will get catch a talent booker’s eye, and much more!
Susan is an award-winning actress who has worked for over 30 years, and has been teaching acting for nearly 20. She holds a BA/MA degree in Drama/Theater and did most of her graduate work at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She trained for many years with renowned acting teacher, Larry Moss. Today we’ll talk about how to make your emotions available to you whether on stage or in an audition, how to allow ourselves to take risks as artists, and why perfectionism can be a downfall for creatives.
You as an artist are unique and there is no other artist like you.
You are uniquely you. You are only competing with yourself to be the best that you can be. You can not compare yourself to other people. It’s a waste of your energy. It’s a waste of your time.
If you believe that your voice is valuable, you’re going to say something with your art. You’re going to say something that comes from you uniquely-your life experience-whether you’re writing a song or interpreting somebody else’s song.
Passion is the expression of feeling. It’s not what’s locked up inside. It’s that you can you express it.
Perfectionism is the downfall of many artists.
Fear of judgement is the only thing that blocks us.
We are passionate beings and passion can be heard in your voice, in your singing, and can be seen in your body.
Art is a gift of giving.
When we hold with our body we cannot feel. We have to think of feelings moving like breath through the body. When we’re holding anywhere the feeling can’t flow. Hence it can’t go in your voice.
You have to be truthful to who you are and you have to tell your truth and then you find your audience for it.
Look for good mentors, teachers, do physical things, don’t lie to yourself.
Working with artists like Justin Timberlake, Martina McBride, and Pharrell, Mindy Pack has a unique take on vocal mechanics. Mindy speaks candidly about her development as a coach, her past struggles with vocal health, her advice on choosing the right ENT, and what new voice teachers need to understand about teaching.
Singers are aural listeners. We need to be able to demonstrate what we’re asking our client to do in order for them to do it and experience it in their own bodies.
You have to get the function of the vocal cords right before the sound can come into place.
Singers need to advocate for downtime while on tour.
You have to train for a tour. You have to build up endurance. You have to set strict routines. You have to set in really strict vocal hygiene patterns.
You need to get hydration into your body at least 24 hours prior to the gig.
As a singer, smoking is one of the worst things you can possibly do for your voice and your career.
Anytime you have surgery there’s a risk. Ask to talk to past patients. Find out what normal recovery is. Get referrals. Don’t just go by what you would read on yelp. Take a list of questions that you want to ask.
Tashara Forrest (Soul II Soul, James Arthur, Paloma Faith) London based singer, performer, and owner of the Sleeke Entertainment opens up about how losing her mom inspired her to leave her full time job as a counselor to pursue a career in music. Tashara also discusses the realities of balancing her business with motherhood, creating good working relationships, and the key to building a loyal team.
Josie Aiello is recognized internationally as an award-winning singer, BMI songwriter, performer, vocal arranger, and worship leader with four album releases under her belt. Josie began singing at the age of nine at her parents’ Sicilian restaurant in Chicago, and soon developed a reputation for her powerful vocals and ability to command an audience. After relocating to L.A, she quickly became highly sought after for session work by some of the top hit music producers, including the late Phil Ramone.
Eventually, her hard work and tenacity paid off when she captured the attention of Quincy Jones, who personally signed Josie to his Record and Publishing label with Warner Bros. Since then, Josie’s been called to record for J Lo, Cher, Jessie J, Enrique Iglesias, Andra Day, Kenny Loggins, Brenda Russell, Placido Domingo, and Bebe Winans just to name a few. She’s featured on major soundtracks such as That Thing You Do, The Out Of Towners, South Park, Dinosaur, The Guardian, and Hairspray. National TV commercials (McDonalds, Big Lots and Eckrich) love her voice as well. Josie has toured with Don Henley, Kenny Loggins and currently touring as a featured artist with the world renowned, all female, all-star jazz and R&B band “Jazz in Pink”.
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!
Email email@example.com for your link to the Recovery From Vocal Trauma Live Zoom online event, 7/09/19 @ 1:30pm PST.
The best teacher you will have will always remain a student themselves.
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.
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.
Detach your self-worth from your work. Find value that is separate from the gigs you’re getting.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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