Category: General Interest


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.

Guess How Much I Spent on Voice Lessons
by Sally

My quest to find the solutions to my singing challenges began when I was a teenager. Mom and Dad got me voice lessons and I rarely took a break from studying for the next many years.

Then in 2005 long after I left my teens behind, I realized that I had spent over $100,000 on voice lessons over the years. And even after spending that much money studying with “top” voice teachers in NYC, I still did not have the answers to my singing needs.

#1 I knew my voice was still trapped inside my body. I could feel it. I knew it was there but I could not figure out how to let it go and the voice teachers I was relying on for help didn’t know how to set it free either.

#2 My singing was still unreliable and inconsistent. When I opened my mouth to sing I never knew what was going to come out. My stage fright became almost unbearable from this lack of consistency.

#3 I still feel disengaged from the audience. The only time I felt like I was really connecting with the audience was when I was joking around and talking to them. I wanted to connect with my audience through the music because that’s what real artists do.

$100,000+ later and these 3 major challenges still plagued my singing. Yikes!

I developed Sing Like You Speak™ to solve these issues for my students and myself. The Sing Like You Speak(TM) techniques continue to prove highly effective in solving most vocal challenges and provide answers to many other questions of technique for singers.

Let’s take a look at singing challenge #1 and how to begin setting your voice free. When I gave my Sing Like You Speak(TM) workshop at SXSW, many singers said a trapped voice was a frustrating problem for them too.

How about you? Have you ever felt that your voice was trapped inside your body? To me it felt like a lump in my throat that had traveled to my chest. When I tried to get the sound out it seemed to lock itself in there. My heart felt shut down too. How does it feel to you?

Now switch that around. How would it feel to set your singing voice free? Luxurious, fantastic, joyful! The question is HOW? How do you set your voice free?

Sing Like You Speak™ is all about answering that question.

Setting your voice free requires…

-A clear and open path through your instrument for breath and sound to flow
-The right techniques to open your instrument
-Awareness of any holding, pushing, straining
-The strength and willingness to stay open as you sing
-Consider that your instrument is from your bottom to the top of your head – your torso. Straighten your torso by opening along your spine like opening a book. Then…

1. Your inhale serves to open your instrument – it’s not about lots of breath.
2. Unhinge the jaw and feel as though you are opening all the way to your bottom.
3. Exhale saying an FFFF, letting the breath float up into your nasal passages and sinus cavities – your resonators.
4. Pay attention to the moment you switch from inhale to exhale. Do you feel any holding, pushing, straining?
5.If yes, then repeat the opening inhale and do your best to gently release the holding, pushing, straining from the process. Repeat.
6.Unhinge the jaw and feel as though you are opening all the way to your bottom. Then as you exhale saying an FFFF, think of keeping your heart space open. Feel your breath releasing.
7. Use the same process and speak the lyrics to your song.
8. Use the same process and sing a song being aware of releasing, constantly release the breath and sound, keep your heart space open.

Congratulations you have begun to set your voice free! Continue to practice the above process every day – several times a day. This isn’t a one-and-done deal. It requires daily practice.

Every moment you put into your practice will get you closer and closer to that luxurious feeling and amazing sound of vocal freedom!

Have fun. For answers to other singing challenges, visit https://SingLikeYouSpeak.com

P.S. I had a very interesting experience while writing this article. I took a break to sing for a bit and I noticed that my voice was ever freer than usual. Reading the article might work the same magic for you!

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

Sally@SallyMorganVoice.com

Online voice lessons http://SingLikeYouSpeak.com/onlinelessons


Frankie Cosmos
Vessel
Sub Pop

Frankie Cosmos (Greta Kline) has released “Vessel”. While the album follows on previous recordings (“Zentropy”, 2014; “Fit Me In”, 2015; and “Next Thing”, 2016), this is the first full-band release. Frankie is joined by bassist Alex Bailey, who joined after recording; the keyboardist and vocalist Lauren Martin; and the drummer Luke Pyenson. The album is just plain great indie pop. Songs are not too complex, often short and they always hace an idea; something to say. Now, your new to Frankie Cosmos , you might start with “Next Thing”, but in any case, “Vessel” hits the mark.

Visit Frankie Cosmos at Facebook and iTunes


Review by Clara Zicaro

Sunflower Bean
Twentytwo in Blue
Mom + Pop Music

Visit Sunflower Bean at Facebook and iTunes

Meet the 22-Year-Old Brooklyn Rockers of Sunflower Bean. With lead singer Julia Cumming, guitarist Nick Kivlen, and drummer Jacob Faber, this alternative rock band released their much clearer second album “Twentytwo in Blue” exposing a new identity of twenty-two year olds from their younger 2013 selves. These young millennials chose their band name out of their two favorite things: sunflower seeds and coffee beans.

Derived from some albums of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or The Doors, their music is psychedelic rock. Newly inspired by the current political turmoil under Trump’s presidency, songs in their album, specifically “Burn it” and “Human for,” expresses honest emotions of life as they have evolved into twenty-two year olds dealing with rising challenges of growing up. This hypnotic and repetitive rhythm communicates a pleasant, yet rebellious attitude. The melodic sound, much more defined than before, has eighties rock vibes connected with deep lyrics supported by strong emotions. Critically acclaimed by many as their “most complete” song, “Twentytwo”, incorporates elements of Dylan Thomas’ poetry backed by Julia Cumming’s solid songwriting. They also pay homage to their roots in “I Was a Fool” and “Memoria” as they refer back to “Human Ceremony” on their first album.

The Sunflower seeds have sprouted, and they are shining brighter than ever. Look for Sunflower Bean to enjoy an extended life.


Elk City
Everybody’s Insecure
Bar/None Records

Visit Elk City at Facebook and iTunes

Elk City’s Ray Ketchem (drums) and Renée LoBue (vocals) are back with “Everybody’s Insecure” their first release since 2008. The hypertalented duo have teamed with guitarist Sean Eden, keyboardist Carl Baggeley and bassist Martin Olson. The band has most certainly held on to its brand of eclecticism melting together shades of rock, pop, jazz and a bit of soul. The album earns high marks for both virtuosity and strength with the scale pretty much in balance between the two. Ray Ketchem deserves special recognition for outstanding production work, and one simply cannot overlook (overlisten) Renée LoBue’s extraordinary vocals, which are so essential to the recording’s melodic shapes. “25 Lines” is posted for a listen below, but there are other standout tracks such as “Ride the Slide” and the album’s title track “Everybody’s Insecure”.


Gloria
Oîdophon Echoram
Ample Play / Howlin’ Banana

Visit Gloria at Facebook and Bandcamp

The French band, Gloria, is back after their 2016 release “In Excelsis Stereo”. If you’re familiar with the band, the new six-track recording “Oîdophon Echoram” will no doubt be in line with expectations. It’s true that the group is to some extent framed by psych-garage, but that seems a bit too narrow. In fact, the group is quite eclectic, and pinning them down one way or another doesn’t seem entirely just. Okay, go with psych-garage, but you can’t help but pick up on the texture. Moreover, the female vocals make it hard not to think back to pop “girl groups” from the 80’s and the early ’90s. Have a look and listen to “Heavy” which is the lead track from “Oîdophon Echoram”. You’ll have a pretty good sense for what to expect from the rest of the album. Check out Gloria. It’s definitely worth your time to have a listen.


Joan Baez
Whistle Down the Wind
Razor & Tie

Visit Joan Baez at Facebook and iTunes

“Whistle Down the Wind” is the American folk icon’s first release in ten years and what she has pronounced to be her last album. In speaking about the release, she has made clear that the election of Donald Trump, gave new life and impetus to her wanting to compose and effect change through her music as she has done for decades. The album, the first-rate production work by three time Grammy-award winner Joe Henry, authentically captures Baez’s seasoned vocals. For the most part, the recording, which features compositions by Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Anohni and Mary Chapin Carpenter, leaves one feeling skeptical or unsure toward America’s future, but in the end, we sense that there is some promise of hope in the final track, Tim Erikson’s “I Wish the Wars Were All Over”. It’s a bit sad, particularly for those who well-remember Baez from the 1960s and 70s, to think that she is taking a curtain call with “Whistle Down the Wind”, but this is an album that is emotionally genuine inspiring action in the face of social dishonesty and injustice.


Screaming Females
All at Once
Don Giovanni

Visit Screaming Females at Facebook and iTunes

Screaming Females, Marissa Paternoster (guitar vocal), Mike Abbate (bass) and Jarrett Dougherty (drums) have once again teamed with producer Matt Bayles on the group’s seventh album. “All at Once” follows the 2015 release “Rose Mountain” with a more mature recording showing off the ability to cover a broad space in terms of genres and diversity ranging from the pop-punk “I’ll Make You Sorry” to the weighty and thunderous opening track “Glass House”. Covering a broad space is not intended to suggest that there’s room to take a leisurely sonic walk. There’s plenty of movement from start to finish. Screaming Females has successfully stretched the idea of post-punk showing off experience and confidence without losing the dynamics, passion and outright force that put them on the music map.


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.

Help! My Voice is Trapped and Can’t Get Out!
by Sally

s your voice locked in a room – somewhere deep inside of you? More than locked, it can feel like there are no doors or windows in this room and that your voice will never be allowed to break free. The voice is apparently inaccessible. But is it really locked?

And yet, you have to sing. Something else inside of you needs to sing to express yourself, to feel powerful and happy and free.

I often hear private students make statements like this…

“I can’t find my voice and I don’t even know how to start looking. I feel like it’s trapped in a room somewhere.”

How sad to feel that way. How wonderful though when you realize that you feel that way about your voice. Wonderful because if you can feel it, you can fix it.

You are not alone. I’m going to tell you about 2 of my private students who suffer from these same feelings.

First, is a student who is a fierce and confident dancer. She’s insanely good! She’s been on national TV many times and teaches dance all over the world. This woman is also a very good singer and songwriter.

So as her voice teacher I asked her to get into her dancer character to do the lesson to give her that same fierce confidence. Her reaction really surprised me. She became, for the first time in my association with her, shy and embarrassed.

What??? You dance as this fierce, confident character but don’t allow yourself to use that same star quality to sing? Curious. She has not claimed her power as a singer.

That’s how deeply personal singing is to the singer. It also illustrates the many beliefs about expressing yourself that you may not be aware of at all.

This is also why people love to listen to singing. Singing communicates the deepest emotions. Singing expresses Truth. And when your singing voice is free it’s the best feeling in the world!

Another private student tells me that he feels like his voice is trapped in a “room” deep inside. Somehow he has come to believe that he’s “not allowed” to access his brilliant natural voice.

Borrowing a concept from new thought leader Marianne Williamson, you may ask…

“Who am I to claim my power as a singer?”

That’s not the question.

The question is, “Who are you not to claim the power of your natural talent? Who are you to not develop and share this vocal gift?”

Diminishing yourself, diminishing your musical gift does not serve anyone. In fact, it robs you and all who love to listen to you of the pleasure.

How do you overcome the habit of keeping your voice trapped?

– Watch your thoughts about your voice. Your thoughts a powerful force that cause a response in your physical body – your instrument. (Read more…)

– Figure out where your voice is trapped. Breathe into that spot to open the door to freedom. (Read more…)

Get vocal training with a knowledgeable voice teacher.

– Create a character who is a fabulous, confident singer. See yourself as that character. Become that character to learn exactly what it feels like to be a confident singer.

– When you sing, check out how it feels to sing as your fierce, confident character.

– Practice, practice, practice!

I love what I do every day – empowering the voices of singers worldwide. When a student tells me that I have helped them set their voice free, that I gave them the key to unlock their voice, that’s the biggest thrill for me.

I remember what it felt like when my own voice was trapped inside and I did not know how to set it free. That’s why I developed Sing Like You Speak™. And it’s very gratifying to witness how the Sing Like You Speak™ technique and my teaching is setting voices free all over the world!

Join us on the road to vocal freedom!

For many more tips and much more practical vocal training, join the Sing Like You Speak™ Academy !


Anaïs
Conceived and Created by Janet Roston and Cindy Shapiro
Music and Lyrics by Cindy Shapiro
Directed and Choreographed by Janet Roston

ANAÏS – A DANCE OPERA
LA NOUVELLE EVE – PARIS
25, RUE PIERRE FONTAINE
75009PARIS – FRANCE
Monday, 12 March 2018 to Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Tickets FNAC and ticketmaster

Anaïs is a critically-acclaimed work created by composer/lyricist Cindy Shapiro and director/choreographer Janet Roston incorporating music, dance and visual projections into a cutting edge stage production that explores and illuminates the riveting life of famed diarist and literary figure Anaïs Nin and her world of words, sex, passion and creativity.

Anaïs celebrates Nin’s story as one of personal and artistic triumph which continues to influence the world today. Sensuous, probing, compelling and thought provoking, the production is presented with one live female vocalist as Eternal Anaïs supported by six dancers who, with projections, tell the absorbing life story of Anaïs Nin. The dancers bring the controversial author to life in a production that shatters stage conventions in the same way Nin herself violated literary and societal expectations.

Cindy Shapiro’s lyrics and music, with Janet Roston’s intricate choreography and direction, and deeply engaging visual projections by designer Joe LaRue, weave Nin’s story, intertwining excerpts from her diaries and her groundbreaking erotica.

The dancers and vocalist unveil the author’s journey of self-discovery which took her from a naïve young housewife into the café society of Paris, where she emerged as an important literary figure during the 1930s, through her life in the United States during and after World War II, to her death and its aftermath in the 1970s.

These adventures of self-exploration led the author through numerous simultaneous relationships, bigamy, and grand deceptions which she kept track of using what she called her “Lie Box.” Nin believed in living her life as freely as a man and for that she was chastised after her death. Her legacy is currently being revived, she is revered as a multifaceted, multidimensional woman who created her own heat and became her own sun.

Poster Design: James Levy
Photo: Barry Weiss

The production premiered at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles, played to sold-out crowds and extended it’s run to accommodate demand. It was produced by Mixed eMotion Theatrix.

Anaïs has the support of the Anaïs Nin Trust and Nin’s publisher, Paul Herron

The show is designed to tour easily with no sets, limited costumes and props and all music, except lead vocal, on track.

The music and lyrics by Cindy Shapiro, an artist-in-residence at Cité International des Arts and a Tides Grant recipient, blend classical contemporary layering with a rock sensibility.

The choreography by Janet Roston, an Ovation Award-winning choreographer, is contemporary with sections inspired by vintage dance.

Joe LaRue, whose projections amaze and enlighten, is the editor of Nigeria’s topgrossing film of 2014, and a filmmaker whose shorts have been screened at numerous film festivals.

Janet Roston
(Director/Choreographer)
As Director/Choreographer credits include Midsummer Night for the Tennessee Shakespeare Company and Texas New Musical Festival (co-creator with composers Milburn and Vigoda), Striking 12 ( Laguna Playhouse), Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera (ART, Boston), CarnEvil (Sacred Fools Theater), shAme, (King King Nightclub) and The Wanting (Highways Performance Space). Janet created choreography for the hit productions, The Boy From Oz and The Color Purple, Celebration Theatre). She received the Ovation Award, NAACP Award and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for choreography on The Color Purple. Additional choreography: Justin Love, (Celebration Theatre, LADCC Award); Once On this Island, (International City Theater, NAACP Nomination); Avenue X, Odyssey Theater, Ovation Award Nomination); Psyche, A Modern Rock Opera, (Greenway Court Theater) and Failure, A Love Story (Coeurage Theater, Ovation
Nomination). Her contemporary choreography has been presented at London’s Royal Academy of Music and in Cannes, France. Her work was awarded at the Palm
Desert Choreography Festival and selected for the Los Angeles Dance Festival. She has received two American Choreography Awards, is a proud alumni of the Directors Lab and a member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers.

Cindy Shapiro
(Composer/Librettist)
Cindy Shapiro is a multi-faceted artist with a rich musical history. She was a rock singer in New York City, and has toured the world with Video Games
Live, a symphonic show of music from Video Games. She has sung with some of the greatest symphonies in the world, including the LA Phil and the London Philharmonia Orchestra. She toured Japan with the Roger Wagner Chorale, and was a Cantor at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. She sings on video game, television and film soundtracks. Cindy was an artist-in-residence at Cité Internationale des Arts where she composed an opera based on the Psyche myth. She is a recipient of a $25,000 art grant from the Tides Foundation for her Psyche opera. Cindy spent many years as a game developer, specializing in interactive fiction and human behavior modeling. She has also been a software engineer and music teacher.

OUTREACH
Janet Roston, Director/Choreographer, Cindy Shapiro, Composer/Lyricist of “Anaïs” offer workshops in dance,
theatrical movement, choreography, vocal training, music composition, collaborative creation and research techniques,
journaling as a creative tool. Workshops tailored to all levels and ages. Many of these workshops can be open for large
group community events.
DANCE TECHNIQUE, DANCE REPERTORY, STORYTELLING THROUGH MOVEMENT
MUSIC COMPOSITION AND VOCAL TECHNIQUE
NIN’S ROLE, COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS, RESEARCH TECHNIQUES

For full reviews, photos and
videos please visit:
anaisdanceopera.com


Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet
Landfall
Nonesuch

Visit Laurie Anderson at Facebook and iTunes

Visit Kronos Quartet at Facebook

Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet have partnered to produce a superb and exceptionally intelligent 1 hour and 9 minute (30 tracks) recording. It is which is nothing short of excellent. “Landfall” relates the story of Hurricane Sandy found on Anderson’s very personal experience with the storm, the flooding and the great destruction. Anderson is well-known for her performance art has turned to what is narrative music in the sense that it meets the understood criteria, i.e, the music guides the listener, not only with respect to the story, but with respect to feeling or mood as well. this is not simply “background” music. These tracks take us through emotional moments alert, fear, and anxiety working along side with the Kronos Quartet, well-known for excellence in innovation and experimentation working in genres which extend from minimalism to contemporary classical. The Quartet delivers on the complete disorder and confusion attached to the storm. Taken as a whole, Anderson’s narrative, the violins, viola and violincello of the Quartet as well as special effects create sublime texture taking you on a sonic journey not to be missed. For the educated ear, there is much to consider, e.g., not only texture, but counterpoint and dissonance. If you feel compelled to simply “sample” the recording, go to the 9:38 minute “Nothing Left but Their Names”. It is early in the year, but “Landfall” is clearly in the running for HorizonVU Music’s best pick for 2018.


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