Awesome rock band I Am Giant kicked off todays show with their song, Transmission. Chris works with Ed on his voice regularly to help him deal with his mad tour schedule. They have just released a great new album called Science and Survival. You can get hold of the album here at their website:
Here’s another one from the album:
As part of todays show we are giving away a copy of Mad About Vocal Style eBook (written by Josh Alamu) to one lucky lucky person. All you have to do is register yourself and your email address and we’ll announce the winner very soon. Click the image to go for it:
On to the interview…. Josh Alamu
Josh is a brilliant coach who’s popularity is growing to astronomical levels across the globe with every year that passes. He started out life as a backing vocalist working with artists like Joss Stone, and was helped on that journey as a young singer by two industry giants; David and Carrie Grant.
During the earlier part of his career, Josh became familiar with legendary technique Speech Level Singing (SLS) and eventually certified as an instructor. That is how we all became aware of each other, as we too were part of SLS for a while.
Over recent years, Josh has worked as a coach on Pop Idol, The Voice series 1 & 2, choir talent show Don’t Stop Believing.
Currently, he has a rock school in Malta which he visits regularly, a busy studio in Hampstead, London, and he has just written the first in a series of books called Mad About Vocal Style:
Essential skills for an artist today
Technique – Some singers begin to feel like technique is a stumbling block. It’s common for someone to focus on it so much that they become obsessed and paranoid that they aren’t doing the right thing. But technique has a particular meaning to Josh:
Practicing is a common occurrence for Josh. To be able to use his voice to the standard he needs to, and to be able to express the ideas in his head, he needs to train consistently. That is his motivation for training. Motivation is key to this process, but it needs to come from the right source. Crippling motivators are often the ones that drive people to do something so they are accepted by someone else, or that they strive to be better than someone else. Motivation that elevates you comes from a place where you want things for yourself, forgetting everyone else. Does your voice allow you to express yourself and go anywhere you want to? If not, then that’s a motivator to practice. When practice is motivated by the right things it can take on a whole new meaning, and become fun and exciting.
Balancing technique and style then becomes a debate. How much technique is needed to facilitate style. What should I accept as a mistake and not attack with technique? It really depends on what the singers vision is. It used to be the case where singing lessons were more prescriptive, based on what the teacher felt was healthy and correct. But these days, lessons are taking more of a turn towards what the singer wants. How can we, as coaches, ensure that the singer can do what they want in the healthiest way? It’s a slightly different approach but it works way better for the vocalist.
Having a vision for ones own voice will also help to make practice very useful. If you don’t have a vision, then you don’t have direction. Without direction you can’t effectively select anything. You’ll be making stabs in the dark with your voice training and you’ll probably not be able to settle well with a single teacher. Think about how you want to sound, what you love about your favourite music and singers, and the material or genre you want to approach. You will be able to paint a picture of the perfect You if you consider those things. With that picture, you can plan how you get there. And boom! There’s a way forward with training.
Style – look at what style means. For some it’s riffing, for others it’s just being themselves. Thinking
about it in terms of clothing. You often pick clothes to match a mood. Bright colours for a happy day! Style can totally be that way, and it helps to have a sense of who you are at that moment to get it right.
Once you have that sense and emotional connection with yourself, it’s time to play the instrument and create some deliberate sounds to get that emotion across. There are some intuitively placed style elements that make up singing. Not everything is planned or thoughtful, but everyone has a little (or a lot) of this intuition and it makes up their ability to be awesome at connecting with listeners. Some singers need that to be livened up, and that was the motivation for Josh and his style book series.
Work ethic – Passion is the word of the day for this one, and passion should drive the work ethic. Work ethic can sometimes be driven by someones want to please everyone, or some kind of pressure to do well. This can often result in a burnout as you can’t please everyone! It must be for yourself (that seems to be the theme here with Josh!).
In Josh’s words, the Passion can ignite the Vision, the Vision then requires some Action, and that Action then Impacts people. The minute you Impact people you create Meaning in their world, and when there’s Meaning in something people (or in other words, your fans) are willing to spend Money on you. PVAIMM in brief!
An interesting point Josh made was that once a vision is in place, doors open. The forces of whatever align and things begin to happen for you. The same can be said for his book. Admittedly Josh had been thinking about the book for a long time, but had he not finished it he wouldn’t be doing the things he is doing now. The world is opening up to his work through recommendations and the fact the has something unique to offer. But he needed the product ready before that could happen, and that is a punt. One that worked out well! Anyone, in any situation, can learn from that.
“Success is where opportunity meets hard work” Oprah Winfrey
Josh and his Ultimate Artists development program
Josh runs a 6 day retreat every year in London which is eating, sleeping and living music. It’s for any level of singer who is interested in the areas of singing, songwriting, production and artistry. There are many industry big guns who come and teach you the skills to be an awesome artist in every sense. That can be from commanding a studio session and directing it where you want it to go, to singing style and technique. There’s a bag load of valuable content in it and it’s happening on 8th August 2014. Check here for more details:
Or more about Josh:
And more from Josh’s product are at:
- MFDR – Four letters that help explain vocal power! - July 6, 2017
- Voice Metaphors – Why They Work & Why They Don’t! - April 21, 2017
- The Bottom End – Training Chest Voice & The Low Range - December 22, 2016