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Industry Insights from an International Session Singer and Recording Artist

Wendy Moten reclining

Wendy Moten has sung duets with Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald and Julio Iglesias and is currently on tour with Faith Hill & Tim McGraw as a background singer.

Besides being an in demand live and studio session singer, she also found recognition as a major EMI recording artist in the 1990s.

She introduces herself as July’s Vocal Coach in Residence…

Ever been star struck?
Meeting Aretha Franklin a few years ago and Loretta Lynn. Diva icons!

4 features of an incredible vocal performance:
Song choice, comfort, believability and dynamics.

First record bought:
Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life

Last record bought:
Casey James (Just released last week. He was on American Idol. I sang background vocals on 4 songs. He’s really Great)

Biggest crowd performed to:
Currently, I’m on tour with Faith Hill & Tim McGraw. They are country music royalty and really sweet people. We’ve been playing crowds up to around 17,000 people a night.

Now that I’m thinking about it, Johannesburg, Africa may have been the largest. Maybe 50,000 people. I was performing my recorded duet with Jazz great Kirk Whalum. The duet was a Stevie Wonder remake entitled All I Do. It did great on the charts globally.

Most embarrassing moment on stage:
As I teenager I performed at a Theme Park called LibertyLand in Memphis during the summer. I had the opportunity to song Somewhere Over The Rainbow in the show. It was a great honor. Well, I totally forgot the words…my mind went blank. It was really embarrassing because the audience was full of children and parents. Of course, they know ALL of the lyrics to Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I could hear my show mates laughing out loud from behind the stage. That moment taught me to PAY ATTENTION.

Favorite vocal health remedy:
I stay covered with long sleeves and boots most of the time. I hate being cold or even the threat of a draft. I travel with a scarf on planes and cover my whole head on long international flights. Also, I love to drink a cup of Alpine Apple Cider Tea or Camomile Tea while doing my Makeup and Hair.

Remember a singing teacher who inspired you:
Mrs. Lulah Hedgeman totally taught me the ground work and influenced me the most. My High School was a Creative and Performance Arts School in Memphis. It was competitive and very hard to get in. She taught me the “Mind, Over Matter” and “The Show Must Go On” mentality and work ethic.

Your singing philosophy?
Once you work on your ear training, vocal technique and some music theory, it’s important to
incorporate the passion from your soul out. Singing perfectly should not be the end result. Passion, love and interpreting the story should be as important throughout your musical journey.  Julio Iglesias taught me that. I never heard him sing a song he didn’t love or anything that didn’t move him. He taught me that I need to feel something first and the people will receive it.

How do you re-charge your batteries?
Oh my, I’m addicted to television. I’m from that era. When I have any free time, I check on my family and a few friends, then I watch a marathon TV of my favorite shows.

Favorite microphone:
Lately, I’ve been recording on a Blue Kiwi mic. It’s not expensive. It gives me nice highs, mids and lows on my voice.

Biggest lesson you’ve learned about the music industry?
The music industry is a business and you have to treat as such. I had to learn how to negotiate my fees and ask the hard questions. Nobody likes talking about money, but you have to. You must read the fine print carefully, study and do a lot of research, Fine tune who you are, where you’re going and where you want to be. In the 21st Century, ANYTHING is possible.