Great Voice, Wrong Genre

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Sometimes the solution is that simple -says Mark Baxter.

Steve is the smartest person I know (and I know a lot of very smart people).

I mention his IQ because he’s an honest to goodness cowboy, a horse-riding hulk of a guy with no-nonsense eyes that peer out from below the rim of his Stetson.

His handshakes hurt. You would never expect him to quote Nietzsche – but he does.

When he first arrived in a pickup truck (with a bail of hay in back) to my Hollywood studio twenty years ago, I assumed what anyone would about his music.

True to his physique, his voice is a deep bass that bellows from his beltline and rattles walls. No surprise there.

Like everyone else – he was hoping that voice lessons would help him sing higher. Again, no surprise, but I was confused why he wasn’t already happy with such a unique voice.

It wasn’t until later that night when I walked into a bar on Sunset Boulevard to hear his band play that my confusion cleared.

He was singing heavy metal.

Big surprise.

No wonder he felt like an inferior singer, desperately trying to scream in falsetto over blaring guitars in non-cowboy requisition black leather.

When I politely inquired the next day why he’s in a metal band (remember his hand shakes hurt!), he replied it was his brother’s band and they needed a singer.

“That’s great,” I said, “but do you love singing that stuff?”

“Not really.”

“What do you love?”

“Country music.”

“Makes sense – so why don’t you sing that?”

“My brother hates it.”

“Well I’ve seen plenty of bands that your brother’s not in – why don’t you start one of those?”

“You think I should?”

“There’s hay in the back of your truck!”

He’s been happily writing and singing country ever since.

Sometimes, it’s that simple.


 The Ultimate Guide to SingingMark is a contributor to The Ultimate Guide to Singing Available in print and Kindle versions in the US, the UK and across the world.

Mark Baxter Professional Shoot

Mark Baxter has worked as a coach with Aerosmith, Journey, Goo Goo Dolls — and many others. He is the author of The Rock-n-Roll Singer’s Survival, creator of The Singer’s Toolbox instructional DVD, Sing Like an Idol instructional CD. Mark operates vocal studios in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and online via Skype. Visit his website: VoiceLesson