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NEW Vocal Coach in Residence – Lisa Popeil

A voice researcher who sings for Weird Al Yankovic

We’re introducing you to a vocal coach and voice researcher who continues to sing backing vocals for Weird Al Yankovic.

Lisa Popeil has also performed with Frank Zappa, appearing on two of his albums; her own solo album as singer/songwriter was named Billboard ‘Top Album Pick’.

Lisa is a highly sought after coach who has won the LA Music Award for “Career Achievement in Vocal Instruction”.

Now you know why we’re ecstatic to welcome Lisa as our Vocal Coach in Residence for the next 9 weeks – we’ve given her just a sentence to answer our burning questions…

Vocalists who inspire Kiri Te Kanawa, Mariah Carey, Derek Lee Ragin, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Milijenko Matijevic

Fav. Album Seal, the 1994 album

Childhood ambition I wanted to be an archeologist until I realized that I’d have to spend my days with my hands dirty!

Your first music teacher & what you remember Singing ’76 Trombones’ at the age of 6, my first singing teacher yelling ‘Louder! Louder!’ – I’m told I had nodules by the time I was 7!

Pre-performance routine I start by shutting down, then rev up by stretching, breathing, doing my support warm-up, then cranking up charisma, energy and adrenaline.

A favorite nerves remedy Tapping (Thought Field Therapy) is an amazing therapy- can work in just a couple of minutes.

Phobias Dead animals, getting burned and blanking out on the words of the Star-Spangled Banner.

A secret good luck charm for travelling/performing My traveling nebulizer with saline.

Hero. My mom. She made everything possible.

Villain. I’m been so lucky to have had such loving, supportive, nice people in my life- only one person I can think of who sabotaged me and spread ill-will, but in the end, it worked out in my favor.

What drains your batteries? People who can never be pleased, energy-sucking vampires.

What charges them?Being around happy people and thinking about future trips to Britain.

Worst singing advice you ever heard The worse advice I ever heard was that “Support is not important. If you have a teacher who mentions it, you’re in trouble”.

Where most singers mess up with vocal health Many singers talk too much and too loudly, then warm up excessively so they’re vocally tired by the time they get on stage!

Best advice someone ever gave you about performing “It’s not about you, it’s about THEM”.

Top recording tip Make sure the microphone is not placed too high- it only makes the singer want to lift their chin and then raise their larynx.

Bad thing to say to a sound engineer: “Can’t you make it sound better?”

Good thing to say to a sound engineer: “You’ve got great ears!”

Favorite quote about singing “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar wilde

Your life philosophy in 10 wordsBeing happy is most important but even that doesn’t matter.

Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is a top LA voice coach, voice scientist and researcher, contributor to the ‘Oxford Handbook of Singing’, is a voting member of NARAS (Grammys®), creator of the Voiceworks® Method, the ‘Total Singer’ DVD and a new book ‘Sing Anything-Mastering Vocal Styles’ and has taught voice professionally for over 35 years. www.popeil.com





Co-author with Lisa Popeil of Sing Anything: Mastering Vocal Styles is Gina Latimerlo. Gina will be commenting on our Peer Review Videos for the next 8 weeks.

Gina Latimerlo is a polished performer of over 20 years. Teaching and directing since 1995, she opened The Latimerlo Studio in 1998. Her students have performed on Broadway, in touring companies, and have signed with talent agents and record labels. In addition to the main studio, The Latimerlo Studio oversees private voice teachers in over a dozen cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.latimerlo.com

  • Natalia

    Im glad that i susbcribed to this website, thank you lisa for sharing those amazing answers… If you can give me an advice about how to learn runs and adlibs what can you tell me? How to work on confidence when singing infront of people?

  • Lisa Popeil

    Hi Natalia! Glad you’re enjoying the articles. Regarding learning runs and adlibs, the best way is through imitation. I recommend downloading the program ‘The Amazing Slow Downer”, putting in a recording with an early Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston recording, picking a lick/riff/run you want to work on. Loop it, slow it down and then work on it. That way you can clearly hear what these great singers are doing. Then gradually speed it up until you’re at the original speed. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a really fun challenge. Before long, you’ll notice that you can start to creating runs in your head. But first, you have a build up a library.

    As for confidence, there’s no substitute for ‘time in’, meaning perform for anyone you’ll listen! Your dog, your friends, charity events, karaoke, anyone, anywhere. Confidence is the memory of success- so you need to create some success even though it’s scary. Good luck!