RENEE GRANT-WILLIAMS, vocal coach, author, cheeseburger art collector
What can everyone do to improve his or her voice? The same tips that work for singers work for the speaking voice. You want to breath low and use power from the lower part of your body so that the upper part of your body is free to vibrate. Just think of Elvis in his karate stancefeet firmly planted, upper body loose and his head tilted over the microphone. I get lots of vocal tips from Elvis. You can say what you want about the man, but he kept his voice 'til the end....
So let's say you've got a great voice. How do you make people listen? Silence. If you pepper the pace of your words with bits of silence, people perk up. They're waiting for the shoe to drop. Just think of the great Paul Harvey. "And now the rest of the story." Our speech has a cadence just like a song; our ears are lazy and just follow this predictable pattern along, so when the pattern is broken we pay attention. It's like a little smack!
Speaking of cadence, who's your favorite rapper? Eminem. I think that if you're going to all the trouble to write interesting lyrics, you should be able to understand them. You can almost always understand his lyrics. Way cool.
How did you start collecting cheeseburgers? I wanted to collect Picassos but couldn't afford it, so now I have over 500 pieces of cheeseburger art. It all started with a lapel pin that someone gave me. The Dixie Chicks have probably brought me more burgers than anyone else.
Tell me about the vocal master class you host each year. This will be the seventh year. It's just an all-day vocal workshop designed to help singers become performers. Anyone who's interested can find more info on www.myvocalcoach.com.