As well as touring the globe with the Australian Pink Floyd Show, Emily Lynn is also an a cappella voice specialist and busy session singer.
She shares how she keeps her voice and reputation in top condition on the road.
How to you prepare for a tour?
I like to do a 4-6 week vocal prep before a tour which includes working out, juicing, no dairy, alcohol or caffeine. There have been times when I’ve been lazy and haven’t done these things and I’ve instantly regretted it within the first 2 weeks of a tour.
What’s your top tip for touring?
The three ups. Turn up; don’t be late. Shut up; don’t get involved in band/tour politics… and keep up; do your job to the best of your ability and go to bed!
How do you warm up before each show?
I do a 45-60 minute vocal workout before every show which starts with gentle lip bubbles and ends with open vowel arpeggios. The exercises vary but are usually based around this ascending and descending arpeggios. I think it drives the guys potty listening to it every day!
Have you ever had vocal health problems?
I have had Pharyngitis and needed an ENT and vocal rest. Thankfully the other girls covered for me. It’s great to work with other singers who have your back!
Any memorable gigs?
As a child I used to wave down at my Dad in the orchestra pit at the English National Opera. Years later, at my first Hammersmith Apollo show with Aussie Floyd, he was waving down at me. It was a very special moment. At the same gig, my friend also shouted while I was singing at the end of Great Gig in the Sky ‘GO ON EMILY!’ which I won’t forget!
A musical lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
When I first started using in-ear monitoring I found it difficult to blend all the sounds I was hearing into one. I was hearing my voice in my head (as if I was singing with my fingers in my ears!), the voice coming through the ear pieces and then the spill from outside. This confused me for a while but you get used to it.
An industry lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
I have learnt not to get into a relationship with someone you’re working with. It’s unprofessional, becomes awkward for others and could eventually put you out of work.
Have you had voice training?
I trained one year at Guild Hall School of Music and Drama associates, four years at Leeds College of Music (MA), one year at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts Ltd (Dip), three years with Theatre Train and two years with The National Youth Music Theatre. I’ve also been having private lessons on and off since I was 16 (grade 8 ABRSM and LCM).
What are the downsides to being a professional singer?
Being self-employed and not knowing where or when your next gig might be. Sometimes that can be quite daunting when you have bills to pay! When I explain to non-musicians what it’s like being a singer I always tell them it’s the same as being a plumber or a builder – when the work is there it’s great, when it’s not, you’re skint! you’re always looking for the next job.
Favourite vocal gear?
My Dr Nelson’s steamer. It’s definitely the best on the market. You can literally feel the immediate hydration! I also love my Sennheiser EW500 for gigging and my standard Rhodes NT2 for recording.
Tell us about your favourite singers?
There are so many: Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder. At the moment I’m really enjoying the guys in Third Story. I also love the lesser known singers who have been successfully working the scene in their home cities and around the world for years. Their voices and overall musicianship really inspire me to keep going. These include singers like Katie Leone, Vula, Natalie Williams and Lizzie Deane.
Emily Lynn is currently on tour with The Australian Pink Floyd Show. She has performed in such venues as Hammersmith Apollo, Birmingham NIA, Jazz Café, 606 Club, Echo Arena, The Palladium, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and countless major venues across the Europe and America. She has shared the stage with the likes of Thunder and Dame Cleo Laine. Emily has sung for commercial recordings and film, various a cappella and gospel ensembles and has provided vocals for numerous solo artists across the UK. Emily is currently in the middle of a collaborative electronic/acousmatic project ‘Nightports’ exploring synthesis, vocal timbres and the popular song.