VOICE COACHING THAT MADE MY CAREER
beautiful day here, in St. Thomas, VI. It has been
getting my head around a "Tip," what with the three days
of sailing on my friend
Herron's 36' Pearson sloop, the snorkeling and the tons of water
drunk in this Caribbean paradise (excluding the mosquitos).
With my friends Jim and Carol, I paid a visit to an Open
Mike Night, at a Club here, two nights ago, and was reminded of
myself, learning my craft at the Horn, a Night Club in Santa
Monica, years ago. Most of the singers only made fleeting eye
contact with the members of the audience--except friends--and
mostly let their eyes roam randomly over our heads, while
trying remember the words and the "vocal technique" they had
I had gone to the Horn, to sing a few songs, because I had heard
the "talent scouts often were there ..." and ended up singing
four. The owner, Rick
asked me if I were interested in singing "Summer Stock."
"What's Summer Stock?" I innocently asked. (For the previous six
years I had been a Submarine
Sonarman and a
Pre-engineering student.) The nextday, I sang over the phone for
an agent, who set up an audition for the folloqing day, when I
sang "I Got Plenty of
and was in rehearsal for the Sacramento Music Circus three days
later, in Show Business and in Actor's Equity Ass'n.
I went back to the Horn and sang there for a year--no pay, not
even gas money--but Rick threw in one hour of coaching with
Carlos Noble , the club's incredible accompanist, by way of
Rick's "appreciation." (A few years later, the union moved in
and made him pony-up for four and a half singer's salaries. a
night.) Carlos was the best thing that had ever happened
Early on, while making a recording for the Lawrence
Carlos jumped all over me for just making "what you think of as
big beautiful sounds!" He felt I had a good voice but asked,
"What are you saying? You are just singing sounds at
the customers, not sharing with them the thoughts and ideas
inherent in the the song you are singing, engaging them one at a
time, nailing each customer one on one, with eye contact ...
and grabbing them." What he hadn't voiced was the obvious
impact this had of involving of the rest of the audience, who
began to feel that you were talking to each of them as well!
Carlos told me, at the time, it would take me five years to
fully grasp the significance of what he had told me ..
Five years and fifteen minutes later, I called him to share with
him how insightful and helpful that advice proved to be for me.
At this point of my career, I had become a principal baritone at
the New York City Opera and a crossover singer, to boot. I was
singing Grand Opera for the bulk of the season and singing the
leading roles, in Musicals and Operettas, in Summer Stock
Companies, around the country.My ability to switch from the
operatic voice to the pop/musical comedy repertoire, brought far
more versatility to my symphony dates than most of my baritone
colleagues could muster. (check out my singing of Granada and
then ... Spring is Here, on the same Tonight Show with Johnny
Carson ... Audio/ Visual page.) It proved to be a springboard in
my career when Johnny
recommended me to replace him on a RCA Victor package, "Treasury
of Operettas!" Reader's
And always remember ... every night is opeing night! RF
- WHAT ARE YOU SINGING?
KILL A COLD IN FIVE DAYS
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