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Vocal Coach in Residence: Jeannie Deva

LA’s Splash Magazine has said of her, “If you have studied with other teachers or methods and still have unresolved issues with your voice, you owe it to yourself to get help from Jeannie Deva.”

VoiceCouncil Magazine is pleased to introduce Jeannie as our Vocal Coach in Residence for the next two months.

You can read more about Jeannie’s impressive career at the end of this article – but now we’ve asked Jeannie to jump right into our 20 questions:

Childhood ambition
To help people and make a difference as an artist.

Vocalists who inspire
The female lead vocalist Buyi Zama who plays “Rafiki” in the 2010 Las Vegas ensemble of Lion King, earlier Aretha Franklin, Bono of U2, rising star Connie Lim, Tina Turner, Michael McDonald, Peter Gabriel, Tori Amos, Naturally 7, Michael Jackson, Eva Cassidy, Siedah Garrett, Celine Dion…

Best advice you’ve heard about performing
At the age of 10, my mother told me when I was about to perform for my biggest audience to date (about 200 hundred people) “just remember, they’re all your friends.”

– none – it’s pretty nice! ☺

Biggest performance blunder
Upon completing the singing of a song to a standing ovation, my eyes teared up and my makeup went into my eyes. The stinging was so painful I couldn’t open my eyes and had to run off stage – took minutes to find a towel – finally fixed, I re-entered to continue the concert!

Bad thing to say to a sound engineer
Hey, I can’t hear myself!

Good thing to say to a sound engineer
Is it possible to get more vocal gain (volume) from my monitors? / Is there something you would recommend that I should do differently so I can hear myself better?

A secret good luck charm for travelling
A picture of my husband.

First singing experience
4 years old at a family gathering filled with all my professional artist family members. My first pro-singing experience was at 12 years old in a group with (later to be #1 on the charts) Janis Ian, opening for luminary Richie Havens in New York City.

The perfect mic for you
I’m currently midst testing and reviewing a number of mics and my current favorites are the Australian made Rode M2, followed by the EV (Electro-Voice) N/D967.

When I was a child, Pete Seeger was my hero. Now, I’d have to say it’s L. Ron Hubbard.

Psychiatrists and people who tell others they “can’t” or they have to play life “safe” rather than pursue their dreams.

Weirdest thing to happen in a performance
When midst a concert with standing room only in a venue of over 500, my mic stopped working just as I began singing a song and I stepped forward and sang it off mic, above the instruments, and everyone was able to hear me! That was second only to someone jumping up on stage and tap dancing during a song performance!

What drains your batteries?
Someone who repeatedly tells me they’re going to do something, then doesn’t do it –especially when they then act as though they didn’t really say they were going to do it.

What charges them?
Performing/singing as well as experiencing a singer’s “ah-ha!” moments as I coach them.

Worst singing advice you’ve heard
“Don’t sing from your throat; push-in with your stomach as you sing; sing with a yawn/sing with an “open” throat; you should feel nothing (in your throat) when you sing.”

What most singers have to watch with vocal health
Not getting enough sleep to regenerate the muscles of the body; pushing out air as they sing which creates stress on the vocal muscles and can wear them down.

Favorite Album
Pink Floyd, The Wall.

What’s different about a vocalist vocation today compared to 20 years ago?
All the electronic aids – to maintain integrity as an artist it can be a big temptation to take the fast and easy offer. They do not last and that career crumbles just as fast as the illusion of it taking off. 20 – 30 years ago it was much more about the music and the message and making a connection with your audience – much more fulfilling for the audience and for the artist.

Favorite quote
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Goethe

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feed-back from Jeannie for each of the next 8 weeks. To get on our Peer Review email list, follow this link.

Useful Links
-Jeannie’s Website
-Jeannie on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
-Taking Command of Your Vocal Performance

More About Jeannie…

Jeannie Deva is the Celebrity Voice and Performance Coach seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels as well as many other television and radio talk shows. Jeannie is author of the internationally acclaimed Contemporary Vocalist book and CD series, as well as The Deva Method Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs CD. Past and present clients include Grammy Award Winners, American Idol finalists, members of J. Geils Band and Foghat, Felecia Howse of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, Lynda Carter, Broadway leads in Fame, Color Purple, Lion King and Wicked, singers for Sting, Stevie Wonder, Pink, Celine Dion, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera. Jeannie’s private studio is located in Los Angeles. She teaches in house and internationally via Internet web cam.