Earlier this week, here in the UK, we celebrated some of the best homegrown British music at The Brit Awards 2018! With some undeniably moving performances from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and of course the man who’s name is on everyone’s lips, Stormzy.
We caught up with our very own UA Founder and Vocal Coach, Joshua Alamu as he worked with and prepped the voice of pop star, Rita Ora, for her show stopping performance.
“Josh tell the readers a little bit about yourself:”
“Well I am a servant of the “voice” … to a singer’s voice at least lol.”
“What is it that you do specifically?”
“I help develop a singers technical, musical and stylistic skill set, so that they can freely express themselves without hindrance or fear. I also help a singer’s voice through the process of vocal rehabilitation and habilitation (Vocology). Studying the voice and understanding it more is one of my strongest ambitions and making sure that my own voice works as an example of that research, hard work, understanding and discipline is also important to me too, so I train my voice daily as well as sit under the tutelage of other great teachers.”
“How did you start out?”
“I started out as a singer and performer and my mentors at the time told me that I had a gift for arranging and harmony, I was always interested in perfecting my vocal skills and actually became obsessed about vocal excellence. I struggled with my voice a lot, so my quest was to find the key to overcoming my own vocal issues. One day my mentor pushed me into a room and told me to teach a singer some riffs for 1hr, I had no idea what to do, but it turned out that inside me I had a few of the ingredients a good teacher needs (desire, experience, some skills, an approachable personality etc) that session was one of the best experiences of my life above singing on stage in front of millions of people which we did do. I knew then that I had found something I was passionate about and I wanted to know more about how to get into the centre of that work. I think I was about 19 years old at that time.”
“Who are your clients?”
“My clients range from individuals at varying levels of their ability and career. I work with singers who are starting out, but passionate about learning how to develop their skills further. I work with singers who are managed by a company and are up and coming rising stars and I also work with singers who have established successful careers in the music business and are very well known.”
“What are you most passionate about when it comes to the voice?”
“I am passionate about vocal purpose and progress. I live for the moments when a singer realises that there is power in the way that they can evoke feelings & responses in people using their vocal tones and melodic choices etc, and I equally love it when a singer feels like they have gained strength in their abilities and skills that enable them to express themselves even more efficiently and proficiently.”
“Josh, you’ve worked with singers pretty much across the globe from aspiring artists, right through to A list celebs including Little Mix, Louisa Johnson, and most recently Rita Ora. How important would you say is the role of a vocal coach right from the start of ones career to when they’ve made it as an artist?”
“As long as that artist insists on using their singing voice and pushing the boundaries of their artistry then yes the role of a coach is vital. The idea of “making it” as an artist is actually a false one. Once an artist is at their “peak”, their need for holistic support increases as the demand on them increases. A good vocal coach is one part of a very big machine in a successful singer’s career, but one that should definitely be prioritised because if a singer’s voice goes, then there is a big chunk of their identity, purpose and business that suffers as well.”
“You’ve set up this Artist Development programme, Ultimate Artists, tell us more about it. Why did you start it? How can it help artists?”
“Ultimate Artists was designed with artists in mind. I have been fortunate to serve singers professionally for a long time and I have seen and learned many things and continue to learn. The mental well being of artists is at stake and I wanted to create a safe environment where artists could feel : stimulated, nurtured, nourished, developed, listened to, empowered, healed, encouraged, fulfilled, enlightened, refreshed & challenged all at the same time. Inner being development as well as outer skills and knowledge development in a setting guided by good mentors and like minded peers, a community of people that accept each other’s differences, a community where making mistakes is totally allowed and as a result, transformation happens. I would say that Ultimate Artists meets every level of artist wherever they are at, because we bring in the best professionals that the industry has to offer but those who have a genuine heart for mentoring others (It’s TEAM WORK).
Would you say that Ultimate Artists act as a bridge between the artist and the music business? If so, how have you helped to create opportunities for your Ultimate Artists?
Ultimate Artists does very much serve as a bridge between artists and the music industry in that it helps artists gain the necessary knowledge, skills, support, advice, friendships and empowerment needed to continue navigating the music industry in what ever country or territory an individual is from. Many of the artists that have come through our programme have gone on to successfully take that next step into what they are working towards whether it be making a simple decision to take voice lessons or recording an EP successfully or going on to feature on a TV show or signing a management or record deal. One of the other aspects of UA’s success it that it brings a sense of ‘rest’ or time out of the hustle and bustle of the industry to gain perspective.”
“What would you say to artists thinking of signing up but are hesitant because they’ve perhaps paid for and completed other similar courses, but don’t feel like they got out of it what they expected to?”
We have have had participants tell us regularly that what they gained from our programme in 10 days was much more than what they gained form a 3 year music course. We still do not know exactly why that is so, but it could be something to do with the fact that we meet individuals exactly where they are at and we bring them to a place that they haven’t been to yet both mentally and skills wise and we also encourage them to create practical steps toward their goals. We remain accessible to artists all year round and the truth is that we really care about them… like really…. and I think this shows in what we do and what we achieve with artists.
So there you have it, why looking after your voice and developing your artistry is so important to your career.
To find out more about looking after your voice click here