Jessica Marciel visits Joey Ciccone Show

Jessica Marciel and Joey Ciccone enjoyed a rockin’ hour on Friday, April 8th. From her inside-track to a recording deal at 12 years old.

And on through her singing and stage career, onto launching singing training business, LasVegasVocalTraining.

Friday, April 8th – Show Guest, Jessica Marciel – The Joey Ciccone Show

Beware The Understudy!

Sutton_FosterCarol Burnett was just the understudy for the Broadway show ‘Once Upon a Mattress’,  Bet you can’t even name who the star was, she stole the role from?  Carol Haney!! A wonderful actress,  however, Carol got the job and s lifetime career.
Barbra Streisand  was an understudy also in ‘Funny Girl’

All I am saying is, Go to your GIG!!!  When I was called to Sub for a singer, who  I didn’t know, at Bally’s Hotel, They fired her and hired me.  I had no idea, what or when they told her anything? I was glad to get a steady job  because I had a toddler at home.

Later in life, I was called to sub again.. by a pianist I had never heard of, at Cafe Michelle, a busy local café and piano bar.

Well, guess what!? The owners told the pianist, Ken, to hire me. I had NO idea that a young very good singer would lose her job.

It isn’t always  that you are better, or prettier. Frequently, it just comes down to , who they like for the room, your way with the crowd, and the amount of songs you bring to the table.

Don’t let the Understudy get your gig. Go To Work! You can sing through that cold, or worse.  Take it from me, The gig stealer. I felt awful and thank goodness; both singers are my friends!!!!

‘For you Baseball fans: Don’t get Wally Pipped!’


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Reality Competition Shows – Just say no!

the-voice-logo-200I no longer suggest to my students that they go to  auditions for singing or general-talent competition/reality shows. I have seen too many people, get through early and then, and not be seen on TV, as promised?

Some have been on, and knocked off. Others were given performance contracts to appear on TV, and never were contacted, again. Not even a courtesy phone call from the show producers. Just silence. Over time, I have developed a skeptical view on how truly real these shows are.

I was watching The Voice because I enjoy  the format.  The talent somewhat inconsistent. Some deserve to be heard, and others… well, not so  much.  I don’t understand how they got on. Oh, ok…  just like it often is, they knew someone.

Then, the audience takes over judging, and that is a huge mistake. It becomes a popularity contest, not a singing competition, judged by professionals.

Look who won last year…  exactly, you can’t remember, either, can you? Well, I do remember, and she was young and country and NOT ready for Prime Time.

Have we heard anything from winners of The VoiceAmerican Idol, has produced many recording stars. The Voice is highest rated and has produced no one.

I like the format of The Voice. Contestants can be voted off from their coach and another coach can steal them, putting the contestant back in the mix, for another chance. Love That idea!  Brilliant!

Many of this year’s crop of singers are just so-so, and I just don’t see the big deal. I see judges get overly excited and I wonder, do they really need the money from judging, that badly?

Do these singers sound better in person?

I can count on one hand, the singers, this year, that are good. Not great, but good.  So, as I said, “This was the last year, for me.” I was getting any excitement about the season.  One of my students asked me about the show and if they should audition. I was honest, and said, “I wouldn’t invest your time in it, if I were you.” I explain the previous experiences I’ve observed and I simply don’t advise taking that path… PERIOD.

American idolThe whole reality show thing has run its course for me. I never really liked it and it didn’t grow on me. When my student, Scarlet, was on American Idol, it was exciting, until she texted me. She was allowed only two hours sleep, and was made to do a dance and learn a song in an hour. This was pure sleep deprivation for ALL the contestants, bordering on torture.

By the end of that stretch, Scarlet just wanted to get out of there!.  Then I saw another contestant pass out and fall off the stage. I am certain it was all  staged; nothing was real.

If you have talent, define it; be the best you can. sing with a live band, get plenty of experience, work clubs and pay your dues.

There are rarely overnight success or lottery ticket winners. From reality competition shows, only a scant few of the winners establish sustained, successful careers.

“Earn it your success with hard work. You are far more likely to hit the jackpot.”

That’s my take…

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Michael Bublé with Ease!

Michael Bublé is consistent.  This man could sing while juggling and playing hop scotch. In this video of  him singing Home’, you can feel his ease and his natural ability to connect with his audience. He draws you in, with home-style comfort, as if in his living room.

His television specials are solid. He always has an interesting guest artist; someone interesting and different from himself.  He makes eye-contact with an audience member, smiles, yet never loses his way in the lyric or emotion of the song.

There are just a handful of singers as pure as this, when you are in their presence. It makes you feel a part of the show, and you can’t wait to see them again… like visiting a friend.

When I worked with Bobby Vinton he had loyal fans  who followed him everywhere!  I never knew how anyone could afford to do that!  They attended shows in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, New York, and had expensive front row seats, to boot!  I would bet anything that Bublé has these kind of loyal fans too.  Only a warm and sincere performer has that kind of attraction. People know when you are not comfortable up there, and it is contagious.

If you get a chance  to see him, get there! It’s a feel-good show, and he is never out of sorts. I have seen just a few of performers with this type of mindset, disposition, and entertainment value. Natalie Cole is one, Sammy Davis Jr. was another.

“Going out to hear live music has its health benefits. It keeps you happy, smiling and younger!”

Jessica Marciel

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Cory Monteith: And then he was gone

cory-monteithGlee burst onto the TV scene in the fall of 2009 on FOX. It immediately had an impact, musically and thematically through its ensemble cast of varied and talented characters.

A sure measure of success was its destination-status for guest star appearances, from Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, and Kristin Chenoweth and beyond.

This week, fans of Glee were shocked with the sudden passing of Cory Monteith, one of its main characters. The youthful-looking Monteith, played the character of Finn Hudson, and was the real-life boyfriend of Lea Michele.

Recently, he had success battling the demons of his drug addiction. But as can often be the case, he relapsed, and this time, lost his life.

With the ubiquitous nature of media, we feel a strong connection to our favorite celebrities: Actors, actresses, singers, personalities, athletes, and other media stars. Enjoying the real-life love of Michelle and Monteith is a storybook kind of relationship.

And then, from one day to the next, his life is over at 31. No warning, no reason… not one that will do.

Monteith will leave his performances on 81 episodes of Glee and countless other TV and movie appearances. For Lea Michele, his castmates, friends, and family members, it will never be enough.

More than three years ago, I wrote a post about Glee, with great enthusiasm for its cast, guests, and exciting impact on musical theater in schools and on TV. The new fall season of Glee will be delayed, as adjustments are made for the loss of Monteith. It will continue, but it will also be changed, sadly.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

National Anthem trashed by Miami Heat’s 12-year old ‘good luck charm’

JD-singerJulia Dale, Julia Dale, JULIA DALE  just ruined the National Anthem!.   This 12-year old may be a good-luck charm for the Miami Heat,  but let’s not confuse this with talent.

This girl, took breaths between syllables, several times. I was sick to my stomach on behalf of great singers, everywhere. This amateur was invited to sing the National Anthem in front of an American audience and viewers around the world…. and invited back, no-less.

“I have heard great and I have heard bad, but never this bad.”

How is it she was ever invited to sing the Star Spangled Banner in the first place, to ultimately, become the Miami Heat good luck charm?  The public’s taste for mediocrity appalls me. I am tired of bad music on radio and equally bad singers auto-tuning their way to stardom.

It is time to get back to real singing. Just because a girl is pretty, or sexy, or a guitar player is sexy, I don’t understand why people buy their crappy songs and lousy singing.

Good thing for me, I had a singing career, and it was a good one. In those days, you had to sing. You couldn’t just ‘get by’ or  fake it.

I did get fired once for not ‘playing around’ with a food and beverage manager. The girl who replaced me, was named Brandy Alexander. Seriously  like the drink. But at least she wasnt terrible!. She was ok, but she had looser morals than me.

miami heat basketballSo, Julia, if you are going to do this again… extending your 15 minutes of fame. TAKE some friggin’ singing lessons! Oh, and do some cardio.

FYI: The Heat won Game 6 of the NBA finals in overtime, 103-100. Their record with Julia singing the Anthem is 19-2. Apparently sports superstition, not talent, rules the court.

Thursday night’s Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs will decide the NBA championship. It is being held at the American Airlines in Miami. Save as all from another reprise from Julia Dale.

I am officially a Spurs fan.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

10 Success Tips For Singing Competition Auditions

Singing Competition Judges

Singing Competition Judges

I have watched countless singing competition auditions on TV shows. Now, having judged a talent show, I can tell you, how to get winning results.

Song Selection and Execution: Choose your song carefully. It should climb to a crescendo, quickly, and make sure it shows your range. Get to the bridge, fast, leave out a verse if the verses are too long.  We want to hear you really in control of every note.Do not bore them, with a ballad that doesn’t go anywhere.

You need to relate to the people, even if there are just three people there. You need to perform. To feel the song. Choose a song you love . A song close to your age (age appropriate) and will showcase your emotional range as well as your vocal range.

Breathing and Phrasing: Proper breathing and phrasing are  a must. If you are not trained, you can still learn a song correctly, by breathing where you would, if you were speaking the song. Take the lyrics, and speak them, pay attention to where you are breathing. That is where you should breathe when you sing it.

Then you need drama, and emotion. That’s why the song is important. You want the judges to have goose bumps. Move them. Make them feel something. You can go another way, and do a comedic number, but they won’t take you as seriously.

Song Choice Examples: ‘Nothing ‘ From ‘A Chorus Line’ is a great song for a Broadway show audition. Also ‘Blue Hair’  for theatre., ‘Life Of the Party’ from ‘The Wild Party’ Broadway show.  ‘Listen’ is great for pop.

If you are a belter, any song by Janis Joplin, Jesse J, Aretha Franklin, or Etta James are excellent picks… or the English singer Sam Brown, ‘Stay Baby Stay’.   But stay away from the overdone ‘Adele’ songs.  A nice ballad, ‘Wish me a Rainbow’ of the film, ‘This Property is Condemned’. Judges are tired of listening to Adele songs.

Some of these song choices are on the Las Vegas Vocal Training YouTube channel.

Top 10 Tips for Singing Competition Auditions

  1. Singing Competition AuditionsKnow the genre of the show, and what they are looking for. Look at video from past seasons, and study the people who got through.
  2. Choose a song that starts out strong, and if it doesn’t, start at the bridge.
  3. Wear something comfortable and flattering. Wear heels if you are a woman. Dress nicely, but not over done.
  4. Be comfortable onstage. Feel as though you belong there. Introduce yourself, and warm them to you. Breathe deeply before you go in, and exhale all the negative feelings.
  5. Look judges in the eyes. Then as you sing, concentrate on what you need to do to, and reel them in. Make them feel your song.
  6. Song selection will make or break you. Prepare three songs. I have had observed X-Factor auditions for my students. They were told to prepare 90 seconds. The audition person with the mic, asked for two entire complete songs from each of my students. That made three entire songs from start to finish. They even gave one student time to go out and think of another song. Be prepared and have more in mind, just in case.
  7. If they ask you questions, answer, clearly, loud, and with energy. These shows are largely about personality. If you hem and haw and yes or no, short answers, they will pass on you. You are not good television.
  8. Thank them after you are finished, and smile as if they are British royalty.
  9. When you sing, move about, as if you own the stage. Do not let them know you are frightened or insecure at all.
  10. Be as prepared as you can, and bring bio, picture, and an mp3 or a DVD. They will video record your audition, but having the tools makes you professional and makes you stand out!

The art of the audition is just that, an art. It takes time, thought, preparation, and practice. Really do your homework and get professional help if you can.  If you need sheet music for 16-bars or 32-bars or a  CD track, go to Tom Grieps, in Los Angeles, provides this service for a reasonable fee. It’s a one-day service. He will send a pdf of your song, in your key;  CD or Sheet music and your music is ready.

Be prepared, be yourself, have fun. This is what you want to do, so act naturally.

Good Luck!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Singers: Beware of Managers

jessica-with-hatWhen I was singing at the Sands Hotel, in my late 20’s I had already been in the business long enough to know the ropes. This time, being all grown up, I did not check with my dad, and I let a con man sign me as a client. He talked a good game. Richard Cardinale was his name.

He was engaged to a waitress in the Copa Lounge where I was working for over a year. She had been an original Copa Girl in the showroom, and I figured he must be OK. Her engagement ring was huge, and as we found out later, was fake.

Richard put my picture on a full-page ad in the paper bragging about our partnership. I had used an accountant to take all the FICA, union dues, etc out of the bands checks, but Richard said his accountant would handle it from then on. FLAG!!!

After a few months, with nothing happening in my career that I, myself, didn’t make happen, I grew a little uncomfortable.

Then, another singer from the Dunes, Casino De Paris show, who I would years later replace oddly enough, told me he was also “managing” her. We decided to hire a private eye.

Before we even got a report from him, , on the news was an arrest, in Lake Tahoe. Richard Cardinale was arrested for, bigamy, fraud and many other little interesting charges. Diane, the waitress was the most hurt from this, but I had to repay the guys their taxes, dues and whatever things come out of paychecks. It cost me, but I learned a bigger lesson. That wasn’t even his real name!

Investigate! In those days we had no internet, so it was harder and expensive to do it, but not doing it could have cost me a small fortune had it gone on.

When the other singer and I raided his office to get our promo and tax info, he had all the fake documents and law degree (also fake) on the wall.

I think some of these young innocent singers on American Idol. The ones that don’t make it, may be approached by people who may not be the real thing. You can get so caught up in the desire to sing for a living, that you forget to really protect yourself.

Recently, I signed with two managing partners because we had a common goal to make a musical together. I saw my attorney with the document, and he gave me changes to make. I chose not to make the changes because they were small, and I wasn’t doing it to get rich, I wanted to do this project.

The result was very sad, when the celebrity I was to portray was difficult to nail down, we thought it had a chance,  then, one of my managers died suddenly, Very suddenly,  he  was fine Sunday and gone Monday. After the shock and sadness, which we are still going through, I dissolved my agreement with his partner and the project  was dead.

I’m sad that it won’t happen. It was going to be fantastic and thrilling and my swan song to go out with something so huge.  Now as I just concentrate on teaching. I have more time, time on YouTube to look for talent, and  I’m not impressed with talent I see on Idol, this season. I find YouTube singers much better than the ones that being called, “brilliant” or “great”. I have yet to see brilliant or great since Carrie Underwood.

I realize that I’m in a small club who have the same opinion. I hear on Facebook, from other people who do think these singers are brilliant. But then again, The Beverly Hillbillies ran for a long time, and the public is not very choosy when it comes to art or entertainment. I am not a snob, I just think we should have standards, I love sitcoms like the The Nanny but I know it isn’t art. It’s crap dressed up like comedy.

So my advice to hungry artists out there is this. Do background checks and see an entertainment attorney before you sign on the line. It can save you a lot of money, time and heartache.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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