From the age of 2, I sang in my crib. I sang in my play pin. I sang holding my skipping rope as my microphone and was thrilled to perform on demand for my family and their friends.
As I got older, I added dancing and acting to my ‘act’ and even started to recruit my friends by offering them parts in my neighbourhood show!
I bet many of you reading this share my early passion for music and performance. I bet you can remember when you first discovered how much you loved seeing someone perform or when you sang for the first time on stage or even for a family like me.
Those of you who have taken programs with me might be surprised to know, I wasn’t a naturally great singer. In fact, I dreamt of having a great voice but often felt defeated by my lack of range, pitch, vocal control, and stylistic accuracy.
I would spend hours every day practicing, trying to figure out how to sing like Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle, and Aretha Franklin. I soon after I discovered Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, and then came Whitney and Celine. These were the best singers in the world. I become obsessed with how they were able to use their ‘mixed’ voice or powerful voice so precisely to deepen their emotional delivery. No song was too challenging. They delivered every single note perfectly.
When Mariah Carey released ‘Vision of Love’ I knew this was the type of voice I wanted. Her voice effortlessly moved between every contemporary vocal colour including falsetto, head voice, and mixed voice. Her use of R&B riffs and runs was insane but her use of harmonies and counter melodies reminded me of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, also 2 of my favourite singers.
Throughout my 20’s I went on a mission to achieve the vocal skills I needed to be able to sing anything and everything I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I spent thousands and thousands of dollars studying with the best vocal teachers I could find here in Canada LA and New York. Each teacher specialized in one genre only and all had distinct views on vocal resonance, breath work, and the idea of supporting the voice. The exercises were always challenging but very few exercises seemed to relate to singing a song.
I often left my lessons feeling frustrated trying to please the teacher. But it was clear as much as I was learning and I was, I still wasn’t getting the voice I wanted mostly because most of the voice teachers didn’t understand contemporary mixed voice and falsetto coordination the way I wanted to use it.
Once I started coaching myself things shifted quickly. My years of being a dance captain fixing and cleaning up each performer and my strong desire to problem solve kicked in. My commitment to my student increased as I saw how the student would get excited with each new sound or with each note they gained in their range. This fuelled my pursuit to learn more and more and develop new and exciting exercises to achieve even better and faster results.
My voice keeps improving right along with my student's voices. The goal for me has stopped being about using a technique and more about having the skills to sing a song with a voice I-and my students love. I want to be able to sing without limits whenever and wherever I want with complete stylistic accuracy and I want the same for the singers I work with.
Every singer is unique. Every singer has unique issues that stop them from singing the way they want. It’s my job to solve the problem and help them not only build their skills as a unique singer but to discover a voice they truly love.