The Brothers Koren (formerly of Grit Pop band ‘The Kin’) opened up for Coldplay, P!NK and Rod Stewart and earned a Gold record in New Zealand.
Isaac Koren talks to VoiceCouncil about their new artist development initiative and how you can find artistic success by embracing your imperfections.
Advice For Beginners
What advice do you have for people wishing to make the leap out of the day job to pursue a music career?
Oh my god, you are my favorite artists! You are the one who has been told all your life that you need to tow the line and felt like you are not worthy of sharing your voice. You are the ones who felt not good enough or outcast from the cool kids at school and you were the ones who did not want to disappoint your parents who had spent so much on your education.
We experienced first hand how restrictive and limited the musical landscape can be
What if there was not so much intense separation from your passion for music and your money job? We have worked with over 25 people who have left their ordinary jobs and have found their own voice and sound in music through Brothers Koren and FARM.artists.
Tell us more about FARM.artists:
When we were coming up through the ranks as The Kin we experienced first hand how restrictive and limited the musical landscape can be. We finally recognized that we had to stop trying to be ‘right’ and instead embrace everything ‘wrong’ about us – show up as who we really were as artists.
FARM. is our way to provide fellow rebels the support we wish we’d had when we were discovering who we were as artists. We embrace mantras like “Dare to suck,” “I don’t know what the f* I’m doing,” and “Get comfortably uncomfortable” and take you through a 9 week pilgrimage to uncover who you are and what you want to say in the world through full body instrument sessions, shadow work, songwriting intensives, and recording sessions.
A Perfect Recording Session
How to get the best out of a recording session?
We like to record all the vocals with just piano and click. For years, our producers made us sing over loud tracks and thought it would inspire us. No! The singer has to hear herself, otherwise what is the point? Who wants to hear a singer over compensate and pushing her voice to strain?
What about when the whole body is singing like an instrument and all the harmonics of the being line up and are captured in space and time on ‘tape’? That’s the space we like to dance in.
What are the ingredients for vocal magic?
Find a place where you are truly in awe and moved, even scared. Find the space in the air where you feel small and all the atoms become huge. When the space between the notes expands, that’s when the room has something palpable to listen to.
Singing is a meditation, it is our birth right, our connection to God. If you honour it like it is your last utterance then even the angels are listening. If you don’t sing like it’s your last chance to shine, then why bother at all?
How to overcome writer’s block?
The concept of ‘Writer’s block’ assumes something that I don’t believe in at all, and that is the idea that we know what we are doing.
I work from the assumption that I don’t know what I am doing
Too often we approach art in such a way that we think we should have some idea of what we’re doing and that to not know, to be stuck, is a failure. I work from the assumption that I don’t know what I am doing. That way I can ‘dare to suck’ and trust in the process.
What have you had to overcome to become a singer?
When I was 15, I was asked to jam with my high school party in a backyard in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. My mate who was strumming the guitar said, “Sing for me, Zack,” and, overriding the painful sensations of shyness and fear of looking bad, I started wailing the blues. The whole party crowded around, and my mate turned to me and said, “Are kidding me? I didn’t know you could sing! Will you sing for my band?”
I had never sung before, but two weeks later I was singing to 250 screaming kids and have been at home in music ever since. Singing is like medicine for the shy. But you have to take the leap and dare to suck at it first.
The Brothers Koren have travelled the world both as headliners and openers for the likes of Pink and Coldplay. Now, they’re developing other artists through their FARM.artists program. Find out more at brotherskoren.com