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NEW Coach in Residence – Mark Baxter

Mark Baxter Featured Image

He’s sung 3,000 gigs & worked with Rock legends. Read on to see what makes him tick…

This month’s vocal coach in residence is on his 3,000th gig and counting.

He’s worked with Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Scott Weiland (Velvet Revolver), Josh Todd (Buckcherry), Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls), Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen), Goo Goo Dolls, Journey, Vampire Weekend and many more.

AND he’s written what some say is the most practical guide on the subject: The Rock-N-Roll Singer’s Survival Manual

His name: Mark Baxter – and he’s with VoiceCouncil for the Month of April.

What was your childhood ambition?
Rock star.

Which vocalists inspire you?
Stevie Wonder, Robert Plant, Aretha Franklin.

What phobias do you have?
I’m afraid of fear – it makes for bad decisions.

What is your favorite nerves remedy?
Any aerobic activity.

What is your pre-performance routine?
Hydrate, Stretch, Hydrate, Vocalize, Hydrate, Aerobic Activity – Sing.

Name the perfect mic for you.
AKG 414 (studio) SM57 (live)

Do you have a secret good luck charm for traveling/performing?

Jon Bon Jovi.

Jon Bon Jovi.

OK. So, why is he both?
He’s a hero because he did exactly what he said he was going to do back when we were all starving artists. He’s a villain because he did exactly what he said he was going to do! (I’m kidding of course – I’m just jealous!)

What drains your batteries?
People telling me they can’t sing.

What charges them?
People asking me to help them sing better.

What is the worst singing advice you ever heard?
“Okay, now once again . . . and this time really bring it!”

Where do most singers mess up with vocal health?
Not enough sleep.

What is your favorite album?
Inner Visions (Steve Wonder)

What is the best advice someone ever gave you about performing?
Stop running around on stage like you’re a mad man.

What would you never leave home without?

What is your top recording tip?
Dress down.

What’s different about a vocalist vocation today compared to 20 years ago?
20 years ago there were no cell-phone YouTube videos eternally reminding singers of bad gigs.

Bad thing to say to a sound engineer?
It sounds like shit.

Good thing to say to a sound engineer?
Wow, you obviously know what you’re doing – so is there a way to bring out my vocal more?

Your life philosophy in 10 words or less?
Enrich the lives of everyone you meet.

Talk us through your perfect day.
Morning sex (preferably not alone), motorcycle ride to marina, go for a sail before lunch, lead a workshop on singing in afternoon, limo over to venue for sound check, songwriting session in studio then back to venue at 8:00 to perform for screaming fans. Rinse and repeat!

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique Insight from Mark Baxter for the next 4 weeks. Sign up now!

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Isabella Valera Thumbnail Isabella Valera – “Happy as the Sun” (Cover)

I love your demeanor Isabella; you’re confident and light and your beautiful smile couldn’t be more appropriate for the song! I was glad you allowed your register to change on the higher pitches in the chorus. Changing back into chest register a little sooner, though, would prevent the word “just” from going a tad sharp.

Adam S Thumbnail Adam S – “More Than This” by One Direction (Cover)

Adam you have great vocal control and delivered a point-by-point rendition of the original version of this song! You obviously listen to a lot of pop music where the voice is slightly breathy during the verses (to convey emotion). Spend some of your practice time singing strong and clear so when you reach sections like the bridge of this you’re your throat doesn’t tighten as you ask for more power.

Dolli Grace Thumbnail Dolli Grace – “Breakeven” by The Script (Cover)

Dolli you are soooo comfortable singing on camera – that’s great! You’ve also got a really great tone when you power up. But being so comfortable means you run the risk of not connecting with your song’s subject. You were either reading the lyrics or checking out your image while performing this and therefore it didn’t feel like you cared what you were singing about.

Mark Baxter Professional Shoot

Some people are born to sing. Mark Baxter was not one of them. Undaunted, he studied, explored and applied his findings until he achieved the voice he wanted. His value as a vocal teacher is unique in that he draws equally from his stage experience and an unusually diverse training.
You can see more of Mark’s work here.