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The Case Of The Underperformer With The Urgent Deadline

Rachel Bennett
Laura had been asked to submit a song for an advert – a great opportunity for an emerging singer-songwriter.

She had written a wonderfully imaginative and contemporary short piece but on the studio recording her voice sounded dull and quite small and was lost inside a spectacular electronic arrangement.

Girl covering her face with a hand

Laura was under pressure; she had worked through the night and was exhausted and deflated

Laura was under pressure as there was a very short deadline for the submission of her track; she had worked through the night and was exhausted, on top of feeling deflated that her voice wasn’t ‘up to the task’.

We had a few hours to remedy the situation.

Instead of remedying the situation with vocal exercises, I suspected that this could turn around with a psychological solution.

Laura had spent her energy and was uninspired by the studio environment when it came to a vocal performance; she needed an audience and there wasn’t room for real people in the live booth!

So, I had asked Laura to bring pictures of loved ones from home (with a specific exercise in mind).

We chatted lightly about the pictures and who was in them; Laura recounted simple family stories, mostly funny ones and the occasional sad tale.

We blue tacked the photos to the walls in the booth and Laura went in to work in her private world, with many thoughts and memories (some no doubt that she preferred to keep to herself).

As she sang to the faces of her family, her emotional state altered notably... she woke up!

As she sang to the faces of her family, her emotional state altered notably and she moved through a series of moods, but more importantly, she woke up!

No-one in the ad agency would ever need to know how she achieved such a bright and warm performance but they selected her track!

Studios can be dark and lifeless places and the experienced singer will induce an audience or perhaps the presence of another in their imagination to find that unmistakable spark on the mic.

– Raie


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  • Kathy Coneys Alexander

    Thanks for this story – singers, teachers and coaches can learn so much from this. How often do we get ourselves into a similar situation where we’ve spent our energy due to the pressures of a certain situation? Overwhelmed by our stress, we might never consider that a psychological process will save our voice.