patrice pike - A Sound Strategy, Inc.
Patrice Pike
Commitment is a
Beautiful Thing
5 Essentials
for music biz
iRadio is
on the air!
Gear & tech
No. 42 december 2006
vocal mics
under $400
the ins and outs
of aux sends
yamaha emx5014c
outfitting your
home studio
Sing with the
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14 Patrice Pike
It only took 12 years, a half-dozen records and countless gigs to
land this Austin rocker a slot on a TV show
that would leave her poised for “instant stardom.”
16 What I Did On My Summer Vacation
When the pressure’s on and the camera is ready to roll
the best solution sometimes is just a great big scream.
18 5 Essentials for Music Biz Success
Following these tips can’t guarantee a great career,
but failing to can almost guarantee the opposite.
28 Making a Live CD Part III
Recorded, mixed, mastered—Now it’s time to market it.
Tech Stuff
Live Sound 101
Welcome to the world of Auxiliary Sends and Returns—
Pre, post, aux, insert,
Gear Review
Yamaha EMX 5014c
Powered Mixer
Gear Review
Beyer Opus 89 Vocal Mic
Gear Review
Roger Burnley Vocal
Method DVD
24/7 Studio
Your space is
prepped, now you
need some gear.
Buyer’s Guide
Vocal Mics Under
New mics,
mixers and other tools you
can use.
Published by
Dayspring Communication Group, LLC
Robert A. Lindquist
Bill Evans
Dan Walsh
Jacque Rhodes
Kristi Singer
Director of Sales & Marketing
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Art Director, Production
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Erin Evans
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9 On the
The making
of a beach
bum video.
10 In the Trenches
A few rules for
a good gig
42 My Back Page
Staring down
the muse
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Sponsored by Thayers
Deconstructing a Hit—
“Crazy” by
Gnarles Barkley
Build a Better Instrument
How Vocal Cords Work
Ask Lis
Work Your Schtick
Vocal Q & A
6 Set List
22 Product Spotlight
38 Singer&Musician’s Mall
38 Advertiser’s Index
iRadio is on
the air!
See story on page 21
Rockstar Patrice Pike.
Superwho? Photo by
Mary Bruton. See
this issue’s cover
story on page 14.
This page: Photo illustration by Erin Evans
S etL i st
All In?
By Bill Evans
he problem with having to write a column
like this is that sometimes you just run
out of things to say. So this may seem a
bit random but cut me some slack, in the past
decade I have only done more than 100 of these.
So, I am on the phone earlier with my daughter’s best friend’s mom trying
to set up some time for them around a gig we have booked in California later
this month. As I was explaining the tortured (or maybe tortuous is a better word)
schedule that includes my wife and daughter driving from Vegas to L.A. Saturday
morning and getting to the gig while I fly out because I need to be in Las Vegas
until noon for a trade show for my day gig and then playing the two-set show and
driving home. This the week after we are back in L.A. for two days of rehearsals
as we get ready for our first real Las Vegas gigs which is right after I get back
from San Francisco for another freaking trade show which is right after we put
this issue to bed which is right after we put the two magazines that are our day
gigs to bed.
She said something about being maniacs. Yeah, well, when you get the gigs
you have been chasing for a year, you do what it takes. And the funny thing
is that I know that anyone reading Singer&Musician will understand this at a
foundational level. And getting a non-musician to “get it” is probably just not
going to happen. It’s kind of like how musicians and their families find the movie
This is Spinal Tap hilarious while others look at it like a piece of cheese that has
been left out on the counter a few hours too long.
As they put it in certain rooms in my new hometown, you gotta go “all in”
if you are going to make the big score. Even if everyone around you thinks you
are a maniac. sm
s i nger&musician
c o nt r i b u t o rs
Peter Spellman
5 Essentials For Music Biz Success
Peter Spellman is author of The Musician’s
Internet: Online Strategies for Success in the
Music Industry (2002, Berklee Press),The SelfPromoting Musician: Strategies for Independent Music Success (2000, Berklee Press) and
several other music business development
guides. Most days you’ll find him at Berklee
College of Music in Boston as director of the
college’s Career Development Center or at
the University of Massachusetts-Lowell teaching in the music business program.
Peter is a popular speaker at colleges and conferences and is available for lectures, seminars
and workshops. He is a prolific writer whose
work has appeared in Musician Magazine, Gig,
Performing Songwriter, International Musician
and numerous other publications.
Peter is also drummer for the improvisational
collective, Friend Planet. “MUSIC MY FOOD,”
He says “Music holds a magic over my mind, body and spirit unlike anything else in this world.
Hearing it, writing it, performing it, recording it, “packaging” it and promoting the same in
others brings an incomparable sense of success and fulfillment.”
Lis Lewis
Rockstar Supernova: What I
Did On My Summer Vacation
For more 30 years, vocal and performance
coach Lis Lewis has been blessed with the
ability to combine two of her greatest loves
- music and teaching. She has worked with
such notable artists as Britney Spears, Gwen
Stefani, Jack Black and band members of Linkin
Park, the E Street Band, Journey, Kiss and many
others. She is the author of The Singer’s First
Aid Kit and The Pop Singer’s Warm-Up, (both
books are published by Hal Leonard. She collaborates with managers, record labels, producers and songwriters to help optimize the
performance skills of their artists.
Born in Manhattan, and spending her childhood
in New York City, Lewis found herself drawn
to the performing arts. “My mother sent me
to a school in New York called Dalcroze when
I was a little girl. It was a very intense music
school; they taught in an unusual way which left
me with the idea that learning can be something that’s proactive and based on what the
student loves.” The experience left a lasting impression on Lewis and her style of teaching.
In 1989, Lewis started The Singer’s Workshop in Los Angeles. “I wanted to try to give singers
the sense that they have a unique gift inside of them. There’s a lot to learn, but the thing you
have to hold onto always is what got you started in the first place and that’s the great love of
music. There’s a burning fire inside of us that doesn’t stop.”
Phil Parlapiano
a Hit
Phil Parlapiano is a multi-instrumentalist composer who has
worked with Grammy award
winners John Prine, Rod Stewart, Tracy Chapman, Lucinda
Williams and many others.
While this is his first appearance in Singer&Musician, it is
not his first time writing for
other musicians. He was one of
the keyboard specialists in GIG
Magazine (another publication
that was aimed at working
musicians) as well as writing features and columns over a period of several years.
The idea of Deconstructing a Hit (now a regular feature of Singer&Musician University) is
not just to show you how to play someone else’s song. The hope is that, by “deconstructing” the work of other writers, you will find ways to advance and vary your own writing.
Phil’s current CD is entitled “PianoForte” and is available at CD Baby or his website, www.
Bruce Bartlett
24/7 Studio
A long-time Singer&Musician contributor,
Bruce Bartlett is a technical writer and microphone engineer for Crown, an audio journalist, and a recording engineer. A member of the
Audio Engineering Society and Syn Aud Con,
Bruce has presented several AES papers on
microphones and mic techniques. He holds
several patents on microphone designs. (In
other words, he knows what he is talking
about.You should listen closely.—Ed.)
A gigging musician, Bruce runs a 24-track
commercial recording studio using Cakewalk Sonar Producer. His current books are
“Practical Recording Techniques 4th Ed.” and
“Recording Music On Location” (due October 2006).
Breck Alan
Breck Alan has taught and sung for over 20 years. He studied at the
New England Conservatory, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and
Naropa Institute. He is the author of the vocal instruction series, The Art
of Body Singing. Visit Send questions to breck@
Mark Baxter
Mark Baxter is the author of The Rock ’n’ Roll Singer’s Survival Manual
and is featured in the video, The Singer’s Toolbox. He teaches privately in
Los Angeles, New York City, and Boston. Clients include Steven Tyler, John
Rzeznik, Amiee Mann, and Steve Augeri, and more. Visit www.voicelesson.
Recording and Releasing a
Lisa Popeil
Live CD
Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, singing expert, one of the top voice coaches in
As a youngster, Richard Gilewitz embraced
Los Angeles, a vocal researcher, the creator of The Total Singer available on
artists such as The Beatles, Andres Segovia,
both VHS and DVD, and the Voiceworks Method.Visit
Leo Kottke, Arlo Guthrie, John Fahey and Flatt
& Scruggs. Soaking up the wealth of inspiration
supplied by the diverse acts featured on “The
Dr. Demento Radio Show” and “The Midnight
Special”, Richard welcomed the challenge of
mastering and adapting many styles of music
for the acoustic guitar -- a trait that continually sets him apart from the mainstream.
Gilewitz began honing his skills during the
late 1970’s at the University of Alabama, while * Based on three year subscription
pursing a degree in Computer Science and
Mathematics, eventually working in the field of
flight simulation design, telemetry and satellite
systems. Soon the pull of his passion for music
was so compelling that Richard left corporate
life to teach and perform full time.
Have Singer&Musician delivered right to your
home for less than a nickel a day*—Subscribe
online at
s i nger&musician
on the r o ad
“Standby, Camera, Action!”
or at least two years
promoters and agents
have been pressuring
me for a music video. I just
released my third CD, Just
Add Salt, and heard, “This is
great, where’s the video?”
I knew nothing about the process and feared
both the cost and time commitment of making a
video. I wasn’t sure the payoff of having a video
would be worth the cost. Sound familiar?
I’m sure many of you are considering
filming a video. If you are like I was you have a
lot of questions. Let’s see if I can answer some
of those through my experiences. The process
starts by asking yourself two things:
1. What do you hope to gain by making a
video and how will it help your career?
2. What will be the expense in both time and
The first question you have to answer based
on your own situation, your goals and focus.
For me I hoped to gain a promotional and
marketing tool while at the same time giving
my fans 2:47 of entertainment. If it’s done well
it will only help your career. As for the second
question let me share both my experience and
that of my producer, Mike Breault of Embryo
Media Inc. I was lucky enough to be introduced
to Mike last year only to discover he had
produced videos for the likes of Blues Traveler,
the Wailers and Stone Temple Pilots. For the last
10 years Mike has also produced Raceline and
Full Throttle, syndicated cable and TV shows
reporting on NASCAR. He is easy to work with,
conscientious, creative and good. Everything I
The making of a video is a large topic, so
I have written this article simply as a place to
start. Since we all have a budget to consider,
let’s look at four production methods based on
cost. From most expensive to least expensive
they are:
1. Full Blown Hollywood Style Video
This will be shot on film, not video, with
multiple cameras. You will need a storyline and
storyboards. You will also need a production
company, custom sets and actors and actresses
(at possibly union wages). There will be location
and transportation costs. This would not be a
live show shoot although you could incorporate
live footage. Unless you are the new biggest act
out there or have an unlimited budget, this is
probably not the avenue for you. A video like
this is likely to run you $70,000 to $100,000.
2. High End Video
This will be at least a two-camera shoot
By Mike Aiken
with progressive scan pro video cameras. As
with the “full blown video” this will involve a
production company, sets, location and casting
costs etc. Where you save money going this
route is in post-production costs. Shooting
in video is much less expensive than in film.
With high end pro cameras and equipment and
with a professional post-production studio you
can achieve results so close to film that most
viewers won’t see the difference. Depending on
how elaborate you choose to be, a ‘high end
video’ can run you $15,000 to $40,000. This
is the method I chose to produce my video of
“Hillbilly Beach Bum.”
3. The “Prosumer” Video
This method uses high end consumer
cameras and can be a single or multiple camera
shoot. You can employ an experienced camera
person or go the DIY route. Many people will
try a friend, manager or someone ‘free’ to cut
costs. But there is an art to filming. You don’t
expect a cameraman to know how to play your
instrument…the same rules apply to filming.
This may not be the best place to save. After
filming you can go to a post-production studio
and work with a professional at editing or you
can buy editing software and try the editing
process yourself. You can get great results with
the “prosumer” method and for some styles of
music this might be the look you’re after. Expect
to spend from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on
if you buy or rent equipment and how elaborate
you are with the set and concept.
4. The Picture-Slide Video
This is a method of showing your look and
concept using still photography at a very reduced
cost. You can take the stills yourself or use stills
others have taken of your live shows. You can
also mix photos and video. Again you can go to
a professional post-production studio to put it
together or you can purchase software and try
it yourself. This is the method I chose for my
song “90 Miles To Hemingway.” I mixed stills
with video and had it professionally produced.
This made a very effective presentation at
budget cost. Expect to spend $1,000 to $5,000
depending on how much you do yourself.
I started the whole video process early this
year by asking questions, trying to get a better
handle on what would be required and how I
could realistically pull off the project. I met with
Mike Breault three times before shooting, shot
six different days (some of those days for just
an hour or two), six different setups, spent six
sessions editing, two sessions finalizing and we
were done. Of course there were many hours
preparing to shoot, creating sets, reviewing etc.
As with most Indie artists, we have to be
resourceful and a ‘jack of all trades.’ Evaluate
carefully where your time is better spent, be
it learning new software to edit your video
or booking more gigs to pay to have it done
To wrap up I asked Mike Breault to give a
few extra tips for how to approach making a
music video. His valuable advice is below:
1. Create a realistic budget and stick to it. It’s
very easy to over spend.
2. Spend the time to storyboard your script.
Layout your timeline. Every second of shooting
and editing costs you money so preparation
is the key to keeping to your budget... just as
it is when you record your CDs.
Spend a little extra time shooting in the
beginning to study yourself visually.
Evaluate clothes, hair and actions before
you commit to the final shoot.
Know what your goals are and don’t lose sight
of them. Remember this is a music video,
you don’t have to be Spielberg or Pixar. Be
true to the music and you’ll be fine. sm
If a video is in your future, Mike Breault can be
contacted at You can view
my video of “Hillbilly Beach Bum” by going to www. Thanks for sharing the road.
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
i nt h et r e n c h e s
Billy’s Do’s
and Don’ts
By John Sollenberger
azz pianist, author
and award-winning
music business guru
Billy Mitchell has had an
exciting career both on
and off the stage. A fulltime working musician,
leader of the Billy Mitchell
Group, composer, recording
artist, producer, advocate
for music education in
the public schools and allaround musical activist,
Mitchell has a three-decadeplus resumé of high-profile
gigs the world over, movie
appearances and public
service behind him.
s i nger&musician
motivated by a passion for the “exciting” life of
a performer? Are you trying to make a statement
or a difference? Are you trying to confirm your
talent or simply to avoid “real” work? Are you
doing this as a hobby?
2) Preparation. Develop skills in each area
of your professional life: organizational, social,
managerial, representational and promotional.
3) Production. The musician produces
music. Are you: performing; writing/arranging;
producing CDs or events; teaching?
4) Patience. The business does not provide
what you want when you want it. Learn to wait!
Billy Mitchell’s Theorem on Career Progression
A musician’s success in the 21st Century will
be in direct proportion to how much that musician
cares. An extension of the key word is “care-ful,”
full of care, for every area of your musical career.
You must care about your fellow musicians, your
jobs, your commitments to the audience and
everyone you come in contact with.
Axiom 1: Every gig is important. No job
should be taken for granted. Every job is an
opportunity to learn. Every job should lead to
another job. Every audience deserves your best.
Axiom 2: Your presentation must always
be positive. Dress appropriately for every gig.
Speak with enthusiasm and always project a
positive attitude. Present a clean, complete and
professional package.
Axiom 3: You ain’t that important! No
musician is more important than the music,
the gig or the musicians they are playing with.
Your first obligation is to the music. Your second
obligation is to the job. Build your reputation on
dependability, not on hot air.
Axiom 4: Rejection is part of the program.
Getting turned down is not always an indication
of your talent or of your product. Keep your
ego intact!
Words to live by. sm
“I don’t complain about what club owners pay,
because I don’t play for any less than what I
think I should be making. If a club owner doesn’t
pay for what I think is fair, I don’t work.” —Billy Mitchell
Billy Mitchell’s
The Gigging Musician
is available at
His book, The Gigging Musician, is
considered by many to be the Bible of the
music biz. His “Road Warrior” column in Gig
Magazine, covering what it takes to succeed in
the music business, was consistently one of the
magazine’s most popular features.
When he speaks, he does so with the
authority that comes from real-world experience,
making his one of the most respected voices in
the industry.
In his writing, he’s regularly taken musicians
to task for behaving in an unprofessional manner.
I asked him recently about why he’s become
such an outspoken advocate for musicians
doing the right thing.
“I’d gotten very tired of hearing musicians
moan and groan about the conditions that many
musicians themselves are responsible for setting
up,” he said. “They would complain about
how cheap club owners are, and then don’t do
anything to change the situation. Those same
musicians would still go down and play for $30.
I don’t complain about what club owners pay,
because I don’t play for any less than what I think
I should be making. If a club owner doesn’t pay
for what I think is fair, I don’t work.”
motivating factor. “When one musician is
behaving unprofessionally, it’s a reflection on
all musicians. A lot of musicians behave in
such a way, talking loud and boisterous, being
thoughtless, being rude, being careless. I talk
to my musicians all the time, because I expect
them to be as professional as in any other job.”
This month, I’d like to pass along some
of Mitchell’s top rules for working musicians.
They’re valuable words of wisdom, whether
you’re a musical novice or a seasoned pro.
Mitchell’s Four Ps: The Four Ps make it possible
to be a relevant and successful musician.
1) Purpose. Honestly determine your ultimate
goal. Is it to become rich and famous? Are you
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l i v es o u n d1 01
Console Auxiliary Sends, Or, What
By Bill Evans
n my day gig editing a pro audio magazine, we sell
T-shirts with the answers to the questions most often
asked of sound engineers by audience members. The
first answer on the list is, “Yes, I know what all the knobs
and buttons do and, yes, it took a long time to learn.”
(Thanks to James Geddes for that one…)
I may have mentioned this before—and
I keep coming back to it because, as aspiring
musicians or touring pros or anything in
between—it behooves us to have at least a basic
understanding of production technology and how
we and it fit together. Does this mean that every
vocalist needs to be an engineer? Of course not,
but it helps if you know enough about how your
voice sounds through a system to give a house
engineer a heads up when a cut at about 1.2K
is needed to keep you from sounding screechy.
(We’ll discuss how to communicate with tech
crew in another installment, there is a fine line
between being helpful and being seen as trying
to tell an expert how to do his or her job.)
So if you have been following this series you
know we have been through the entire system
from the mic up to the console which has been
covered in several parts. This month we look
at auxiliary sends or, as sound guys call ‘em
“auxes.” (If you have missed any of the previous
installments, you can find them archived in
the Knowledge Base in the subscriber area of
Made to Order
You know how when you are at a bar and
order a drink (be it with or without an adult
component) and the barback pulls out a little
gun-type dealie from which he can dispense
all kinds of liquid refreshment? Aux sends are
kind of like that but backwards. To continue the
plumbing analogy we started some installments
back, if sound is like water then the console is
like a series of pipes and valves that determine
what goes where and how much of it.
An aux is like a valve that sends some
amount of the “water” off to another system.
In some cases the “water” is returned to the
main system after something has been added
and in other cases some of it is sent off to do
work elsewhere. Whether that “water” returns
to the main system is based on what happens
to it while flowing through the other system and
that is largely dependent on where in the flow
the valve to the aux sits. You will hear auxes
described as pre, post and switchable. Let’s take
a look at each.
Pre and post are short for pre-fader and
post-fader. Switchable just means that you can
determine where the ”valve” is in the flow.
(Take a look at the diagram for a basic visual of
how it all flows.) You will notice that there are
several things that happen before the channel
fader which most of us think of as the channel’s
most important control. How you set up the
flow at different parts of the system is know
as “gain structure” and is the source of lots of
arguments in lots of bars between lots of audio
folks. But there is a reason for the passion behind
something that may seem minor. Good gain
structure can be the single biggest difference
between a good-sounding show and a crappy
one. (Which brings to mind the whole idea of
s i nger&musician
live soun d1 0 1
Do the Knobs in the Middle Do?
stage volume, but that is a can of worms for
another fishing trip…)
Before and After
So why does it matter if sound is sent off to
another system before or after the main fader?
It depends on the kind of system it is sent to.
Pre-aux sends are usually used for crafting
monitor mixes (EQ generally comes before the
pre fader sends but some consoles will allow
you to switch the EQ in so that it affects those
monitor mixes as well as the main output.
Monitor sends are before the fader because if
a change is made to the house mix you don’t
necessarily want the same change to happen in
the monitors (a real issue with digital consoles
that share a mic pre, but, again, a subject for
another time). Therefore, the sound goes off to
the monitor system BEFORE the main fader so
that the monitor mix can be crafted apart from
the main mix.
A post-fader aux send is generally used to
drive some kind of effect or sound processing.
This allows you to determine how much signal
gets that reverb on it and a separate aux return
determines how much comes back. Most good
mixers have aux return controls in the main
output section but most pro sound engineers
will return the effect through an unused channel
so they can easily determine how much of the
effected sound gets back to the system and to
the ears of the audience. This is, for example,
a great way to easily kill the reverb on a singer
when he or she is talking to the audience.
Reverb sounds cool in judicious amounts
while singing but almost always makes spoken
communication very hard to understand.
An aux is like a
valve that sends
some amount of
the “water” off to
another system.
Insert Here
One other kind of send and return is the
channel insert. This is like an aux send but you
don’t get a knob to determine how much sound
gets sent. It all goes and it all comes back.
This is usually used for dynamics processing—
compressors, limiters and gates—but can also
be used with an outboard EQ or automatic
feedback killer. For example, I own a couple
of Antares Vocal Producer units that combine
EQ, compression, mic modeling and pitch
correction in a single unit. These get “inserted”
into the channels where they are needed and
are not on an aux.
Your better consoles will have insert send
and receive jacks for each channel but almost
all MI grade mixers have a single TRS 1/4” jack
(Remember, TRS jacks have three parts. Again,
go back to the archives to the piece on cables
for more info.) To use the inserts, you will need
a TRS send and receive cable. This is a “Y”
cable with a single TRS on one end and a pair
of mono 1/4” jacks on the other end. The tip
of the TRS sends the signal to one of the mono
1/4” jacks while the ring portion gets the signal
back from the other mono connector. To further
complicate things, most pro consoles have
direct outs that send the raw signal from the
input to other places, usually a recording unit
of some kind. But some MI consoles combine
the inserts and direct outs. If you insert a TRS all
the way into the jack, it is an insert. If you stick
a mono jack into the halfway point of first click,
it acts as a direct out.
Next up, the output section including fab
stuff like sub-groups, mute groups and VCAs.
What fun we’ll have…
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
C o v e ra rt i st
It’s a Beautiful
For Patrice Pike, the Three Keys to a
Career in Music are Commitment,
Commitment and Commitment
By Bill Evans
ven if it was a guilty pleasure, we
are willing to bet that you watched
at least some of the two seasons of
Rock Star on NBC. In case you didn’t,
the show is a weeks-long audition to find
a lead singer for a name band.
Last season it was INXS. This year it was a new band called
SuperNova made up of former members of Mötley Crüe, Metallica
and Guns N’ Roses. Being reality TV it is full of drama—some real
and some manufactured. But while the general public was
dishing about who dissed who or who wore the best outfit,
musicians were struck by a comment made by one of the
rockers as she was being “voted off the island.”
“When I was 19,” she said “I made a pact with my
guitar player that we would never have a day gig. And I
haven’t.” The woman who spoke those words was Patrice
Pike, an Austin TX-based singer/writer/player/performer
who had half a dozen records under her belt and more
than a dozen years as a working musician before she even
heard about the star-making TV show.
Brothers and Sisters
Pike left home at age 15, got married at 17 and divorced
partly because her spouse (who was the bass player in her
first band) would not make the same commitment to playing
music that she did. She was writing songs with bandmate
Wayne Sutton who issued the challenge and the pact was
made. “I dropped out of college, quit my job and we went
for it. Every door opened for us after we made that pact.”
Those doors included a major label deal and a
jammy, funky LIVE debut called Free Love and Nickel
Beer. (you read that right, a major label live debut
recorded at Club DaDa in Dallas). The band, called
Little Sister which was Pike’s nickname growing
up, was getting some real traction on the college
circuit and scoring support slots for some of the
region’s biggest acts including Edie Brickell and
New Bohemians and Sarah Hickman. Despite
that traction, when their label SKB became
part of EMI they were left with a deal. They
released their second record as part of an
indie co-op based in Austin only to hit
a roadblock in the form of a cover
band from Boston who was also
playing under the name Little
“When I found out that
they were a cover band who
didn’t ever travel I was kind
s i nger&musician
of surprised that they were so hard-core about it,
but they were sending cease and desist letters.
We could have fought it but it would have meant
not being able to play in Massachusetts.” The
group had been picked up by Arista and when it
was discovered that there were six other bands
all playing under that name, the label suggested
it might be time to consider a change. “We
were the seventh band vying for the name,”
Pike recalls. “So we became Sister Seven.” Two
albums later, Sister Seven once again found
itself on the wrong end of a label reorganization
and disbanded. Pike found herself without the
project that had been the focus of her life for the
past 10 years.
Her writing has always been soulful, merging
funky soul with rock and a literary sensibility.
“The soul part is bringing in the Stevie Wonder,
the elements of artists I enjoyed from Fishbone
to Annie Lennox to Missie Elliot. Urban music
has influenced me so much, especially in terms
of vocal style. It’s about where the pocket is and
laying back in your approach.” She brought that
approach to her next band, Blackbox Rebellion
(which also included guitarist Wayne Sutton
from Sister Seven) but soon after Pike moved
in a different more acoustic direction. “I found
myself writing more contemplative, singer/
songwriter material but after a couple of years
of that I was ready to start writing rock again.”
Hollywood Calls
Meanwhile, Rock Star was gearing up for a
second season and looking for singers with star
quality. Part of that meant scouting out some
high-profile indie artists who were real “band”
people. (Several of the participants in the first
season had theatrical backgrounds and some
came from the now-defunct Vegas run of the
Queen musical We Will Rock You.)
“I got phone call on tour. I was getting ready to
come home and looking forward to putting out the
new record I had been working on for two years.
They scouted me out but the Austin audition was
so far off the map that I told them “no” because
I didn’t want to cancel tour dates. So then they
called back and asked if I would consider flying to
another city. So I flew to San Francisco. I kind of
said “whatever.” I mean I didn’t see the first season
so I didn’t really know what it was about.”
Most of the singers came from cover band
You have got
to be sure
you are
backgrounds unlike Pike who has performed
covers from time to time (“songs I really like and
that influenced me”) but has always played her
own material. She went into the audition and
played two originals—including one that would
play a pivotal role later—and “They flipped.
Call-backs were scheduled for the next day but
I could not be there so they arranged a call back
for the same day.” After 13 years on the road
Patrice Pike was poised for “overnight success.”
15 Singers, 1 House
So she moved into a house with 14 other
singers and the drama began. But, most important
were the performances and Pike gave some
great ones. “I’m proud of my performances. The
really hard part was taking on a song I never
would have picked.” The singers were presented
with a group of songs each week and had to
come to agreement on who got to sing what.
Squabbles and compromises were inevitable. “
I wanted ‘We Are the Champions’ when I got
‘Instant Karma’ which ended up being a great
performance for me. The week I got ‘Remedy,’
I wanted ‘Call Me.’” She calls “Remedy”—a
soulful rocker by the Black Crowes that seems a
perfect match for her—a “fatal mistake.”
“When I did that song, I just didn’t feel
comfortable in my own skin. Instead of thinking
about singing I felt like I was navigating the
show situation. I’d had a bad day. If I had dug
into it I would have taken my shoes off and just
ripped into it. But after that I got it into my head
to bring the true ‘me’ into every performance.”
It would be the first time that she would face
possible elimination and have to outdo two
other performers in the eyes of the band to stay
She Knows What the Knobs Do
Unlike too many singers who seem to adopt an attitude that the nuts and bolts, tech aspects of the
show are somehow beneath them (at least that is the experience of this writer…), when asked if she
could, in a pinch, set up the PA, Patrice gave a refreshing though unexpected response.
“I own my own PA. Three-way Mackie self-powered mains that are big enough for 350 or 400
people. I have the powered SRM450s for monitors and a Mackie Onyx board with the FireWire output.
We used the FireWire to record live on the last tour. Just plugged it into a G4 laptop. It’s brilliant. And
the mic pre’s on that Onyx are really nice.” A singer just said “mic pre.” I can die a happy man…
in the competition. But the die seems to have
been cast. Despite some killer performances—
including a take on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher
Ground” that was a virtual clinic for melding
rock and funk—she began appearing in the
“bottom three” as voted by viewers regularly.
But Pike is a survivor and she became one
by consistently looking for “win-win moves.”
That move came when two of the songs in the
pool from which to choose appeared as blank
sheets of staff paper with the words “Original
Song” where the title should have been. It was
the opportunity she had been waiting for. “I felt
like in the next two weeks I would be out. Part
of it was viewer responses but they had made a
decision that I was better off as a solo artist.”
She played an original tune called “Beautiful
Thing.”—the pivotal song referred to above. “I
auditioned with that song and they loved it. That
is the one that got me there.” Her performance
was excellent and the song has “hit” written all
over it. Pike has had “total strangers” approach
her on the street and tell here that they can’t get
it out of their heads. Ironically, it was her last
shot and she was eliminated.
Back to Business
Pike has returned to Austin to do some lastminute remixing on her new record, Unraveling
which will feature the original song she got
to perform on network TV for an audience of
millions. Are you getting the win/win concept?
With or without the show, Pike will be
making music because, well, that’s what she does
and her advice to aspiring singers and musicians
reflects that. “Most universal is, no matter what
kind of music you do, no matter if you are aiming
mainstream and a major label or to be part of the
indie world, no matter what your background or
financial situation is, you have got to be sure you
are absolutely passionate about making music.
It’s all about persistence, tenacity and being
sooooo committed. This is not an easy glamorous
job. You have to make it mean something.”
So what’s next? The record hits on Oct. 17.
She will do some local CD release shows and
the tour is being planned. “We get to start with
the Austin City Limits Festival and
sm from there we
are on the road. Indefinitely.”
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
f e at u r e sto ry
Backstage at
By Lis Lewis
have had one of the
most exhilarating and
exhausting summers of
my life. I haven’t seen the
sun, my family or friends
since June because I’m the
vocal coach for the CBS TV
show Rock Star: Supernova.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, (how can
there be anyone who is unfamiliar with it?) it is a
reality show with the job of finding a lead singer
for the new rock band Supernova. Supernova is
made up of three of the top musicians in rock
today: the infamous and hilarious Tommy Lee
of Motley Crüe, Jason Newsted of Metallica
fame and Gilby Clarke from Guns ‘N Roses. The
show airs two nights a week – one where all the
s i nger&musician
singers perform and one where only the bottom
three sing. There is also a weekly reality segment
that premieres every Monday on the Internet on Here’s a little of what it’s been like for
me to be working on this project.
My Summer Vacation
It’s 4 am when my alarm goes off on
Wednesday. These are not musician’s hours. It’s
so early even my dogs don’t notice I’m up. My
call time at CBS TV is 5:15 and it takes a half
hour to drive there. There’s no traffic.
CBS is swarming with people – the camera
crew, lighting crew, sound crew, directors,
producers, musicians and all of the production
assistants. I wait outside for the van with the
rockers who tumble out looking sleepy and
disheveled. They haul out their guitars and their
suitcases full of the clothes they might wear for
today’s show. Their handlers shuttle them up to
the third floor to the ‘green room’. The mood is
gloomy. Someone is going home today.
All summer these singers have been living
together in a mansion in the hills of L.A. They
have no phone, no radio, no TV, no Internet, not
even CD players.
Their whole world is
the show and each
other. The mansion
is beautiful, the food
is great, the crew is
friendly and helpful
but in the end it’s a
very pretty pressure
cooker that they are
living in. Everything
they do is watched
and when they are
upset or distressed,
it’s filmed. Still they
know that the prize
is worth it. They all
want to win. My job
is to help each one
of them do it. Every
time someone goes
home, those of us who are left feel the loss.
As I write this, I don’t know who will be
the winner. No one does. I’ve heard rumors
that these shows are fixed but I can tell you for
certain, this one isn’t. The front runners change
week to week and the show has no control over
who the audience will vote into the bottom
three. Today is the day we will find out. Those
three will be performing for Supernova to try to
save themselves and Supernova will send one
home (in one shocking episode they actually
sent two home!).
By about 5:30 (still in the AM, folks) the
rockers go down to the stage (it looks exactly
like the Mayan Theater in Hollywood but it’s on
a CBS sound stage) and four of them are picked
arbitrarily to stand in for the four performers
who will sing today. Besides the bottom three
there will be one rocker chosen by Supernova to
do an encore. I try to give them a group warmup amidst the din in the studio. It is minimal.
The holy smokin’ house band barrels through
a soundcheck and a dress rehearsal for all four
of the singers. Then the rockers are herded back
up to the third floor to cycle through hair, makeup and wardrobe. This is where they will spend
the next few hours sequestered before they tape
today’s elimination show. Breakfast is brought
up and, after they eat, it’s time to warm-up their
voices. Mind you, they’ve already had to sing
but now we get serious about getting ready for
In the first episode of the show there were
fifteen rockers. There wasn’t enough time for me
to give them each a thorough warming up. But
now that we’re down to the seven best, I know
their voices well, and I know what each singer
needs to get ready for the extremely demanding
day they are facing. I take each one into the hall
(there’s no room to warm-up in and no piano
– we do it a capella in the hallway between
offices). We run through some scales getting
them loosened up and stretched out and then
we work on the parts of their song that might be
giving them trouble. Believe me, these people
are incredible singers. They work hard and learn
feat ure st o ry
fast which makes my job a dream.
Then it’s showtime. We all take the elevator
down together – it’s packed with the rockers,
their handlers and me. Usually we sing some
loud rock song on the way down and they bang
on the sides of the elevator – it used to scare me
but we haven’t gotten stuck in there yet. Once
they all decided to just scream at the top of their
lungs – the elevator door opened on the second
floor and there was Tommy Lee screaming back
at us!
The theater is packed with audience
members. (Another rumor that is totally untrue
is that they are hired audience members. But
anyone who lives in Hollywood knows that
there is a line around the block of people
who want to get in and do.) There is a guy
warming up the audience and an incredible
DJ spinning loud, loud music. From here
on, I’m in the audience watching the
show unfold. The rockers come out
onstage, then the house band, then Dave
Navarro who co-hosts with Brooke Burke
and finally Supernova. The room goes
crazy and the show starts.
My job is done for the day
except to go backstage and say
goodbye to the one who is leaving.
There are tears all around. The
remaining rockers are shuttled
back to the mansion for more
reality TV taping, photo shoots
and song selection. I’ll see them
again on Saturday when I go up
to the mansion to give them
each a real voice lesson and
work on the songs. Then
on performance day at
CBS and we go through
a pretty similar routine
except they all get to sing;
they rehearse their songs
twice, go through hair
and make-up, rock out in
the elevator and perform
for the audience. Let the
voting begin! sm
Once they all decided to just scream at
the top of their lungs – the elevator door
opened on the second floor and there
was Tommy Lee screaming back at us!
For pictures, a video
clip and more visit my
Opposite page; Lis hangs
with the rockers. This
page: A more personal
and intense workout with
a private student.
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
S p e c i alf e at u re
of Music
By Peter Spellman
usic is too big a
world for a onesize-fits-all model
of music career success.
Musicians’ career paths are
as unique as their individual
fingerprints. Nevertheless,
there are a few guidelines
that apply to anyone trying
to make a living career out
of their love of music.
1. Hone your talent and realize there is a
place for you. Not everyone is a Quincy Jones,
one of the Beatles, or a Bruce Springsteen, but if
an artist like Tom Waits can become a successful
vocalist, then there is definitely room for you,
too. Do the work necessary to excel in your
niche, whether it’s writing a chart, engineering
a session, providing backup vocals, or teaching
kids the basics of music.
Your goal (to use marketing lingo) is to
“position” yourself in your “market” as the
go-to person for that particular skill or talent.
Don’t worry too much about industry rejection.
Every record label in Britain initially passed on
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The key
is to remain confident in your abilities and
2. Connect with as many people as you can
because relationships drive music careers more
than anything else, even talent. The quality and
quantity of your relationships will be the primary
engines of your progress. Try developing creative
s i nger&musician
projects with fellow-musicians. Perhaps you can
combine your live show with two other acts
and present the package to a local promoter.
There is strength in numbers. Finding the right
combinations takes experimentation.
3. Take responsibility for creating your own
success. The last 10 years has given you the
means to both produce and distribute your own
music on a global scale. New models of business
are emerging in the world of music. A “record
deal” is not necessarily the goal any longer. The
Internet has clearly become your “open mic” to
the world, and desktop technologies provide you
with ways to have the look, reach and efficiency
of larger companies.
Global reach means a potentially far-flung
audience. You need to be ready for this new
Connect with as
many people as
you can because
relationships drive
music careers more
than anything else,
even talent.
market. Have you created the best business
structures to hold and express your work? Are
you setting up effective systems to communicate
with your audience? It’s up to you to create your
own success and not merely rely on a record
company or agent to do the work of making you
visible in the marketplace.
4. Understand that every business is
becoming a “music business” and so musical
opportunities are multiplying. It took a coffee
company and a computer manufacturer to teach
the music industry how to sell music in the
digital age! Non-music businesses everywhere
are seeking creative ways to add music-related
services to their mix. This means that you
needn’t be dependent on the traditional “music
industrial complex” for music career success.
Think of companies you already resonate
with and try brainstorming ways you can link
up. Start on a local scale. It might be a gift shop,
bookstore or arts organization. Finds ways to
add value to what these businesses are doing
with what you have to offer. Forging creative
alliances is key to building a multi-dimensional
music career.
5. Prepare to be versatile and to wear
several hats until your “brand” is established.
Most musicians I know have had to cobble
together several revenue streams in the early
stages of their careers in order to make enough
money to support themselves. Many have also
had to take on a non-music “lifeline careers”
just to make ends meet, pay down debt, or
supplement what they earn from music.
I tell musicians to not so much look for “a
job,” but to seek out the work that needs to be
done. It might be arranging a song, playing a
wedding gig, helping organize a concert series,
doing a jingle session, offering private music
instruction, or writing a review of your favorite
band’s new CD. Eventually, all the different
experiences merge together into the roaring
river that will be your music career. At that point
you’ll be visible, in demand and able to name
your price. And that’s career success.
Peter Spellman is Director of Career Development
at Berklee College of Music, Boston. This article is
from his new book, “Indie Marketing Power: THE
Guide for Maximizing Your Music Marketing”
(2006, Music Business Solutions, http://www. Two additional articles
by Peter are presently available as “Online
Exclusives” in the Singer&Musician Subscriber’s
Only area at sm
g e a rr e v i e w
Yamaha EMX 5014c Powered Mixer
By Bill Evans
or about 10 years now powered mixers have
been on an upward swing in terms of both
quality and feature sets.
You can still find simple box mixers with a few basic controls and not enough
power to drive even a mediocre club speaker cab but it is just as easy to find a good,
console-style unit with decent EQ, built-in effects and respectable power. A big part
of the drive in this positive direction has been Yamaha’s EMX series.
This latest version has a great feature set, is easy to set up and use—added
bonus—they even provide the audio newbie with some actual education on how
this thing works and how to make it sound good.
The EMX 5014c gives you eight mono mic/line inputs (with phantom power
for using condenser mics) plus four stereo channels. Note that two of the sets of
stereo channels are also mic channels so you can run as many as eight mics with
two stereo devices like keyboards or up to six mics if you need all four of the stereo
channels. All of the input channels have three-bands of EQ with sweepable mids
on the mic channels. The mic channels also have a –26 dB pad, a high pass filter
than rolls off everything under 80 Hz—which will do a lot to clean up any mud
in the vocals—and a simple one-knob compressor pre-set for a good vocal sound.
You also get a circuit that detects feedback in the mic channels (not the frequency
continued on page 37
Opus 89 Vocal Mic
By Bill Evans
he world is awash in
good dynamic vocal
mics. If you take your
standards down a notch and
include the knockoffs and
almost knockoffs coming
out of China and you have a
veritable flood on your hands.
While most of the new wired dynamic mics
coming out from the major mic players over the
past few years have been “budget” versions or
MI-priced versions of their “big boys.” Beyer has
taken a different tack and actually put out a new
pro-grade dynamic that is worth a peek.
If you have seen the Beyer TG-X 80 just put
a nickel-colored head on it and ditch the spaceagey red rubber ring and you have a pretty good
idea of what the Opus 89 looks like. And looks
are not all that it shares with the TG-X 80 as
the two—at least on paper—sport very similar
performance specs and the same weight and
size with a different color scheme. The big
s i nger&musician
difference is that Beyer
made this more of a vocal
mic, rolling off the response
below 35 Hz which helps
clear the mud. Like any
hypercardioid mic, the polar
response shows a pretty big lobe
at 180° from the front. If you use
personal monitors this is not an
issue but if you use a wedge, you
need to be careful—as with any
hypercardioid mic—to place the
wedge at least 15° off center to
avoid feedback.
With a presence bump
between about 5K and 12K, the
Opus 89 boasts some of the highend clarity found in good live
condenser mics. The mic ships
with a clip that fits and a nylon
carrying bag. While it shares some
specs with the TG-X 80, to my
mind at least, the Opus 89 is just a
whole lot nicer looking.
Four piece rock band. Small,
loud club. Used a pair of the Opus
89s on two male singers—one a
principle vocalist and the other
doing mostly backups and just a few
leads. Despite the volume onstage, the
tight pattern kept feedback from being
a problem (nary a squeal all night
long). One of the mics was plugged
in to a channel that had been used
for a condenser vocal mic the night
before and it sounded good out of the
gate with the previous EQ settings still
dialed in.
Second outing used with two
female vocalists in a large R&B band.
These dynamics absolutely smoked the
condensers we usually use on the girls.
More clarity and output and plenty of
The mic was intro’d in Europe at PLASA
more than a year ago and in the U.S. at
Winter NAMM in January. Still, we did a
Web search and could not find a retailer
currently stocking the Opus 89 in the U.S.,
but a UK search turned up a unit at 162
pounds sterling or about $259 in Uncle
Sam’s dough.
Finally, gig over and band packed
up, it was time for the drop test. Five feet
straight down to concrete. The grill dented
pretty significantly leaving the mic looking
lopsided at the impact point, but everything
still worked fine.
WHAT IT IS: Performance hypercardioid
dynamic mic
WHO IT’S FOR: Those who want some of
the air of a condenser in a dynamic package
PROS: Good sound and good looks
CONS: Grill dented when dropped, Still
hard to find in the U.S.
gearre v i e w
Roger Burnley’s EZ Vocal Method
By Linda Evans
n the first installment of this revue
(#41-September/October 2006) we
told you how we were going to give the
Roger Burnley’s EZ Vocal Method DVD/
CD package to be given to a “developing”
singer for a real world test and review.
So here I am. Using the word “developing” is an understatement to
describe my endeavor to become a better singer. Currently I am a backup
singer—and sometimes soloist—in an eclectic, 9-piece 60’s-70’s R&B/
Soul/Classic Rock band, including a 3-piece horn section. When I joined
the band six or so years ago, there was one lead singer (who happened
to be my husband) and I became the only backup singer. Now there are
five of us that sing, all of us taking turns as a soloist and the rest of the time
harmonizing our butts off as backup singers.
Sure we have fun (and isn’t that the greatest part of playing out) but the
pressure to improve my voice has never been greater as I would say I am
the weakest link in the vocal category…but I play a mean tambourine!
It was pretty obvious when I joined the band that I really shouldn’t be
holding a live mic in public. Most of the time I was flat, had a hard time with
maintaining harmonies and the quality of my tone left much to be desired.
However, I had great stage presence (isn’t that part of the battle?) and a pitch
corrector in the rack so most of my bandmates didn’t seem to mind too much.
Over the years the revolving door of bandmates has brought us to the
current group of musicians and, as I mentioned before, five of us sing. While
I have improved over the years, I am still the weakest link. I still have a
tendency to go flat at the end of phrases and I’m still not too happy with my
tone. In my head I sound like Aretha Franklin but what I hear on playback
sounds more like the drunk girl in the karaoke bar…you know the one.
Let me say that my “formal” training consists of singing in my junior
high school choir back in the 70’s and a couple of years ago I took
an Extended Learning class at Pasadena City College called “Singers Your Body is Your Instrument” (a special thank you to instructor Judith
Townsend) where I mostly learned about diaphragm technique.
OK, enough about me: let’s recap last issue’s initial installment. Roger
Burnley is a noted vocal instructor who medical doctors refer their singing
clients to when they are recovering from damage mostly caused by bad
technique. The EZ Vocal Method he created consists of two pieces: an
instructional DVD where Burnley explains and presents his method as
well as a CD that contains the techniques to follow and practice with.
So I first watched the DVD three times through. That is probably
two times too many for most of you but for me, having no real training,
I wanted to make sure I completely understood the proper execution of
these techniques. I really appreciated the fact that I could watch Burnley
work with other “developing” singers on the DVD going through the
techniques and improving their vocal sound instead of trying to follow
written instructions and then trying to follow the lessons on a CD.
Next I started playing the CD. I had a difficult time with one of
the exercises as it’s not exactly a “natural” position to be holding while
singing—try singing scales through puckered and vibrating lips while your
hands are placed on the sides of our face…not an easy thing to do at
all…at least not for me. Since these exercises recommend that you put
your hands on your face until you get used to the techniques I would
not recommend practicing while driving in your car (as mentioned in the
previous installment and for obvious reasons).
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first and had a bit of a hard time
doing the techniques but after a while I did start hearing an improvement
in my pitch and tone and I do believe my range has improved as well.
Without giving away too much I feel that the techniques are just easy
enough for me to do without getting too discouraged.
So, has anyone noticed an improvement? Well, you will just have to
wait until our next installment. Over the next few weeks I have a couple
of band rehearsals where I will debut the results of my new exercises to
my unknowing bandmates as well as two upcoming gigs: one is a small
(but very appreciative) parish festival and a much larger, outdoor concert
in sparkly Las Vegas. Stay tuned! sm
Now Playing on iRadio…
f you’re among the
many folks who’ve been
tuning in our revamped,
reformatted and relaunched
Internet radio station —
“Thanks for listening.”
Actually, it all started over two years
ago with the launch of SingerRadio through
Live365. Using the tools provided by Live 365,
we immediately discovered just how much
of a need there was for a place where artists
could listen to and appreciate the music of
other artists. Where SingerRadio was mostly
Americana based, iRadio features a broader mix
of pop, rock, jazz, blues and acoustic music.
Such an eclectic blend is not for everybody, but
if you’re musically open-minded and seldom
satisfied with the typical fare of commercial
nowplay i n g
By R.A. Lindquist
radio, we can pretty much guarantee that iRadio
will tickle your audio taste buds.
What Will You Hear?
With iRadio, our goal is to create a musical
environment that can be either background
or foreground. While the iRadio mission is to
expose new music and new artists, there’s a very
fine line between what people will listen too,
and what they will simply pass by. In a perfect
world, we could simply play every new release
we receive. Unfortunately, this is far from a
perfect world and there must be a measure
of familiarity to keep listeners returning. With
this in mind, we’ve carried over to the new
format many of the more popular artists from
SingerRadio, including Cindy Kalmenson,
Amilia K Spicer, The Grandsons, Diane Ward,
Buckwheat Zydeco, Young Dubliners, Richard
Ferreira, Rachael Sage, Roomful of Blues and
many others. To this, we’ve added a carefully
selected and varied group of cover tunes and
past hits reissued independently. Then, each
month our programming panel searched
though the latest independent releases looking
for new tunes to freshen the mix. Less than 5%
of the tracks reviewed get selected for airplay,
so having a track added to the iRadio rotation
is tantamount to a five star review.
Among this month’s dicoveries was a CD
entitled One Meat Ball produced by Christine
continued on page 23
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
nEWp r o du c tsp otl igh t
Hi-MD Recorder
Sony takes Hi-MD to a higher level with
the introduction of more intuitive recording features, easier navigation, and a
more ergonomic design – while delivering
the same high-quality CD sound
and the convenience
of recording
on the MD
The MZM200 is the
ideal field recorder for radio
journalists, musicians, songwriters, and all
types of pro-audio applications. This next
generation recorder is now Macintosh®
compatible and comes equipped for the
field with a stereo microphone, earbud
headphones, 1-line backlit remote control
unit, USB uploading software, a rechargeable battery, an AC power adaptor and
1GB Hi-MD disc. For more information
go to
The Epiphone Blues Custom
When developing Epiphone’s new “Blues Custom 30” guitar amp, the Gibson Labs
USA Design Team recognized the importance of selecting the perfect speaker. That’s
why they chose the experts a Eminence to help
create a new, custom speaker specifically designed to enhance its’ unique tonal characteristics and features. The result was a completely
new speaker called “Lady Luck.” And while it’s
certainly lucky for guitarists everywhere that
they did, luck had little to do with it. When
you combine legendary brands like Epiphone,
Gibson and Eminence - That’s a sure thing.
Visit us at
The YPG-625 is the top of the line of the Yamaha Portable Grand series and features an 88-key
GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) action.
Other piano-centric features include large
wave ROM with high resolution Live! Grand
and Live! Warm grand stereo piano samples,
Portable Grand button and a decorative
stand that places the instrument at the correct
height. All housed in a
beautiful cabinet with wood accents on the
panel and end blocks. Ultra
modern enhancements include USB MIDI,
USB jack for connecting USB
storage devices, and a backlit LCD that displays lyric and notation.
Power adaptor, sustain pedal included.
tascam’s DP-01FX/CD
Sennheiser e 835
How do you improve on the most complete, easyto-use 8-track recording system on the planet? Add
a CD burner to our already feature-packed DP01FX! Introducing the new DP-01FX/CD. Now
you can burn your mixed hits directly to CD
or back up your work in progress at any time
without having to transfer it to your computer
first. Like the DP-01, it combines the hands-on simplicity of our classic cassette Portastudios with the superb
sound and editing
flexibility of CD-quality digital. A great tool for songwriters who want better quality than
cassettes but don’t like the expense, complex menus and windows of other recorders and
software packages.
The Sennheiser e835 lead vocal stage microphone is designed to perform flawlessly under pressure. The hard-working mic
is constructed of rugged
metal with a shockmounted capsule that
reduces sensitivity
to handling noise.
The cardioid pick-up
pattern isolates
sound interference
from other on-stage
signals, allowing
clear, smooth vocals
to reach the audience
while the performer
moves freely. Minimal
proximity effect provides
consistently clear bass
and performance when
singing closer or further
from the capsule. And
no matter the climate,
the neodymium magnet
technology helps deliver
great, stable sound. The
e835 mic is also available with a switch. MSRP:
$159.00 Visit www.
Singing Coach
Whether a singing novice or professional performer, SingingCoach is for you. The unique, SingingCoach pitch tracking
system will measure vocal range, pitch quality and pacing
on your computer screen as you sing in real-time. Use the
20 lessons, vocal exercises, breathing exercises and more to
become the singer you have always wanted to be. Sing along
with the 24 included songs, automatically adjusted to fit your
vocal range. Download your favorite music from a selection
of over 10,000 songs or write your own song melodies with
SingingCoach compose mode.
Now receive $20 off the Regular $99.95 retail price by logging onto Select the SingingCoach Unlimited icon, Click “Buy
Now” and enter SMMAG001 into the coupon box. Offer expires 12/31/06
s i nger&musician
n EWproduct sp otli g ht
Nady’s UHF-4
Nady’s UHF-4 represents a breakthrough in affordable UHF wireless microphone systems,
providing unprecedented value and a full selection of state-of-the-art features for the demanding professional on a limited budget. The UHF-4 operates on single frequencies in
the wide-open, uncluttered UHF 794 - 865 MHz band. Its half-rack design features
folding front panel dual antennas and unique snap-out
panel locking tabs for single
receiver or dual receiver (side-by side) optional rack
mounting. Also features
Tone Squelch for locking out potential interference, DigiTRU Diversity for
maximum range and dropout protection, 1/4”
unbalanced and
XLR balanced outputs, and industry-best 120dB
dynamic range. Available with choice of
handheld mic transmitter or bodypack...ideal for
virtually all singing and instrument applications. MSRP: $139.95
Making Money Making Music:
The Musician’s Guide to
Cover Gigs
By Quint Randle and Singer&Musician’s Bill Evans. Written
in straight-forward language by professional gigging musicians, Making Money Making Music guides artists through
every aspect of achieving financial success through cover
gigs. This easy-to-use reference shows readers how to start
or join a cover band, choose the right cover songs, land the
first gigs or get better ones, handle marketing and promotion, use proper sound and lighting systems, and much more.
Available at: and
Now Playing on iRadio…
Sennheiser HD
280 Pro
The HD 280 Pro is Sennheiser’s most
popular closed, circumaural headphone.
Designed to exceed the demands of the
professional environment, the HD 280
Pro boasts extremely robust construction
combined with extensive features that
allow users to meet the requirements of
today’s most challenging applications.
The HD 280 Pro offers accurate, linear
sound reproduction for critical monitoring
applications while reducing up to 32 dB
of ambient noise. The headphones also
optimum impedance
The unique
ear cups,
and very
construction all
offer maximum
flexibility for the
user in any situation. MSRP: $199.95
continued from page 21
Lavin. For the culinary minded I should add
that all the music on the CD has something,
either directly or indirectly, to do with food and
it comes with a 100 page cookbook. Meat Ball
artists include Annie Bauerlein & Chip Mergott,
Pete Seeger, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and
many more. We picked three tracks from the
CD for iRadio: “Mocha Java” and instrumental
by Alan Miceli, a lovely ballad entitled
“Blackberry Winter” by MaryJo Mundy and
“Pie,” a fun little ditty by Debi Smith and Doc
Watson. Other new ads include tracks from new
CDs by David LaMotte, Lantana, Jennie Arnau,
Fred martin and Levite Camp, the late Hamilton
Camp, Sierra Swan, the Robin Horlock Band
and others. For a complete list of the current
artists in rotation, go to
and click iRadio.
Improving the experience
One of the biggest soon-to-be-solved
problems with Internet radio is dropouts. As
iRadio broadcasts at the highest bandwidth
that’s practical (64k), you may experience an
occasional dropout, depending on the type of
Internet service you have. At our end, we’ve
installed the best quality line available for
uploading the streaming audio. In addition, we
use a WorldVibrations broadcast automation
device to originate our broadcasters. Still, you
really need a 112 Kbps ISDN/DSL or better to
listen to CD quality streaming audio and even
then your device will occasionally need to
rebuffer. Increasing your buffer time, can really
help eliminate drop outs. If you’re trying to
listen via dial-up, chances are you’re in for a
frustrating experience.
Special Programs
iRadio is more than just the best of the
best new music by Independents. Over the
coming months we’ll be adding features to
help you deliver your own singing style and
musicianship. As you listen now, throughout
the day, you’ll hear one-minute instructional
featurettes by noted vocal coaches Lis Lewis
and Lisa Popeil to help you develop your voice.
So stay tuned – there’s plenty more great stuff
coming your way on iRadio and throughout the
iLiveToPlay network.
Reaching the International Indie Artist
While the vast majority of iRadio listeners
are in the US and Canada, our international
audience is growing. iRadio presently has
regular listeners in Poland, Taiwan, Argentina
Brazil, France, Austria, Sweden, UK, Germany,
The Dominican Republic and Greece (There’s
even one in Gabon). The interesting parallel here
is: whereas your local AM or FM station serves
the need of the local geographic community,
in terms of news, weather and sports, Internet
radio serves a lifestyle community—a
community of people with common interests.
Using iRadio as the case in point, our primary
audience is people who make music as well
as people who like to challenge their musical
tastes. Trying to broadcast to such a finite group
using conventional transmitters and receivers
would probably be a disaster, but thanks to the
digital technology of the 3rd millennia we can
bring together groups of people based on their
musical interests and tastes regardless of they
call home. I don’t know about you, but it sorta
blows my mind.
On the A-List:
Tune into iRadio and hear Calvin B
Streets’ latest CD entitled He Ain’t Done With
Me Yet featuring some of the most genuine
performances to come along in quite awhile.
It’s a mix of acoustic and electric music that
runs the gamut from flat out rock and roll to
cool ‘60s style blues and pop. In between,
you’ll enjoy a plateful of very listenable and
memorable compositions. Streets’ penchant for
experimentation is best illustrated on songs on
like “Chet’s Theme,” and “Ragtime Fantasy.”
Other notable cuts are “Just You And Me,”
“Quick Change,” and a soon-to-be holiday
classic, “I Wanna Have A Christmas.” Available
through CD Baby.
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
2 4 / 7 stu d i o
Gear Guide For Your Home Studio
by Bruce Bartlett
hat is the bare-bones equipment you need to crank out a decent demo CD or album?
How much does it cost? Thanks to the new breed of affordable gear, you can put
together a complete home recording studio for as little as $800-$1200. That includes a
mic, mic stand, powered speakers, cables, computer recording software, and an audio interface.
How It Works
First, plug the mic into the interface,
which digitizes the signal and sends it to your
computer by USB, FireWire, or PCI slot. Then,
using the recording software, record several
tracks of audio or MIDI data. Listen to what
you’re recording with headphones. Then mix
the tracks to stereo while listening over monitor
speakers (or with good headphones if your room
Figure 1. A recorder-mixer.
acoustics are poor). Finally, save the mix as a
wave or AIFF file, and burn a CD of the song.
Why not use your computer’s sound card,
which does the same thing as the interface? An
interface sounds much cleaner and provides
mic connectors that mate directly with standard
mic cables. Many interfaces also include other
connectors for MIDI and digital audio signals.
Instead of using a computer to record and
mix your music, you might prefer to use a
recorder-mixer. This standalone device is easier
to set up and use than a computer-based system,
but is less flexible and powerful.
Let’s look more closely at each piece of gear
mentioned above.
This device converts the sound of your voice
(or any instrument) into an electrical signal that
can be recorded. Microphone sound quality
varies widely, so be sure to get one or more good
mics costing at least $100 each. Condenser mics
require phantom power, which is provided either
by a phantom power supply, most mixers, or an
audio interface. Some condenser mics work on
batteries. You’ll also need a mic cable and at least
one mic stand and boom costing about $35.
Powered Monitor Speakers
Another important part of your studio is the
monitor system -- a pair of quality headphones
s i nger&musician
and loudspeakers. You can use powered
speakers, or use non-powered speakers with a
separate power amplifier. An essential tool, the
monitor system tells you what you’re doing to
the recorded sound. The sound you hear over
the monitors is approximately what the final
listener will hear. Very good headphones are
available for $100 and up, and good speakers
cost about $300 a pair and up.
Built-in effects (the more the better).
Virtual tracks let you record multiple takes
of a single performance, then select your
favorite during mixdown.
Guitar-amp modeling simulates various
guitar amps; mic modeling simulates mic
Type of analog inputs: XLR balanced or 1/4”
(TRS) balanced, RCA or 1/4” unbalanced.
XLR inputs usually include phantom power
for powering condenser microphones.
Number of mic inputs: the more the better.
Number of simultaneous recording tracks:
Two may be enough if you’re recording only
a track or two at a time, but a band may need
to record at least eight tracks at once.
Automation (the mixer stores and resets your
Phantom power for condenser mics.
MIDI Time Code (MTC) and MIDI Machine
Control (MMC), tempo map and tap tempo.
Backlit LCD display (bigger is better) with a
waveform display.
Analog-to-digital conversion: 16-bit is CD
quality; 20- or 24-bit is better.
Also called a portable studio,
digital multitracker, or digital
recorder, this unit combines a
multitrack hard-disk recorder with
a mixer—all in one portable chassis
(Figure 1). It lets you record several
instruments and vocals on separate
tracks, add effects, and mix the tracks
to stereo. Then, if the recorder-mixer
has a built-in CD burner, you can
burn a CD of the mixes. If not, copy
the stereo mixes to your computer’s
hard drive via USB, then burn a CD
of the mixes using a CD burning
program (such as Nero, Roxio Easy
CD Creator, Toast and so on).
Computer Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
I recommend getting a recorder-mixer with
If you own a fast computer, you might
at least 8 tracks so that you can record one prefer to skip the recorder-mixer. Instead, get an
instrument per track. Advanced recordists might audio interface and recording software (Figure
prefer a unit with 16 to 32 tracks for elaborate 2). Some recording software records MIDI
productions with lots of microphones in use.
sequences (from a synth or keyboard controller)
Some 8-track units without a CD burner are as well as audio.
listed here with their street price: Boss BR-600:
If you plan to record one instrument or
$399, Fostex MR-8 mkII: $249, Tascam DP- vocal at a time, you can get by with a 2-channel
01FX $449. Some 8-track units with a built-in audio interface. Some examples are the Tascam
CD recorder include the Tascam
DP-01FX/CD: $599, Tascam 788:
$599, Fostex VF80EX: $499, Korg
D888: $699, Boss BR-900CD:
$699. (Remember that street prices
can vary radically from place to
place. Be sure to check online.)
Some 16-track units with a
built-in CD recorder are the Fostex
VF160EX: $799, Yamaha AW1600:
$999, Boss BR-1600CD: $1395,
Roland VS-2000CD: $1499, Korg
D16XD: $1599, Zoom MRS1608:
Here are some features to look
for in a recorder-mixer:
Internal MIDI sound module
(synthesizer) plays back MIDI
sequences. Includes MIDI files Figure 2: Computer with recording software and an audio
or rhythm patterns to jam with. interface.
24/7stud i o
US-122: $149, Lexicon Lambda: $199,
Edirol UA-25: $239, Edirol UA-101 $499,
M-Audio Fast Track Pro: $249, Echo Gina
3G: $349.
If you already have a mixer with insert
jacks or direct-out jacks, you can connect
them to a multichannel interface to record
many tracks at once. Some examples:
Echo AudioFire 8 (8 line inputs): $499,
Echo AudioFire 12 (12 inputs): $699, MAudio Delta 44 (4 inputs): $199, M-Audio
Delta 1010 (8 inputs): $399. An interface
with 8 mic preamps is the PreSonus
Firepod: $599. It works without a mixer -just connect up to 8 microphones directly
into the Firepod.
Another option is a mixer with a
built-in USB or FireWire port, such as
the Mackie Onyx Series, Alesis MultiMix
Series, Phonic Helix Board 18 FireWire,
and Yamaha MW USB Series Mixing
Studios. Cost is about $250 to $600.
Two freeware recording programs
are Audacity (for PC) (http://audacity. Figure 3. MIDI sequencer recording with a computer.
Once your tracks are recorded onto your
(bundled with recent Macs). Some popular
low-cost recording software is Cakewalk Sonar hard drive, you can edit and mix the tracks, and
Home Studio XL ($159) and Pro Tools M- add effects, by adjusting controls that appear on
your computer screen. Then you record (export)
Powered software ($249) which works with
the mix as a wave file on your computer’s
certain M-Audio interfaces.
hard drive. Once you have a few mixes
completed, you can burn them to a CDR. There’s your final product -- ready to
A computer studio costs about
the same as a recorder-mixer and is
more powerful. It’s a bargain. But since
software requires computer skills, it’s
harder to learn and use than a hardware
A computer studio can record MIDI
tracks as well as audio tracks. Using a
piano-style keyboard or drum-machine
pads, you play synthesized musical
instruments -- bass, drums, piano, etc.
(Figure 3). Part of the recording software,
called a MIDI sequencer, records the
keystrokes that you play on the pianostyle keyboard. When you play back the
sequencer recording, it plays synthesized
instruments from a sound card, sound
module, synthesizer or software synth.
We’ve looked at several types of
recording setups that can help you create
quality demos or albums. As we’ve seen,
putting together a home studio needn’t
cost much. That dream of owning your own
studio is within reach. sm
Bruce Bartlett is the author of Practical Recording
Techniques 4th Ed. published by Focal Press.
On The iRadio A-List
During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Calvin B. Streets grew up amongst the
angst, broken glass and sharp edges of the Brooklyn streets he was
named after. He learned early on that life is filled with sharp edges
and broken glass, and that, to survive, you have to find a soft spot
every now and again. This was no place for the faint of heart. This is
evident by his angry, and at the same time sensitive and emotional,
no holds barred style of rockin’ blues, as well as the artistry of the
guitar that Mr. Streets embodies. The feelings of those sharp edges
and broken glass, concrete and brick streets along with the hope and
despair that is the mortar that binds is almost unparalleled in the blues
genre. His city influenced style of blues, mixed with equal parts of
his childhood guitar heroes, makes his unique style recognizable. His
ability to write and perform original blues and ragtime tunes make him
a truly unique American composer.This break out solo album covers the
blues genre from
blues to Delta
Blues, where it
all started. This
is truly a blues
guitar album. And
watch out for the
Christmas 2006
release of the
blues classic (an
advance copy of
which is on this
album) “I Wanna
Have A Christmas
“Go to CDBABY.
com and pick up
a copy today.
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
b u y e r ’sg u i d e
Vocal Mics Under
hoosing a mic is an
incredibly personal
mission. What you
like, I may hate and the one
that I think is the best mic
I have ever used may have
you thinking it makes me
sound like a dying cow. It’s
subjective, that’s all there is
to it. And yet…
Having some basic specs in a chart format at
least gives you a starting point if you are looking
for a new mic. But, again, check it out with care
before committing. Here is what some of the
stuff in the chart means and why it is important
D 880 M
C 900 M
$155 Dynamic
$289 Condenser
$299 Condenser
Electro-Voice www.electrovoice.
EV Blue
EV Blue
Nady Systems
Nady Systems
s i nger&musician
Capsule Type
For our purposes there are two types:
dynamic and condenser. A dynamic mic uses
a diaphragm mounted in front of a magnet.
When acoustic energy (like your voice) hits the
diaphragm it moves and creates changes in the
magnetic field between it and the magnet. Those
changes are converted into an electrical signal
that eventually moves speaker cones at the other
end of the system to recreate the sound that went
into the mic—just louder. A condenser mic uses
either a charged plate (true condenser) or two
plates (one stationary and the other attached
to the diaphragm) that are attached to opposite
sides of a DC power supply (electret condenser)
instead of a magnet. Movement between the
plates changes the capacitance which in turn
affects the output of a resistor wired between the
two plates and that becomes the output signal.
Because the output is very high impedance, an
impedance conversion amp is needed to create
a usable signal. Sorry that is as non-geeky as we
60 Hz20 kHz
20 Hz- 20 kHz
40-20,000 Hz
10.4 oz Zinc/aluminum alloy
10.4 oz Zinc/aluminum alloy
274 g
(9.7 oz)
233 g
(8.2 oz)
Hypercardioid 10.5 oz Die-cast zinc alloy
11 oz
Die-cast zinc alloy
10 oz
Steel and diecast
Supercardioid 10 oz
Die-cast zinc alloy
Supercardioid 9.2 oz
Supercardioid 9.2 oz
40 Hz-20 kHz
45 Hz-18 kHz
Cherry Wood
35 Hz-20 kHz
$29.95 Dynamic
109.95 Condenser
$285 Condenser
10.1 oz Die-cast zinc
11.5 oz Die-cast zinc
11.64 oz Metal
50 Hz-12 kHz
30 Hz-20 kHz
40 Hz-18 kHz
11.4 oz
40 Hz-16 kHz
10.5 oz
50 Hz-15 kHz
90-16,000 Hz
50 Hz-16 kHz
40 Hz-20 kHz
50 Hz-18 kHz
50 Hz-16 kHz
50 Hz-13 kHz
can make it.
What you really
need to know are a few
things: Condensers need
power for that conversion
amp and, in the case of
an electret to provide
power to the plates. This
is why you need a mixer
that provides phantom
power if you are going
to use a condenser.
Second, mostly because
the elements in use are thinner and lighter in a
condenser, they excel at reproducing transients.
(No, not street people. This is audio speak for
sounds with a quick attack and decay like the hit
of a snare drum or the consonants in the words
you are singing.) So, most people find that they
sound clearer and more defined than a typical
dynamic. Finally, because of those lightweight
elements, condensers have traditionally
been seen as less road-worthy although that
has changed to a degree where it is almost
negligible. You need to take care of them, but I
drop every condenser I test just to make sure it
can “take it” and I haven’t had one fail the test
in a long time.
Opposite page:
Christina Aguilera
using a Shure KSM9
mic. This page:
Lou Reed and The
Raconteurs using
Sennheiser Evolution
935 mics.
from the sides. This
becomes an issue
when placing monitors
onstage and is one
reason why super and
hyper cardioid mics
are good choices if you
are using a personal
monitor system and
not wedges.
Weight, Construction
and Frequency
Weight and construction materials are
totally linked. You want something light enough
to use comfortably but hefty enough to take
some abuse. Frequency range is also pretty
simple. Generally wider is better but for vocal
mics anything under about 60 Hz just makes
the sound muddy and no human can make
sounds in the high ranges of most mics. But that
extra “headroom” usually makes for a clearer
sounding mic. If you want to look up how
harmonics work to understand this then go for
it or just take the “headroom is good” statement
and be done with it. sm
Mic Pattern
Any decent stage
mice is uni-directional—
sound flows in from one
direction except it’s not
that simple. It would be
great if a mic could be
like a funnel but that is a
problem that the physics
guys have not solved
yet. Most mics are some
variation of cardioid in
their pattern. Cardioid
comes from cardio and
basically means “heart
shaped” and it refers to
how a mike responds
with the “notch” at the
top of the heart being
where it is most sensitive
to incoming sound.
Super and hyper
cardioid mics make
that notch narrower
but—here comes that
again—when you make
the notch narrower, you
actually create a “lobe”
of greater sensitivity at
the back of the mic. So
a super or hypercardioid
actually picks up more
sound at 180° from the
“notch” than it does
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
m a k i n gal i v ecd
Making a Live CD - Part 3:
Getting It Out There
By Beverly Phillips, ZenGator Productions
ith the availability of
home studio software
for laptop computers,
jack-in-the box design programs,
duplication devices and the
popularity of the Internet, almost
anyone can record, produce, and
—Richard Gilewitz sell CDs on a worldwide basis.
In the previous two issues of Singer&Musician I discussed my
reasons for wanting to record and release a live CD and the process
involved from the initial recording to track selections, mixing,
mastering, and design. Once all of that was completed, I turned
over the marketing, promotion, and advertising efforts to those who
know, better than I, that folks who advertise during the Super Bowl
really do have a handle on the return of their promotional dollars.
Richard Gilewitz is interviewed on BBC Scotland in Kirkwall Orkney Scotland
s i nger&musician
makingali v ecd
In the indie
world, if the
“stuff” isn’t
there, NO
amount of
promotion will
carry the CD
very long or far.
Gone are the days of driving from one radio
station to another, vinyl record in hand, with
the hope of getting the air play so necessary
for selling that record. Signing on with a record
label is no longer a sole requirement for the
singer or musician who seeks recognition from
Hong Kong to Arkansas. Today if an artist wants
to show the world “their stuff”, there are many
avenues open for promotion and all of these
pathways can lead to a successful sales record
and name recognition.
First and foremost, only the “star-making
machinery behind the popular song” (to quote
Joni Mitchell) of the major label world can
make a success of someone just because they
look good and have some charisma. In the indie
world, if the “stuff” isn’t there, NO amount of
promotion will carry the CD very long or far.
The finished recording can be part of a massive
pre-release campaign sent in either demo form
or as a finished release to radio stations, trade
magazines and Web sites for review, enclosed
in a slick package with a six-page booklet
inserted in a jewel case with shrink-wrap and
spine label, AND distributed to a plethora of
stores, but if the music can’t stand up by itself,
ALL of the promotional efforts will not sustain
So, if the music is great and the cuts are the
best yet from the artist, then the CD has a chance
of reaping the benefits of good promotion.
Since each recording is an extension of the
artist, the promotion should be done with the
same attention to detail that was used while
producing the music. A series of press releases
are sent to a select list of promoters and editors
of magazines, webzines, newspapers and trade
journals - starting with the announcement of the
upcoming release and ending with the physical
CD and a one-page description about the CD,
background on the artist’s performance record,
and bio. Radio music directors and Web sites
providing music reviews are sent the completed
CD, minus the shrink-wrap, with a one-page
release about the CD and a short bio of the
The artist’s budget generally determines
whether paid print or broadcast advertising is
part of the promotion. Even a small 1/6 page ad
in a magazine that reaches a targeted market is
worth the investment in terms of name branding
and promotion of that newest release. The
inclusion of the artist’s Web site on every ad,
press release, liner note, or poster is a gateway
for additional interest and potential sales.
Distribution is all about getting the music
into the hands of the fans. The wider spread the
distribution, the greater the sales, but that wider
distribution means each step taking a bit of the
profit. There are a number of excellent on-line
options available including an artist’s own Web
site, or and Online
radio stations like Singer&Musician’s iRadio
offer listeners the chance to buy entire CDs from
Amazon or download a paid track with a simple
button push. Brick and mortar stores, such as
Target, Best Buy, or WalMart have a complex
approval system and tend to stick with the sure
sales potential of mainstream artists.
Tour date promotion is extremely important
for propelling that new release into the market.
This is done one month to two weeks prior to the
concert, depending on the publication. Send in a
release too early and the reader forgets the date.
An announcement mid week on a Wednesday
is a good method for pulling in the audience for
a Friday or Saturday concert. Touring is a crucial
ingredient for promoting the product. Fans
attending concerts are likely to come away from
the event with several of the artist’s product in
hand. An attractive display that is positioned
so that fans leaving the concert pass by it, a
reasonably priced product, and a sales offering
for concert goers, such as “Buy 3 and get the 4th
at half price”, acceptance of credit cards on the
spot, and a sign-up sheet for email addresses all
lend to a successful promotion—and sales.
Successful sales come from balancing all of
these promotional elements—from outstanding
design and to well-written press releases and
email announcements, to radio airplay and
print advertising. Finally, it is the knowledge
that with all the promotional efforts that are the
wings that make the CD fly, it is still the artist’s
creativity that gives it its soul.
ZenGator Productions, “Mindful Promotion
with a Bite of Panache”, created Richard
Gilewitz’s Web site (,
and continues to maintain the site, promote his
touring schedule, GillaCamps, and products.
Live at 2nd Street Theater features the design
work of Perri Harper.
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
G ua r a n t e e
singer& musician university
P rovidin g t he k n o wled ge y o u need t o rea c h y o ur g o al o f v o cal & m u s i c al s u c c ess …
Gnarls Barkley
narls Barkley, an
act consisting of
producer Danger
Mouse and vocalist Cee-Lo
Green, has an amazing hit
song and album on their
hands. “Crazy” harkens to
the hey-day of classic R&B/
Soul music, something that
is hard to find these days.
Of course, good American
music has to come by the
way of England.
This track has the feel of a brilliant demo
that has been leaked to the public (which
I believe might be the case.) The parts are
incredibly simple, leaving room to showcase the
satisfying soulful vocal of Cee-Lo. After an intro
of a ‘C’ chord hit four times, the song settles
into a groove that sustains the whole track. The
instrumentation is sparse: a simple drum pattern,
with a bass and guitar in octaves playing dotted
eighth and an eighth on the down beats. There
is a keyboard blending with some expansive
vocal pads fleshing out the chordal harmony: C,
Ebmaj7, Abmaj7, Gsus, to G. This progression
hooked me the first time I heard it as I am a
sucker for the C (I) major to an Ebmaj7 (b III)
move. Words in commercial music are usually
about relationships or sex, so it is refreshing to
hear a song where the artist is soul searching.
The lyric about ‘emotions had an echo, in so
much space” is appropriately drowned in delay
without being cheesy. Especially nice is the line
“I was out of touch…wasn’t because I didn’t
know enough, I just knew too much.” This idea
drives me crazy as well!
Going into the chorus, the song jumps a
beat, jolting the listener. The song takes flight
as the strings enter and the vocal pads turn to
very Motown-like ahhs. Ambiance is supplied
by the addition of a
subtle noise pad. The
harmonies take a turn
for the minor: the C
major turns minor
the rest of the original
contrast to the verse,
where the vocal line
was rhythmic and
busy, the chorus
Simple arrangement and
production—space is your friend
Lyrics are not about love or sex
Cool chord progression (try that
I-bIII in one of your tunes)
settles to one melody and lyric: “Does that
make me crazy”? The string part has that classic
Al Green tone and takes you back to earlier
days in a flash. The chorus exits as abruptly
that it entered blissfully back to major.
When the next verse starts, the harmonies
change very slightly: C major, Abmaj, Ebmaj,
Gsus, to G. This happens again for the next
two verses and gives added release to the
verse. The lyrics also
change perspective
as the singer gives
us advice, but most
likely is talking to
himself. The rest of
the verse, Cee-Lo riffs
around the melody,
maintaining restraint.
The third verse
lyrically ties up the
subject, where the
singer realizes that
he is put in this world
for a reason, as crazy
as he may seem to
others. Simple ideas,
yes, but with a beat
you can dance to!
Gnarls Barkley resists
the temptation for a double chorus as Cee-Lo
oohs, classic ‘70’s soul style, over the last verse.
The song ends at the ninth measure with the
lead and backing vocals trailing over a single
bass note.
‘Crazy’ displays the genius of simplicity
and directness in a great sounding track. CeeLo effortlessly makes the song completely
compelling to the listener. Add to that a great
chord progression and groove and there is nothing
more that one could want in a hit.
w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
s i n g e r&m u s i cianuniver si ty
If You Want a Better Voice . . .
Build a Better Instrument
magine walking into
your first guitar lesson
and the teacher hands
you a piece of wood and
some strings. He shows you
a picture of a guitar and
says, “Before we can begin,
you’ll need to make yourself
one of these.” Anxiety
would surely follow. What
if you made a lousy guitar?
Obviously, that would have a negative effect
on your ability to learn. Unless you were already
a skilled woodworker, your hopes of becoming
the next guitar hero would be dashed. This
scenario is not so far fetched when you think
about the voice. Before you can learn to sing,
you have to build an instrument.
It is a luxury to wrap yourself around a wellmade guitar. All you need
is the desire to learn and
you are on your way to
becoming a player. Unlike
voices, instruments are ready
to play. All of the pianos,
drums, woodwind, brass
and stringed instruments
we use today are the result
of centuries of refinement,
but when it comes to singing, you are both the
player and the instrument. Address these factors
separately, and you’ll develop much faster.
Some people are born with beautiful
sounding instruments; most of us are not. Some
people want to sing; some do not. It’s a spin of a
wheel which combination of mind and body you
fall into. Just to make life interesting, it seems
we always long for the abilities we do not have.
Therefore, the most common situation is that you
desire to sing but have a less than desirable voice.
Take heart; you can improve. The problem is that
we tend to skip over the fundamentals in favor of
performance tips. Before long, we ask for things
the instrument can’t deliver . . . yet.
What makes for a great sounding voice
are the same principles which make for a great
sounding guitar.
Every instrument can be
reduced to just two components. There must be
something that makes a sound, called a vibrator,
and an area around the vibrator which colors
the sound, known as the resonator. The size,
By Mark Baxter
shape and texture of these components are what
determine the characteristics of an instrument.
There are universal properties governing sound,
so consistent we call them laws, which every
instrument-builder strives to embrace. Singers
should have the same agenda. It’s actually very
simple; you’ll sound better if you obey the laws
of sound.
The strings on a guitar, the reed on a
saxophone and the head on a drum are all
examples of vibrators. Your vocal folds are the
vibrators of the voice. They are thin membranes,
right in the middle of your throat, which extend
over the top of your windpipe. The best way to
understand how the vocal folds work is to inflate
a balloon and then stretch the neck to create a
tiny slit at the opening. As air escapes, a highpitched sound is produced. You can’t see it with
the naked eye, but the walls inside the opening of
the balloon are moving very rapidly.
The speed of a vibration is called the
frequency. Vary the tension as you stretch the
neck of the balloon, and you’ll change the
frequency. We refer to different frequencies as
pitches or notes. Notice how a small difference
in tension produces a big change in pitch. Since
the opening of a nine inch balloon is the same
across the instrument, only touching at two very
small points. The harp inside a piano floats on
rubber bushings so it never touches the wood.
There is a strip of cork which separates the mouth
piece of a saxophone from the brass of the horn.
Your larynx, too, should float inside your throat.
Independence is what allows freedom of the vocal
vibrator, increasing range, pitch accuracy and
consistent tone (so your voice sounds big from
top to bottom). The problem is that people have
emotions which trigger muscles to shut down the
resonators—guitars, pianos and saxophones do
not. Here’s where training pays off.
We are creatures of habit. Culture, family,
emotions and personality shape our behaviors
until they become second nature. If singing is a
part of your surroundings when you are young,
chances are you will sing well. If not, your habits
are most likely the problem. At first they seem
necessary, but tendencies like tensing the jaw,
tongue and throat, over-compensating air pressure
or squeezing the eyes all compromise your
instrument. Pitch change, for instance, should
not show up anywhere on your face, neck, jaw or
tongue. Your throat should remain relaxed, just
as the wood on a guitar doesn’t care what note
is being played. I’m not suggesting that releasing
negative behaviors is easy,
just necessary. If you’re
willing to work, though,
you can develop into an
instrument that’s easy to
play. Hey, if a balloon
can change pitch without
effort, so can you.
So, what does all this
science have to do with
entertaining an audience? It’s simple. Musicians
trust their instruments, most singers don’t. Any
doubts you may have about your voice will
show up in your singing. It’s too easy to become
preoccupied on stage with the mechanics of pitch,
breathing and projection; yet all an audience
wants to hear is a song. Trusting the instrument
allows a singer to be present, to dig into the
emotion of the lyrics.
Just as every musician knows that a great
instrument will allow them to soar, every singer
should work toward becoming one. Be patient.
Some vocal exercises seem silly or a waste of
time. Remember that the process to make a guitar
does not resemble playing one. The laws of sound
apply to everyone, regardless of how old you are
or how long you’ve been singing. This should
be good news for all frustrated singers. Chances
are you’ve been playing an inferior instrument.
It means you can finally have the voice of your
dreams. But first, you’ll have to build yourself a
better instrument.
So, what does all this science have to do with
entertaining an audience? It’s simple. Musicians
trust their instruments, most singers don’t.
s i nger&musician
size as an adult’s vocal folds, the tiny movement
required to change pitch is the same. Remember
this the next time you’re beating yourself up to
reach a high note.
A vibrator alone is worthless without a
resonator, which is why bands and orchestras
don’t include balloon players. Resonators give
instruments their tone. You don’t have to be a
scientist to imagine a piano, guitar, drum or horn
stuffed with towels. A resonator adds color by
providing an empty air space around the vibrator.
It’s that simple, and what’s true for an acoustic
instrument is true for the voice. Cavities, like
the windpipe, throat, mouth and nose, are all
potential resonators. The bigger the space, the
richer the tone. That’s why good stereos have
big speaker cabinets and why grand pianos are at
least six feet long. The more you create inside you
the bigger your voice will sound.
The relationship between vibrator and
resonator is also crucial. The less contact the
two have the better. Guitar strings are suspended
singer&musicianunive r s it y
How Vocal Cords Work
By Lisa Popeil
f all the amazing
body parts we
possess, our vocal
cords rank as two of the most
intricate and multifunctional. They work to keep food out of
our lungs, help us lift heavy
weight and help us push
down for important bodily
functions. And specially for us
humans, they vibrate to allow
complex communication
and at the highest level,
the miracle of singing. The term ‘vocal cords’ is actually
a misnomer. These little body parts
are more like flaps or lips, rather than
cords like on a violin or harp. They sit
horizontally in your voice-box at the top
of your windpipe and open and close
constantly for breathing and swallowing.
We have a left and a right vocal cold,
connected at the front and open at the
back. To make sound, we close our
cords and blow pressurized air up from
our lungs When this air hits the closed
cords from underneath, the cords open
and close really fast...they vibrate. That
opening and closing hundreds of times
a second makes a buzzy sound which
is the beginning of your voice. If you
take a finger and lightly touch the front
of your neck, at your Adam’s Apple and
simply hum or talk, you should feel the
vibration of your vocal cords in action.
One of the most amazing things
about the cords is their size. Singers
often think of their vocal cords as being
large, similar to the neck size. In fact,
the diameter of the average human adult
vocal cords is about the diameter of a
dime. The higher the voice, the smaller
the cord size. That means that women
with high voices have vocal cords
smaller than a dime. Baritones’ cords
are closer in size to a nickel and basses
are comparative to a quarter. Let’s talk about the construction of
these miniscule dynamos. Your vocal
cords have basically three layers: on the
top, pink, wet, spongey mucous membrane,
like you’ll find in the inside of your cheek. (Go
ahead, check it out with your finger, no one’s
watching). The middle layer includes the vocal
ligament, which is like a rubber band, and deep
inside is the vocal muscle which is like stiff
rubber bands. Together these layers are little
bio-machines colliding together more than a
million times each day allowing you to talk and
Of particular interest is the vocal ligament, a strong band of tissue at the edges of the cords.
It’s one of the many things we share with pigs
and as you may have guessed, the ligament
helps us squeal. Many other animals, like dogs, have no vocal ligament and therefore can’t
make high sounds. How does the ligament,
a yellow cord-like elastic string, help us sing
higher? It stretches, stiffens and can support
high tension.That helps us sing higher than we
could if we didn’t have a ligament and were just
stretching the vocal cord muscle.
When we raise our pitch, several things
happen: we increase air pressure underneath
the cords, then the muscle and ligament begin
to stretch and lengthen similar to stretching
rubber bands and the cords open and close
faster. Voila, now you’re singing higher.
Fun-time: I want you to experience how fast
your little vocal cords open and close: play the
note A below middle C and sing it. How many
times a second do you think your cords are
opening and closing? Two? Eight? The answer
is 220. That means every time you sing A 220,
your cords are vibrating (opening and closing)
220 a second. Much faster than the eyes can
see. A veritable blur of activity. What if you sing
A 440, the A above middle C? Did you guess
440 times a second? You’re right. And
now sing or play two A’s above middle
C. That’s A 880. Going up a bit more to
the famous female high C, your cords are
now vibrating an exhilarating 1047 times
each second. Whether you play piano,
flute, tuba or didjeridoo, when you play
a specific note, you’re creating sound
waves at the same rate. For singers, the
rule of pitch is: the lower the note, the
shorter the cords; the higher the pitch,
the longer the cords.
Now that you understand how pitch
is created, let’s move on to loudness and
softness. Stick your hands out in front of
your body, palms facing each other but
not touching. Now clap really lightly
with only an inch of space between
your palms. That’s similar to the action
of the cords in soft singing. To simulate
loud singing, increase the space between
your hands so that now you’re clapping
in a big way. Hopefully you can see
for yourself how loud singing creates
real collision between the vocal cords;
they’re literally hitting each other. So if
you’re singing loudly and the cords are
colliding 300, 400 times a second, no
wonder you’re voice is getting tired.
So if you sing high and loud, for
too long, your vocal cords will begin to
swell. One moment you sound great,
the next, you’re raspy and hoarse. Your
high notes are gone and your throat hurts.
Time to stop singing or talking. We only
have so much time each day vibrating
our cords before swellling begins. So
drink lots of water, reduce your voice
use to a minimum and marvel at what
this miracle organs do for us every day
of our lives.
So if you sing high and loud,
for too long, your vocal cords
will begin to swell. w w w. i L i v e To P l a y. n e t
s i n g e r&m u s i cianuniver s it y
Work Your Schtick
By Randall Williams
chtick is a funny word.
It’s your gig, your
hook, the thing you
do that makes you who you
are. It’s also the thing that’s
going to get your career as a
musician off the ground.
Think of schtick as a shop door that’s already
half open. It’s so much easier to see what’s
inside and then decide if you’re going to walk
in or not. If the store’s door is closed and it has
no windows, it’s pretty hard to get excited about
going in to browse.
Meet Mae Robertson, a charismatic
singer/songwriter with great style and a
sharp business mind to match. For years,
she’s run a children’s clothing shop. One
day, her musical partner suggested that she
make a recording of lullabies to sell in the
store. Mae had always sung lullabies to her
children, but when the CD hit the counter,
it became more than a fun project – it
became a career springboard.
The CD started selling immediately, and
was even noticed by the American Library
s i nger&musician
Association, who designated it a “notable
recording for children.” Lullabies became Mae’s
marketing niche, her schtick. She’s sold tens of
thousands of copies, and they’re still selling. The
next step was logical: another lullaby CD. Then
another one. Then she made a Christmas CD. All
marketed specifically to an audience of mothers
that don’t necessarily buy CDs for themselves,
but they buy CDs for their children. Especially
after Mae re-did her artwork to include cute
sleeping babies on the covers.
After all that, Mae finally had the money to
make the CD she really wanted to make. “A real
CD - of original music,” she said. “And I finally
got to have a Hammond organ,” she beamed.
“But I couldn’t really sell that CD. There was no
niche market for it”
Mae’s lullaby schtick became like an open
Mae’s lullaby
schtick became
like an open shop
door with inviting
window dressing –
very approachable.
shop door with inviting window dressing – very
approachable. And a CD of lullabies is easy to
buy as a gift. Now Mae’s hired an agent who’s
taking the CD to gift fairs. One can easily guess
what’s going to happen to her sales figures.
Then Mae told me about Pete Huttlinger.
Pete is a singer-songwriter who’s also a fly
fisherman. He’d go to rivers to fish, then he’d
sit on the bank and write songs. Where’d Pete
sell his CDs? At fly fishing conventions. He put
fishing lures on the cover of his first CD, titled
“Catch and Release.” Pete entered a world
where he was a proverbial big fish in a small
pond – one of very few songwriters marketing
directly to fisherman. It paid off. Suddenly, an
audience that normally doesn’t buy music did.
Pete had built himself a market.
“The closer you are to just a singersongwriter,” Mae said, “the harder it’s going
to be.”
She’s right. What makes you unique,
and how can you capitalize on who you
are in order to be noticed? If nothing makes
you stand out from the crowd, odds are
good that you’re going to remain part of the
crowd for a long time. If you’d like to be a
successful musician, working your schtick is
Contact Randall at
s inger&musician
univer si ty
Get that gravelly/
I was trained with a classical background. My teachers always taught me to sing with a
clean tone, and stressed that singing with a throaty or growly tone would cause permanent
damage to my throat. However, I find this limiting when I try to sing certain styles of music
that seem to require a more guttural feel. Can I get the gravelly/throaty/screamy tone that
some singers get without damaging my voice?
­—John, USA
he stock answer to the growly or throaty tone
question is that it’s only achievable if the singer
is born with a speaking voice that has the same
growly or throaty quality.
I, however, do not subscribe to this
theory. I refer to this throaty tone as throat
resonance and seeing this tone as resonance
is the key to safely learning how to add this
color to your palette.
There are gazillions of examples of singers
out there that have successfully navigated the
“edgy tone” and had long and fruitful careers.
The key is, as with all singing, that it must
be accomplished without excess pressure
on the vocal cords. It is not screaming!!
In fact, if you pay attention to singers that
use the edgier tones correctly, you’ll hear
that most of them are not excessively loud.
The throat tone projects very well as does
nasal resonance — but
that is not synonymous
with screaming. It is
the projection of this
illusion of screaming) that
makes it so appealing for
more aggressive music.
It carries well over other
Placement is the key to
this as with all resonance.
The first focus of placement,
as with all healthy and
good sounding singing,
is to “anchor” your tone. This refers to the
age old voice term “singing over the throat.”
What this means is that the beginning of all
resonance is at the top back of your mouth
where your uvula hangs down. Once the
vocal cords produce the initial pitch and
tone, the sound must initially vibrate at this
spot in your body before being magnified
and colored by additional resonance from
your nasal passage, mouth, chest and throat.
When you’re good at anchoring your tone
and can produce a non-airy clean tone
without strain and harshness, you are in a
position to re-direct your resonance back
into your throat and attach the growly
throat resonance to your tone. Direction of
resonance is a multi-step learning process
that cannot be covered in a single magazine
article. There are many techniques I use
to teach singers to direct their resonance
from their brightest nasal resonance down to
their deepest chest resonance and all points
in between. Once a singer is good at going
from one direction in resonance to the next,
they must learn to work in both directions
at the same time. This means attaching the
bright resonance to the deep resonance so
we can hear them both at the same time.
That is the same thing
that must be done with
attaching some throat
resonance to a solid, wellanchored, clean tone.
It’s a bit like walking and
chewing gum—if you’re
patient with the steps then
you’ll be able to put them
together in time.
middle lower range first,
feeling what it feels like
to direct the resonance up
and down from your chest
to your nasal passage. Doing this can best be
described as going from a yawny low larynx
sound “umb” for the chest sound up to a
buzzy eeee sound for the bright nasal tone.
Be as gentle and quiet as you can and really
work on doing all of these placements with
a non-airy tone. When you are good at this
and have spent enough time to understand
how to blend these resonance’s well and
move them at will, then you are ready to
begin gently trying to direct resonance into
your soft palate and throat area. There is a
continued on page 38
The key is—
as with all
it must be
without excess
pressure on the
vocal cords.
si n g e r & m u s i c i a n
a s kl is
productive situations. So what if you share
publishing. If it’s a good song, it’s worth it.
On The Other Hand
Let The Juices Flow
Dear Lis
Should I write with my band? I was thinking
I should just write with the guitarist because
then I wouldn’t have to share publishing with
all of them.
Dear Terry,
That’s the wrong way to think about it.
You should write with anyone who helps you
write well. Sometimes that’s when the band is
jamming on a groove and you start singing over
the top of it. Or sometimes it’s when you and
the guitarist get together outside of rehearsal.
When you start making creative decisions based
on business factors you squash potentially
Dear Lis,
My bandmates are telling me that they are
co-writers on songs that I brought in completed.
I wrote the melodies, lyrics and chords. They
did the instrument parts.
Dear Erin
If they changed the chords, added sections,
if they re-wrote any of it, then they are cowriters. But if they worked out the arrangement
- meaning what each instrument would play they aren’t technically co-writers.
That said, it isn’t uncommon for a band to get
some part of the publishing for having worked
on developing a song. Also it’s not uncommon
for a producer to ask for part of the publishing
because he/she brought such a strong concept
to the production. But that’s negotiable and it’s
up to you. Lennon and McCartney split their
publishing 50/50 no matter who wrote what, in
fact even if only one of them wrote the song. It
was a way of keeping the creative relationship
free of business quagmires.
Just Say No
Dear Lis,
I know I should but I can’t stop smoking.
And I have to have a couple of shots of tequila
before I go onstage to loosen up. But by the end
of the set my voice is shot. Is there anything I
can do?
Dear Elvin,
Review: Yamaha EMX 5014c Powered Mixer
it is occurring on but at but at least the channel
so you can pull the right fader back if things
start howling).
There are threeaux sends (one pre-fader
for monitors and one switchable for either a
second monitor mix or to send to an outboard
FX device. The third aux is “dedicated” to the
onboard FX unit but can be used to send signal
to an external unit as well.) and a very good
onboard FX section that offers good reverb and
delay as well as modulation FX like chorus
and phasing. Individual channel “on” switches
let you mute inactive channels (another mix
cleaner upper) and the is even a pre-fader
listen switch that send the sound of a chosen
channel or set thereof to the headphone output
for isolated listening. This is a feature that is
rarely found on an MI-level mixer.
The pro features continue on the ouput end
with separate outs for recording and subs and
the two 500-watt amps feeding through both
Neutrik Speakon connectors and typical ¼”
Oh No
Dear Lis,
The band wants to sing. Should I let them?
Dear Alice. Watch out! Just because they play their
instruments well doesn’t mean they can sing. To
make sure they aren’t going to ruin the sound,
have separate vocal rehearsals. You have to hold
them to a high standard about pitch and tone. If
it doesn’t sound good, you have to tell them.
More Band
Dear Lis,
I took your advice and tried to build
dynamics into rehearsals so I wouldn’t be
shouting by the end of the night but the band is
still getting louder in performance.
Dear Raymond,
First of all, don’t shout - even if you can’t
hear yourself. This instrument won’t last if you
abuse it. Get in-ear monitors. You’ll hear yourself
well enough and you won’t have to shout over
the drummer. As far as the audience goes, it’s the
sound person’s job to make sure you’re heard
in the room. Second, record your shows. Play
it for the band and point out the places where
you can’t be heard. No matter how much fun
the drummer has banging on that drumkit, if the
band sounds lousy, no one wins.
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continued from page 20
The EMX 5014c was taken on a rehearsal
for a large R&B band with horns and five
singers. Lots of inputs here with both the keys
and guitar running through the board as well as
five vocal mics and three horn mics. We used it
to replace the fairly ravaged 16-channel mixer
that is installed in the studio. The band uses this
same room as a regular rehearsal location and
knows the mixer well. The increase in overall
headroom, clarity and sound quality were
immediately notable.
While we needed all of the wattage we
could get, for smaller acts and quieter gigs (yes
it was a rehearsal but you try getting vocal up
over a three-piece horn section) there is a power
selector switch that attenuates the outputs down
to 200 or 75 watts a side.
The only thing I did not like was the 9channel graphic EQ. I understand that some
folks use small EQs like this to adjust overall
system tone but I find anything less than 15
channels pretty useless. But that is just me and
at least there is a switch to take the EQ out of
the circuit.
But the best feature of this mixer may not
even be part of the hardware. It is, really, the
manual. It looks huge and intimidating until
you realize that the pretty thick magazine-sized
tome is actually written in several languages
and the English portion is fewer than 30 pages.
But in that 30 pages you get a six-page, step-bystep how to set it up guide, a four-page section
on getting the most out of the EMX 5014 that
includes explanations of connector types
(including the difference between balanaced
and unbalanced inputs) as well as good info
on signal levels. If that weren’t enough you
also get four pages on how to craft a good
mix using the hardware. This section includes
everything from how to approach a mix when
(and when not) to EQ, how to use effects and
what a compressor does and how to use the
one onboard. This is the kind of support that
is crucial for audio newbies and we can’t give
big enough props to Yamaha for including it
here. All too often, the manual may tell you
what knobs are where but does little to explain
what will happen when you turn one of them.
Good stuff. sm
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continued from page 36
mild compression (slight constriction in the
throat that goes against everything we first teach
a singer) involved in this maneuver but it must
not create excess pressure in the throat. Finesse.
This is the safest type of throat resonance but
it is not to be used until there is an effortless
quality to it. That comes with careful practice.
You must also be well warmed up before you
even begin playing with it.
The other type of throat resonance often
heard is of the glottal fry nature. These are the
edges of the vocal cords creating the buzzy
resonance. This is often used by singers to
get that smoky kind of rasp. This one is more
associated with a slightly airy tone. You should
allow this one come more or less on it’s own
to you when experimenting with resonance.
This can be successful for some but dangerous
when a singer using this tone tries to amplify
it too much. They end up pushing through
the throat and invariable cause vocal health
problems. The earlier mentioned non-airy type
of throat resonance is far more desirable for high
projection instances. In conclusion, growly/
throaty/screamy tone is a learnable technique,
but takes a lot of skill and patience. If it hurts,
you are doing it wrong.
s i nger&musician
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MYb a c kpa g e
the Muse
By Jake Kelly
t’s interesting what a
haircut can do to society.
I don’t remember ever laughing so hard, not
that it was really all that great of a joke. There
was, however, a charm, a kind of naivete. It
happened in the era of pandemonium in the
world. Anything that happened that served
up relief from that was a breath of fresh air. It
could also be seen as the harbinger of a greater
controversy or just a snapshot of what was going
on in the world at the time.
The Flippant Beatles—simply known as
the Beatles at the time—were giving a press
conference. Someone from the press corp—
superficial and superior at the time like so many
of the press (then?? not now??)—asked John
s i nger&musician
Lennon and Paul McCartney “How do you sit
down to write a song.”
Now, musical historians forgive me, I don’t
remember who answered the question, but one
of them said, “First we sit down...then we write
a song.”
Those lads. Those funny mop tops. Ever so
clever. So on the mark, yet so threatening to so
many. It’s interesting what a haircut can do to
Side note: In Nashville, and apparently in
the “real” world as well, there is now what is
called a “Faux Hawk.” In my 1960s world (read
“naive”), I’m not sure if I have the definition
correct. Is this is just having hair and primping
it to make it look like you have a Mohawk? If
it is, then everyone in the world knows it is
nothing different than what every man and
boy does when they’re shampooing their hair
in the shower: pressing their hair into the mojo
mongering, ultra hip and
somewhat threatening shape
that the Native Americans,
from who the haircut derived
its name, used for what is
assumably the same purpose.
Or is a Faux Hawk when you
go to the barber (or perhaps
your gay stylist) and ask him
to give you a mohawk but
use number 3 on the sides
cause you’re afraid to “go all
the way” and have the sides
shaved clean...
Right, the Beatles and
songwriting: back to the
Since I am a songwriter,
who loves (or has loved)
learning the craft and longs
to make what I do better,
I derive great pleasure in
hearing the question that most
of the aspiring and those who
long to know what it takes to
be a songwriter ask in those
moments after we first meet
and they gather the nerve to
ask the most pertinent of their
“When you write a song,
what do you write first, the
lyrics or the music?”
This is my favorite opening line to everyone
who I have met that I respect. And, more often
then not, I am met with a face that looks just
about the same way that a cow looks at an
oncoming train. Their reaction is most often
somewhere between “Could this dork with the
glasses be anymore annoying” to “Security!”
But, sometimes they see the question for
what it is, an amateur question, a joke, and
we share a good laugh. But if they don’t, I can
usually rectify the moment by telling them I am
a “Brother Shamus” (“Irish Monk”). Or I see that
they have no sense of humor and move on.
Right! The point.
Do you need a great melody to write a
song or are lyrics the focus of what makes a
song great? These are the great intangibles
and if I had the answer my name would be
Lennon McCartney, Leibor Stollier, George Ira
Gershwin, King Goffin, or Kurt Cobain. But,
alas, It’s not.
But, I also think that John or Paul were not
being flippant when they answered the question.
Well, yes, they where, but the mystery of why a
song comes to you is probably as great a mystery
to them as it was to any young reporter who was
assigned the job of asking such a question.
Songs come, and you shouldn’t deny the
gift. And the gift of the muse it truly is. When
the feeling strikes you at two in the morning,
but you’re lying in bed, how often is it that you
get up the next morning and write the song that
seemed as relevant and purposeful as when you
thought of it in your comfy, warm bed?
When the gift comes, whether it’s a melody
or lyrics, it’s your job to either remember it
(highly unlikely) or record it (whether on paper
or dictating it into a recorder).
The point...ah, again.
The point I truly want to make is this: It
doesn’t matter if the lyrics or the music comes
first (or, for that matter, at the same time). What
matters is that you capture the gift while it’s
happening. If a stream of lyrics are coming at
you; write them down. In the same way, if you
get a melody leave it on our voice mail. Don’t
reject the gift when it comes to you.
Meter, rhythm, verse, chorus structure?
Who cares!! The muse is a beautiful creature,
and when she presents herself to you are you
going to say, “I wish she was taller!”
Yours it not to question why. Yours is to take
and run.
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