Come and meet our new Vocal Coach in Residence!
You’ve heard our new Vocal Coach in Residence… on jingles for Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Chevy and Dr. Pepper.
She was a Musical Director for Disney Records and her new book on singing is making waves. Plus, she’s played thousands of gigs (hundreds with Leon Russell) and sang digitally with Barbra Streisand, Jimmy Webb, George Strait, Courtney Love, Johnny Mathis, Miley Cyrus and more.
We’ve been lucky to catch up with Jaime Babbitt – currently in Japan, touring with Sam Moore!
Weirdest thing to happen in a performance
A knife thrown during a bar fight flew through the air between my guitarist and I and embedded in the wall behind us. I flew outta there!
I have a phobia of having phobias.
A favorite nerves remedy
Patron Silver Tequila… joking. Seriously: remembering that nothing is a matter of life and death except… death.
Vocalists who inspire
Etta James, Billie Holiday, Levon Helm, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, Chris Whitley, Tom Waits, Beth Hart, Louis Prima & Keely Smith, Laura Mvula, Rachael Price, Brittany Howard, Trixie Whitley, Adam Levine, Jason Derulo… stop me anytime.
Worst singing advice you ever heard
“Singers having to warm up is a myth; they’re just wasting their voices before the performance…”
Your biggest performance blunder
Starting the second verse of a song when I should have gone to the final chorus… in front of over 20,000 people.
How did you recover?
I didn’t. I never set foot on a stage again. Joking! Seriously, I did what all pros do: I just kept going with a big smile like nothing ever happened—all the while laughing (and cursing) with my inside voice.
Your first music teacher & what you remember
Mrs. Gorkin (piano teacher) SCREAMING at 7-year-old me for playing by ear and not reading the music.
Workout, hydrate a lot, voice warm-up in the shower, light meal and meditation/visualization of a great gig.
The perfect recording mic for you
The perfect live mic for you
That’s easy: Shure SM-58. The old stand-by!
A secret good luck charm for traveling/performing
I bring my purse onstage with me no matter where I’m gigging.
During my early bar-band years, I had stuff taken from backstage areas so today, no matter if I’m at a fancy performing arts center or an arena, my purse comes up on the stage with me!
Narayanan Krishnan (feeds the homeless in India), Irena Sendler (smuggled Jewish infants out of Germany during WWII), teachers in general, too many others to mention…
What drains your batteries?
Negativity, lack of empathy.
What charges them?
Singing! Teaching! Laughter! The ocean! Yoga! Chanting!
Where most singers mess up with vocal health
They. Minimize. The. Importance. Of. Sleep.
OH, COME ON… okay: “Concert for Bangladesh”.
Best advice someone ever gave you about performing
There are three kinds of performers: Judy Garland (“Oh, please like me!”), Tori Amos (“Okay, you have permission to watch me…”) and Springsteen (“I’m one of you guys!”) — decide who YOU are!
What you’d never leave home without
My custom-molded earplugs.
Top recording tip
Try not to think when you sing – just go for it; if you get it, you get it… if you don’t, you don’t.
What’s different about a vocalist vocation today compared to 20 years ago?
Back in the day, singers could decide to just be performers or just be studio singers; today, I think more singers are doing it all.
Favorite quote about singing
“It’s not about YOU and what you need to GET, it’s about THEM and what you need to GIVE…” – Jaime Babbitt
Your life philosophy in 10 words
I sing when I’m happy. I’m happy when I sing.
The perfect day
Eight hours of sleep, eggs, turkey bacon, coffee, yoga & meditation, shower, voice warm-up, studio singing session, salad, vocal coaching, sushi dinner, late night walk, curl up with a good book, goodnight!
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Derrick Bishop – “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Cover)
I LOVE your emotional connection — mucho corazon, y’know? You have a gorgeous-sounding, God-given instrument—and you’re working it! One little thought: the ‘Hey!’after chorus I took me out of my groove; I’d try something lighter there. And, one big thought: I didn’t hear hoarseness but I did hear holding back. It shows, especially regarding your support and ultimately your pitch…both in your chest voice (as in chorus II) and in some falsetto riffs throughout. I say try it again, sing out and neighbors….get over it! (Or record before 10pm, haha….)
Jay Tyrer – “Letting Go” (Original)
You’ve really zeroed into your sound and who you are; I listened to another song, too; you’re so on point! Me, I’d like you to expand your range in general and utilize your falsetto a bit here like I heard on “Plastic Dreams”! Maybe instead of the “yeah, yeah” breakdown section, you could create a cool falsetto hook? Also, here’s a lyric comment; I know you like to put the emPHASis on different sylLABles; it’s your thing. But in the choruses here, it doesn’t work for me on the word “CONtrol”….just one woman’s opinion!
Daniel Trefilio – “September” (Cover)
Wow, great vocal tone and PRESENCE! You’re in Daughtry’s key but you stay down the octave in the choruses and bridge. It’s a cool vibe but I’d explore the musical dynamic range to avoid monotony, y’know? Ease up your playing in the front and build the guitar part so the song has somewhere to go. Then, I’d say record a dynamically ‘built’ guitar track and practice to that…singing without playing. It might take you out of your comfort zone …I know the feeling! But it also might allow you to explore the emotional dynamic range of your vocals.
Jaime Babbitt is an-in demand voice teacher/vocal coach, session singer and performer who started as a Musical Director for Disney Records. Believing that no two singers are alike, Jaime assesses each client, providing personalized vocal tips and techniques relevant to their specific material for real-world application. Check out her book, Working with Your Voice.