The Hairbrush Chronicles – Part 3 Getting A Chance With A Band

Alisha gets her first chance to sing at practice with the live rock band, Bonne Nuit.

Alisha Sabin - Singer
Alisha Sabin - Young Rocker

   You know those times of your life where you feel complacent and bored? You don’t know why you keep going through the robotic motions of life each day. Maybe you do know why but you aren’t sure how you manage to keep doing it day after day. It can become quickly depressing and you start to lose motivation for other things that are important to you. Exercise, eating healthy and productivity become a thing of the past as you wallow in your oh so boring lifestyle. You need something to keep you going, a productive and healthy change.

   My change came via Facebook message and I couldn’t believe it when I read it. All of these years of singing in the hairbrush and I had been asked to sing a song at the next gig for the cover band Bonne Nuit. Excited and nervous would describe it best. It was Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now. I immediately downloaded it on iTunes and practiced my heart out. I practiced so much that my family can barely stand to hear it at all now. But there was one thing I couldn’t prepare myself for and had no idea how it would dramatically change my performing life forever: Singing live!

   I showed up for my first band practice pretty unsure of what to do. I think that may have been the first thing I said to the band, “I’ve never sung like this before, so I really have no idea what I am doing.” They were extremely patient and gracious to me. Nice as can be; and from the tone of the room I could tell they were all saying to me, “It’s easy…you just sing into the mic.”

   So I did.  Continue reading “The Hairbrush Chronicles – Part 3 Getting A Chance With A Band”

The Hairbrush Chronicles – Part 2 Lighting The Fire

In part 2, Alisha Sabin continues her story of wanting to sing in a live band and chasing her dream.

Alisha Sabin Live Singer 12th Grade
Alisha Sabin - Singer

   “Really?  You are going to make all of our customers listen to your band’s EP?”  That is the nice version on what I said to Quinn Allman.  We worked at a miniature golf course in our hometown of Pleasant Grove, Utah.  Quinn and I went to high school together and graduated from the same class.  I don’t remember much about him other than the fact that he skated around and didn’t talk to very many people.  Seemed like an outsider.  Now he is the guitarist of The Used.  During the time we worked together he and his live band were just getting started.  Their non-produced music sounded awful to me and I wondered how it would ever become popular.  It just goes to show what a live performance can do. The story as far as I know goes like this…John Feldmann of Goldfinger saw them perform, loved them and produced their first album.  From what I can recall the music he played at work sounded nothing like what they play now.  I like what they play now.  Continue reading “The Hairbrush Chronicles – Part 2 Lighting The Fire”

The Hairbrush Chronicles – Part 1 The Dream Of Playing In A Live Band

Alisha Sabin talks about the childhood dream of being a singer in a live band.

Alisha Sabin Live Singer 12th Grade
Alisha Sabin - Aspiring Rock Singer

   It was just me and my hairbrush, well, and my two sisters.  There I was standing on the bed, hairbrush in hand ready to sing-off to know which sister was the best.  We would compete regularly and usually we would sing the latest Disney movie hit.  This time it was “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.  I always knew I was the best but my older sister was, of course, always right and claimed she won each and every time.  I didn’t let that stop me.  I knew that if I kept up my singing into the hairbrush that I would eventually get my chance to sing on a live stage.   The hairbrush singing continued through my teens, young adulthood and even today.  As a matter of fact, I’ll sing into anything that can give me the feeling of actually singing into a microphone.  A toothpaste tube, cell phone or curling irons work too, you know, before they are plugged in and hot.   Continue reading “The Hairbrush Chronicles – Part 1 The Dream Of Playing In A Live Band”

Having A Vocal Only Rehearsal With Your Band

If you want your band to sound it’s best, have a dedicated Vocals only band practice.

The Eagles Singing Harmony
The Eagles Sing Harmony Live

   One of the most neglected aspects I’ve seen with live bands over the years is the backing vocals. I’ve seen plenty of bands that have an excellent lead singer or even multiple lead singers that nail the lead vocals every time. But they are severely lacking in the backing vocals. Too many bands just don’t take the time to learn and then fix problems with their backing vocals.

   I’ve written many times on Live Musician Central that the ability to sing is crucial to your skills as a band musician. It’s up to you as an individual player to take ownership of singing backup vocals in your band. Along with your regular, personal practice on your instrument you need to take the time to practice your backing vocals. I often practice my singing while I’m driving as it’s something I can do without my hands. Make sure you take the time to learn your individual backing vocal part before you have a band rehearsal.   Continue reading “Having A Vocal Only Rehearsal With Your Band”

Expand Your Vocal Chops By Cross-Training Your Voice

Cross-Train your voice by donating your time to your local choir. It will help you increase your skills as a singer and a musician.

Improve Your Lead Vocals With Cross-Training
Improve Your Lead Vocals With Cross-Training

   Singing is one of the most basic and essential skills in any live band. If you play an instrument, having the ability to sing will give you the multiple skills to make you a more valuable member of the band. It’s really in your own best interest to develop your singing skills as much as possible

   As you know, singing is controlled by the muscles in your throat and the muscles that control your breathing. Any athlete knows that training the correct muscles will give you stamina and greater power. This is also true with your voice. As you train these muscles you’ll be able to sing better, longer and with more vocal range.

   Another truth that any athlete knows is that cross-training muscles is an excellent way to increase those muscles abilities. The same is true with singing. If you are a lead singer and all you ever do is sing in the upper ranges of your voice you’ve probably noticed that you struggle singing parts that are in the lower ranges of your voice. The same is true if you only sing in the low range of your voice. You’ll struggle when you go to hit those high notes. That’s where the concept of cross-training your voice comes in.     Continue reading “Expand Your Vocal Chops By Cross-Training Your Voice”

The Good Singers Vs. Bad Singers Debate

Trying to label something as unique as the human voice as either “Bad” or “Good” is a very difficult thing to do.

Bob Dylan - Good Singer or Bad Singer?
Bob Dylan - Good Singer or Bad Singer?

   Today I’m going to address a topic that is a personal pet peeve of mine. I personally don’t like labeling artists as either “Good” or “Bad”. That goes for anybody that creates a work of art including painters, writers, musicians or any other person that creates something from nothing. Art is subjective and what’s beautiful to one person, may seem ugly to another. But, my real pet peeve is the labeling of something as unique as an individual human voice as either “Good” or “Bad”. The sad thing is that I hear comments from the crowd about good vs. bad singing every time I watch a live band play.    Continue reading “The Good Singers Vs. Bad Singers Debate”

Some Tips For Memorizing Song Lyrics

Memorizing song lyrics for your live performance is easy if you follow these simple tips.

Bill says, "What was the next lyric?"
Bill says, "What was the next lyric?"

   One of the most essential skills a live singer must develop is the ability to memorize song lyrics. As a singer in a live band you may be called on to memorize 40 songs or more worth of lyrics. That seems like an overwhelming amount of song lyrics to memorize when you look at that number. The fact is, singers do it all the time and believe it or not it’s not an insurmountable task. As with everything that you’ll do in a band, it begins with the first step. Today I’m going to talk about some tips that will help you in your quest to memorize a setlist worth of song lyrics.

   All big tasks are easier when you break them down into smaller parts. The first thing you need to do is decide what song you want to memorize. It helps if you’re already familiar with the song but even if it’s a new song that you’re not familiar with there is a specific way to approach memorizing every song that you want to learn. The first thing you should do is find a copy of the lyrics. We used to have to sit with a recording of the song and struggle to figure out what the singer was saying. Doing that took a lot of time and led to a lot of lyrical errors. Continue reading “Some Tips For Memorizing Song Lyrics”

Amazing Singers Paul Potts and Connie Talbot from Britains Got Talent

Two amazing singers emerged from the 2007 season of Britains Got Talent. Paul Potts and Connie Talbot.

   For today’s live artist spotlight I’m going to feature two amazingly talented singers that were discovered on the British television show titled “Britain’s Got Talent”. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you’ve already seen these video clips as they’ve had millions of views on the Internet. The clips are from the 2007 season of Britain’s Got Talent and the winner has already been decided. If you don’t know who won, I won’t spoil it for you. Although I will say the winner was chosen from one of the two singers that I’ve posted clips of below.

   First up I have little Connie Talbot who is 6 years old. I am a jaded old musician and I’m extremely critical of other musicians. So it’s easy for me to write off this little girl since she doesn’t sing spot on, dead perfect. I have to remember she’s 6 years old!! So honestly, I am amazed at her skill. Second on the list is Mr. Paul Potts. A man who struggles with self confidence and who has the glamorous career of mobile phone salesman. So it’s a bit shocking to see such a boring old regular guy just kill it singing a very unexpected tune.

   I’ve posted up the auditions of both singers as well as a couple more clips that show their progression through the show. In the last clip, you can find out who won the Britain’s Got Talent competition.

6 Year Old Connie Talbot Audition (fast-forward to :55 to see her sing)

Paul Potts BGT Audition
  Continue reading “Amazing Singers Paul Potts and Connie Talbot from Britains Got Talent”

Make Singing Practice Fun With SingStar The Video Game

SingStar the video game is an excellent way to practice your singing as well as your live performance.

SingStar PS3 Bundle
SingStar PS3 Bundle

   I’m always looking for good ways to practice my live performance. You can only sing along in the car for so long before you’re bored to death and there’s really no way to practice your stage moves while driving. It’s also not a lot of fun to do boring old Karaoke especially at home without an audience. That’s where SingStar the video game comes in extremely handy.

   If you’re not familiar with SingStar it’s a singing game that you can play on your Playstation 2 or Playstation 3. It’s a step up from Karaoke and it will help you work on your live performance in several different ways. The game basically has a selection of songs along with the original artists music video for the song. SingStar is much better than Karaoke simply because it uses the original artists music rather than a cover band playing the music. To play you just plug in the microphones, select a song and start singing. The lyrics appear onscreen with a pitch indicator that shows you how well you’re singing in tune. The game will score your performance which gives you a good idea about where you need to improve your singing. Continue reading “Make Singing Practice Fun With SingStar The Video Game”

The Best Vocal Mic (for the money) Shure Beta 58A

The Shure Beta 58A is the perfect combination of quality, value and performance in a vocal microphone.

    I’m the lead guitarist in my band. I also sing. I sing lead on a lot of the songs and I sing backup on most of the rest. It doesn’t matter what instrument you play, being able to sing is going to increase your value exponentially.    Continue reading “The Best Vocal Mic (for the money) Shure Beta 58A”

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