Today's Opinion

2006-4-24

Another year has started. Now I am earnestly looking for places to sing. There are several that I am really pursuing. I am finding that there are places that have live entertainment that I never knew existed. This is good. I have only been in the market since this past summer and have made teriffic strides, but now I need to continue my success…with the help of my friends. I feel that I will get a break very soon. You are going to hear from me!!!!

2005-12-12

I have been singing at various venues around town. I’m really enjoying it. I’m learning that things are not always done in a fair way. But I have been getting very good advice on how to go about doing things. I have found that many entertainers are/can be supportive…that they are not all backbiting…they are all not of the dog eat dog mentality. I listen, watch and learn. It just seems strange that I never learned these things when I was younger.

Now I am thinking about getting a group of musicians to practice with/rehearse with. I think of this as a natural progression.

2005-09-30
The Artist’s Creed
By
Jan Phillips

I believe that I am worth the time it takes to create whatever I’ve been called to create.

I believe my work is worthy of its own space which is worth of the name sacred.

I believe that when I enter this space, I have the right to work in silence, uninterrupted for as long as I choose.

I believe that the moment I open myself to the gifts of the muse, I open myself to the source of all creation and become one with the mother of life itself

I believe that my work is joyful, useful, and constantly changing, flowing through me like a river, with no beginning and no end.

I believe that what it is I am called to do will make itself known when I have made myself ready.

I believe that the time I spend creating my art is precious as the time I spend giving to others.

I believe that what truly matters in the making of art is not what the final piece looks like or sounds like, not what it is worth or not worth, but what newness gets added to the universe in the process of the piece itself becoming.

I believe that I am not alone in my attempts to create, and that once I begin to work, settle into the strangeness, the words take shape, form finds light, and the Spirit takes flight.

I believe that as the muse gives to me so does she deserve from me faith, mindfulness, and enduring commitment.

2005-08-13
I had an exciting week-end. I got to do what I had wanted to do through the help of a new friend. What is that they say…“I can get by with a little help from my friends.” That is so true, so true. I got to sit in at “Jazz on the Avenue” and at the “Jazz Kitchen”. That was lots of fun. The musicians were the type who play and you had better sing or else get ran over. I just loved it.

I got an offer to have my own night to perform at Jazz on the Avenue. So I hope that comes about. Nothing is firm but I’m going to start getting ready right now.

I didn’t get an offer at the Jazz Kitchen, but at least I had the opportunity to let them hear me. The future is wide open, anything is possible.

2005-07-07
I was surfing the net and found this. I don’t remember where I found it, but it reminds me of some of the things I need to do in this journey to voice.

The 10 Vocal Commandments
EVERY SERIOUS SINGER SHOULD KEEP

I. THOU SHALT keep the vocal cords moist at all times:
a. Consume at least 8 glasses of water a day.

b. Stay away from excessive amounts of diuretics (substances that dehydrate your body and your vocal cords). Two of the number one culprits are Alcohol and Caffeine. So…think twice before you have that second cup.

c. The real serious singer will sleep with a humidifier to make sure the vocal chords are kept moist during sleep.

II. THOU SHALT get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
A singer’s body is his/her instrument. Mistreat your instrument and it will show. Make sure to give your body and voice the proper rest it deserves.

III. THOU SHALT not smoke.
Among other incredible health concerns, smoking dries out the mucous membrane lining of the nose & throat which adversely affects the voice.

IV. THOU SHALT not overuse or mistreat the voice.
This would include talking over loud noises such as groups of people and loud machinery. Just like any other muscle, your vocal membranes and muscles can suffer from fatigue. In other words, don’t talk too much! It is also stressful to the voice to talk too quickly, so slow it down! Those people that have no choice but to tax their voices on a daily basis – singers, professional speakers, teachers, cheerleaders, auctioneers, etc.

V. THOU SHALT protect yourself from stress and nerve attacks prior to performances.

We suggest the following to fight the gig day jitters:

a. Develop a checklist for gig preparation. It might include dry cleaning, reviewing lyrics, or getting your hair cut! (Follow these guidelines and you should be calm, cool, collected and able to give your best performance!

b. Leave a few minutes early for the gig or rehearsal so you can focus prior to the performance. (If this is a new location, be sure you have the proper directions and contact phone number ready ahead of time.)

c. Develop a habit of warming-up with an organized vocal exercise program on the way to the gig to properly prepare your voice.

d. Prepare materials to help you during an “off night” or for special circumstances - lyric books, practice CDs and Tapes.

e. Have promotional material such as business cards and flyers organized so that you can access them easily at the appropriate time. Marketing yourself as a singer is as much a part of the battle as singing and performing well in the music industry.

Remember, properly preparing yourself allows you to focus all your energy on your performance.

VI. THOU SHALT NOT eat or drink milk products before performing.
Sorry, that means no chocolate or ice cream, among some other great tasting foods. These products cause the mucous membrane lining of the vocal cords to create a great deal of mucous that covers your vocal cords. In case you can’t guess or don’t already know, that makes it very hard to sing well.

VII. THOU SHALT keep thyself healthy and virus free.
We suggest eating right, exercising regularly (don’t forget that cardiovascular work to improve your breathing!), and taking a quality vitamin supplement each and every day! Remember, a singer’s body is his/her instrument! A finely tuned and maintained instrument will perform at a much higher level than an instrument that has been neglected.

VIII. THOU SHALT never sing without properly warming up.
If you were running in a marathon, would you begin without stretching your legs? Of course not. Doing this would risk reduced performance and possible cramping that would take you completely out of the race. The muscles associated with the voice organ would appreciate the same courtesy. Just like those hamstrings, your voice will reward you for taking the time to properly warm up before strenuous use.

IX. THOU SHALT SMILE.
Smiling not only helps with tone placement of the singing voice, it also improves your attitude! Try it! It really works. It’s infectious too!

X. THOU SHALT enjoy life and celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small they may seem.
Sing for fun, sing because you love it, sing because you can. Share your voice with the world and enjoy your journey as you learn not just to sing, but to sing with impact!

2005-05-25
I was surfing the net and found this. I don’t remember where I found it, but it expresses what I think and where I am in this journey to voice.

“I want to sing! I love to sing! I desire with all my heart to sing! And I know that Life would never give me the desire to do this without giving me also the ability to do it. I trust that with help and my own dedication, I cannot help but succeed. I will practice my singing the way a farmer tends his crops…with daily nourishment and with patience…and soon…the day is upon me when my voice spills out of me into the world with ease, with effortlessness, with strength and beauty that I never knew I could produce before. I am confident! I rest in the knowledge that it’s only a matter of time before the voice I envision here in my quiet place, is manifested. Conceive, Believe, Receive shall be my motto from now on.”

2005-05-10
Remember, I am not a lounge singer. I am a straight ahead jazz vocalist…can’t scat like Ella, but I do get my message across…and have fun doing it.


2005-05-02
Today, I went to the dentist. I know tomorrow or later today my mouth will be sore…had my teeth cleaned. Every good vocalist should have that done…have a sparkling clean smile.

The remainder of the day I guess I will just listen to music, compare arrangements and think about what I would do differently. I can sure see where practicing with keyboards will really help. I’ve just never had someone practice with me before. In the past it was always practice on stage…now I’m sure I will feel more confident singing my new songs. By the way, I have added quite a few new ones. Take a look at my “Reality” page to see what I will be singing.

Remember, I am not a lounge singer. I am a straight ahead jazz vocalist…can’t scat like Ella, but I do get my message across…and have fun doing it.


2005-04-24
I don’t think I am stuck into “the old days”. I love all kinds of music including rap and the new R&B. I just appreciate the quality of vocalists of the past, and appreciate the struggles they went through just to get recorded and distributed…and who knew about contracts and owning masters.

Quality, creativity and craftsmenship is evident in such vocalists as Sarah Vaughn, Diana Washington, Gloria Lynne, Nancy Wilson, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen Mcrae, Shirley Horn (you’ll notice I’m mentioning only female singers)and many others who never got recorded (including myself). The general public just doesn’t realize how hard it is for a female to make it…or even try. There are so many pit falls/traps set by some self-centered people who are only thinking of their lusts and wants and ignore the fact that they are killing creativity, talent and quality. Some of the new shows, even American Idol, does its share of shutting talent out.

Oh my goodness, I feel a “rant” coming on, so I will stop for today.

Just remember, this is my opinion.