Vocal Tips Series on YouTube – ALL NEW

vocal-tips-you-tubeYouTube is one of my favorite websites to hear other vocal coaches and singers. I love to discover people I never would know of any other way.  I will never forget  hearing the singer Sam Tsui…,or Tori Kelly on YouTube.

Wow, I became a big fan, and purchased many of his cover songs on iTunes. I also like coach Kevin Richards, Rock The Stage NYC.   I love that he and I use many of the same exercises, and  I love that he thinks the same way I do. We both subscribe to each other’s YouTube channels.

After seeing a variety of free lesson tips on the channel, some good, some not so good, , I decided let people see what I do, and if they want to, they can do lessons on Skype with me, from anywhere… or at least know the option is there. People may live in a city that is void of good coaches, or perhaps ones that are too expensive.

Dollar SignI believe vocal training affordable for both professionals and aspiring professionals. Simply because a coach is not expensive may not mean they don’t have solid skills. I have priced my lessons within a reasonable budget, so good singers can get better and not go broke in doing so.

The first two video clips of vocal tips I’ve posted to You Tube are breathing routines that are obscure and may be new to some people.  I have traded tips with singer-friends and other coaches. And over years of teaching, I’ve developed my own approach to analyzing and implementing techniques that work with each singer, based on their individual strengths and areas, needing improvement.

It still surprises me, when a singer comes to me, and says something like..,

“You are the fifth coach I’ve had, and none of them ever did any breathing exercises with me.”

I can’t imagine having anyone sing until they know HOW to breathe.   I wish I had studied voice when I was young. I was fortunate to sing, correctly, naturally. I didn’t begin to study the science of singing and technique until I prepared to become a coach and stop singing for a living, quite so much. I am also sad that I did not a have good coach to teach me innovative techniques, and breathing,,, I could have been better.    I am into showing you HOW your voice works, HOW to protect your voice, and HOW to speak properly, so you won’t have vocal problems. I am proud to say, in my LONG career, I never had vocal problems.    I have been very thirsty for new knowledge, and I am studying with a speech therapist, vocal therapist, the amazing, Erik Landry.   I am excited to share my knowledge with you.

Jessica & Engelbert

Jessica & Engelbert

What I found, is that my voice improved, and not working anymore became a benefit.  My chest voice is higher now because of what I do and my head voice is stronger. I needed that strong head voice when I sang backup for Engelbert Humperdinck,

I sang Soprano with Engelbert, and his range was such, that it collided with my weak middle range. Not high enough to be good, too low, so it hit my middle C and D. A disaster, because my voice cracked while performing in the MGM showroom in front of an audience of paying customers. That wouldn’t happen today.  I must admit, I have deleted some videos that became outdated,, and I will do new very soon…..

I hope you will tune into my YouTube channel, and enjoy some of my videos, my students and some tutorials….

I love what I do, and I hope you will enjoy the new series of brief but fun exercises!

See you on the Tube!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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How much do you want to sing?

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson

I have been cruising YouTube recently, watching many so-called coaches try to sell their packages on a course of ‘How To Sing’.

Some of them are funny, and some are just so basic, I feel like their material could be taught in one hour. There is so much more to singing than singing. First of all, the whole business side of Show Business has changed so much, over time. You have to be willing to have the patience of a saint.

You can write your own songs, record them, and put videos up on YouTube. Then what? Wait, and wait, even if you get 40,000 views, there are no rules; there a minute chance that anything will come of it.  The only talent I discovered on YouTube who is making any waves, and they are in the beginning stages, is Sheléa Frazer. She put out a Whitney Houston tribute video that went viral.

She sang about 6 bars Love Fell On Me at the end of the film ‘Jumping The Broom’ and in the credits more of the song was played. She caught the attention of the big guys, Quincy Jones, Brian McKnight, and more. She sang at the White House for a Burt Bacharach/Hal David  tribute. Her version of ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ is one of… no… the best I have ever heard.

Ok, So, what if that doesn’t happen for you? What if you are a good singer, maybe a great singer, but how do you get heard?  The first thing you need to do is have a support system, and time. You need time, because not everyone is so lucky as to have a video that goes viral.

I would sell something, or borrow a chunk of money, and pay a producer in Los Angeles to find me a few great song, and record a 5-song EP download.  Five songs, that’s all. Put them on iTtunes and CD Baby, and then wait. And if nothing happens, save or borrow or sell something else and do it again.  If you spend money on an album with 13 songs, you have invested too much money, and the chances to do another album become slimmer.

You can get into a band, get out there and work , get stage experience, and work with real musicians. That will be a huge help, going forward.

Back to your online coach.  If you can, find a coach to help you with the interpretation and phrasing of a song. If you listen to Sheléa sing ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart‘, it makes you cry, it makes you wistful, and you go on a short journey outside your body.

I have a student from Paris, France, whose voice is strong and fills the house. She is doing well working with two bands in town. This singer should be in the Los Angeles scene and should be, like Sheléa, making some noise in the business.

It is something you can’t easily identify. It is a sound, a tone, and an emotion that a truly great singer brings to the table. We don’t have a lot of those singers out there. Oh, we have many rich, famous, good singers. But only a handful of great singers. The days of Ann Wilson of ‘Heart’ are largely behind us.  We have Beyoncé, who has a good range, good songs, but her voice? It doesn’t cut through me like Ann Wilson‘s.

Jennifer Hudson is one, When she sings, she means it. This girl has ‘IT’  She has been through a lot and uses it in her singing. I really get it when I hear Jennifer sing, Marine Goujon, my student, has a similar tone and sound that is rich and heavy, and fills you up with joy.

In closing, it isn’t just how you breathe, and how you long you hold a note. It is the connection, the feeling you give people when you sing. That is something you just have. Listen to the great singers. Really listen, watch them, watch Jennifer Hudson on YouTube singing Roberta Flack’s ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. I dare you to not feel anything!

Thanks for your time, good luck on your journey!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

The Value of a Great Vocal Coach

When I was a child, I had already been singing since I could speak. My mother had been a professional singer and dad a drummer. They decided not to get me a coach, they didn’t feel I needed it.

“Now, being a coach, I realize, I would have been a better singer than I am if I had a good coach.”

~ Jessica Marciel

It is better to have no coach than a bad one. I have had many students come to me after four or five vocal coaches, and I hear the same thing. “They never taught me how to breathe.”

We all know how to breathe, we do it all day long. The difference in singing is the need for more air than you need, just to speak, and understanding when to breathe, within the context of the lyrics. I have students who will struggle with a high note. I say, bend down over and make an L-shape and sing to the floor. The note comes out easily. When you do breathing exercises it helps you hold and control notes.

Again, when my students go in the studio, my producer Tom Marolda insists I be there, because he is unable to work the engineer board, and explain what he needs from the singer. A phrase like “How Does it Feel” becomes fell, as we soften the ‘E’. The emotion has to come through. A singer isn’t seen on a CD so one must make the listener feel what the vocalist is feeling.

The texture and colors of a song are important. You cannot sing a song the same way all through it, or it becomes monotone. My student, Marine Goujon, is recording an album project, and we are concentrating on her dynamics, because this is an important project. I wanted her to almost whisper a part and then bam, when the band comes back in, it explodes and really is quite effective.

Tom wanted her voice to sound a little raspy. This is not the way she sings , so I took an hour with her and wore her out. I put her through the hardest exercises I could think of, and trashed her voice. Tom came back in and we proceeded with the song and it was more funky and a little more sexy, with a few words that had a rasp.
This isn’t something I suggest be done often, because it is hard on the vocal chords. Afterwards, we gave her warm water and honey and I had her hum gently, which soothes the throat.

Another student, Dayna, just recorded a fantastic song for an up coming film. We had to make sure she had the right timber in her voice, the right tone. Tom believes a lot of people make mistakes not including coaches during recording sessions. Vocal coaches can explain things that producers and writers can’t.

A good coach is hard to find. I will be the first to say, I was not that good, I was just learning to be able to explain how to get the voice moving and the right way to warm up. I know that Brett Manning helped me a lot. He has a great method that works for pop, R&B and country, blues, rock, metal, you name it. I have my own methods that adds some emotional connection to the music. I can help by telling a singer, where to take a breath, where to sing softly, where to punch it, etc.

Our throats are our instruments, we have no piano case, no guitar case, nothing!, we need to be, well, Diva’s! Only because to protect our throats, we need rest, water, warm up’, and special attention to our health.

I believe if you find a coach you can connect to, one that will really help you find your voice, you are lucky. It is nearly impossible to get signed now by a label. With so many independent labels and producers making you pay for your own albums before they will shop you.

There is no point in spending a lot of money unless you have the right material, producer, and connections to shop the product. It is a different time than when I recorded. They paid for everything. Now, you make your own album and then if you are lucky, you can get someone to shop you to labels. They wont listen to anything unsolicited. So, don’t waste your money unless you think YouTube will help you get discovered. It does happen, but not very often.

When and if you decide on a coach, make sure every moment of your money is well spent. I mean, they really work you, like a personal trainer would. I also believe in homework. Get a CD to take home and practice with, everyday. You don’t use your voice, you lose it.

Good luck, and hopefully this information helped

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

 

Born to sing? How do you get there?

They said it tonight, on American Idol, and it is said over and over: “You were born to sing”. Well, yeah, thanks, but what do you do if you don’t have the contacts, or “juice” TO GET STARTED.

It is very hard and you must have a plan. If you have read my blogs you know, my dad simply took me up to Capitol Records and I sang behind the president’s desk. Wham, had a contract. Not that easy now.  Not half as easy, so you must plan how to get discovered.

There have been people  discovered  on YouTube. That is one way. If you do it this, make sure you are brilliant to get as many hits as you can.  I have students who are much better than the two final contestants on American Idol so I know it is largely luck and timing.

If you have a backer {financier}, you can find originals and record some great songs and shop them. My student Cherish Berdahl did this.We went to Nashville through a friend of mine, Producer Eric Bikales. Eric found 4 great songs and they are better than anything I have heard on the CMA’s.

The songwriters are Grammy award winning writers, Vince Melemed, Danny Orton and David Kent. These songs and her voice are so strong I know it is a matter of time before It happens for her. She is a better singer now since we recorded in  Oct, so I am in favor of her re-doing the vocals. This is one wasy to go, but it isn’t cheap.

Another way is to go to Los Angeles, get a day job, and sing in clubs every where and every time you can. Learn to read music and be a session singer. Do ANYTHING you can to get out there. Check out people who come on to you, don’t trust anyone. it is easy to do a background check. See if they are in the unions, or just do a search for warrants. It is a rough business and people will promise you everything and give nothing.

My two students D&A have recorded at least 6 sides and one video. They are so close and still it hasn’t happened. They are ready. They dance, sing, have personality, looks to kill and supportive parents. If it is hard for them to get a deal, it is really hard for anyone! A Record label has been courting them for months and no deal yet.

The Fulco Family from here in Vegas, took a few lessons from me, they have just decided to be on “Wife Swap” to get noticed. Any publicity will help; they are smart to do this. They are a modern day “Partridge family” band and they are good.

So bottom line is… get out there, stay active, be creative, and keep at it. Don’t give up, after all, you were born to do it!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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