Vocal Technique - Coaches

November 2nd, 2011 | by VoiceCouncil

RETURNING Vocal Coach in Residence


Many of the world’s top vocalists have turned to her for guidance…and thousands have benefitted from her coaching, classes, books and CDs.

Now, Jeannie Deva is back for 8 weeks to share wit and wisdom with vocalists of all contemporary genres.

We’ve caught up with Jeannie in the midst of her completing a new book on vocal performance and her immersion in her busy private practice and performance schedule.

If an alien landed in front of you and asked you to define singing – what would you say?
Singing is an aesthetic creation using the sounds of the voice in a way that can create a special magical spiritual connection and understanding between people.

Best way to a healthy voice:
Know how it works, how to work with it and then take the right steps to develop it.

The quickest way(s) to hurt your voice:
Sing with a band and no monitors; push out too much air as you sing; try to get volume by tightening the muscles in your throat rather than using resonance.

Bad thing to say to your backing band:
They suck.

Good thing to say to your backing band:
They Rock.

Best advice about technology:
Knowledge is power: take the time to learn about each complementary aspect that affects your voice as the electronic elements will either make it easier or harder to sing as well as affect how you sound.

What should a vocalist know about tech beyond their mic?
How to work with monitors; how to do a sound check (what to ask for, how to get the best monitor mix for you to sing your best); how to choose the right mic for your voice; how to work with a mic stand; the use of electronic effects for the voice such as use of reverb, delay.

An unforgettable vocal performance:
Whitney Houston singing “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” at 2009 American Music Awards.

What made it so?
The simplicity, directness and power of the truth – she sang it straight from the heart and right to her audience.

One way a singer can find their unique voice?
Sing a song you really believe in and alternately go through it just speaking the lyrics (meaning what you’re saying) and then a cappella (without any backing music).

Advice on dealing with nerves?
Establish and focus on what you want to give your audience with your show; orient yourself to the performance venue by physically walking through the audience space, the stage and backstage.

Is “X-factor” a bad word?
No. It basically means a special quality that creates a “wow” reaction in the beholder.

Is there anything all vocal coaches agree upon?
That you need breath in order to sing – past that, I would hope that we would all agree that the purpose of a singing performance is to touch and emotionally move people.

Did you have a career setback that turned out not to be a setback?
Many years ago, a Recording Industry Lawyer wanted to sign me. Just as we were about to sign, he – sadly and surprisingly – passed away. After that, I realized that people will come and go in my career and certainly help, but I am ultimately the one who makes my career. This was extremely empowering and has made the difference between waiting for someone to make my life versus me creating my own life and career.

Two of the most important things to know about singing in the studio:
The choice of mic as well as your headset mix can make or break the ease and excellence of your singing performance.

Quote about singing that inspires you:
Richie Havens told The Denver Post, “I really sing songs that move me. I’m not in show business; I’m in the communications business. That’s what it’s about for me”.

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feedback from Jeannie Deva for the next 8 weeks. You can sign up now.

Jeannie Deva is a celebrity voice and performance coach and recording studio vocal specialist with a list of impressive clients and endorsements. Jeannie teaches privately in Los Angeles and in the very near future to students worldwide via her Online Vocal Academy. Visit her new singer’s performance development channel: www.YouTube.com/PowerfulPerformances and her voice enhancement for vocalists: The Contemporary Vocalist Book and CD series and The Deva Method® Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs CD. www.JeannieDeva.com www.Facebook.com/JeannieDevawww.Twitter.com/JeannieDeva

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My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

April Story – Angel (Cover)

April – You made an excellent choice in covering this song! You did something that not everyone can do, which is to take a song and contribute to it your own signature style. You added aspects to the melody that really worked and sang it with the sensitivity that this song requires. The only thing that detracted was your regular fiddling with your headphones. Each time you did, you went out of the song, and as the listener/observer, I was distracted and kept from being able to stay in the moment of the song from start to finish. Work through your technical details before recording. This should then support a more powerful performance and engage your audience from beginning to end so as to enjoy the song and your beautiful voice.

Michael Stefinjak – Fool For Your Lovin (Cover)

Hi Michael! Thanks for your video submission. Cool tune – cool look! Vocally, you’ve got the style for this genre of rock music. Admittedly, it was a little odd to watch a video performance on solo guitar while with the sound of a full band backing track, but, it did sound good! Lower register sounded good. The next step I suggest would be to develop your upper register so you don’t strain or stray from the exact pitch. Try singing the song melody with an “Ah” (as in “wand”), no lyrics. Sing the phrases as smoothly as you can, until you can better execute the notes with more precision and less strain. The idea here is to discover how you can execute and “own” the upper notes rather than reach for them. Then sing the song through with lyrics. You can go back and forth from the Ah with melody to the lyrics and work through any trouble phrases in that way. Enjoy!

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