Category: General Interest

Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Your Body-Your Instrument-is Smarter Than Your Mind
by Sally

Your body is smarter than your mind. Your body is your singing instrument. So why does singing seem to be so difficult? Sing Like You Speak™ is here to teach you it ain’t necessarily so.

Breathing is completely natural. You are reading this, so your breathing is working – you are alive.

And yet when it comes to singing, we second-guess or even doubt the body’s natural ability. We actually override nature by overthinking the process and relying on the mind to ‘figure it out’ instead of trusting the natural process of breathing and phonation. We actually invite the mind to participate in a perfectly natural process.

Does this sound familiar?

You take an inhale and you immediately think, that isn’t enough air to get through the phrase! So you push and pull at the muscles of your abdomen to “help” your singing process.

But guess what? You run out of breath even faster!

That’s what happens when you take a subconscious process – breathing – and make it a conscious process.

The purpose of your inhale is to open the whole instrument. It is to open your resonators, release the jaw and larynx and open all the way down to the lower back and abdominal muscles, thus activating those powerful muscles that will naturally work to propel breath and sound easily through your open instrument.

When I was developing Sing Like You Speak™ my contemporary vocal technique, I could not ignore the fact that singing is natural. And if singing is natural and breathing is natural – what makes singing so difficult?

Makes singing difficult…

Voice teachers who tell you to manipulate and force the physical instrument
Trying to imitate most singers recorded after 1997 where the singer has been recorded (first was Roy Vedas Fragments of Life) and then a sound engineer has manipulated the voice for better pitch, tone quality, rhythm. You are not listening to a voice but to an electronically altered sound that cannot be imitated by the human instrument.
Myths or false thoughts about the effort involved in singing
Trusting the mind and not the body

Sing Like You Speak™ always uses the natural physiological process for simple, healthy signing. Your inhale is to open the instrument. Done right, releases the jaw, tongue and larynx, opens resonators and activates the very intelligent low abdominal and back muscles. That sound like a lot to do but it can be achieve with one thought.

When I have new voice students who has studied voice with another teacher in the past there’s always a conversation that goes something like this.

Student: That’s it? That’s all you do to inhale?

Sally: Absolutely! A simple opening inhale.

Student: But how do I get enough air to sing a long phrase or to sustain a pitch?

Sally: With a simple opening inhale. It seems you want to feel how much effort you are using to breathe.

Student: Of course. The effort tells me that I’ve gotten a good inhale.

Sally: Aren’t you taking lessons to learn how your singing can be effortless?

Student: Well, I didn’t really believe that it could be easy. My last teacher taught me to push out on the inhale and pull in like crazy to exhale.

Sally: Yes, that’s typical old-school teaching. Let’s experiment with a simple, opening inhale.

First step is a simple, opening inhale…

Align your instrument collarbones wide, head on top of the body
Release the jaw and tongue
Feel as though you are opening your instrument all the way to your bottom
Blow the breath out and simply observe how the abdominal and lower back muscles are working – just observe to not interfere.
Use the above breathing process for our experiment proving how brilliant the body can be. No pushing or pulling of belly muscle allowed!

Experiment 1

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying an FFFFFF
Observe what muscles are working

Experiment 2

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying a VVVVV (be a motorcycle)
Observe what muscles are working

Experiment 3

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying a ZZZZZ (be a bumble bee)
Observe what muscles are working

Experiment 4

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale sighing an MMMMM
Observe what muscles are working
What did you observe?

If you were able to perform the simply opening inhale then with each experiment you felt a different set of muscles working. The physical intelligence of your instrument chose which muscles to use. Your physical intelligence simply knows what to do. Your mind cannot possibly figure out how to use different muscles for different consonant sounds.

I love the fact that my physical intelligence takes over the singing process when I allow it to. Taking the process out of my mind and putting it into the body where it belongs lets me focus on the music, on phrasing, on character, on enjoying the massive vibration of my sound and having a blast doing so!

Click here for the best voice lessons on the web!

What is Solidays?
Clara Zicaro

From the 22th to the 24th of June 2018, the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris was welcoming the well-known French festival called Solidays. It is organized by Soliarité Sida, a French HIV/AIDS awareness for youth. Since 1999, this engaged festival is held. The money collected is donated to organizations fighting against AIDS. It is especially focused on the African continent.

This week-end, for its 20th birthday, Solidays received 210,000 participants and more than 150 singers. Artists in this festival agree to perform with a reduced fee or for free as a sign of their solidarity.

A lot of concerts were gather in 5 different stages.
Have a look at the map and the planning!

Over the years, French and foreign artists have appeared at Solidays, such as DJ Snkae, Bigflo & Oli, Kungs, Vanessa Paradus, Synapson, David Guetta, Mac Miller, M83, Bénabar, Shaka Ponk, Diplo, Lily Allen, Louise Attaque, and Grand Corps Malade.

My favorite artists for Day 1: Jain

For the launching of her lastest EP Alright, the French pop star, Jain went to Solidays. She released her first EP Zanaka, in 2015. In this album, “Makeba” was talking about civil rights leader. It is an energic and engaged singer who is ready to make things move.

Her particularities:
Jain makes upbeat dance pop adding African rhythms, because she grew up there and then came back to France.
She favors one particular costume in her shows and in her album artwork – a simple black dress with a white Peter Pan collar – recalling the dress in the “American Gothic” painting.
The synth-playing singer was saying that ‘Music is all about travelling’, she succeeds to make us travel last Friday.

The best of Day 2: Her, Shaka Ponk

With his void and profound voice, Her and his group perform a modern soul. They choose this particular band name to defend the cause of women and feminism. Their song, Quite Like depicted the beauty and the female sweetness using the appearance of a young woman.

Solidays welcomes for the second time, the famous rock band called Shaka Ponk. With their animal rock tinted with a furious electro music, they set the stage on fire last Saturday!

For Day3: Two Door Cinema Club, Clara Luciani, The Kills, L’impératrice, Thérapie Taxi

Between pop, rock and electro music, The Two Door Cinema Club band has been created in 2007. The trio knows a success in 2012 with their album Beacon. In 2015, they try a different track: ’80s nostalgia with Gameshow. It is Irish a new indie pop outfit. The band curiously venturing into new genres, what make us travel through their songs.

Clara Luciani “uses poetry as a weapon and music as a fig” according to the Soliday official website. She was in the French rock band La Femme before becoming a solo artist. She is a composer-songwriter-player. In 2018, she published her first album Sainte-Victoire, which knows a positive reception from the press. With all her knowledge and collaborations Clara Luciani steps in the good direction in the music industry.

To announce the publication of their lastest album last year, Ash & Ice, The Kills went to perform at the Solidays. They are bringing in boombox beats with Brazilian and Afro-pop influences. This duo, thanks to this album is at its peak.

L’impératrice is a French pop and disco band created in 2012 in Paris. Their first EP is a homonym and has been published in 2012. This band is composed of 6 musicians who bring the “heat of the 70s, the sweetness of the synth and a tropical rhythm” according to the Solidays official website.

Thérapie Taxi (sometimes called Therapie TAXI) is a French band who mixes many musical styles such as pop, rock and rap. They are inspired by groups such as La Femme and Fauve. In March 2017, Thérapie Taxi publish an EP, then they perform in famous festivals, for instance Rock en Seine. In February 2018, the band releases their first album Hit Sale. Since this date, Thérapie Taxi is one of the nineteen artists to register a register a cover in Deezer.

Angie Joseph: New Project, New Music, New Goals – “October Rain” Rockin’ 2018

by Clara Zicarco

Paris-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Angie Joseph talks with HorizonVU’s Clara Zicaro about her new project and new music. Visit October Rain at October Rain. Listen to the acoustic version of “In The Middle” on SoundCloud. Photo Credit (below): *ThéOdora *Sabath* Shoot* at Facebook

*ThéOdora *Sabath* Shoot*

Let’s discover Angie Joseph

CZ: Tell us more about your musical career?
I sing and play different instruments such as guitar and bass. I have been in different bands since I’m 16. My last band was called Under The Skin and is essentially composed of two peoples, my close friend Yan and me, we composed the songs, the other members were interpret. I have now decided to start my first solo project under the name of « October rain ». I didn’t want to put my real name on it.

CZ: When will your EP be released?
It will be released in September, although we expect a singles release in July. My songs have just been mixed in England.

CZ: Have you received some help from musicians for your project?
Yes, my friend Tarah G. Carpenter (Tarah Who?), is the drummer for my songs. She is currently in Los Angeles.

CZ: Why do you sing in English?
In my opinion, when you sing Rock music, it is better to use English rather than French.

CZ: Is music your main activity?
Music isn’t my principal job, I am currently a communication and graphism officer.

CZ: What do you sing about in your songs?
In my songs, I talk about what I feel, about what a person makes me feel or about inspired topics. I do not have limitations for writing, as I am alone in my project, I do not have to convince anyone. I will now try to go in further reflexion about the society in my music. When I was in a band, writing was always about generality, to better fit to everyone.

CZ: Where and how do you find your inspiration to write songs?
It really depends to each tune. Sometimes the melody comes in my mind, then I transcribe it in a partition. I can find inspiration by playing with my guitar. Sometimes it happens that I first find the lyric, then the melody.

CZ: Roughly, how many concerts have you done? Do you prefer huge or small rooms?
I think I have done between 100 and 200 concerts in 15 years. It is really hard to perform in the first part of a concert. The challenge is to grab the attention of the audience.

CZ: Who are your favorite artists?
There are a lot, for example: Tool, Queens of the stone age, Foo fighters, Radiohead, Royal Blood, Brody Dalle, Dead Sara, Deap Vally, Imogen Heap, Rival Sons, PJ Harvey, Dry Can, Tarah Who? and Pink.

CZ: How do you describe your music?
The sound is raw, simple, effective, no frills, minimalist. It’s rock, it’s pop, it’s alternative rock.

CZ: Thanks a lot for your time. We look forward to the EP release and more from October Rain.

HorizonVU Music at Midem 2018
Clara Zicaro

Let’s summarize what happen in the home of the global music community. From the 5th to the 8th of June, Cannes welcomes the biggest annual meeting of the music industry. This year, there were over 80 countries, and more than 4000 participants at the international b2b music market. Since more than 50 years, the Midem is created to “share passion for music, build and develop business artist relationships, discover the trends and sounds of tomorrow and…let’s not forget…have some fun”, said the director Alexandre Deniot. On the syllabus, labels, online listening sites and artists meetings during the day, continued by concerts in the evening at the Majestic Hotel beach. The new initiative this years, is to focus on Africa, indeed there were a whole African Midem. Then, by 2022, the Midem want to insure parity in its programming and its conferences.

Live again the « meeting place for the global industry » through its youtube channel

Snail Mail

Visit Snail Mail at Facebook and iTunes

Lindsey Jordan has released her second recording as Snail Mail. Following on 2016s EP, “Lush” features astonishing guitar work and confident vocals that really work and are undoubtedly going to place her on the charts now and going forward.

Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak(TM) is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

You can see and hear some of Sally’s clients on Broadway stages, Off-Broadway, in Musical Theater – Regional, on Major Label Recordings, the Conan O’Brian show, A Prairie Home Companion and in Federal Courts, the PA House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.

3 Studio Techniques to Get Better Vocal Performances from Any Singer
by Sally
Originally Published by SONICSCOOP

Singer: “Let’s do 1 more take, please.”

Producer: “Ok, I’m running out of tracks here. TAKE 54!”

Those are actual words spoken to a vocal student of mine by a producer in a recording session. It was not actually the 54th time recording the song; it was a sarcastic outburst from a frustrated musician.

The most charitable reading of the producer’s remarks is that he was failing at being playful or funny, rather than succeeding at being cruel. But regardless of his intent, his comments brought the absolute end of any productivity in the studio that day.

It was also the end of my student’s relationship with the producer—and mine. Never again will I subject a voice student to such carelessness or cruelty. I had told the producer before we set up the session date that my student was very inexperienced and needed support and encouragement. How could I send another student back to him?

Even with an experienced singer, a producer’s job includes giving support and encouragement when it is required. When you approach a vocal session with encouragement and support, a singer will perform with so much more confidence. The results of the recording session will be much higher quality and may even include that magical spark that makes a recording into a real work of art.

There are many small ways a producer or engineer can inadvertently yet deeply undermine a singer’s ability to perform in the studio.

Singer: “I am so nervous!”

Producer: “Well don’t be.”

This too is not the right thing to say! The singer already knows it isn’t helpful to be nervous and is thinking, “Yeah sure, but how?”

Stage fright and nerves can be the death of a singer’s spontaneity, creativity. Nervousness grips at a singer’s instrument—the body—and can quite literally strangle the voice and stop it from vibrating fully.

So let’s take a look at some specific practical techniques a producer can use to help a singer through a recording session.

1) Mindful Breathing

Fortunately breathing—specifically, mindful breathing—can keep singers in the present moment, keep them in the music, and keep them from freaking out about the end result.

It has been repeatedly a proven that mindful breathing lowers the heart rate and blood pressure while increasing brain function.

To give your your singer a nearly instant mental and physical “reset”, guide him or her through this simple mindful breathing exercise that can be taught in a moment, with benefits that will show after just 3 repetitions.

-Inhale by opening down into the body to the count of 4

-Suspend the breath by suspending the open body to the count of 5

-Actively blow the breath out to the count of 6

-Repeat a minimum of 3 times

Pause and try it right now for yourself and see how much it changes your perspective and calms your own nervous energy. Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of fine and exhale slowly and firmly for a count of 6.

I’ve seen this very simple bit of mindful breathing bring a singer back off the ledge. For more on calming stage fright take a look at and encourage the new and inexperienced singers you work with to take a look at these techniques for themselves in advance of their first sessions with you.

2) Help the Singer to “Sing to Someone They Know”

A singer who isn’t really in the song, who is just phoning it in, instead of really getting down and dirty with the song, is a singer who isn’t communicating. And if music is about anything, isn’t is about communicating an authentic emotion or perspective to an end listener?

“Sing it like you’re talking!” is a popular saying among producers for good reason. Unfortunately, unless they are students of a course like my Sing Like You Speak™ series, they are once again thinking “Ok, but how?!”

Here are 2 simple instructions to get a singer communicating through the song, and singing like they are talking to their BFF.

Ask the singer to decide who she or he is talking to and what is his or her relationship to that person. If the person they choose does not bring out the best for the song, ask the singer to use someone else just for giggles and listen to how their tone of voice changes.

Ask the singer to “say” the lyrics very clearly, and with meaning. This does not mean over enunciating by working the jaw too much. It means focusing on getting the simple, clear meaning of the words across.

Ask the singer “What makes you begin singing this song? What happened the moment before singing this song that you are responding to?” This helps them get into the “story” behind the song and focus on what the performs really means.

3) Help the Singer Catch their Breath

When a singer is running out of breath way too fast, it’s usually due to nerves that interfere with getting a deep inhale. I have 2 very simple exercises to unlock a singer’s breathing.

Pant like a dog. This forces the singers breath down into the abs that are meant to propel breath and sound through the body.

Be Santa! Say, “ho, ho, ho!” imitating a good belly laugh.

Even better yet, real laughter will always do the trick. Just be sure not to make a joke at the singers’ expense or you too could find yourself with one less vocal client coming back for deeply productive and supportive sessions with you.

Summing it Up

Sally Morgan teaches singers to unlock their talents and find their true voice at

The techniques I have shared here have served my students and me very well over many years.

They are simple, practical, and everyone can use them. As an empathetic producer, you can use these tools to establish connection with a singer, and help them connect with the end listener.

Help them learn techniques like these, and you will be the hero of every vocal session that comes through your doors!

Sally teaches singing voice lessons in NYC and worldwide on ZOOM.

Online voice lessons

Review by Clara Zicaro

Modern Studies
Welcome Strangers
Fire Records

Visit Modern Studies at Facebook and iTunes

Modern Studies band suits well its name, uniting pastoral chamber pop and folk, their approach is experimental. Pooled of creativity, this group of multi-instrumentalists first appeared in 2016. This Scottish chamber pop quartet is composed by the Glaswegian singer/songwriter and doublebassist Emily Scott, the singer/guitarist Rob St. John, the cellist Pete Harvey and the drummer Joe Smillie. Their gentle blend of sounds and harmonies could be inspired by some Britain visionaries such as Fairport Convention, Kate Bush, Pentangle, Nick Drake, Richard & Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts. Modern Studies just released last 18th, ten tracks in their second record “Welcome Strangers” led by the nagging and hypnotic voice of Emily Scott. The first song called Get Back Down, begins as a tuning instrument time before concert, then a complex jazzy rhythm is installed where string and brass flourishes. Airy vocals made by Emily are then joined by Rob St John. Progressively, the orchestra opener is transformed into a real concert. The lead single “Mud and Flame” demonstrates a rich vocal presence. Inventive techniques have been established with analogue synths, tube organs, drum machines and mellotrons, this exposes how Emily creates the stuttering rhythm at the beginning of the song.

This second album is a big leap for Modern Studies, showing a promising future in the music industry. See you to their next concert, on Wednesday, May 25 in Edinburg!

Carla Bozulich

Visit Carla Bozulich at Facebook and iTunes

Recognizing that time moves on and artists evolve (a least the very goods ones), “Quieter” is Carla Bozulich’s fifth album, and perhaps, it is her best. The list of collaborators include Marc Ribot, Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith, Freddy Ruppert, Andrea Belfi, JHNO and our friend Sarah Lipstate. Not that her earlier work should be overlooked, but “Quieter” seems more mature. If you are into music-color pairing, you might think about Bozulich’s earier work as red with the kind of tense, scary vibe you get by using diminished 7th chords.

The tension is still there, but maybe the album takes on a sort-of-purple-blue color. It’s hard to say. In any case, with this new release Bozulich demonstrates her continued willingness to experiment, which makes the album particularly important. The opening track “Let It Roll”, a collaboration with John Eichenseer (JHNO) and Andrea Belfi, is eerily seductive in it’s lyrics and instrumentation/effects. “Written in Smoke” is a collaboration with Sarah Lipstate gives exceptional expression to a hazy or murky atmosphere. The final track, “End of the World,”is a jazz-blues piece co-written by Marc Ribot leaves us with the uncomfortable proposition that the end will come in its own time and fostering the kind of pain that parallels the sound of shutters on rusted hinges whipping in the wind. The album is intelligent and deserves acclaim.

Tess Roby
Italians Do It Better

“Beacon” is Tess Roby’s debut release. Roby is a classically trained musician who has deployed her skills moreso in her compositions and in the arrangements. There’s nothing particularly complex going on here. In fact, the songs themselves are quite straightforward, but that is not a criticism as the album is entirely in line with her musically set reminisciences.

Visit Tess Roby at Facebook and iTunes

Laura Veirs
The Lookout
Raven Marching Band Records

This is Laura Veirs’ tenth album and her exquisite, smooth vocals are blended with excellent musicianship from guests like Sufjan Stevens and Jim James. Her husband, Tucker Martine, can claim high recognition for the production. The tracks on this album lend themselves to feeling a sense of naturalness or freedom and given solidly based musical foundations it’s an album deserving of attention.

Visit Laura Veirs at Facebook and iTunes

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