Micca loved soul music but was too shy to ‘let go’ – an essential ingredient of this genre.
Micca was in the early stages of developing her voice in preparation for auditions as a lead singer with function bands, but her full vocal potential was suppressed by her lack of confidence in releasing her feelings in performance.
Many budding artists want to sing soul ballad material that expresses feelings about situations beyond their experience; losing a long time partner (Mille Jackson’s ‘Lovin’ Arms), finding another woman’s number in their husband’s pocket (Shirley Brown’s ‘Woman to Woman’), or addressing a loved one from an adult perspective -perhaps a parent who has passed on (Luther’s ‘Dance with my Father’).
Micca was holding back when she needed to draw upon emotion memory for the song contents; it became clear that she simply didn’t have any seemingly appropriate memories.
We had a chat about remembering more general feelings of loss – such as leaving a friend behind to go to senior school or perhaps losing a grandparent; even a childhood sweetheart memory can stir big feelings.
We played a game where Micca was asked to recall all of the physical circumstances at a moment of sadness in her life.
She was specifically instructed not to share the experience but to hold it in her head; she recalled aspects of the memory such as the location – inside a room or in a field or a school yard; the temperature or weather conditions – rain on the window or snow or baking sun; any smells such as perfume or cooking, etc.
I instructed Micca not to try and feel what she felt then but simply to remember every possible detail of the situation.
She then sang a piece with this picture in her mind and was transported then to the feelings that she had locked away in her memory.
This is a useful actor’s exercise that can liberate the memory and the emotion center; I will add that it is best led by a mature person, able to handle any potential upset.
Micca tapped into feelings and made the connection between these and the required level of release for the soul ballad and her work has improved immensely; she is confidently attending various auditions.