Monday, December 26, 2011

Vocally Speaking, Against all odds, There is a Change with… No Change?

One of my friends likes to use this expression; “There is no change without change”.

Usually, it’s very much so true.

Lately, it’s been no secret that quite a few well known singers have acquired a lot of vocal problems; bleeding vocal chords, polyps, nodules, dysphonia and other nasty vocal disorders.

Why is that... and what is the cause, you may ask?

“We love the voice, we love his or her songs, we love the emotions, we love the performance…”

So, what is the problem then?

The problem is that nobody knows or pays attention to the voice application and how exactly that voice is being used by the singer.

And yes, the industry usually picks up a good looking person, quite often with good song writing skills and with the potential of that person becoming the world wide recording Artist and performer. And yes, when it comes to recording, the best producers and engineers will be producing their magic using, available to them, their magical high-tech technology.

Now what? And what’s in store for the Artist?

Now it’s time to go on tour, to promote the record…

And then… There is a “surprise”.

In a nutshell, and per say, nobody apparently knows how to sing properly and professionally, at least not in a safe and efficient way. Moreover and evidently, the Artists' voices have already been used up in the earlier promotional performances and concerts.

So, the tours are cancelled and everybody is cutting their losses; the Artist, the management, the record company…?

In this time an age, it is a very well-known fact that the best revenues acquired by all parties involved, would be of those derived from the live venues. So, now the voices have to be fixed somehow and preferably, in a quick fashion, so the Artist would not be forgotten and the tour in the future would not be in jeopardy. As a Non-Surgical Voice repair specialist, I could testify that all of the above, nevertheless, is not an easy task. However, by employing the use of my Innovative Vocal Science Technique and Application, it’s definitely doable.

The biggest trick when you work with a professional singer/performer is not to change her/his tone and sound in general, which is, by that time, is very familiar to listener’s ears. In other words, my mission is to produce the change with respect of voice application and placement, but not to change anything else about the artist.

The voice, however, will still sound much clearer, much crispier and overall, much healthier.

I guess those would be the positive changes, as a consequence of the voice now lifted off of the vocal cords and vocal box in general, and thus, structured and placed in the Singer’s facial muscles instead, thus relieving the vocal anatomy from the unnecessary pressure of the sound.

Much easier said than done, but the mission MUST be accomplished.

I need to produce THE CHANGE…with NO CHANGE.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Question is: Am I Evidently Getting Older, or has the World Gone Crazy?

In all honestly, I think the answer is - both.

Granted, I am an old school. My teaching experience is on its 38th year, so you can do simple math and conclude that I'm in my mid-50s.

No, I do not have a mid-life crisis, but what I do have is a regret that the best times of our lives are gone and never will be back.

Let's look at the music of 50s and 60s:

Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, Platters and many, many more.

Those were the true musicians, true singers and true performers.

Came the 70s and 80s and in those times, we had the best bands:

White Snake, Skid Row, The Doors, The Eagles, to name a few.

Great music, great performance-ship, exceptional singing...

And in the past decade...?

- No singing by definition
- Some bands, e.g. Simple Plan, can not play their records live, let alone sing it
- Vocal troubles and operations galore... Where do I begin?

The question is why?

The answer - it became "too easy".

The technology along with music producers could play for you, the autotune, melodine and harmonizer can sing for you, but for what cost?

The cost comes later, when the artist can not perform live, but trying real hard, and as a result, inevitably arrives to the operating table for the laser or knife operation.

Now what?

Everybody lost. The artist (not only money and joy, but also the health) and the music industry, which nowadays has nothing else to make money on, but the live shows, performances and venues.

Everybody's hopes are shattered, audience included and nobody knows if they will hear their favourite "artist" again, who they thought could actually sound at least remotely the same as they've heard on the record.

However, on second thought, it could be not such a bad thing, as at least it will save the audience the disappointment.

What's the solution then?

By listening to nowadays' music, I think some of the producers and quite well known ones, have found a solution. Their vocal lines are not containing more than two notes. On a better day and with a little better singer, they might discover a third one - by fluke...!

How sad is that?

And even more sad is that the young population is growing up with that music and thinking that's what the music should be - a couple of lines here and there, a couple of notes here and there and a couple of violent phrases here and there, supported by some insane background dancing.

Yes, definitely I'm getting older, but I'm very proud that all of my faculties are still very sound, except my ears, which are getting more sour by the minute, with every so called "new" song or rap song on the market.

I agree, to each their own, but this so called "music" is definitely a reflection of the state of being of our society, which, unfortunately, in my opinion, is not too sound, and also, in my opinion, it is promoting craziness and violence.

The society, and music along with it, with all of the advanced technology, is definitely degrading with the speed of light.

Where would we go from here?

If the world doesn't end, it will be very scary to find out.

So choose from two evils...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

X Factor: Spot on Reality... Part V - Contestant's Choice...
Close Observations, Constructive Criticism and Praise!

X Factor just had an interesting couple of weeks.

First, the Michael Jackson tribute was offered to them, which I found was quite difficult for the contestants to keep up with. In my opinion, it was one of the least successful performances on the show. However, as usual, it was very entertaining.

This past week, it was contestant's choice, which I find very beneficial for the contestants themselves.

I do not believe that any singer could be thrown into any style of music. It's obviously good to be versatile, but every human being has their own emotional and physical make up and nevertheless, their own biological DNA. All of that dictates the disposition, the character, the behaviour and the vocal expression of that person (speaking or singing for that matter).

In my opinion, the voice is definitely an expression of who this artist as a person is, and also a quite precise identification of the state of their being. And if their inner selves suggest to them that they feel like a country style singer, for example, it would be extremely difficult for them to be thrown into the rap style or an alternative rock...

And of course, the opposite applies. If it is a strong male artist who thrives through the rock genre, it would be difficult to imagine him to sound like Michael Buble, which is sweet, romantic and so to speak "pop-ish".

So this week, I was absolutely in awe when Melanie Amaro was looking and sounding throughout her first song by Adele, exactly like her and resembling Adele almost to the T, and to some degree, even better! She even put her own little twist on the song "Someone Like You" and no doubts made it enhanced and her own.

Frankly, from the technical point of view, I would probably choose Melanie over Adele herself.

Chris Rene was stunningly good this week, and he actually offered a great vocal performance for the first time. My presumption would be that he probably could identify with the song and as I said before, once the performer could "wear" the song like a good slinky dress for a beautiful model, the "vocal fashion" would definitely prevail.

Rachel Crow, who definitely resembles Shirley Temple and is as cute as a button, vocally, however, began to deteriorate for the last several weeks. The little girl desperately wanted to win the $5 million record deal and thus was trying enormously hard. But sometimes less is more, and I think that was the case. Everything about her that was so attractive at the beginning - "singing for her own bathroom" comments and much better vocals and choices of songs,  the sparkling personality, her true natural self, which did not require, in my opinion, much of outer interference - evidently became a little too much for the fans and she, unfortunately, got eliminated.

However, I'm not worried for her future, as no doubts that Simon Cowell sees great potential in this little girl and will sign her to his label in any case. So, she's got it made regardless.

Marcus Canty - I personally love this boy. Like one of the judges said, and I think it was Paula Abdul, "Marcus, your eyes do not lie". That is true. This is the most authentic, emotional and true performance I have witnessed for a while.

One of my favourite singers was Peebo Bryson and Marcus is perfect cross between Peebo Bryson, Brian McKnight and Usher. This boy should make it big and I hope he will not go unnoticed.

Josh Krajcik - He's a great guy and I definitely wish him the best. He has good musicianship and very good intentions. To tell you though, that I'm impressed to death with his vocals or even overall performance, I can't. At least not at the level of stardom.

But he has a lot of fans and you never know what will "come out in the wash" (voting).

As usual, I can not wait for the next week semi-finals.

At this moment my predictions are that Melanie Amaro would "take the cake".

I guess we shall see and equally will pray for each and every one of the remaining contestants.

Stay tuned for my next observations, constructive criticism and praise.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dysphonia and it’s Causes for Speakers and Singers.
Vocal Science™ Protocol/Case Study

What is Dysphonia, you may ask?

Definition of Dysphonia:

Voice disorders characterized by hoarseness, weakness or even complete loss of voice are called dysphonia.

However, I have to assure you, my reader, that it is not as easy as it sounds.

The loss of voice is only a symptom (a print out of, so to speak, "disturbed software" containing a virus). The cause of it is much more complex and needs to be addressed in full details.

Through my experience, the majority of the clients, especially non-singers, came with some emotional trauma in the past and in the recent past. Usually, it revolves around unsuccessful relationships and/or health issues other than the vocal anatomy.

Due to the above, the throat literally closes on those clients, but being with disagreement of the latter, they push even harder and now involve the muscles of the neck and shoulders as well, while concurrently causing symptoms. Alsmost 100 out of 100, their thyroid is involved as well. It begins to disfunction and in a lot of times, gets swollen and thus, it creates the pressure on the vocal cords.

In holistic teaching, which I studied extensively, (as it is my second passion other than love for music), thyroid represents suppressed emotions and hurts.

Now, go figure, how is the person in question could have a normal voice while being caught up in the full drama of the events.

My last client, diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia from Florida, U.S., just left two days ago, after embarking on the full blown five day course and herbal treatment in the past week.

Before she left, I had conducted a full interview with her, while concurrently teaching her how to say it properly with now close-to-perfect support, structure, placement and thus, much better projection of the sound.

So here it is:

Diana: You were hesitant to come here, weren’t you?

Judy: Yes

Diana: Why did you choose the Vocal ScienceTM method over others?

Judy: I had faith that something good will finally come my way.
I was in despair and was definitely in desperation
I was also able to receive more specific information than anywhere else I went to or spoken to.

Diana: You spoke to me numerous times, what was your perception while conversing with me?

Judy: I acquired more positive feelings during our conversations and positive feedback which gave me more confidence

Diana: Have you spoken to any other specialists?

Judy: Neurologists, ENTs (four of them), Speech therapists (two) and a thyroid specialist.

Diana: What was the diagnosis?

Judy: Fibromyalgia, thyroid dysfunction and dysphonia.
(I was explained that my thyroid was swollen and pressing on the vocal chords which resulted in voice loss and fibromyalgia)

Diana: You arrived here five days ago and began a non-surgical voice repair course and herbal treatment.  Was it worth it to pay almost $4000.00 for my services and other expenses to travel here from Florida?

Judy: Yes it was, absolutely!

Diana: How do you describe your experience and how would you describe the results accomplished?

Judy: Wonderful experience! Amazing results!

Diana: In what sense, please describe?

Judy: Upon arriving I could not speak properly and hardly at all.

Diana: What happened then?

Judy: And now I'm speaking much better and everybody is noticing it. I spoke to my mom and my daughter over the phone, and they were amazed.

Diana: I know, as your mom called me and thanked me for attending to you.

Diana: Please describe how did you arrive to such a positive and desirable outcome of your trip - to get better?

Judy: By doing special speech exercises, and by clearer understanding of what needs to be done, and not only with my voice, but also with my health overall.

Diana: Has anyone explained anything of a kind or anything that was relevant to the actual vocal damage?

Judy: NO ONE.. Nobody at all.

Diana: Do you have a clear picture now of how to proceed from here?

Judy:Yes very much so, thanks to you.

So interviewing Judy (real name) and spending the time with her, not only during the sessions, but at least in two restaurants located in our plaza, between the sessions, I understood even more so in depth what was causing her condition.

The woman went through a lot emotionally: her own relationships, loss of business due to recession, health and other challenges.

I also interviewed her about her everyday diet and discovered that upon arrival to Canada and checking into the apartment (which I organized for her) she bought ham, cheese, mayonnaise and Sprite...!

To Judy's credit she was extremely compliant with all of my instructions, health and diet included.

Needless to say that with the condition like this, the flora and PH of her vocal anatomy had been tremendously disturbed. Therefore, the protocol is to avoid all creamy, cheesy and overall dairy products, not to mention the combination of them with the proteins. By the way, spicy foods are also not desirable (the comment for those who may be wondering).

The Sprite, or any other sparkling drinks containing carbonated gas, will also be a huge disturbance to the throat and vocal cords.

Judy hardly had any appetite at the beginning, until she started taking natural herbs and remedies, which I included into her Vocal Science(TM) Non-Surgical Voice Repair program protocol.

She followed "by the book" and on the third, fourth and fifth day of our journey, she regained a healthy appetite and mainly the understanding that in this condition, she would have to consume primarily the live foods and not the junk foods or dairy products for that matter.

She will have a long journey of cleansing her body from top to bottom. Now (like a dancer who is dancing off the hardwood floor and not on the thick carpet) the voice will be able to take off of the now clean and clear vocal cords and soar (by our design) to her facial and head cavities, which, in turn, will begin to work in full conjunction and coordination with her abdominal muscles for the greater support of the sound.

Thus, the mission will be achieved and completed and I predict that Judy will arrive to the absolute recovery on every level.

But what about singers, you may ask?

The issues are quite related, however for more detailed information on that, please stay tuned and I will try to shed the light on that issue as well to the best of my knowledge, experience and experience.

Monday, November 28, 2011

When Your Voice is Going and Gone...
What Choices as an Artist Would You Make?

Your multiple choice test:

A) To hire a whole bunch of dancers/strippers and bring so to speak a live video on stage to distract the audience from your singing completely.

B) To bring a huge choir, which has been chosen by your team via vigorous auditions, and which sings extremely well to camouflage your vocal inadequacy.

C) To hire a vocal technician who would not only save your voice, but assure the safety, health and longevity of your voice for life.

Please take your pick.

If you answered C, you evidently do have an above average IQ. Congratulations!

If you, however, managed to pass a fake performance for the real one, congratulations also! You fooled the public and they unfortunately took it for the real thing!

However, the times are changing and the public is becoming smarter. Not that the level of their IQ is necessarily rising, it's just they're getting fed up with lip synching, bad singing (for which they pay top dollar) and the circus or strip show, which they actually can acquire if they're looking for something to satisfy their eyes.  But if they're looking for something to satisfy their ears, they are in the wrong place.

They're simply dellusioned and "focused pocused". Houdini himself would be "extremely proud" of the so called "top" performers and singers, who are performing "magical tricks" on stage instead of singing and not any worse than himself.

How sad is that?

I remember that in 1998 and in 1999, I attended Celine Dion's solo concert. She came out on stage alone, without any dancers or Cirque du Soleil performers backing her up, like she does nowadays, and did not perform any magic tricks at the time. She simply stood there and sung "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie Titanic, "Tell Him" with Barbra Streisand's video appearance and "To Love You More" with the live virtuoso violinist standing right beside herself. And all of that was MORE than good enough. I can not forget both of those concerts, as it was a true authentic and emotional performance by the REAL DIVA - Celine Dion.

Today, listening to Rhianna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and them alike, I half the time can not concentrate on what they're actually singing, as they are dancing, performing circus tricks and using stage props, which are superseding their voice performance. I honestly would not know if they were good or bad, as everything that is going on on stage is extremely distractive.

However, it makes you wonder how good their singing is in a real sense if they need to bring the whole "army" and their so to speak "weapons" on stage with them?

By the law of averages on that premise, you could assume that they definitely have something to hide...

However, if they or their management and/or record company chose the option C, i.e. would put some effort into research, finding a true Vocal Technician who would perfect their vocal technique to a T, so that they would not be dying 10,000 deaths on stage, like Adele, in fear that they might not even be able to complete their vocal performance with their real voice, as they simply have no direction or even an idea of how to power their voice in such a way that it would never be in jeopardy and would work in the fullest capacity possible. On that premise, they would also be able to empower their voice to perform upon their command and their design.

What price would those singers pay if they knew that it is possible?

As far as I'm concerned, I don't think you can put a price tag on something like that, when you do rely on your voice at all given times and when your voice is your livelihood.

Not striving to find that Vocal Technician, now their teams are paying the price. They're losing millions upon millions of Dollars, Pounds, Euros... as their artist can not perform live anymore and not even the Cirque du Soleil or the "army" of strippers could save them.

However, some of them are still not picking up a clue. They commanded their artists, like Adele with her bleeding vocal cords, and Keith Urban with the polyp on his vocal cord, to embark on the laser operation. Wonderful! Now what...?

Now, there could be complications like the scar tissue (Julie Andrews' case), or in the best scenario the operation will be a complete success. However, nothing really, per say, has changed. The vocal cords though are clear for now and will be for a short while.

But what brought those artists to those diagnoses in the first place?

The answer is:

The wrong application of their voices, lack of knowledge and, in a pure and simple sense, absolute ignorance on their part and their team's part.

I don't think any figure skating coach would ask their trainee to jump a triple axel without him or her knowing how to skate. I also don't think that the dancer without at least 10 years of vigorous training would be expected to do a Fouetté.

And yet, the singer, primarily without any training or instilled technique for that matter, is expected to do vocal escapades and, so to speak, "vocabatics" and also expected not to hurt him or herself in the process. Go figure... and... Good luck.

So, as a conclusion, there should be no surprise that every second so called singer is in danger of the nasty laser or knife operation with the threat of never being able to sing again or with the threat of the same conditions recurring again shortly after the nasty intervention into their vocal anatomy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

X Factor - Spot on Reality IV... Thanks to... Thanksgiving Holiday!

BIG APPLAUSE yet again to Simon Cowell!

What a BRILLIANT idea the well known MUSIC MOGUL came up with!

He tied in the whole show with the American Thanksgiving holiday!

If that wasn't timely then what is?

Mainly, it clearly helped to open up every single participant's emotions and now we've seen them in a different "limelight"!

On a regular basis, naturally, they're pretty scared, very anxious and very stressed trying not to fall out of the frame of the show and thus, not to win the $5 million dollar recording contract.

For the first time in any shows of that kind (American Idol, Canadian Idol previously, The Voice and what have you), the winning conciliation prize was always an issue. All of the participants were claiming how poor they were, how much they wanted to help their families, and how much they wanted to realize their financial dream.

Honestly, and I wrote about it before, it always left a "bad taste" in my mouth. As I said previously, I'm not against them winning big recording contracts, thus become rich and famous, but it should not be the prime focus. The prime focus should be the love for music and arts, the love for stage and the performance. And yes, of course, whichever price for the above effort will be granted, it will follow and materialize (no pun intended).

For the first time watching the Thanksgiving episode, I had a real joy, as all of the finalists were truly performing and singing their hearts and souls out. Some of them brought me really to tears! The side of some of them, like Marcus Canty, Chris Rene and even LeRoy Bell, never has been seen before.  LeRoy Bell was singing for his mother, who evidently had a special spot in his heart, like every mother should, i.e. be appreciated and loved by her child independently of both of their ages. Unfortunately, LeRoy Bell was the one who got eliminated this time.  In fact, to his credit, he left the stage as a REAL MAN, strong and with gratitude and not overly emotional. He enjoyed the ride, so to speak, and was thankful that he had an opportunity to do so.

In fact, Marcus Canty also sung for his mom and I found that this particular performance was the most emotional and touching of all. We witnessed the true and beautiful love and closeness between mother and son. I was extremely surprised when I saw Marcus next to LeRoy Bell, threatened to be eliminated. Thank God this time he was saved. He definitely brought a very vulnerable side of him and gave all in this performance. And on that ground, now his talent was truly shining.

I have to say, I really liked the group mentored by Paula, Lakoda Rayne this time. The girls looked fantastic, they sung very well, they performed superbly and they were quite "spot on" in tune and in harmonies.

To my biggest surprise, they got eliminated...!? As a music professional, the only conclusion I could come to, is that the groups are not popular any longer, not like 10-15 years ago.

It is sad though, but today's generation obviously is not appreciating the group effort, like the generation before, when a lot of groups were "popping up" one after the other.

Drew, finally, also picked up the speed, singing for her best friend.

It was nice to hear Chris Rene more singing than rapping this time and it was nice to witness his gratitude to his mentor in the rehab, who evidently helped him to "arrive" on X Factor's stage.

Josh Krajcik really opened up as a musician and singer. It was a very "feely touchy" performance dedicated to his teenaged daughter. He too now was seen in a different light, which truly made him shine.

Melanie Amaro - For the love of God!

How wonderful and emotional this performance was! Her tears, her gratitude, her love for God and her belief in God and in her grandparents who raised her, and her parents who finally embraced her! And even the mixture of the accents due to some confusion of her lifetime!

That was a True Spot On Reality!!!... If I've ever seen one!!!

And now the kids:

A cute adoption story on Rachel Crow. However, her vocal performance unfortunately getting more strained by each episode. My fear is that if she continues like that, she might experience some serious vocal problems.  She's clearly taken by $5 million dollar price and truly sings for "her own bathroom". I'm afraid, however, that the stress is taking the better of her. But I am hoping for the best. After all, she's cute as a button!

And lastly, Astro... He's clearly an Usher, Drake or 50 Cent for that matter wannabe. Nothing wrong with that, but I still think that he is not in the right competition. However, for variety, it is fun to watch.

To conclude my outlook on the Thanksgiving performances, I am immensely Thankful to Simon Cowell in particular and to the rest of the quite unique judges panel, for the fun and education they are procuring during the BEST EVER Spot On Reality Show - X Factor.

X Factor - Spot on Reality III - Participants Up Close and Personal

One more time again, I'm anxiously awaiting for the next episode of X Factor, but I would like to comment on the one I've just recently seen and heard.
Now from the colourful stages, lighting, dancers, "spacesuits" and what not, we arrived to the actual singing (big credit to Simon Cowell), but unfortunately, not necessarily in the best understanding of that word.
Whatever happened to the singers from the moment they were auditioning to the last episode which I witnessed a week ago?
All of them, when they were auditioning, were sounding quite decent and quite promising. My guess would be that they were receiving some vocal coaching in the interim between the shows. I'm sure some of them had vocal coaches before and as every one of them (me, naturally, would be included) is preaching their own techniques, styles and methods, the participants quite likely could have gotten confused, especially under the pressure, stress and last minute advice.
The question is, do they even need to have vocal coaches on the show? 
In my opinion, NOT AT ALL! As in my opinion, the X Factor structure of the show suggests that they're looking for a "diamond in the rough" so to speak. And if they are, why change it if it "ain't broken" and moreover until the show actually discovers a RAW talent? 
After the fact, once discovered, I will very much so suggest that the appointed team would seek a vocal technician combined with a vocal stylist for the artist, first of all, to ensure the safety, health and longevity of that newly found artist's voice.
Unfortunately, it is not always the case, as the majority of well known talents like Adele, Duran Duran, Keith Urban, Shania Twain, to name a few, would not then need to cancel their tours due to their bleeding vocal cords, polyps, nodules, dysphonia and what not.  
Back to the X Factor finalists now: 
Stacy Francis definitely could sing quite well at the audition and not so badly at all. Throughout the episodes leading to this one, her singing became quite noticeably worse, and finally she started singing off key, off tone and off tune, with excessive vibrato and with very overly exaggerated emotions - almost screaming! I personally felt very sorry for her, but kind of could predict that she would be one of the first to be eliminated.
Drew, a 14-year-old contestant who also looked very promising from the beginning, is lately being very subdued and practically yodelling instead of singing, which is becoming quite boring and uncalled for. She definitely possesses some natural talent and cute looks. Let's hope she will still go places.  
Rachel Crow, the youngest and the most talented contestant in my opinion, who I thought definitely would be the winner (and she just might be) has started to strain her voice quite noticeably lately.  It must not be easy for her to compete mostly amongst adults and therefore, sometimes her dress attire and her poses suggest a "little diva", which might not necessarily be so bad, however, it makes her performances look much beyond her years.
I honestly do not find anything extra special about Josh Krajcik, outside of him being a nice guy and a  maybe a little above regular, rock singer/musician.
I'm trying to remember what and how LeRoy Bell was singing. Obviously it wasn't too memorable, however, if it was a just a regular singing contest, he would definitely stand out. Needless to say, now he is eliminated, and I hope he will find a mentor and maybe even a management who will take him under their wing. 
Chris Rene is now in a new rapping mode, since he is obviously not the greatest singer I ever heard. However, the judges and the audience like him, which is good, as he needs as many positive affirmations as he can get given his recent past. 
Marcus Canty is definitely possessing some talent, but, yet again, I can not recall what he was singing. I just remember that it was somewhat decent.
Melanie Amaro (appears to be Simon's favourite), is lately sounding quite boring though, and also, excessively vibrato-ish. However, there are no doubts that this girl possesses a talent.
And lastly, Astro. It puzzles me in the first place why the rap genre was included in this competition. Him and Chris Rene are talking through music, waving their arms, touching different parts of their bodies (as rappers usually do) and not much else. Personally, the whole genre of rap does not sit right with me, as in my opinion it has nothing much to do with singing. So, if for nothing else, maybe somebody will take my advice and create a rappers competition? At least they will be in their own element and not out of place. I probably would not even mind to watch it.
I'd like to note that all of the above is my subjective opinion, which means that I'm not trying to prove anybody wrong or prove myself right. I'm just exercising the freedom of word and opinion from where I sit.
I'm also amused that first the judges and then the media made such a big deal of a barely 15 year-old child (Astro) being a little upset that he ended up in the bottom two and felt somewhat frustrated, which definitely reflected in his "singing for his life" last performance. He is still a child and not a professional artist (rapper). So please cut him some slack.
I was very happy for Paula, that she had at least saved one group in the previous episode and thus, had her triumph at the time.
In fact, the group is getting better and better every episode. I'm really curious to see how it will evolve.
I guess we shall see what comes next.
One more time again, I'd like to note that I thoroughly enjoy the show with all of its perfections and imperfections, turbulence and tribulations, and I am wishing good luck to the participants, judges and audience to find the True Star who does possess that desirable X Factor.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Artist's Team - How Open Are They to a New Reality?

Lately, a lot of performing and recording artists are experiencing difficulties (to put it mildly) with their voices. It is very sad, but it is the fact.

We're hearing a lot about bleeding vocal cords, laryngitis, polyps, nodes and nodules in Artists' throats. Some also have dysphonia and some, acid reflux, separately or along with the aforementioned diagnoses.

Now what...?

The artist is in distress, the management and record company are in loss of millions of dollars!

How to remedy the situation like that?

It should be not that difficult; find somebody who knows how to solve these types of problems, preferably non-surgically and non-invasively, i.e. somebody who knows how to change the voice application so that the vocal anatomy would not be irritated by the pressure of the sound and somebody who knows about natural herbs and remedies, which would greatly aid any human voice, and especially the singer's voice.

Find somebody, who, after the voice repair, will finally guide and coach the artist on how to do it properly and professionally, so that the nasty vocal problems will remain to be in the past for good.

As a side effect of learning how to sing properly, those artists will do a service to the public, and by not continuing to destroy their throats and thus cancelling their concerts and tours, they will also save the public's ears while singing with the proper pitch and projection.

In other words, find something that works and something which does not lead back to what did not work in the first place.

The so called Artist's Team is anxiously looking for a solution to put the artist back on stage as soon as possible and thus, not to lose more revenues, and quickly recover what has been already lost, i.e. the revenue from the concerts, tours and live performances overall.

So they make a radical decision...?

Which one, you may ask? Are they desperately looking for somebody who in a real sense could save their artist?

The answer is: THEY'RE NOT LOOKING!!!

How so, you may exclaim?

Because they're NOT OPEN to ANYTHING NEW and they're not finding anything better to do, than to use the same people who evidently, in the first place, "greatly contributed" to the problem, and needless to say, would not be able to solve it!

My representative was trying to get a fax number of the management of a well known artist, who is just about to face a polyp removal off of his vocal cord. He was trying to notify the artist's management that I, his client, could actually help this artist to solve his vocal problem NON-SURGICALLY. My representative got a reply that the artist's management is not open to receive any faxes or e-mails about anything new...?

In other words, the management companies like that are looking for a change without change. They want to cure the problem of the artist by using the same vocal coaches and consultants who clearly aided in that problem's occurrence in the first place.

How does it make sense?


There is an old good saying, "If something doesn't work, try something else. It might work better".

But that obviously would be "too easy". Or in a real sense, evidently too hard, as it requires at least to read an e-mail or fax with an innovative proposal, which could save a lot of pain and aggravation for the artists and put back a lot of money to the management and record companies' pockets.

However, THEY'RE NOT LISTENING and thus, unfortunately for all the parties involved, their "HEARING IS IMPAIRED" and the problem still remains to be the same.


X Factor: Spot on Reality... Part II

I have to say, I am religiously watching the progression of the X Factor television show every Wednesday and Thursday on Pacific time (meaning from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. of the next day) and I have to say, it's becoming more intense by the minute, and in my opinion, any good show should possess exactly that quality.

I think about 95% of the time, it is spot on, i.e. participants are somewhat right and the judges are quite fair.

However, in my opinion, and occasionally in Simon Cowell's opinion, the show reminds me of a big cabaret: the dancing, the lights and the effects are completely camouflaging the singing and moreover, all of the above are competing with the actual vocal performance. It is just too overwhelming to watch, however, in my childhood I really liked the Russian circus and it certainly has an echo of something precious that I used to enjoy when I was 10 years old...

But then I remind myself that I'm not actually watching the Russian circus and then the question is: why do we need to see these excessive so to speak acrobatic numbers and get lost and blinded in the lighting?


Also, some "costumes" (performers attire) are definitely too outrageous and some of them remind me of space suits, as one of the participants had a dress, which I'm sure would make aliens from outer space proud to embrace her onto their space ship at any given time. To me, it looked really distractive, not to mention ridiculous and it definitely took away from an otherwise beautiful young girl with the obvious talent.

But at least she's 14. But what happened with the 42 year old? Her red, shiny, space-costume-like dress was definitely not appropriate for her age and again, extremely distractive.

So I've come to the conclusion that there are the best choreographers working for the show, however the choreography can be a little excessive, as it was not meant to be a "So You Think You Can Dance" show (at least I thought so). But I can not say that they have very good fashion stylists being employed, as participants' attire, which I already mentioned about, looks the least to say bizarre.

There is a lot of talent on the show. There is also somewhat generally talented people, however with somewhat questionable singing abilities. How did they make it in the final 12? Beats me!

Obviously, they're fillers and never can be winners. But I'm surprised the judges could not find better quality fillers and had to settle for participants who had rather unusual stories behind their personas.

One is 59 years old and homeless. The other one is also well over 30 and does sound like Dracula (Simon Cowell's comment from the last episode, which I couldn't agree more with). There is one who just came back from rehab and as conciliation prize, decided to "change is his life" via dreams of winning a $5 million recording contract and hopefully not to put it back into the bad substances use.

I am pretty sure he will not win, as he can not sing to save his life, however, in all fairness he looks the part, which gives him a little bit of leeway.

So, the stories are intriguing and it is after all a "Spot On Reality" show. Not much criticism could be applied there.

The question is: What does it have to do with singing?

And in a lot of times, it sounds like singing is just an excuse to keep the show going.

It's hard to blame the participants though. All of them do have $5 million dollar signs in their eyes and because of that, they really are ready to jump out of their space ships into the open space, with or even without their space suits (lol).

And lastly, the judges competition...? I feel really sorry for Paula Abdul, as the groups which were chosen and which she was supposed to mentor, are truly terrible. So, they're getting voted out one after the other and Paula in tears, is letting them go one by one feeling like it is her fault that the people did not choose her acts.

I truly don't think it is entirely her fault. After all, all of the judges were involved in voting and it was their choices of people separately and collectively. The group choices were definitely not up to par, in my opinion. And now Paula is "enjoying" the consequences.

But even that brings the show the huge success. There is drama, tragedy and comedy all mixed into one pot. And somewhere there, as a "side order", is the singing, which is not necessarily even bad, but there is just not enough of it.

I still think that the show is a great success and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. The mix of things is a little excessive, but not that far off, and therefore, the show is quite entertaining.

On this note, I would like to wish Paula Abdul to save at least one group out of three (the girls) and for the rest of the judges, I wish them to start to concentrate firstly on the vocal talent and then on the rest of the components. This way, they will truly be able to find the X Factor in their show.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vocal Science(TM) - Vocal Invention

What does Vocal Science(TM) mean and why is it considered to be a "Vocal Invention", you may ask?  

The answer is:
  • This technique allows the voice to work at the fullest capacity possible with positively no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy.
  • It works wonders for the healthy voice, but if the vocal cords or the vocal box in general are already damaged (or pre-damaged), this technique will help to restructure the voice into a different set of muscles (facial/sinus cavities), which will play the role of the natural amplifier or resonator, while simultaneously being put to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles and where the latter will provide the support for the sound to be lifted off of the vocal cords and off of the vocal box, thus in turn, the use of the throat, larynx and the vocal cords will be minimized and practically eliminated.
Question - How does it compare to the conventional vocal coaching?

The answer is - IT DOESN'T!!! Conventional vocal coaching suggests to do the exact opposite of the above - i.e., the useless exercises and scales are offered, which are drowning the voice lower into the anatomy and, thus, disturbing the anatomy and inevitably causing its damage.

Those exercises are not applicable to any form of singing; and thus, nobody was ever able to figure out how to apply those useless exercises to the actual singing. 

Question - Does the Vocal Science(TM) method suggest that the artist must change their "natural" life-long adapted bad habits?  

Answer: NO, IT DOES NOT OUTRIGHT. However, the experience shows that while going through the process, the artist naturally stops not only the bad vocal habits, but also conquers bad habits like smoking, drinking and using drugs, which, no doubt, affects the flora of the throat. However, the Vocal Science(TM) technique is designed in such a way that the vocal anatomy is hardly being used during the process of speaking and/or singing.  

So, even in such scenario, where the artist smokes, drinks, uses drugs or what have you, the Vocal Science(TM) technique never fails to deliver quality sound during their performance.  

With that said, it is not mandatory for the artist to change their familiar lifestyle and feel miserable while adapting  the so called "New" conventional vocal technique.  


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Vocal Talent Made in Heaven... So is Thunder and Lightning...

"She is talented and has a great voice!" People are exclaiming.

Does it mean automatic success in the music industry at large? Sometimes it does. But sometimes, on the contrary, it means a lot of "thunder and lightning" during what appears to be a sudden discovery, recording, performance, fairly quick success... and all of a sudden - CRASH!!!

Loss of voice, loss of tour, loss of millions of dollars and shattered dreams!!!

Now what...?

Now is the time to realize that the good voice and the good talent is only a prerequisite, but the prerequisite is not enough to sustain a long and successful vocal career. 

What seems to be lacking? You may exclaim!

The answer to this is: 

- Simply the knowledge of the proper vocal technique, which would allow the health and length of one's vocal cords and vocal box.

- Simply the understanding that anything in life is relevant and related to the science of the matter. 

One client of mine who just arrived from L.A. for his vocal training to become a recording artist, was experiencing vocal problems while just being an actor, not even a singer. I asked him whether he found me on the internet and I asked him what exactly he was searching for.

His reply was, "I had problems speaking while acting and just colloquially and I figured that there should be some kind of a science to the voice and vocal cords repair. I searched 'science for repair of vocal cords" and you came up." 

Needless to say, the method which I created and have been advocating for nearly four decades is actually called Vocal Science(TM).

If you look back even six months to a year ago, you will witness that a lot of well known artists, from Adele now, to Duran Duran's singer recently, to Canadian Simple Plan's lead singer in the recent past and even Mick Jagger himself experienced voice loss and thus, distraction to their busy schedules of recording and performances.  Should them and their managers possess more intelligence and the knowledge for that matter, they would research the "science" of a successful "vocal mechanism", which triggers the voice to work in the fullest capacity possible with positively no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy whatsoever. 

That said, a lot of pain, a lot of bleeding vocal cords (like in the case of Adele now) and a lot of money, for Christ's sake, would be saved and a lot more listeners would be pleased to see their once loved music icons on stage again, vocalizing their very best and not looking so very scared and in distress while performing blindly without, so to speak, "instruments" to rely on. 

I'm sure everybody remembers the case of JFK Jr. who, as we found out after his plane crashed, actually did not know how to read the instruments...? Therefore, during the bad weather, he had a "blind" flight and could not rely on the instruments, as he had no knowledge in that instance. So one more time again, the crash was inevitable and in his case it was truly the thunder and lightning, which ended his and his two passengers young lives. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We're Proud of Our Past and are Presently Working Hard to Assure Even Greater Success in the Foreseeable Future

We're just about to arrive to our 28th anniversary of the originally called "The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts" and today's named, more to the point, "The Royans Professional Vocal School".

Looking back and assessing our past, as an owner, president and master vocal coach of the company, I have to say that I'm proud of what we achieved over the last three decades. The fair amount of well known singers today in Toronto and some other cities and provinces of Canada, US and Europe, have come out of our school. At the time, we had a pretty bold statement "Beginner to Pro-Singer in 10 Hours, Guaranteed!", and at that time, in the precious past, my clients and I lived up to this statement minimum to say 150%.

The people then (in 80s and 90s) were much more "awake", much more alert, much more active - intellectually and physically - and had more desires. The immigration of those years was pretty active, especially from countries like Russia, Italy, Greece and other civilized societies, where the parents - immigrants were arriving to this land with the agenda to give their children and grandchildren the best and mainly, the best of education. They worked really hard in constructions, factories, plants and what have you and all the money made, they directed towards the betterment of their offspring.

They were picking up the phones, prior looking us up in the Yellow Pages directory and various print publications, which, needless to say, today unfortunately are non-existent. No, they did not have any access to internet yet, thus they did not waste their valuable time staring at the screen and acquiring a fair amount of radiation for that matter, not to mention they were not bombarded by a billion choices, but rather they were relying on their intuition, their common sense and the word of mouth.

Respectively, their kids were given more love, care and attention. A lot of them also had a love for music (in a real and authentic understanding of that word) and thus, wanted to achieve a goal to become somebody, or maybe even a pop or rock star. Their motives though, were by far more authentic and genuine then, they did not have one and only agenda to make "financial success" and "help their families"!!! Nothing wrong with that,  but in my opinion, it should not be the main goal. It should be the true calling for love of music and a calling from within and of their hearts and souls.

I personally loved those times and enjoyed my business of making stars by far greater than today. I'M PROUD OF WHAT I'VE DONE!

Today, I continue to "carry the torch". However, "THE TORCH" has become extremely heavy to carry, "which is nearly breaking my back" (lol). The people today are bombarded with information and can not exist, live or think without their 24/7 access to the internet. They're confused in their numerous choices and therefore, doubting everything and everyone. Today it takes quadruple energy to achieve a quarter of the result.

The economy today also dictates that it is the market for the consumer. Don't you worry, they do know about it and they interrogate me and my staff to the fullest. Finally, and with the great difficulty, "the sale" was made. Now themselves or their children are in our studios...

As it appears to be, half of them have learning disabilities, no attention span of any sort, they hardly can read and definitely cannot write without spell-check. They refuse to speak on the phone, even to discuss their appointments. They have to text or e-mail with extremely incoherent language skills, which at times is impossible to make "heads or tails" of.

When we receive the young children, and often with talent, we assume that that's exactly what they want to do - THEY WANT TO SING! When we ask them that question, if singing is their passion and perhaps may become their future profession, we're getting the answer from one of our 10-year-old student's, "No, I want to be an engineer". Go figure! It must be parents who are trying to instill in their minds that the music is not a profession and you can not rely on it (I agree that there is some truth to it). However, the child with artistic tendencies should not be discouraged from his love, passion and talent, just because the parents might think that it might not be a lucrative profession for him down the road.

Also, four years ago, I was running a workshop where I had 11 strangers and at that time future winner of Canadian Idol 2007 - Brian Melo. He "saved the cake", as the rest of them were sitting there as complete zombies and telling me during the introductory interview, that all of them (young girls primarily) wanted to become opera singers. All of the previous years, when I asked young girls who they would want to become, the answer was premeditated - Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and before that, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Now these parents are afraid of "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll", so they're putting in their youngsters minds, who don't know any better, that opera is the only genre they can embark upon, as in the parent's minds, this is the safest field for their children, since these children "unfortunately" happen to have some musical talent.

So, needless to say, I saw the seeds being planted some time ago. In my opinion, now they're in the full bloom.

So, by the law of averages, given the very good beginning, from approximately 1984 - 2004, and not very satisfying present, I'm hoping that the future will be that much more fulfilling, based on experience of the past and the present. I just wish that my staff and I would not have to work so hard in our present to:



           WE   DO  BELIEVE!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baby Boomers Age 60 and Over... What posses them to embark on the singing lessons?

For almost over twenty eight years of running my own vocal school, I've taught a lot of people of all ages, all races and all walks of life.

The older clan, sixty years of age and over, are definitely in a league of their own. Both older men and women of that class finally finding the time and desire to realize their dreams which apparently they carried  inside themselves for nearly fifty years. As I've learned over the years that a lot of them, while growing up in very poor families, outlined the goal for themselves to become rich and successful, and a lot of them were putting on the line anything and sacrificing everything; love, lust, desires of their hearts, fulfillment of their souls... and much much more.

While dreaming towards financial success they, in a manner of speaking, lost the sense of reality and with that the sense of who they actually are and what they actually really wanted out of their lives.
Apparently, now working in a very respectful firms and making a very fair living, more than anything they want to sing, to perform and to act. Along with enrolling to my classes, they concurrently enrolling into the acting classes and auditioning for the community theatres.

They finally decided to LIVE!

Some of them by now are over seventy and to their credit they came to conclusion: BETTER LATER THAN NEVER!!!

Way to go guys!

However, it is not as easy as it sounds.

Their emotions and  desires were extremely suppressed, and their spirit remained in a living coma over the number of years. Not to mention that it is not easy to teach so to speak "an old dog new tricks".

During the process of instruction and interactions they are extremeley emotional and quite impatient.

They want to turn the time back fifty years and grasp it fast and all at once.

They get upset and discouraged easily, until they understand that one thing you can not buy in this life - TIME!
But they are in fairness "getting better not older" and they do have more time on their hands than the younger population.

Therefore, it is extremely commendable that they do not want to end their life without the positive completion of it, via finally realizing their most intimate dreams- ARTISTIC DESIRES.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

X Factor - Big Applause to Simon Cowell
His Show is... Spot On Reality

I have to say that I'm not a big fan of reality TV shows, with the exception of very few, one of which was Rock Star Supernova, which possessed real singers, real music and somewhat fair judges, and the last several seasons of American Idol. Everything else I've been watching concerning music was simply a failure and almost a funny parody onto the big shows, like I mentioned above.  Evidently, they did not have  enough budget or simply a class concerning the judges and the participants.

On a parallel track now with X Factor have been running: Cover Me Canada (Canadian Show), Sing Off (American Show) and right before that, America's Got Talent. Let's analyze each of them.

"Cover Me Canada" in my opinion possesses very mediocre and boring bands with some mediocre singers who are trying to pose for the best thing since sliced bread. In my opinion, practically all of them are quite pathetic to say least.

"Sing Off" consists of some groups with the enormous amount of people on stage trying to recite some church and gospel stuff with rather strange harmonies and performance skills.

And lastly, "America's Got Talent" in my opinion definitely could compete with Cirque Du Soleil. In fact there is more circus than any other acts and almost as much as in Cirque Du Soleil itself. Go figure! To me, it's a complete bizarre and singing seems to be completely out of place. I cannot wait for "Canada's Got Talent", however, I don't "hold my breath" for anything better than what the Americans have done. Mind you, I would be very opt for a nice surprise. After all, I've given 32 years of my life to the Canadian music and entertainment business.  The "entertainment part" in a good and positive understanding of that word, however, remains to be quite in the dark until I, hopefully, acquire an anxiously awaited surprise.

And finally, A HUGE SURPRISE (in a good understanding of that word) - American X Factor, produced and judged by Simon Cowell. Way to go!!! Perfect judges panel, especially when Nicole Scherzinger took the place of Cheryl Cole. Cheryl appeared as a nice soul, but in my opinion, was not assertive enough and would not verbally add to the show.

Nicole, on the other hand, is everything the audience could wish for. She is beautiful, smart, sharp, humourous and an enormously good singer. The BEST "in my books" (trust me, to get that high recognition of singing "in my books" is not easy at all - nearly impossible).

Interestingly enough, Paula Abdul is now being announced as a choreographer and performer. Her singing career or abilities for that matter, never have been mentioned. Her new title sounds a bit odd, however, it is quite fair, in my opinion... After all, she looks as good as never before (probably taking example from Jennifer Lopez of American Idol who too was looking her absolute best and better than 10-15 years ago). Way to go girls! In any case, Paula's job is quite fulfilling. She has to entertain not only the audience, but also Simon Cowell himself. And she does it with absolute charm.

The last judge, L.A. Reid, definitely grew on me throughout the last four episodes of auditions. I never saw the side of him being very charming, yet very straight, sharp and knowledgeable person. The whole quartet of judges is definitely a winning combination.

The show itself is extremely entertaining, as I never laughed so hard in my life! The editing of very talented people versus complete weirdos and psychos who never had a check with reality in their entire existence, is absolutely brilliant! The whole show is a CLASS ACT on every level.

One more time again, my biggest applause to Simon Cowell. He himself is in a league of his own. The ten seasons of American Idol did him good and taught him a lot. He took the absolute best experience he acquired from that show and brought it to X Factor. Him and his present show, no doubts, ARE in a league of their own. I certainly cannot wait for more episodes. At the present time, it is a real treat for my heart, soul and my psyche...

"GO BIG OR NOT AT ALL". This is the credo which I live by. "GIVE THE BEST AND RECEIVE THE BEST". This is the second credo I live by. By the looks of things, Simon Cowell is on the "same boat" with me and I'M HONOURED!

There is no doubts that he will discover quite a few talents, which is always a positive outcome of any reality TV shows like that.

But needless to say, the HIGHER CLASS of the show will possess the HIGHER CLASS of the TALENT.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vocal DNA - What's That?

One of my clients singing the cover tunes asked me if he ever will be able to find his own voice, whether singing cover tunes or originals. My reply was, evidently so.  The way I instruct singers consists of a very deep connection between me and them during the process. And since I literally engage into their "guts" I pull out the voice out of them, which reflects the state of their being and the voice, which identifies who they actually are. Like fingerprints and overall DNA, each person owns it individually.  Therefore, the newly found voice comes out with unique and very personalized tone from each and every individual I engage to and with.

I do not work with them on an anatomical level. I work with them on the level of "being". I connect my energy to their energy and to the universal energy and the wonders come out of their mouth and their body language as well. Sometimes, looking at the clearly straight men, I notice that the newly found tone and mannerism is completely different to what they came originally with.

Quite a few times in my practice, I've discovered deeply closeted Gays. I had a precedent when one of the clients with whom it happened in a real sense after my course, started hating me and asked me to remove all of his previously very loving and with a lot of gratitude positive testimonials from my website. Go figure! I probably discovered something about him which even he did not know about himself or never admitted even to himself. Therefore, his behaviour was understandable to me and I gladly did so, however feeling a little guilty, as I drastically changed somebody's life and practically without his consent, but still, no doubts, for the better, as the person is supposed to be true to themselves, gay or straight.

In my practice, I had perfectly good purely English people who never knew any other language but English and who during my exercises in speaking and singing, started possessing a very pronounced Chinese accent! When I inquired about it, one of them told me that if I came to his home, I would see a lot of Chinese influence in his home decorations. I asked him why and he had no answer on that.

Given all that, it seems to be truly, "you are what you eat" and evidently, "you are what you sing". Therefore, there is no need to worry. If the singer to be will discover his own true identity, i.e. his own true voice and tone, then to summarize all of that, needless to say, he will discover his own Vocal DNA.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On a Personal Note from Diana Yampolsky - I CAN NOT, Seems to Be, Win This Competition, At Least Not Yet!

What do you mean by that, you may ask?

If you read at least half of written by me articles and/or blogs, you will understand that I'm not your conventional person, vocal coach or whatever other label you, my reader, or music industry people may put on me.

I've been in the music business since age 6 and yes, I'm going on my 55th year of existence. Yes, I've taught an estimated over 18,000 people, I realized a lot of people's dreams and in my younger years, I served sometimes up to 70 hours a week of teaching alone. The word "teaching" in my case cannot be translated in the conventional sense of meaning, because I don't "teach", I navigate and I engage deeply into the person at the same time to establish a connection between our beings (almost like an umbilical cord between the mother and the baby). Then and only then, I can transmit what I call the Vocal Science(TM) technique and method. I don't do useless scales, funny trills, and strange sounds, which remind of meowing and howling of cats and wolves to say the least. I take a scientific approach to voice mechanics and employ the laws of physics and geometry, as well as implement the integration and synergy between the mental, physical, emotional and vocal state. The body is the instrument and the person to whom that body belongs, is the player. My aim is to coach the potential artist on how to access all of the body parts to acquire the best sounding instrument they could possess. I need to educate these potentially, in the future, successful artists about the music part of it, and in a not very invasive fashion, as the majority of them are musically ignorant to say the least, and some of them have no clue where Middle C is located on the keyboard. However, a lot of them consider themselves songwriters, having no idea even of a music notation! So, I need to use the different language with them, for example, instead of saying that the music consists of certain intervals, i.e. major 2nd, major 3rd, triad, and etc., I have to convey to them that the music consists of certain combinations of sounds, duration and pitch, which in a nutshell, is the same thing, colloquially speaking. And yes, the song consists of all of those things, and like ballet dancers have to learn the positions of their arms and feet, the future singer needs to know and be able to analyze what his desired song consists of, to be able to access it by design and, in other words, intelligently.

If everything of the above sounds quite ordinary to you, then I might assume that my name is actually not Diana...? I'm saying that because I never heard of anybody's approach being similar to mine or working as outrageously successfully as mine.

And yes, for many years I was acknowledged of my uniqueness and my revolutionary approach to voice mechanics and to the artist as a whole. But times changed now and so have generations. The new generation is technologically polluted and very much so, technologically, and otherwise, confused. They don't know where they're coming or going, they don't know what's true or what's false. They experienced a lot of frauds, online and otherwise, and they do not believe in anything or to anybody. After almost 28 years of successful business, I've been questioned whether or not it's a scam of what I'm offering to them...?

It is extremely disheartening to hear this from the regular public, but even more so disheartening and unbelievable to realize that the music industry professionals are simply being afraid of me, i.e. instead of embracing something unique and different, which in a nutshell could produce them much more success and much more financial benefits, they simply ignore me and deny the need of somebody like me for their artists. What's even more strange is that I'm the only person who is offering non-surgical voice repair, and a lot of artists nowadays are losing their voices one by one and on an every day basis. The so called music industry professionals prefer to lose artists' performances, tours and what have you, but most of the times not to employ my services. Go figure!

My guess is that they're afraid that I might be able to show to the artists how, so to speak, "discover" a "third note" in their performances (since majority of them are singing only on two lowest possible notes) and God forbid, teach them how to sing in tune and in a real musical time, i.e. in rhythm and meter.

One of the so called prominent producers once exclaimed, "But Diana, it's too perfect!!! It has to be fresh and young" i.e. the translation of it was: off tone, off tune, off key and off time!!! However, are we surprised? Just turn on the radio and you will hear exactly that. There is no where music, in its conventional understanding, to be found. Not to mention that all of the songs are sounding the same and quite a bit plagiarized, in my opinion. That is definitely not the music I know, studied and practiced for many, many years, not to mention taught in the good old times.

So, in this instance, I would like to ask you:

"Can I win this competition?"

As of now, my answer is a big NO, UNFORTUNATELY!!!?

On a personal note, I am still hoping, deep inside, that there is at least one person that exists in this world who would be able to read not just the written words, but between the lines and feel my frustration and appreciate my bluntness, which can only be achieved when the person is very established within herself and totally believing in the skills and benefits, which she could introduce to the general public and needless to say, to the music industry at large.

What "Canada's Got Talent" is looking for! Vocally Speaking, How Does it Fit in the Show?

For a fact we know that "America's Got Talent" wants something different, unique, exciting and dangerous. So the question is, how in a real sense does the vocal performance by anyone would fit in the show structure.

My guess would be that a vocal performer for that matter has to weigh, minimum to say, 500 pounds (i.e. being morbidly obese), have leprosy disease, and preferably showing it on their face, and along with that, sing a well known cover tune with the angelic voice! It is unique alright, my reader may exclaim, but how is it dangerous? My answer would be, it fits the criteria of the show perfectly! Let me elaborate:

The performers in general are quite pleasant to look at. They usually have beautiful faces and their bodies are quite fit. They, as a rule, do not possess the contagious diseases, such as leprosy might be and usually, not looking as big as a house, so that the stage, for real, would have a danger to collapse, just like recently two stages did: one in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and the other in Indianapolis, Indiana.

So, if you possess all of those qualities, go ahead and win the competition, provided that you will survive in the process of the "unique and dangerous". Needless to say, I'm sure it's going to be extremely "exciting" for all of the parties involved.

On a personal note, I have to advise you that it is also quite dangerous to enrol yourself in any competitions like this, as the agreement you would have to sign (usually close to 20 pages and with the fine print) stipulates that all of you, including all of your organs and parts of your body, belong to the people who organize those competitions and for quite a lengthy while after the competition. So God forbid you would need any organs transplant, you may not be allowed to do so (lol).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pick Two Notes You Can Reach in the Lowest Possible Range and Quite Possibly it Will Become a Hit...

But... Hurry up! Somebody like Katy Perry might accidentally discover the third note (ha?).

Also, somebody who stutters naturally may also get ahead of you, as stuttering, while singing, seems to be very much so in fashion nowadays. Firstly, you can never differentiate one singer from another. Only by the amount of stuttering and by the amount of notes they have discovered right before the performance. Some of them are sounding like they're sitting on the toilet and having difficulties to relieve themselves.

My question is, has the real music gone down to the toilet? Evidently and unfortunately, it might be the case.

The positive side of it, though, may be beneficial for people like me... The dieters, i.e. those who are forever coping and fighting with their weight fluctuations. On one hand, while listening to the stuttered and constipated so called music, you can definitely lose your appetite, even if originally you were very hungry and did not eat for a couple of days, trying to lose weight. On the other hand, if you did not lose your appetite, you will definitely bring up everything which you've just eaten right before the "stuttering hit" came on the radio. So it's all good for people with weight problems. It's also good for the deaf, since they cannot hear at all or the particulars anyways, they might visualize that there is something actually going on in the music business now and at least hope that those who hear are having the pleasure of listening.

For the rest of the population, it also could be good, as it's giving anybody with a speech impediment and tone deafness a hope that one day, some day, they will become famous while reciting the two or maybe even three notes hit with stuttering in between. All of that on the lowest and most monotone range takes approximately three and a half to four minutes, which is enough to pass for the song.

How pathetic is that?

Jokes aside, will we ever be able to return back to a normal (stressed normal) pleasurable for the ear and respectively, heart and the soul, music? We're positively missing those days where the artists like Elvis and bands like the Beatles and Platters were recording off the floor and we were hearing the exact melody line, the perfect music arrangements and pleasant singing to fulfill our beings.

How much more stuttering and "electronic defecation" can this world tolerate? This is a three dollar question. However, the real question is, is it worth a penny?



Saturday, August 6, 2011

I've Been Often Asked About What I Do for a Living. My Recent Answer is "Vocally Speaking, I'm Teaching Hippopotamuses How to Fly".

What do you mean by that, my reader may be wondering? I mean quite a lot of things, stating that claim. Let me share with you my experience.

I am Russian and in the Russian language, we have a proverb that the "One born crawling will never fly". By the law of averages, this is a legitimate statement. Can we visualize a hippopotamus, camel or elephant for that matter, flying? Highly unlikely! But in the human kind, it's happening all the time. People who have no musical or vocal talents and who do not even possess any kind of a reasonable look, which could identify them with a performing artist, are wanting it by far more than people who actually do have all the components. That brings us to another question. Do we always want what we don't have? By the looks of things, the answer is yes.

Moreover, those who do have what it takes, for some reason, even if they want to utilize their talents, think that they have enough to get discovered and be offered, minimum to say, million dollar record deals. Lately, they almost become offended if they're offered help with respect of polishing their skills and making their skills to be more likely acquired by the music industry at large. They also think that whatever they don't have they can obtain online or sometimes they're willing to receive a home study course. They figure that voice, just like a guitar or piano, where both of which could be somewhat learned via home study or even online in a general sense, could be perfected as well. The voice though, requires the tedious instruction on how to take that "diamond" and turn it from the "diamond in the rough" into the polished and shiny "diamond in a frame".

Those, however, who could not dream in a million years about any fame or glamour, as they simply weren't born to do so, are willing to put any effort, supported by any money to achieve not always achievable goals. To God's and my credit though, if I could say so myself, with the gift from Him, the Creator of Vocal Science, I was able to realize those people's dreams. I discovered and uncovered their originally non-existent talents and voices and made them shine as if they were always present. I'm very proud and very grateful to God that against all odds, I'm perfectly able to enhance people's dreams and while working next to God, give them and their future audiences the gift of singing.

Vocal Coma So to Speak
A Near-Death Vocal Experience...?

I've been teaching vocals forever and close to four decades now. But never have I experienced such difficulty to deliver my Vocal Science method to people who claim that, minimum to say, they want to learn how to sing properly. Simply speaking, in my opinion, they are hardly possessing any vital signs, at least during the first 5 - 6 hours of instruction. My guess is that the people who are in an actual medical coma have more vital signs than my so called up and coming artists. How sad is that?

Figuratively speaking, it brings me near the "heart attack" to wake them up and instill some substance, first into their brains and then, if I'm lucky, activate their motor skills, which the majority of them are not possessing at all. In other words, to walk and chew the gum at the same time would be a great challenge for my "troubled" students.

The Vocal Science method requires the integration and synergy between mental, physical, emotional and finally, vocal state. To get to that vocal state I need to invent a "vocal-fibrilator" and not only for the client, but for myself as well (would be funny if it wasn't so sad). I, evidently, am not getting any younger and due to that factor, it's becoming harder and harder and almost nearly impossible...?

My vocal session with the student used to consist of minimum to say, five parts. The first part would contain the speech exercises, which establish the foundation for the "vocal house" so to speak, to be built in the later stages. The first exercise is to count to five with the proper placement and projection. For some people, it takes about an hour...? How so, you may ask? It requires also the movement of their feet and arms, and to coordinate all of that together, for the majority of the population, IS NOT POSSIBLE, or at least NO LONGER POSSIBLE. THAT'S TOO MUCH TO ASK, they say. They're accustomed all day to sit at the computer or play electronic games on their phones. "You mean you want me to walk and talk at the same time, let alone sing?!" they exclaim. They're so confused and scared and perhaps even more scared than if I were to ask them to climb Mount Everest or to swim across Lake Ontario as one of the teenagers is doing as we speak and all for the good cause. Way to go! Maybe, after she does, I should inquire if she wants to learn how to sing now, as maybe, (stress maybe) she actually will be able to coordinate some movements with her voice and not only apply her motor skills in relation with the water. It's good to know that somebody still actually's got it.

In a real sense, how pathetic is that? Just even five or ten years ago, nothing like this was a problem or even a concern. In fact, I was able to do speech exercises, singing exercises, reading of the song in proper syllables and singing of the song while concurrently video taping the performance in only 75 minutes increments. And at that time, with absolute certainty I could say, "Beginner to Pro Singer in 10 Hours, Guaranteed!" Very outrageous claim, but I have numerous of artists who I produced then in 10 hours, i.e. Raine of Our Lady Peace (Sony), Alex Norman of Ill Scarlet (Sony), Brian Melo - Canadian Idol of 2007,  Lukas Rossi - winner of Rock Star Supernova television show, Brian Pisani - One second Too Late (Sony), and Trish Campbell (EMI), just to name a few.

Now, my presumption is that to produce somebody of their calibre, I would need minimum 30 - 50 hours, if I'm lucky! And now I'm running my sessions in 2 hour increments and still not accomplishing all of the components I used to accomplish in 75 minutes. What does it tell you?: The world's gone crazy and getting crazier by the second. The world's evidently gone deaf, as they're worshiping the ground of the artists who cannot "carry a tune in a bucket" and some of them cannot sing to "save their lives". The people, in a manner of speaking, are physically disabled and cannot perform even simple tasks, which require coordination. Therefore, when instead of singing they're watching a live video on stage with non-identifiable gender dancers, they're completely amused, as these people could dance and even "lip sync" at the same time. Britney Spears once exclaimed, "Oops. My microphone was accidentally on." That should have come to us as an absolute warning, as it took place some time ago, when some normalcy and some human vital signs were still present. She definitely was a pioneer in planting the seed and now the flowers of her labour are in a full bloom!

In 1994 the Brampton Guardian newspaper wrote an article about me, which was called "Voice Coach Teaches A Mind Over Vocal Cords Philosophy". That was then and today the minds are somewhat present (due to the 24 hour invasion of the internet), the bodies are present very remotely and the interconnection between the latter and the former, hardly exists or fluctuates like electrical short circuits with strong activation from my part. So go figure! 

Is there a solution? I'm not quite sure about it. As the more technology being introduced, the less brain and body cells are being present and being active. Where are we all going? Hopefully, not to the end of the world, but, however, it is quite probable and might not necessarily be a bad thing.