Kenneth Nixon on Singing

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Framing Hanley’s Lead singer speaks out on REAL challenges to vocal health, Axl Rose and vocal warm ups.

They’ve broken into the top 40 on the active rock charts and they’ve been touring non-stop.

With the release of their new album – there is no sign of the performing pressure letting up.

That’s why we thought it would be a perfect idea to ask their lead singer, Kenneth Nixon (2nd from left), how he keeps his voice up to the challenge…

What are the biggest challenges you find in maintaining your vocal health?
Going to merch after the show and interacting with our fans is always bad on the ol’ voice because I’m generally talking over loud music. I also love spicy food, and that’s never a good combination with singing.

FramingHanleytext01What is the most important lesson you have learned about vocal health?
Alcohol is gonna cause ya problems. I had to cut this out of my life for many reasons, and the damage it was doing to my vocal cords was one of the reasons. Many will say it HELPS them, but at least for me, it was terrible on my voice.

What tips or tricks do you have to keep your voice in shape given busy recording schedules, live performances and tours?
I wish I had some “save the day” answer, but the truth is I have lost my voice more times than I can count anymore. It starts with proper amounts of rest. And that’s where my problem starts, too. The less talking, the better. Too bad I’m a motor mouth.

Have you ever worked with a professional to help maintain your singing voice? If so, what’s one lesson you’ve found invaluable?
Before we toured for the first time I was doing a pretty steady regimen with a vocal coach. It really helped prepare me for the rigors of a touring schedule. That’s definitely something I’d recommend every singer doing, because I know all of the best still take vocal lessons to this day.

Some singers have good vocal health and technique but really struggle to find their unique voice. What advice would you offer them?
Your voice is there. Just don’t hold it back from speaking up.

How do you warm up?
I have some breathing exercises I start with. Then a support foundation warm up that mostly consists of weird noises to make sure I’m singing from the diaphragm. Then I do simple scales until I feel loose.

What kinds of exercises would you recommend for singers to try to improve different aspects of their singing? (Range, intonation, clarity, volume, etc.)
I’ll let ya know when I find out myself.

FramingHanleytext02As you look back on your vocal work what would you say was an important landmark(s) in singing more effectively?
Breathing properly for the first time really. It all starts with the breathing.

Name one influential singer, and what it is that makes them stand out to you.
Axl Rose is the whole reason I started singing. Maybe a lot of that was for all the wrong reasons: I was an impressionable kid and he was the very definition of “rockstar,” so give me a little slack.

But there’s definitely a reason that he’s a star…
When it comes to instantly recognizable voices, he’s got that as well. However, if you ask me who my favorite singer is, the answer would be Freddie Mercury of Queen & Dallas Green from City and Colour.

What are a few ingredients that go into a memorable vocal performance?
Well, a vocal performance can certainly be memorable and not be necessarily great haha. I’d say the best way to ensure you have a “memorable-in-a-good-way” performance starts with a good warmup. And lots of water.

FramingHanleyBio

Kenneth Nixon and Framing Hanley have been touring non stop since November with headline shows and also supporting Theory of a Deadman, Hinder, Hollywood Undead, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and several major radio shows including ROCK ON THE RANGE 2009.  See www.framinghanley.net