NEW Vocal Coach in Residence: Donna McElroy

She’s a celebrated vocalist, arranger AND voice professor…and now she’s your coach for the next 8 weeks.

Donna’s credits include arrangements and vocals on gold and platinum releases, Television appearances and numerous awards –see the end of the interview for more on her carreer.

In the meantime, we’ve given Donna only one sentence to respond to each of the following questions…

Vocalists who inspire:
My mother, Julie Andrews, Aretha Franklin, Dorothy Johnson, Violet Montgomery, Barbra Streisand and Maria Callas.

Heights, Tardiness, Using salt instead of sugar in a recipe.

Best advice someone ever gave you about performing:
Look at the center of people’s foreheads so it looks like you’re looking at them but what you read in their eyes is not so distracting.

A favorite nerves remedy:

Pre-performance routine:
Preparation and rest with lots of water and prayer.

The perfect mic for you:
SM58Beta/SHURE for performance, and the Neumann 89 in the studio.

A secret good luck charm for travelling/performing:

All the women in my life who have survived.


Weirdest thing to happen in a performance:
Electrical blackout in the city and praise songs were sung in candle light/Estes Park, 1987(Amy Grant-10,000 people in the audience)

What drains your batteries?
Not taking my vitamins

What charges them?
Not being intimidated.

Worst singing advice you ever heard:
Count your blessings; I should have been counting the measures!

Where most singers mess up with vocal health:
Not enough rest/too much talking.

Fav. Album:
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

What you’d never leave home without:

Top recording tip:
Be on time!

What’s different about a vocalist vocation today compared to 20 years ago?
The industry has changed so drastically that the artist of today is required to do all the jobs previously left to management and the record company.

Favorite quote about singing:
“Learn the melody and the lyrics and let the song do all the heavy lifting!”

Your life philosophy in 10 words:
If you are negative, go with God, but definitely GO!

The perfect day:

Receive Messages from Donna

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feed-back from Donna for the next 8 weeks. You can sign up now.

Donna McElroy is a Grammy nominated vocalist, celebrated arranger and well-loved Voice Professor at Berklee College of Music. Her contributions include arranger/background vocalist on gold and platinum releases “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?” by Reba McEntire; “We Shall Be Free” by Garth Brooks, “Addictive Love” by BeBe and CeCe Winans, and “House of Love” by Amy Grant. She’s been the recipient of a Grammy nomination for Bigger World (WB) and a Dove Award for Songs from the Loft (Reunion). Television appearances include Arsenio Hall, The Tonight Show, and The Grammy Awards.

Useful Links

Donna McElroy’s Website

Watch Donna Perform