You’ve heard her voice in the Cinema, on TV or on the radio…
She’s backed legendary singers such as Michael Bolton, The Bee Gees, Natalie Cole, Michael McDonald and Neil Diamond.
She sings on countless radio jingles across the world and can be seen in the band on the popular TV series “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”. She’s even performed at Buckingham Palace.
Our new Vocal Coach in Residence is leading session singer and London-based vocal coach Kim Chandler.
To introduce you to Kim’s approach to vocal work, we’ve given Kim only one sentence to respond to each of the following questions….
Vocalists who inspire: A real mixture of well-known to lesser-known singers: Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Donny Hathaway, Karen Carpenter, Sting, KD Lang, Take 6, Jocelyn Brown, Ceelo Green, Rachelle Ferrell, Phil Bailey, Diane Reeves, Maysa Leak, Liane Carroll, Beady Belle, Esperanza Spalding, Swingle Singers…
Top recording tip: Be believable in what you’re singing about (as much as you can) otherwise it won’t have enough vibe or ‘humanity’ in the vocal delivery…
Favorite quote about singing: Ella Fitzgerald (with whom I share my birth date): “The only thing better than singing is more singing”
Best advice someone ever gave you about performing: A singer friend of mine (who happens to be an international Contemporary Gospel star these days) gently took me aside after a recording session one day, many years ago, and said that I needed to get back into doing more live performing rather than purely living in the studio – I’ve tried to keep this live/studio balance in my performing life ever since.
Childhood ambition: My childhood ambition was to NOT end up being a teacher like my parents – isn’t life ironic? ☺
Phobias: I wouldn’t call them ‘phobias’ exactly, but I have unusual things that drive me a bit crazy: untidy mic leads, and I have a preference for being the leftmost singer on stage – go figure?
The perfect mic for you: A Shure Beta 58 mic is the perfect mic for me because it suits my voice and I like the look & feel of it too – it’s been my mic of choice for years and it’s still an industry standard.
A favorite nerves remedy: Alcohol? No, really: good preparation, deep breathing and positive visualization.
Pre-performance routine: My pre-performance routine is a sound check followed by a nice, light meal and some ‘chill out’ time, then get glammed up for the gig whilst warming up my voice via various types of ‘siren’ exercises.
Weirdest thing to happen in a performance: I was doing backing vocals for a new artist at a big rugby match in Australia and a drunken guy from the audience managed to crawl along the stage on his back in a pathetic attempt to look up my dress – given the fact that I was wearing thigh boots with stiletto heels, he was taking quite a risk!
Fav. Album: One of my all-time favorite albums is “Songs in the Key of Life” by Stevie Wonder – I was first introduced to it when I was 15 and used to listen to it almost every lunchtime in the music room at high school with my “muso” friends.
What charges your batteries? A great gig with great players doing great material, a challenging recording session, working with other inspirational singers, a rewarding lesson where the client I’m working with has a breakthrough, a vocal master-class where everyone is highly engaged in the process of sharing & learning about the voice and all its intricacies.
Worst singing advice you ever heard: (Group vocal instruction from an eccentric vocal coach at a singing conference in London): “Constipate! Constipate!” – go figure(?)
Your biggest performance blunder: Because I’m shortsighted and therefore didn’t know exactly where the edge of the stage was, I accidentally fell off the stage into the audience whilst fronting a rock gig – they caught me fortunately.
Where most singers mess up with vocal health: Not warming up at all or warming up for too long & wasting energy, not keeping the voice in optimal condition athletically & then expecting great things from it in performance, poor lifestyle choices, over-singing, not allowing enough post-gig recovery time, exerting the voice whilst sick, speaking over loud music in breaks which strains the voice, believing in myths & ‘magical cures’ for the voice instead of using common sense & medically-substantiated advice etc.
What’s different about a vocalist vocation today compared to 20 years ago? In the past 20 years many different styles of music have come & gone and there’s also been an increasing impact from the various advances in musical technology.
Bad thing to say to a sound engineer: “Are you deaf?? That’s the worst stage sound I’ve ever heard in my whole career – get it together man!”
Good thing to say to a sound engineer: “Sounds great, thanks mate. Best on-stage monitor mix I’ve had in ages – you’re brilliant! Let me buy you a beer…”
The perfect day: There are too many possibilities for me to answer this one ☺
Your life philosophy in 10 words: Make the most of life – we only get one go!
If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feedback from Kim for the next 8 weeks. You can sign up here
Kim Chandler is one of the UK’s top contemporary vocal coaches. She has a busy private studio in London and her clients include well-known artists, artists in development, professional singers and other vocal coaches. She is a director of the British Voice Association, and is the creator of the popular “Funky ‘n Fun” vocal training series.