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Make Bold Choices

What sets one vocalist above the rest?

Now that we’re on to week four of my run as VOCAL COACH OF THE UNIVERSE — I mean in residency at VoiceCouncil, I want to know what you think so far!

Have you tried the things I’ve suggested? How have they worked? What questions do you have? Please leave feedback and questions in the comments section of this article.

We have two young singers featured this week in the Peer Review videos, both with raw talent and both humble enough to submit videos hoping to improve.

To present this week’s comments, I’m going to start with a short idea, review the videos, and then add further comments.

Be Better AND Be Different

Short idea: What does it take to be successful in music? Assume talent and ability are a given – at the level we’re talking about, EVERYONE has talent and ability.

Let’s also assume hard work, motivation, and intelligence are there.

All other things being equal, what sets one singer, or band, or act, above the rest?

To be successful, you have to be:(a) Better

(b) Different

Or (c) [and usually this is the case] a combination of the two.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Kassie Murillo – “Ring of Fire” Cover

The minimal accompaniment, and the fact that this is a traditionally MAN song sung by a young lady… totally works for me. I really like this take on the song. Excellent control of your whole range. Quite nice. I’d like to see more performance commitment. During the guitar intro at the beginning, and again during the guitar interlude (1:48), you look disinterested. When you come in singing your pitch is not precise. If you keep your focus, if you commit to the performance, your pitch will be better.

Dazeo JohnsonCan I Tell You – Original

You have a great voice, and your falsetto? To die for. I’m hearing some less-than-confident notes, and I think if you made some bold decisions (see below) these problem areas would become strengths. I liked Brian’s comments that he made on your video, and you replied that you are working on control over your voice. Find some good exercises, find a teacher to work with, make that one of your strengths!

Your Bold Choices

Both of this week’s singers are good, and these videos show that they are sincerely trying to improve.

How far they will go, as with any of us, depends a large part on the choices they make.

What do they need to do to be a) better and b) different? These two singers will have very different answers from each other, and their answers will differ depending on their ultimate goals.

As you are working on your image, your “brand,” bold choices are required.

Some choices have been made for you: gender, genetics, upbringing; the kind of music you sing, the way you sing, might be a result of what others have decided or taught you instead of what you chose.

Many choices are now yours to make, and if you want to be big, you need to be bold.

Click Here – Questions to Guide Your Choices

For Kassie and Johnson, an immediate and a long-term suggestion. Immediate: make a single decision about what you want to accomplish with your song (Emotional vulnerability? Dynamic build? Brilliant vocal work? Brilliant guitar work? Rocking? Smooth? Sweet?). Focus on that one thing.

Long-term, and one that should go for any performer: figure out what kind of performer you want to be, figure out how to get there, and then go DO IT. If you need coaching, find a coach. If you need stage experience, get on stage—as often as possible. As much as people may be rooting for you, they are not going to do it for you.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

-Mister Tim

See Mister Tim’s Exclusive Interview for VoiceCouncil Magazine

Mister Tim is the mastermind behind more than a dozen award-winning a cappella groups, including 2010 Harmony Sweepstakes champions Plumbers of Rome, internet sensations moosebutter, beatbox quartet Mouth Beats, and all-original vocal bands VoxBom and THROAT. He is a published composer and arranger, a dedicated teacher, and a solo artist, most recently with his solo vocal live looping show “Vocal Magic.” He was a headline performer in the Las Vegas Strip production of “Toxic Audio,” is in demand for speciality corporate music projects, and is an active educator, coach, and clinician. mistertimdotcom.com

  • Yuhas

    MT: Have you tried the things I’ve suggested? How have they worked? What questions do you have?
    TY: Yes, indeed I have incorporated the suggestions presented into my performance and found them to be spot on. Thank you. Keep up the good work!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Tim – you’re helping me to really ask myself what it is that I can contribute to the musical world that is unique/different – and to work in this area of my singing. I mean – I don’t have to ignore or sacrifice good technique to do that – but if I have all this great technique and ‘correct’ polish but have not style, flair, connectivity – then my voice is nothing but a ‘clanging symbol’ to use the biblical expression… so thanks for this shot in the arm!

  • Dazeo

    Hello Mr. Tim,

    Thank you for taking the time to listen and offer some great constructive criticisim and feedback. Your suggestions as well as the Voicecouncil family have been incredibly helpful motivating and inspirational. I will be applying your advice thank you again for listening.