Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher are eminent educators who run ‘Vocal Process’, a multi-genre and multi-media practice.
Gillyanne has a doctorate in female voice research and authored the bestselling book ‘Singing and the Actor’. Jeremy’s work has been commissioned by London’s Science Museum and after winning a national piano competition, represented Yamaha as a guest artist.
To wet your appetite for their innovative work on vocal technique, we asked them some quick fire questions.
A favorite nerves remedy?
G. Yoga, tree and warrior poses.
J. Choosing something in the song that I really want to share with the audience.
Where most singers mess up with vocal health?
G. Trying to sound like someone else instead of finding their own voice(s).
J. Too long on warm ups singing scale patterns that don’t appear in their music.
G. Allow everything to slow down and don’t talk to anyone.
J. Eat! Be by myself for a couple of minutes to remember why I’m there.
G&J. Anyone brave enough to sing and share their soul with us.
G&J. Time wasters and people looking for gurus to think for them.
Weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a singing performance?
J. Being on tour and the organizer asking if we had some old coins as the stage was run from an old electricity meter (absolutely genuine). Or playing keyboards for Mack and Mabel in the West End when the understudy’s hand slipped and the custard pie meant for another character flew into the pit and covered me from neck to knee. Or performing on the steeply raked stage in the Isle of Man and feeling the full-sized concert grand begin to move…
A lesson learnt?
J. Touring with the Yamaha corporation and having every piece of multi tracking I’d recorded on a floppy disc (yes, it was in 1820 when floppy discs were new) and wiping the whole disc by mistake the night before the first show. I was moving house that day and had to rerecord every instrument in 24 hours while my family packed around me. Don’t be like Jeremy, BACK UP YOUR WORK!
Worst singing advice you’ve ever heard?
G. You have two vocal folds, one for chest voice and one for head voice.
J. “Classical technique means you can sing rock”. No it doesn’t, it means you can sing classical. Rock technique means you can sing rock.
Your biggest performance blunder?
G. Overworking my voice for two days before an important show and still going on stage. My voice cracked everywhere.
J. SOOO many of them. The stupidest was me starting to play Panis Angelicus in a full church and forgetting to switch the organ on. My first and last time playing the organ. Falling down the stairs going offstage, hitting my head on the low exit door, splitting my trousers climbing up onto the stage, forgetting the words…
Best advice someone ever gave you about performing?
G. You don’t have to be perfect.
J. Just say to yourself “Best I can do today”.
What you’d never leave home without?
G. Special Bircher muesli.
J. Noise cancelling headphones AND earplugs.
Top recording tip?
G. Stand your ground. You usually know more about your singing than the engineer does.
J. Remember the mic is your partner’s ear. Don’t shout at them!
What’s different about a vocalist vocation today compared to 20 years ago?
G. More personal choice (good) but reality TV unbalances personal expectations (bad).
J. The ability to market yourself personally worldwide (good) and the fact that you now have to do it yourself (bad).
Favorite quote about singing?
G. “If I cannot fly, let me sing” ― Sondheim.
J. “I am a free soul, singing my heart out by myself no matter where I go and I call strangers my friends because I learn things and find ways to fit them into my own world. I hear what people say, rearrange it, take away and tear apart until it finds value in my reality and there I make it work. I find spaces in between the cracks and cuts where it feels empty and there I make it work.” ― Charlotte Eriksson (describing Jeremy exactly).
Your life philosophy in 10 words?
G. It’s what you think of yourself that matters, not others.
J. Your vibration impacts. Being in integrity is a high vibration.
Voice experts, authors, team-teachers for 20 years, Gillyanne & Jeremy train performers and their teachers to find the most appropriate techniques to sing their best, whatever the style of the song. This Is A Voice: 99 exercises to train, project and harness the power of your voice’. Speaking, singing (opera, rock, pop, soul, jazz, country and everything in between), beatboxing, finding your voice (and someone else’s).
Special Opportunity! Gillyanne and Jeremy are offering a special 26% discount to VoiceCouncil readers for any of their 18 voice training webinars. There are lots of specific topics like Taking chest voice higher, Finding head voice and Troubleshooting breathing. Just use the code VoiceCouncil at the checkout – and the price will go down to under $30 (£20) for an hour’s voice techniques webinar, available online at any time. Just go here: http://store.vocalprocess.co.uk/Webinars The offer runs until the end of June.