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VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

Introduction

My assistant called for the next


singer to come in. Number 23...
hi, you look great, shes a natural

encourager. Only 52 more to go. Number


23 enters; another blonde who apparently
got the memo that I like cleavage and red
lipstick. Thanks to whomever sent that out.
Hey, thanks for coming tonight, I say as
she greets me with a nervous smile and a
firm handshake. Look right at the camera,
do your slate, and then entertain us.
After an awkward slate, she counts
off her band and plunges into the 8th
Grace Potter rendition of the
eveninga third lower than the
recording. The voice is nice
enough. Good look, OK image.
I discreetly turn the camera
off as the buxom blonde goes for
a high note. When she leaves the
room, Ill delete her completely to
save space on my hard drive... I wont

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be needing it. Thanks, hun! So nice to hear you. I give her a big
smile and my assistant tells her great job.
And so it goes......until number 80-something has sung, and
security comes to lock down the building. During the course of 7
hours, I heard a dozen more girls dressed like theyre going
clubbing, a dozen guys who thought they were auditioning for a
drag show, and many who seriously need to never watch another
episode of Glee. No one was terrible, and most were really quite
good. LOTS of great singers...but very few would I grant the title
of artist.
I actually love auditions! I love meeting eager fresh artists who are
trying to make a mark. I only wish that there was a way I could get
them all together beforehand and tell them a few things.

But

realistically, theres just not. I wish that I could write down detailed
critique and then later discuss it over coffee with each singer.
But I cant. Although I would love to work with everyone of you
the next generation of entertainmentits probably not going to
happen right away. And so, Im writing this work as a letter to each
of youhoping that I can save you a little heartache, a lot of cash,
and get you closer to achieving your dream. The music industry is
a constant audition. You will have to prove yourself over and over
again. My life purpose is to help you sharpen your edge, setting
you apart from the countless others all racing toward the spotlight.
Lets get started.

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VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE .............................................................. 5
Artist or Singer?
Are you really an artist, or are you just someone who likes to sing? This
chapter will help you decide if youve got what it takes and if its worth it.

CHAPTER TWO ............................................................ 10


Thanks...Well Call You
Or How to consistently be told no. Vacant eyes, uncommitted gestures,
scattered image...just a few red flags that are sure to get a no. JRW lays
out a list of the most common road blocks and how you can get past them.

CHAPTER THREE ........................................................ 27


Putting It Together
Learn about creating your image, your sound and your brand, and how to
tell someone about it in 10 seconds or less.

CHAPTER FOUR .......................................................... 35


Now What?!
The perfect sound, a great look and awesome songs...all useless unless you
start showing up. Its time.

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CHAPTER FIVE ............................................................ 39


Building Your Team & Resources
In this section, James R. Wigginton gives you his own personal resources
for stage coaching, getting in shape, recording your demo and more.

END OF STORY ............................................................ 43


LINKS ............................................................................ 44
ABOUT JAMES R. WIGGINTON ................................ 45
ABOUT VOCALEDGE .................................................. 47

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Artist or Singer?

hile attending a recent show of one of my fabulous artists, a


young lady is introduced to me by a writer friend...says shes
moved here to be an artist. Very nice to meet you, I say, shaking
her heavily ringed hand. We have a little time to kill, so I ask her,what is your
music like? Although I was not asking her to explain quantum science, her
answer was no less baffling: I just love every kind of music! she begins. I want
to mix country with soul...with...a little rock, ya know? And I LOVE reggae
LOVE IT! Know what I mean? Sorta Carrie Underwood meets Paramore
meets...Prince meets...B52s meets...ya know?
I wish I were exaggerating, but I hear answers like that more often than not.
Unfortunately, the other common answer to Whats your music like? is I...just
dont know. If youre 12, thats ok. If you just want to be a recreational singer,
then fine. However, most of you reading this are working toward an artist
career...and youre not 12.
In Chapter Three, Im going to help you write out your answer to this very
defining question. So, when someone says to
you, tell me about your music, you will be able
to respond with efficiency and confidence. But
right now, I need to talk to you about being an
artist.
What does that mean: being an artist? Can you
put into words what makes the difference
between singer and artist? Preferably, the two
come together in a package. But not always. Was
Bob Dylan a great singer? No? Then why is his

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WAS BOB DYLAN A GREAT


SINGER? NO? THEN WHY IS
HIS MUSIC PRACTICALLY
IMMORTAL? THE ANSWER:
ARTISTRY. HE HAD
SOMETHING TO SAY.
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music practically immortal? The answer: artistry. He had something to say. He


was relevant.
Crafting an image and a message with his fabricated name, made-up back
story and poignant lyrics, Robert Zimmerman made an eternal impact on the
songwriting world. He wrote rebellious songs for the common man. Dylan was
very aware of the importance of relating to a target audience, and he did
whatever it took to push his music in their direction. Although Ive never had a
student say,man, I just want to sing like Dylan, there is still much to learn from
this master.
And then theres Creed. Everyone hates Creed, right? Yeah...thats how they
sold 35 million albums, one record being certified Diamond. Scott Stapp
could sing any word as if it were the letter r. His swallowed, strained tone
amazingly squeezed its way into the hearts of millionsbefore those millions
got word that they werent supposed to like Creed anymore.
Just as an aside, I also must cite my recent Ozzy experience. A friend (the
fabulous Melany Watson) gave us tickets, so we went to an Ozzy show. I really
went to see Slash, who was opening for him. Slash was amazing...ahh! So
awesome.
Then Ozzys show begins.
From the very first moment, we were converts: yes, we are hard core Ozzyites
now. We left the show speechless. Also deaf...but speechless because,
well...we had just seen The Prince of F***ing Darkness and we had never felt
so loved in all our lives. Seriously. Ozzys vocals were, well, Ozzy. Dreadful.
But it didnt matter. He loved, no, he gushed over us, his audience. It was like a
two-hour group hug. His songs were like screamy, obscene little valentines
tossed out over the crowd like marshmallow hearts. And he sprayed us with
foam! That was cool, too.

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What other entertainers can you name who arent amazing singers, but are
great artists? Perhaps the two greatest examples are Cher and Madonna.
While both of these amazing women are not bad singers at all, they dont have
the chops of Celine or Stevie either. Then how are they two of the most
famous people on Earth? This requires a list. They both:
Have great songs with wide appeal
Understand that music is more business than art
Have strong, powerful images that appeal to women
Have sexy images that appeal to the guys (and the gals)
Knew how to shake the hornets nest (Madonnas Sex book, Chers
outrageous Grammys dresses, etc.)
Constantly reinvented themselves to STAY RELEVANT to current trends
Are generous performers (they really work to give their audience a
thrilling experience)
Improved with age
Take a few minutes and think about other examples.
Its not always the voice itself that inspires you, but
something else entirely. You really need to figure it
out: what brings the magic? Just stop reading this
for a bit and open a new blank document. Spell out
an artists name and why you think he/she is so
great. Do it.

YOU REALLY NEED TO


FIGURE IT OUT: WHAT
BRINGS THE MAGIC?

I wont spend too much time discussing the other kind of artists: the Celines,
Mariahs, and Stevieswhose talents are so undeniable, their fame doesnt really
require explanation. However, these days its much harder to make a splash
with just a fantastic voice and a great song.

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Before we move on, you must ask yourself, Am I an artist, or do I just like to
sing? In the table below, I titled the left column SINGER, meaning a person
who just likes to singjust for the sake of flow. Of course, were all singers
here. The label is just for the sake of the table (rhyme=win!). Check this out:
SINGER

ARTIST

Has no particular style (I want to sing


everything!).

Works toward a unique sound that is relevant


to current culture.

Takes voice lessons for years, but never

Takes voice lessons and applies the technique


to his/her unique style.

freakin does anything.


Lets days turn into years wondering if it
will ever happen.

Asks him/herself each morning what is the


most important thing I can accomplish for my
career today?

Thinks I need the right song to show off


my voice.

Thinks I need to write songs that convey my


message.

Thinks how can I change this song up so


I can show off my high notes?

Thinks how can I use my voice to show off


this fabulous song?

Complains about how there are no


opportunities to perform.

Sits on the steps of a pub with his/her guitar


and entertains people walking by (Bieber did
this when he was 9).

Replies, well I cant play guitar.

...learns.

Cant move forward because he/she cant


write songs or get songs pitched.

Writes songs. The end. Thats how its done


these days; very few exceptions.

Goes out with friends to dinner, movies,


etc. every weekend, then complains on
Monday about not having any
connections.

Goes to every writers night and concert, waits


in line to shake the writers hand, then shows
up again for the next show. And the next. And
the next...

Graduates with a degree in music at age


21 or 22, then tries to focus on a career.

Has first hit between the age 13-18, OR...at


least is pursuing it at that age.

So, what do you think? Are you an artist, or do you just like to sing?

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This little table isnt meant to discourage you IF you really want a music career.
I hope it inspires you to make the necessary adjustments to move forward. If
youre still on the fence about whether or not the stage is for you, then ...well,
it is meant to discourage you. Get a business degree, start your 401K and sing
in your church choir. You have to want it. More than anything.
Pursuing the spotlight can be hard on your heart, your family, your
relationships, and your wallet.
My job as a coach is to help you find every edge
possible, not to tell you whether you can or cant
make it. If youre in, then you need a plan. You
need daily, weekly and monthly goals. You need
to feel the world with the heart of an artist and
see your career through the eyes of a
businessman.

YOU NEED TO FEEL THE


WORLD WITH THE HEART OF
AN ARTIST AND SEE YOUR
CAREER THROUGH THE
EYES OF A BUSINESSMAN.

It is by no coincidence that artists are a strange


bunch, as if our genome has a slightly different code than the rest of mankind.
Our eyes see beyond the present to the possible. We hear music in the silence,
and silence through the chaos. We are, at once, cynical, hopeful, overly
sensitive and stubbornly stoic. In our heads live a million songsstill sleeping,
dreaming of their chance to awake...to make people cry, dance, and fall in love.
If this is you, then you are much more than a singer. You are an artist.

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Thanks...Well Call You

reat. Thanks. Well call you. Ugh...anyone whos been told that
before knows exactly what it means. I could also call this chapter
How to Consistently Be Told No. I could not, however, call it How
to Always Get a YES! because no one on this side of reality knows how to do
that. If someone tells you otherwise, just give a big smile and say, You... are a
big fat liar. Cheers.

Although no one can guarantee open doors, I can share with you some of the
most common mistakes that I see singers make: fixable issues that can, at the
very least, shorten the list of reasons for you to hear youre just not what were
looking for. Youll hear these reasons sometimes called red flags.
By the end of this chapter, I hope that youll be well on your way to popping
down your red flags like a game of Whack-A-Mole.
The following headings will all be in quotations, because they are very
common statements that I hear from record execs, talent scouts, producers
and other industry gurus. I will do more than just announce the problem; my
intention is to guide you to a very doable solution.

Theres Just Not Enough Voice There


Im putting this one first, because this is the main reason people come to me.
Theres just not enough voice can mean a few things: the voice is weak, it
lacks presence, theres nothing special about it, no wow factor, doesnt
demand attention, or its just not ready yet. Yes, I know Ive already made a big
deal about Dylan and Madonna not having the golden pipes of Celine. But yall,
its a new day. People are expecting better voices out of new artists. Gaga,

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Pink, Demi, Natasha (Bedingfield), Jessie J, Adele, on and onthese artists can
freakin SING. And because they also write their own material, their voices are
even more believable.
So lets say that this is your problem. You simply dont have a career voice.
You now are left with three options:
1. Give up on music entirely and work toward a more practical future
2. Stay in music, but focus on songwriting, artist management or some
other branch of the biz
3. Figure out whats missing from your voice, and work it out.
While these are all fine options, Im guessing that you have chosen Number 3
(for now, anyhow).
What now?? The first and most obvious remedy is to hire a world-class vocal
coach. Later, Ill spell out how to know if your coach is worth your time and
money.
Aside from voice lessons, the most important thing you
can do is listen. Listen critically. This is different than
having music playing while youre stalking your ex on
FaceBook. Pay attention. Keep your finger on the scrub
bar and go back over intricate phrases. Over and over
again.

ASIDE FROM VOICE


LESSONS, THE MOST
IMPORTANT THING
YOU CAN DO IS LISTEN.
LISTEN CRITICALLY.

When you listen to Faith Hill sing If Im Not In Love with


You, pay attention. Listen to how she sings straight
through the actual word and presses deep into what the
word means. Listen to how she sculpts every phrase, tying tone to texture,
giving the listener no choice but to feel what shes feeling.

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Then listen to Bono (U2) sing Where the Streets


Have No Name. There are plenty of notes that
arent perfectly on pitch and no one on Earth
cares. Bono is a spectacular vocalist, so he
knows the importance of choosing passion over
perfection. Listen critically to how he ends his
phrases. Do you hear the emotional pressure?
The sense of urgency?
Now, turn out the lights, curl up into a ball, and
listen to Dolly Parton sing Little Sparrow from
Live from London. I wish I could just insert
about 5 blank pages here, because thats how I
felt a few months ago when I heard her do this
live at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. No
words. 16,000 peoplesilence.
When she
finished, it was as if no one knew how to act.
The tears, the heartaches, the hopes and the
deepest sorrows of humanity...thats what you
hear when Dolly sings.
Now you choose one. What singer truly moves
you? What song in particular? Now listen to it
like youve never listened before. Pay attention.
Put into words what makes the performance so
great. Got it? Good.
Now make a list of artists and songs that you feel
you need to study. This is your assignmentnot
just for the next few weeks, but for the rest of
your career.

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Next step: Come up with a short list of songs that suit


your style and your voice type (i.e. songs that you
wish you had written for your own project). Then
learn them. Dont make it your own. LEARN the
song. Learn every phrase, lick and nuance. Making
it your own is too often used as an excuse to dumb
down the licks, lower the key, and basically turn a
great song into a turd.

GET INTO THE HABIT OF


STUDYING THE MASTERS.
LEARN FROM THEM.
ITS BETTER THAN ANY
VOICE LESSON.

After you can sing the song the way it was meant to be
sung, then experiment with your style. Get into the habit of studying the
masters. Learn from them. Its better than any voice lesson. Eventually, you
really need to be able to know the chart as well (that means know the key, the
meter, the drum pattern, the form... actually know the song like a real musician).

Great Voice, But Theres Nothing


Special About It
This is a common blanket statement that means all of the following:
Great. Another pretty girl that screams really high notes. Yawn.
I hear the potential, but I just dont see it.
Sounds like shes had years of voice lessons: perfectand boring as hell.
Is this a worship service? Cuz that sure sounded like a worship tune.
(Yup...its a plague these days.)
She just sings covers? She needs her own material.
Has this guy turned on the radio in the past 10 years??
He/she has plenty to sing, but nothing to say.

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So heres what needs to happen:


You must find a way to express your music in a way that is
unique, relevant, and marketableall the while still being true
to yourself. The industry is full of examples of artists who had
to tweak, even completely overhaul their sound (and their
look) to make an impact.
A great case study is Jennifer Nettles of the great country duo Sugarland.
Nettles was in a few bands before striking gold with her current gig. Thats not
to say she was unsuccessful. Soul Miners Daughter and The Jennifer Nettles
Band enjoyed respectable accolades in the late 90s, with the release of 5
studio albums. On those records, her sound was quite different from her
current countrified, twang-heavy vocals with Sugarland. Even though she lays
it on pretty thick, I love it. I hear a lot of critics say that she goes too far.
Maybe she does. But she needed to change. She needed to find a sound that
is still her, but is true to the genre shes in.
And what about Keith Urban? Wheres he from? Thats right: Australia. But
yet, he sings with just a slight southern twang? Is he being fake? Hardly. He is
just being true to the style of music he loves. And he sounds awesome.
Alanis Morissette? She had a record deal singing 90s pop before finding
herself with Jagged Little Pill. Nikka Costa was a child star turned cheesy pop
singer. Her early pop stuff was simply awful. Now, however, shes easily in my
top 10 best female vocalists. Her sound is now nasty and sexy, with an image
to match (watch the Like A Feather video, either the official vid or a live
version). Janelle Monet! Incredible transformation: from Whitney Wannabe to
Quirky Genius.

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While it is true that many successful artists didnt


have to go through a major overhaul, nearly all of
them had to shape a sound and an image to get
where they are now. And they continue to hone that
sound. If they dont change with the times to some
degree, they become relics.
So now, back to you. Take a hard, honest look at
what you have to offer. Now turn on your radio. Is

IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO


OFFER IN SOME WAYS
UNIQUE/DIFFERENT
FROM WHAT OTHER
ARTISTS ARE DOING?

what you have to offer relevant to current (and


future) trends? Is what you have to offer in some ways unique/different from
what other artists are doing?
I have a very short list of red flags that keep many of you from answering
yes to both of those questions. Maybe you:
1. Sound way too musical theater
2. Think youre auditioning for Sister Act 4 (too much showing off)
3. Sound way too trained (usually too much vibrato and no sense of groove)
4. Dont have any defined style (either vocally or personally)
5. Lack the depth of a true artist (you dont get what youre singing
about/you have nothing to say)
With those things in mind, you need to experiment with tone and phrasing. If
youve been listening to and learning from the masters as I assigned you earlier,
you should know how to do this by now.
Take a simple melody like OneRepublics Secrets (for the guys) or Natasha
Bedingfields Recover (for the ladies). Listen to how the vocal has been
produced in regards to diction, phrasing, tone, etc. What youre listening to is
industry standard awesome.

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Now, without losing the integrity of the song, experiment with different tones,
melodic ideas and phrasing. The idea is to draw from your well of experiences,
melding your own personality to an already great song. Just focus on, say, the
first verse. Sing it several times, each time varying your approach. Dont allow
yourself to sing the melody the same way twice.
Some of your choices are gonna stink, and you have to be OK with that.
However, there will be moments when you strike gold. This is how it is done;
balancing on the thin line between reckless and refined. Only by exploring
what is possible do you find who you are. In truth, you will never arrive. The
idea is to make your journey so attractive that your fans wont mind taking the
trip with you.
Now go back and look at bulleted list at the top of this section. Do you see
yourself anywhere? What do you think about that last one the one in
orange? No matter where else you see yourself in this list, its that last red
flag thats the real deal maker or breaker. Yes, you need to get your voice
together. Yes, VocalEdge Technique will get you there. But as the great
Pavarotti said, A better voice does not make a better singer. Wow. And for
our purposes, this translates, A better singer does not make a better artist.
Many years ago, my childhood idol was the great
Christian artist Steve Green. I remember how my
arms would go numb from adrenaline when seeing
him live in concert. When I finally got to meet him, I
was a nervous, hot mess (I was 12). I shook his hand
and blurted out something like, I want to do what
youre doing! His reply burned a whole in my heart,
so that Ive never forgotten it. He said, Well, thats

good. But dont be in a hurry to get on stage, and


then have nothing to say.

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HE SAID, WELL,
THATS GOOD. BUT
DONT BE IN A HURRY TO
GET ON STAGE, AND THEN
HAVE NOTHING TO SAY.

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Needs More Experience


This one sounds self-explanatory at first, but there are many levels to this
comment. Here are the top issues that illicit the comment He/She needs
more experience:
No audience connection
Dodgy eyes
Uncommitted gestures
General awkwardness on stage
No endurance
No interaction with the band
Weak stage presence
Whew...thats a lot to fix.
There is one odd man out in this list: No endurance. The fix for that one
is pretty simple. Improve your technique, make your set list manageable so
that youre not screaming for 10 songs straight, and work up to your full show
over several weeks. Also, get your body in great shape and drink a gallon of
water every day. That is the guaranteed way to improve your endurance.
As for the rest of the list, the best solution is to get out there and sing. Yes, you
need to watch videos of great performers and go to every show you can. But
youre not going to get the hang of it until youre the one center stage. Watch
how Kelly Clarksons goofiness and fun personality shine through. Take notes
on how Beyonc commits to every move and is still vocally astounding.
There are some masters who dont really move around at all, and yet still
command audiences of 10s of thousands! How does George Strait do that?!

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He holds a guitar and never actually plays it! But


somehow, hes got the magic. Yes, the voice is
beautiful. But its his warmth, his calm charisma...
thats the gold. You leave Georges shows feeling
loved. Like you have a new friend.
Watch these guys and learn. But get out there and try
it out for yourself. Karaoke bars are a great place to

Do not wait until you get


to the bar to try to pick out

practice if you cant book real shows yet.

a song. GEEZ!!

Looking like a star on the stage is really a matter of


confidence. I mentioned the dodgy eyes deal earlier
in the list. Have you ever been told just look right
above their heads? Bullcrap. Nonsense.

Choose a song way ahead


of time that youre sure
will be on the list, and
practice it!

Sing directly to every area of your audience, one area


at a time.

Get on YouTube and pull


up the karaoke track,
rather than just singing
along with the artist.

Mentally divide your audience up into equal parts (I do


it in three rows of three, like a side of a Rubiks Cube).
When you sing directly at, say, Group 7, everyone in
that group feels like youre singing directly to them!
And thats not all! The rest of the audience gets to
feel you having that moment with Group 7. Then sing
to a different area. It feels incredible, and the
audience gets a chance to bond with you.

No one needs to know that


youve been practicing the
song for weeks. Just get
up there and kill it.
Always have a backup
song, just in case someone
else sings your song first!

What about the uncommitted gestures comment? If


youre going to do a sweet spin with your guitar, then
freakin go for it. When you offer a lame attempt with

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your moves, thats saying, this is probably gonna


be dumb...but here goes.
Practice working the mic, the stand, your
instrument, your band members, and your own
body so that youll feel confident that you can pull
it off.
If you want to move downstage left, then move
there with a purpose. AND when you get there,
plant your feet and deliver the line like a beast.
Avoid meaningless meandering and peddling about
on the stage. It looks dumb.

WHEN YOU MOVE ON STAGE,


MOVE WITH A PURPOSE.
AND WHEN YOU GET THERE,
PLANT YOUR FEET AND
DELIVER THE LINE LIKE
A BEAST.

Working on your live show is so fun! If you dont really have your own show to
work on, then put together a 3-song, a 5-song and a 10-song show with
karaoke tracks.
Choose songs that fit your style and your voice, and make a show. Put the
songs in the order you think they should go, decide when youll goes straight
into the next song and when youll break and talk to the audience.
Press play, and see what it feels like to do a full set. Start with 3 songs and
work up to a full 10-song show. Sing through your show every day.
Change things up if transitions dont feel smooth and natural. Very soon,
however, you need to figure out how youre going to get to the next level: real
shows, with real musicians.

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Doesnt Have The Look


Ill make no apologies for including this one, because we all need to hear it.
Doesnt have the look is easily translated into three categories.

No focused
image or style

Overweight/
Out of shape

Simply unattractive/
No appeal

It would be ridiculous for me to try to be politically correct when writing on


this subject. If this is a touchy subject for you, then you are in the wrong
business. And besides, all three issues listed can be addressed and dramatically
improved. Lets start with the easy one.
Your Style
Your style must be an outward expression of your message as an artist. I
should be able to look at your photos and have an idea of what your music is
like. If youre singing sexy pop material, then dont dress like a librarian. If
youre a traditional male country artist, then dont shop at Abercrombie for
your photo shoot outfits.
Right now, google images for Carrie Underwood. What do you see? Classic,
all-American, sweet, cute, sometimes sexy but never trashy. Now look up
images for Fergie. Much riskier, lots of boobs, bras and panties. Now John
Mayer: dark, brooding, sexy, rebel, lots of shirtless pics, tattoos. By the way,
John got his body together after he got famous. He didnt just stay soft and
out of shape, did he? More on that later.
Now, were going to create your image.
First, create a folder on your Mac (or one of those PC things). Now, over the
next several days, pour through images of artists on the web. When you see an
element of a photo that you like, save it to your folder. Look at clothing,

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makeup, hair and accessories. Also look for color


schemes, lighting, poses, props, concepts,
...anything and everything that makes the image
special. Every now and then, open the folder
where you can see all of your collected treasures.
Go through and weed out photos that dont fit,
leaving only the ones that you feel strongly about.
If youve done your job, then your image will be
right in front of you.
Now, go shopping! Thrift stores are great for
finding unique, inexpensive items like jackets,
scarves, and accessories. Put together at least
three outfits that you feel great about. Start with
three, then add onto your new look whenever the
inspiration strikes.
Remember to be consistent. If you dress like a
stripper on Monday, then like a first grade teacher
on Tuesday, then there is no way for your fans to
bond with you. Commit. If you find that you dont
feel comfortable with your new style, then you just
messed up. You missed it. Your outfits shouldnt
feel like a clown suit, but rather a natural
expression of the real you.
To stay relevant, your image will need to change
with the times. Avril Lavigne traded in her wifebeaters and neckties for gowns and up-dos. Have
fun with this, but do not put it off. Getting your
image right is crucial. Its your job.

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Overweight/Out of Shape
I see too many great artists going unsigned and
underrate because of weight issues to be delicate
about this topic. If youre really pursuing a music
career, then you are absolutely asking for this.

ADELE IS THE
EXCEPTION, AND THE
EXCEPTION DOESNT
DISPROVE THE RULE

I can hear chubby girls all over the world shouting,


Well, what about Adele and Jennifer Hudson?? They
arent anorexic supermodels! OK sure. I hear you. But
Adele is one in a billion. How many times in history has
an Adele happened? Mmm...yeah, cant think of any others. Adeles artistry,
heart, and humor won out over the need to be super fit. And I hope her success
opens doors for others like her that deserve fame. Adele is the exception, and
the exception doesnt disprove the rule. (And by the way, Adeles voice is in
terrible health right now. Do you think theres any connection?)
Jennifer Hudson owes her meteoric rise to fame to a television show. Her
2004 appearances on American Idol sent her rapturous voice booming into the
living rooms of millions. A 7th place finish was more than enough to redirect
Hudsons career from cruise ship singer to Oscar and Grammy winning
recording artist.
Now, after achieving all of this success, was J-Hud content to remain a size 18?
Did she just stay heavy? No. No she did not. She has lost over 80 pounds, and
looks incredible, healthy and happy.
Its not about being skinny. Is Beyonc skinny? No. Is she one of the sexiest
women on Earth? Yes. Yes, she most definitely is. So its not about looking
thin; its about looking healthy.

Healthy is sexy.

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In regards to your career, there so many variables that you simply cannot
control. You cant make writers give you A-List songs to record, or make Sony
give you a contract. But you can absolutely control what youre putting into
your mouth. And you absolutely can turn the television off and drive to the
gym (or work out at home). You need every edge you can possibly get.
So the following question should be read loudly:

Why deny yourself the rewards


and benefits of having a great body

?!

This is just my body type, you say? No, fat is not a body type. Being out of
shape is not a body type. Its seldom even a physical issue. Its a lifestyle issue,
and a head issue. Its an epidemic that is completely curable.
If you find this offensive, then your skin is too thin for this biz. While at a dinner
party, a stranger may not mention that you have an enormous leaf of spinach
stuck on your front teeth. Out of fear of being impolite, they would let you
have a leafy grin all night long. A real friend would say,Hey Grendel, we need
to go pick the produce off your chompers. Well, Im your friend. So Im telling
you that if the body image is a red flag for you, then lets get it together!
Having a great body is hard work, but its so rewarding and very addicting.
There will never come a day when youll think, I really miss being overweight,
out of shape and tired...Im just way too hot now. Do it. We will help you.

The birthday shot of me, by the way, is for better or worse


completely unedited; no Photoshop enhancing. I have
average genetics, and an addiction to sugar. But my desire
to stay competitive in my sport and to be a positive role
model for my students beats out the compulsion to stuff
my face with pie. There is simply no downside to getting
jacked. And there are many...many benefits.

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CHAPTER TWO

What about that last category: Simply unattractive/No appeal?


Well, if youve dealt honestly and directly with the other two, then it is very
unlikely that this third one is even relevant anymore. If youve got great style
and a great body, then you are most likely a sexy beast.
If theres still something seriously missing, maybe you still need to find the right
hairdo, wax your unibrow, fix your Jack-O-Lantern teeth or try different
makeup techniques. But I will suggest that the remedy probably isnt in the
physical realm at all. Confidence, self-esteem, attitudethese are all traits of
the highly desirable.
If you think youre lacking here, then what? Well, this is where it all comes to a
beautiful and complete full circle. Great musicians with epic voices and killer
abs (or killer curves) have confidence. With every page of this book, I want to
convince you that these things are attainable and present to you reasonable
and practical methods to get you there.
Thank you for toughing it out and reading through this sticky topic. These
words come from my experience and from my heart. With so many odds
already against your success, there is just no viable reason for this whole
doesnt have the look deal to be yet another brick in the wall.

Note: Although being a cocky jerk is a proven method of


getting a girl to like you (that info is directly from the
ladies, so hush), I dont recommend it for winning in the
music business. Confidence is a generous and warm trait
that makes others feel cool to be with you.
Cockiness/arrogance is a selfish attitude that tries to make
others feel inferior. When in doubt, stop talking. Listen
more than you speak. When you do speak, ask the people
youre with about themselves and show genuine interest.
If you find this difficult, then you might be a jerk.

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Thanks...well call you. Youre just not what


were looking for. Or, most commonly
No. Youre going to hear them all. A lot.
Possibly for years.
Embrace them and let them be your
motivation to fix what needs fixing.
Statistically, most artists will never get the
yes theyre looking for.
So when yours comes, youd better be ready
to deliver the goods.
Until it happens, bring on the rejection, the
run-arounds, the almosts, the nos. Its all just
rocket fuel.

STATISTICALLY, MOST
ARTISTS WILL NEVER GET
THE YES THEYRE
LOOKING FOR.

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These two shots are examples of great branding.

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Putting It Together

tunning vocals. Great look. Marketable sound. Good songs. How


could there be a problem!? If these elements dont match each other,
then theres a big problem. So many times, Ive received an artists
press kit in which his 8x10 looks like an ad for Aeropostale, the artwork has a
grunge feel, and the songs on his EP sound like beer drankin, deer shootin,
hell raisin business.
Do you understand how thats a problem? What if you were at a show and
some guy walks onto the stage wearing skinny jeans, a striped shirt he stole
from a mime, a scarf and those terrible Toms shoes...and then the band fires up
the intro to All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin Over Tonight? Would you
think, Ooo this is so cool! or Umm...why is there an elf on stage singing
Hank, Jr.? Yeah. Its not cool. Its confusing.
Dressing up like Waldo to sing Hank is just as strange as a putting a graphic of
fresh roasted peanuts on a bottle of ketchup. Ideally, Id love to see what you
sound like when looking at your promo shots, and hear what you look like by
listening to your EP. Imaging. Branding. The more work you do with this, the
less your audience has to work to figure out what youre all about.

Branding Yourself
When visiting new towns, I love visiting little locally-owned coffee shops. I just
love finding unique businesses with special items that can only be found in that
area. But at the end of the day, I just want Starbucks. Why, you ask? Because I
love the dark, oily, beany taste, and I know exactly what Im going to get every
time. I dont have to think about it. Theres no risk. Im willing to pay more for
the hipster environment, the nice and happy people, and the consistent

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product. Same is true for Apple products. I happily pay more for a device that
is beautiful, thoughtful, and that just freakin works.
When Im giving this lecture in a master class, I often will hold up a Q-tip and ask
the audience, Do you know what this is? A Q-tip! the audience would reply.
No, its actually a cotton swab. The brand is Q-tip. Ahhh! they all would say.
Then I would wave a kleenex around and ask, What about this? Without fail,
the audience will shout, A kleenex!. Nope. Actually, this is a tissue. The brand
is Kleenex! Oooooo! they all would say, as the light bulb clicks on.
What other amazing branding ideas can you think of (the Nike swoosh, Apples
apple, Santas red suit)?
In this developmental stage, you must view your music as more business than
art. At this point, you are the CEO, the salesman, and the product all in one. In
essence, you are selling a service. This service isnt your music. Your songs are
just devices to grant your listeners an escape, an experience, an emotion.
This is why it is crucial that the mere mention of your name elicits an emotional
response. You are a business. Therefore, you need a great name, a clear
message, and an appealing purpose (i.e. if people have no use for what youre
selling, then you have no business).

QUICK! As fast as you can, jot down three words that come
to mind when you see these names:
Ozzie:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Britney:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Celine:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Dolly:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

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Kesha:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Reba:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Madonna: 1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Bono:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Garth:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Justin*:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Now, if you didnt actually write anything down because you just dont have the
time right now, then you dont have the time to be reading this.
Seriously, just put this away and come back to it when you do have the time. I
need you to think about this little exercise carefully, because there is one more
name to consider:
YOU:

1. ................................

2. .................................

3. ...............................

Was it easier to come up with three words to describe Kesha or Ozzie than it
was for yourself? Also note that in the list of artists that I had only to put the
first name; no last name was even needed to elicit an emotional response
(*Justin means Timberlake in my worldcould mean Bieber in yours).
Maybe youre not far along enough in your artist development to know what
three words to choose. If thats the case, then just write down what you want
those three words to be. Take a look at my completed list for inspiration:
Ozzie:

1. Bat-biter!

2. Vaudeville

3. Fun

Britney:

1. Nuts

2. Sexy

3. Entertainer

Celine:

1. Classy

2. Powerhouse

3. Flawless

Dolly:

1. Boobs!

2. Inspirational

3. Authentic

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Ke$ha:

1. Party!

2. Trashy fun

3. Great writer

Reba:

1. Redhead

2. Twangy

3. Vocalist!

Madonna: 1. Pointy bra

2. Businesswoman

3. Dancer

Bono:

1. Shades

2. Singer!!!

3. Bad a**!

Garth:

1. Huge Hat

2. Dramatic

3. Performer!

Justin*:

1. Sexy Beast

2. Undeniable

3. Hilarious

Notice that the first thing that came to my mind for each artist has nothing to
do with actual ability. Average fans are much more interested in drama, back
story, scandal, and fashion choices than they are talent.
Anyone whos ever gone through the American Idol audition process can
vouch for this. And as frustrating as this is, Im not so sure its a bad thing. Yes, I
prefer singers that can sing. But knowing that the singer has lived the songs
makes listening all the sweeter.
All of these elements contribute to branding. Lets analyze the words listed by
Justins name. And for the sake of this message, lets use Timberlake, not
Bieber (calm down, girls...Im a Belieber too). How does JT reinforce these
three traits as part of his brand?

1. Sexy Beast
Just google images of JT to see what I mean. Lots of shirtless pics showing
a hard-earned hard body. Snappy outfits with serious, far-off expressions.
His choreography is defined and very masculine. His style of performing is
aggressive, controlled, classy and smooth. And...lots of shirtless pics (and
very well-done, I must say).

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2. Undeniable
Timberlake was practically born on the stage. In addition to mad
songwriting skills, he sings, he dances, he plays instruments, and produces,
ALL to great acclaim. Even his acting is well-received by critics. Ive never
heard a single person say, Meh...hes OK. JT is undeniable.

3. Hilarious
If youre over the age of 18 and not easily offended, just watch some of his
comedy music videos with Andy Samberg. Warning: raunchy...but very
funny. By parodying himself and just acting goofy, Justin becomes even
more real, approachable, and lovable. And the ladies love a man that can
make them laugh.
These elements are reinforced constantly and consistently through photo
shoot layouts/concepts, album artwork, fashion choices and deportment (how
he carries himself and interacts with others). They all come across as genuine,
authentic, and sincere. Timberlake never appears to be trying. He simply is.
Now take a look at the words you chose to describe you, the artist. What
immediate goals can you set to start reinforcing them? This is a great
launching pad for building your brand.

Your Elevator Pitch


Just come with me for a moment (cue dream sequence music). You've just
attended a fancy party, and you and your hot date are getting into the elevator
to the parking garage. Just as the door is nearly closed, a hand jabs through,
forcing the door to reopen. Your frustration is quickly turned to excitement as
you realize that the hand belongs to David Foster. That hand that penned a
thousand hits. That hand that pointed to many young talents and said,"You! I
will make you a star." Now...you have from the 4th floor to the P1 level to 1.

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not appear creepy 2. speak without spitting on him 3. hope he asks about your
music. If you are blessed with an opportunity this rare, and David Foster
actually says to you, "Nice to meet you. What's your music like?", then you'd
better not give an answer like the girl I told you about in Chapter One. You
have about 15 seconds to pique his interest with a concise and thoughtful
statement about your music. This is your elevator pitch.
What would Davids internal reaction to your elevator pitch be? ...this kid is an

idiot. Nice person...but clueless. Can this elevator go any fastergood


heavens Well, if any of those are his internal reaction, his external reaction
will be something like, Great...good luck with that. Oh look, heres where I get
off. (...exits on the 4th floor and takes the stairs to the lobby).
But if you do this right, his internal reaction might be, I see it. Great look,
great charisma. Theres something in there worth pursuing. External
reaction? Heres my card. Do you have a pen? Thanks. Heres my cell. Call
me when youre back in town. I have some ideas for you. Yes, it happens.
That kind of stuff really happens.
The lesson here is to be ready when it does happen. Youd have better odds of
being trampled by a stampede of unicorns than being handed an opportunity
like this one a second time.
My dear long-time friend Ellen Tift (of the fabulous production team World
Wide Groove Corp.) is an expert in helping artists find their pitches.
I asked her if shed be willing to share some wisdom with you. Heres what she
had to say about elevator pitches:

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It's basically trying to get what it is that you want the person to
remember you for into a brief statement that can be spoken
before that person stops listening to what you're saying. If it's too
heady, not conversational enough, or not engaging on the front
end, people will tune out and not absorb what you're saying.
I told Matt Hodges he should just say he's the vocal love child of
Jonny Lang and Brian McKnight. I told Rachel Schleicher she
could say she's like Carrie Underwood if she smoked. And if she
wanted to clarify that she doesn't actually smoke but just has
that sound, she could feel free.
Two sentences can sometimes be too long. People have VERY
short attention spans.
Depending on who I'm talking to, I've been known to describe
our first record as music you'd play either for a dinner party or
having sex or smoking pot. I don't smoke pot, never have. But
it's a description that usually makes people laugh and at least
piques their interest.

Brilliant!

What do you think about Ellens advice to our young artists Matt and Rachael?
Do you see how she packs imagery and emotion into one sentence, delivering
a clear concept in under five seconds?
What about how she describes her own record? Hilarious and...informative!
Its the kind of comment that gets remembered and repeated.

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She is concise, conversational and humorousthree elements that are sure to


make an impression.
By this time tomorrow, be ready to deliver your elevator pitch. If youre not in
the habit of having imaginary conversations with yourself, nows the time.
Look at your watch right now. At this time tomorrow, a world-famous
producer is going to ask you about your music. What will you say? Practice
delivering your spiel so that it comes across as casual and personable.
And remember what Ellen said: Sometimes two sentences could be too

much. Be concise.
Keep in mind, if you dont know how to describe your own music in a clear
manner, then chances are good that no one else will be able to either.

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Now What?!
You pursue a music career. It will not pursue you.
Show up.
Book shows.
relationships.

Hone your craft.

Build

But you dont understand!! Theres NOTHING going on


where I live! I cant do shows anywhere! Theres no
teachers, no venues, no writers No...YOU dont
understand. If what you say is true, then heres your
answer...ready? Move. Yeah...well if not, then stop
complaining about it, give up on your music, and move on
with your life. Really? No opportunity whatsoever?? Well,
then, yeah: move or just forget about it.

f youve put forth effort toward the assignments and goals Ive set for you
throughout this work, you really should be well on your way to a solid
foundation for building your career. Your image, sound, message and
brand should now be coming together.
So now what? Well, its time. Now. No more waiting around hoping something
magical happens. You must pursue a music career. It will not pursue you.
No, I dont want you doing shows way before youve got it all together. But I
also dont want you waiting around until everything is perfect, because it never
will be. Now is the time to get out there and do it.

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CHAPTER FOUR

Heres the first and most important thing you need to be doing:

Show Up
Youve got to show up. This means going to
concerts, writers nights, workshops, industry
events. You need to show up to any gathering
where there will be potential for building
meaningful relationships. This is not shmoozing,
or kissing ass. Especially in Nashville, this kind
of thinking is very looked down upon. When you
consistently show up, you will build real
friendships with likeminded, career-driven
musicians and industry folks. You will meet
writers, producers, and striving artists like yourself. Also, when you show up,
youll be very, very happy that I made you refine and rehearse your elevator
pitch. Youll be saying it a lot.

YOU NEED TO SHOW UP TO


ANY GATHERING WHERE
THERE WILL BE POTENTIAL
FOR BUILDING MEANINGFUL
RELATIONSHIPS.

A few years ago, I took my then-girlfriend to a piano bar to hear my friend


James Slater play. James has written many huge hits for many huge artists
(Martina, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, to name a few). My girl showed up with
me, looking absolutely stunning as she always does. During the course of the
evening, I introduced her to James. Of course, he was taken by her beauty and
...yes...asked about her music. She told him something like Im sorta like
Natasha Bedingfield in a really pissy mood. James laughed and asked her if
she knew Respect by Aretha. Of course, she told him, as if it would be
ridiculous if she didnt know it. James said, Come up and sing it with me. So,
she did. And KILLED it. The crowd went nuts. Within the course of the next
two weeks, she was invited to attend the Grammys, backstage at a Kid Rock
concert, had writing sessions with James Slater and had a song on hold with
George Strait. All within two weeks.

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Today, she has had songs cut by Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato, wrote the
jingle for Clean & Clear commercials, has had international #1 hits, and is
signed to a record deal and a publishing deal, all because she showed up.
NOW...whats to be learned here? Yes, she showed up. But what else did you
notice? Ill spell it out for you:
1. She showed up looking like a star. Body, image, everything in place.
2. When James asked about her singing, she was ready with a great answer.
3. When asked if she knew Respect, she not only knew it, but she brought
the house down.
4. When offered a chance to write with a hit songwriter, she delivered.
5. Being hot may have opened the door, but her fierce talent blew the door
off the hinges.
And she has KEPT showing up. She has had plenty of reasons to quit, but never
gave up. Bottom line: no one is going to come knocking on your door. Show
up. Show up. Show up. And when you are there...

Be Ready
Be ready when it comes! An opportunity. A chance. A break. Hey come up

and sing Chain of Fools. Be ready. Whats your music like? Be ready. Do
you have something I can hear? A demo? BE READY. If you were asked the
following questions, how many could you answer yes to?
Do you have a business card?
Do you have a demo?
Do you have a YouTube channel?
How about a FaceBook Fan page?
Can you sing one of your songs for us right now?
Can you sit in with the band and sing some covers?

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What can you do today to turn no into yes for every question? No excuses.
Just sit still for a minute and figure it out. While there are many more things you
need to be ready for, these are a few that you can take care of quicklythings that
are completely under your control. Show up and be ready when you get there.
Book shows. Hone your craft. Build relationships. But you dont understand!!

Theres nothing going on where I live! I cant do shows anywhere! Theres no


teachers, no venues, no writers blah blah blah. No...you dont understand. If
what you say is true, then youve got exactly three choices. You either have to
make opportunities where you live (via social media, posting awesome YouTube
vids, etc.), or move. Yes, move. Or at least start regularly visiting an area where
something is happening. The third option? Move
on with your life and forget about music. Ive seen
so many talented artists fade into 9-to-5 jobs in
cubicles because they were intimidated by all of
the nos staring them down. Ive got the Billboard
Hot 100 pulled up right now. Even though theres
some great talent represented here, Ive got a
dozen or more students that could out-sing any of
them. But that really doesnt mean anything. The
artists that are successful will tell you that they kept
showing up, and that they were ready when the
door opened.

THE ARTISTS THAT ARE


SUCCESSFUL WILL TELL YOU
THAT THEY KEPT SHOWING
UP, AND THAT THEY WERE
READY WHEN THE DOOR
OPENED.

OK theres your butt-whoopin for the day. Believe me, when I read this back, it
speaks loudly to me, too! (Secret: Ive not had a business card in 10 years. Ive
probably missed some great opportunities because of that.) I hope that
something in this section makes the bell go ding in your brain, and you find
the inspiration to make it happen. No more excuses. No more reasons why you
cant. Now what? Here it is one last time: show up and be ready when you
get there.

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Building Your Team &


Resources

t would be pretty sweet if you had an entourage that handled your


bookings, answered fan mail, and managed your website and social
media. And a creative team that designed your posters, did your hair and
makeup for photo shoots, and picked out the color schemes for your music
videos and stage shows! Well, you dont. Most likely, you dont have any of
that. Creative team of one: you.
Now, if youve been showing up, and you were ready when you got there, then
hopefully youve been at least making some friends that could eventually
become part of your team. But how do you know when to bring in help, or just
learn how to do it yourself? When do you stop trying to find people to do stuff
for you for free and just hire a professional? When do you get a manager?
In the near future, I will write feature articles on these questions. But for now,
heres the best answer: When youve shaken every tree and turned over every
stone and you are certain that you can make no further progress on your own,
then it might be time to bring in help. Hire an exceptional photographer. Pay
great players to play a show with you. Find a techy college dude that can make
your website look great for $200. Research producers and studios and come
up with a budget for recording a jaw-dropping demo. This is your team.
Oh yeah, the manager question...if I had a dollar... Thats an eye-roller because
usually theres nothing to manage: no catalogue of songs, no shows, nothing
even in the works. So wait on that one until theres something to work with.

www.VocalEdge.com

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VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

CHAPTER FIVE

VocalEdge Recommendations
If youre not a do-it-yourselfer and you find that you just need to hire the big
guys, here are some heartfelt endorsements. The names listed below are
without exception people that Ive worked with for a decade or longer. I love
them all and confidently recommend them to you. Here are some items you
might need, and some names that can get the job done right.
1. Promo shots: Choose an amazing photographer for your 8x10, headshot,
and other cool shots to be used on all your social media pages, your
website, and concert posters. I recommend Michael Gomez out of
Nashville, TN. He has shot me, as well as superstars for years and Ive used
him for countless students. Theres lots of great photographers out there,
so do your own research.
2. Demo/EPK: A demo typically has 3 songs. An EPK (electronic press kit) has
5-6. An album has 10 or so. If you can get it done for next to nothing and
make it sound incredible, then by all means, go for it. If you need a studio, I
recommend Fun House Studios in Nashville. The owners are like family to
me and Ive used them exclusively for many years. And my favorite
engineer, especially for vocals, is Rodney Ingle (yes, getting this right makes
a huge difference). I trust them with my life. And your career.
3. Production Team: World Wide Groove Corporation and Zodlounge. These
two teams provide a loving and nurturing environment while helping you
develop your sound. You can take your junky work tape in, and these people
can make your song sound like a hit. I have known them to also co-write
with their clients, too! They have connections, opportunities and resources
for their clients, and deliver with love. Just get on their sites and listen!
4. Image Consultant: Ive known Mila Grigg for 12 years. She may be the
most blunt, honest, and loving person you will ever meet. Her company,

www.VocalEdge.com

Page 40 of 47

CHAPTER FIVE

VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

Moda Image Consulting is used by students, housewives, millionaires and


starving artists. She can help you match your look with your sound, creating
a solid brand and a great impression.
5. Getting In Shape: I wholeheartedly recommend to you P90X. I am in love
with this program. Ive done it all the way through twice and still apply its
principles to my daily workouts. Do not steal it off the internet. Pay for it...just
like you want to be paid for your hard work. Every detail of P90X is quality.
And it just works. Im not paid a dime from P90X or anyone else in this list; I
just love it. (Warning: P90X is not for people who are really out of shape! Ive
always been athletic and still train MMA, so do your research before
purchasing!) Also, subscribe to JCDFitness! The owner is one of my best
friends. Hes a great fitness advisor and hes also a great singer, so he gets it.
6. Stage Performance Coaching: Linda Davis! Oh, how I love this lady. Her
coaching program, called SP101, is a career-altering, mind-bending love
bath. Heres how it works: you take tracks of your show (at least a 3 song
set, preferably a full 10-song set), and Linda tells you exactly how to stage it.
This includes when to talk, when not to talk, how to go back and get your
guitar without losing your audience, how to work the mic stand, and most
importantly, how to rehearse spontaneous elements. (You know those
amazing moments in shows where it looks like it happened by accident?
Nope. Its all rehearsed.) I dare you to not fall in love with Linda Davis.
7. Vocal Coaching: Me! ...duh. But OK I did promise you earlier that Id spell
out how to spot a great voice teacher. This requires a list. A great vocal
coach:
Can deliver dramatic results quickly.
Can listen to a song and be able to play it (or have a paid accompanist
on staff that can).
Should be a great musician.

www.VocalEdge.com

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VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

CHAPTER FIVE

Has your best interest in mind.


Focuses on only you during your session (not his cell phone, texting,
or any other distractions)
Does not impose her own agendas on her students!!
Is not exclusive (meaning he doesnt get pissy if you want to work with
other coaches).
Is in touch with current music trends.
Is passionate about you as an artist and as a friend.
Thoroughly understands technique and has a gift of conveying it to
the student.
Studies constantly, updating methods and creating fresh approaches.
Makes you feel like youve spent your money wisely after every lesson.
Loves you, not your walletand it should be evident.
Working with a great coach is expensive. But working with a crappy one is
even more expensiveits a waste of time.
I know Ive laid out quite a list here that may seem impossible for anyone to live
up to. Well, if your coach is charging people $150-$500 an hour, then he/she
had better live up to every single item listed.
Aside from me, theres Greg Enriquez in Las Vegas, Deborah Zuke Smith in
New Jersey, Tom McKinney in Dallas/Houston,and Brett Manning and Janet
Kenyon here in Nashville all of them completely worth their fees. Im sure
there are more; do your own research and choose wisely.

www.VocalEdge.com

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END OF STORY

VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

End Of Story
Many thanks for downloading this eBook and considering the information Ive
put together for you. I think about your career every day, and I try to come up
with methods to help make it happen for you. It took several months to
complete this project; writing and rewriting, condensing and editing. In these
11,000 or so words, all I really want to say is this:

You know in your heart whether or not


youve got what it takes to do this. If you
think you do, then lets go.
No more
excuses. Theres nothing about you that is
going to shock or surprise me.
I dream for you. I hope for you to see
beyond the practical, straight through to
the possible. And no one on this side of
Heaven (except maybe your mother) will
love you and believe in you more than I
do. End of story.
JAMES R. WIGGINTON
Founder, VocalEdge

www.VocalEdge.com

Page 43 of 47

VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

Links
LINKS

Gomez Photography
www.gomezphotography.com

Fun House Studios


www.funhousestudios.com/home.htm

World Wide Groove Corporation


www.myspace.com/wwgroovecorp

Zodlounge
www.zodlounge.com

Moda Image Consulting


http://modaimageconsulting.com

P90X
http://beachbody.com/P90X

JCDFitness
http://jcdfitness.com

Linda David, Stage Performance 101


http://lindadavis.musiccitynetworks.com/index.htm?id=10947

James R. Wigginton, Vocal Coach


www.VocalEdge.com
www.YouTube.com/VocalEdgeTV
www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=648916615

www.VocalEdge.com

Page 44 of 47

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

About The Author

AMES R. WIGGINTON (Jamie) was born into a touring musical family in


Western Kentuckysort of a hillbilly Partridge Family. Hundreds of
artists/vocalists all over the world currently call Jamie their vocal coach.
Over the past few years, Jamie has completed over 40 international tours, in 12
countriesappearing in concert and presenting Master Classes.
Jamie has the honor of working with nationally-known vocal artists, Grammy
winners, actors, and well over a thousand aspiring students. Mr. Wiggintons
personal performance and/or recording credits include: solo artist;
background singer (for Garth Brooks, Ray Stevens, Trisha Yearwood, Vince
Gill, Donna Summer, many others); session singer (for WORD, Brentwood
Music, as well as many studios); production and/or film (for Warner Bros.,
CMT, and New England Sensation); Concert and
Solo Pianist; Live Theatre and Opera Performances
(including leading roles in The Tender Land,
Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, A
Midsummer Nights Dream and South Pacific).
Mr. Wigginton is the Musical Director of Msico
a Msico, an international music education
organization geared toward artist who use
their gifts in the church.
Other producing and advising credits
include working with Michael Garvin
(wrote/produced Waiting for
Tonight for J-Lo) and Joe Hogue
(Grammy and Dove award winner).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VOCAL EDGE | HOW ASPIRING ARTISTS CAN RISE ABOVE THE REST

Jamie is well-known across the US for his exceptional ability to quickly assess
and aid vocalists in all aspects of vocal performance and extending vocal range.
Mr. Wigginton has authored The Karaoke Singers Guide to Greatness, The
Pro Singers Warm-up, and co-authored Singing Successthe biggest-selling
self-improvement program of any kind on the entire internetwith renowned
vocal coach, Brett Manning.
Involved in nearly all aspects of entertainment, Jamie is an ASCAP songwriter,
arranger/orchestrator, has appeared in music videos, commercials, print ads,
fitness publications and works with local church music ministries.
His orchestrations have been featured in over 500 broadcasts. Mr. Wigginton
received his Bachelor of Music (Performance) in voice and piano from
Belmont University.
He has also completed extensive vocal studies with
Richard Miller (The Structure of Singing, etc.), and
several other notable vocal pedagogues. Daily,
he continues to study and develop new ways
to help his artists reach their goals.
Jamie resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
VocalEdge Studio is located right on
historic Music Row, 16th Avenue. He
also serves as full-time Instructor of
Commercial Voice Performance at
Belmont University.

About VocalEdge
With a lifetime of performance experience
and over two decades of training singers,
James R. Wigginton has become a trusted
and celebrated name throughout the
singing world.
His teaching style of
combining science-based methods that
just work with an in-depth knowledge of
the music industry has resulted in what
we call VocalEdge.
The secret is BALANCE. Bottom line:
you will sing with greater freedom and
more range when you ditch weight and
stop forcing it. If youre a little geeky
like me and want to know more, read
on.
By establishing balance of airflow, chord
closure and muscular support, your
voice can function much more freely
and powerfully than you've ever
experienced. Many singers believe (or
have been taught) that they have "chest
voice" and "head voice"...and that's it.
They have to sing either all chest or flip
up into head voice (actually falsetto if
the voice breaks).
If this is you, then we have very good
news: you're pulling your chest voice up

too far. In about 15 minutes, Jamie will


strengthen and balance that weak part of
your voiceyour first bridge, or primo
passaggioand you'll be able to access
the "money notes" easier than you've ever
been able to. With a series of exercises,
you will notice a marked difference in just
one session. Over the first few weeks,
your voice will learn how to "let go,"
giving you free access to your entire range
without strain.
Great technique is not just about singing
higher. Your voice will also become
more resonant and resilienta must for
touring artists.
Jamie will also help you hone in on your
style, giving you a greater edge in the
music industry. Great vocal technique
will produce more range, greater control,
better licks and ensure longevity.
Although vocal perfection is a life-time
pursuit that few ever achieve, learning
technique does not take all that long
and it will last for your entire career.
James R. Wigginton's VocalEdge
technique
will
make
a
dramatic
difference in your singing.

www.VocalEdge.com