I've performed as the lead role in a Broadway tour, been in over 100 musicals, and my YouTube channel has over half a million subscribers.
But I'd never sung an original song at an open mic.
Until this past Tuesday night.
Sound the frickin' trumpets, right?
For many folks reading this, an open mic might not seem like a big deal.
But to me, it was.
Playing a role in a musical is one thing. Playing your true self is a whole other challenge -- one I wasn't prepared to deal with until this year.
The intimidating part about this particular open mic (at a bar called TIME, appropriately enough) was that you play with the house band (drums, bass, keys) and they take your song and improvise and riff with you.
Most folks do cover songs, but if you want to perform an original you email them your chord chart ahead of time, attach an .mp3 demo, then sign up and go.
Your song undergoes a magical conversion of sorts, from your brain to a near instant materialization -- played by...
Lately I've been rebuilding my voice. It's not that my voice "went away," or anything -- but the truth is, when you spend the majority of your time teaching online and making content, you don't tend to your voice with the diligence it deserves.
So I've been working almost daily with my favorite warmups and techniques, and it re-occurred to me just how important ALIGNMENT is.
An aligned voice feels and sounds good. A misaligned voice feels and sounds not-so-good.
But alignment is more than just physical. It is also emotional and mental.
Alignment also means: relaxing into where you are, warts and all.
Alignment on a physical level is straightforward. It means: your body is working as one unit, and it's producing sound in a straight, unobstructed vertical line.
If you tilt your chin too far forward, or your posture caves in, or you don't engage your pelvis to support your torso, your alignment suffers, and technique gets wonky.
When I'm not "activated" or "aligned" this manifests as...
Last week, I stood at a pair of shiny gates. They were large and brass. They were closed.
Beyond the gates looked like Mount Olympus. I saw cotton-candy clouds and a glimmering palace decked in gold. Everything felt radiant, good, powerful.
I was flooded with knowing. But I sensed two contradictory things:
(1) This next step was so easy! All I had to do to was walk through the gates, and I would enter a new, beautiful life.
(2) Were I to do this, there would be extreme, earth-shattering danger and pain.
Suddenly, everything felt dark and smokey. The storm cloud of fear.
The truth was, my skin was too thin, my lungs too earthly to breathe in the new air. If I crossed into Olympus, I would disintegrate into nothing.
I wasn't "good enough" for this new atmosphere, this new altitude. I wouldn't be able to survive at a higher level.
As I hesitated I turned to my right and noticed a large figure. An ogre-type being who I was knew was there to pummel me to death if I tried to walk up the...
It's the end of my relationship. It's the beginning, too. I'm unpacking my new apartment, putting things in order. I'm unpacking my desires, thoughts, and pockets of pain. I'm redecorating the empty walls. Reconfiguring my concept of who I could be.
After the decimation comes the rebuild. The Winter and the Spring. Now
my outside world will begin to reflect new revelations about who I am on the inside. But this takes energy and clarity. Patience and thought.
All my life I've been an achiever, a succeeder, a producer, a creator. Do, do, do, do! Show your work, and show your worth!
For almost one year exactly, I've done the opposite. I've allowed myself to sit. To receive. To listen rather than talk.
* * *
The deeper I go, the more I realize that I am paving a new path that somehow integrates art and teaching. This path allows me to both explicitly and artistically share insights regarding my personal and spiritual growth, through performance, video, music, and writing.
My life path is...
Well, well, well....if it isn't Fel. (<-- love 2 speak about myself in the third person and simultaneously rhyme)
I write to you now from my home office, which has become a true caricature of itself. The MUSIC PRODUCER AT WORK! Wires, cords, microphones, MIDI controllers, opened boxes, bubble wrap. But somehow there is order in the chaos.
I'm makin-da-sweet music.
And in the process, making myself.
Er. "Making myself" might not be the best phrase.
It occurred to me that the field of self-improvement should be called "self-clarification." Cuz there's nothing to improve.
Growth feels more like stripping away than building up. Stripping away what I was told to be and feel, groping around in the dark for the silhouette of my essential self. Like finding a melody through the noise.
The act of making music has helped me (forced me?) to do this. It's been....wild.
I've been asking myself:
Who am I, independent of judgment, shame, and the rules that were randomly laid...
If you missed my live YouTube lesson on June 29, 2017 you can still watch it! I'll leave it here for a limited time.
The topic is: What separates AVERAGE singers from AWESOME singers?
(Psst! I even sing a song I write at the end.)
I've got lots more free trainings coming up, including a re-release of my 90-minute voice lesson series called Unlock Your True Singing Potential: Yes, My Dude, You Can Become a Good Singer.
The ONLY way to get notified of these events is to be on my mailing list for Singing Transformation, my elite training program.
**Editors Note: As of August 2017 Felicia is no longer offering Singing Transformation.**
Today's topic: Your FACE affects your singing!
Don't believe me? In my latest video, you'll learn how a personal vocal struggle led me to investigate the inside of my mouth -- specifically, my soft palate and cheekbones.
What did I discover?
An open, expanded, relaxed face and soft palate are crucial to creating a full, open, and beautiful singing tone.
In my personal experience, having a locked right side of my face (caused by tension and stress) can seriously limit vocal range and vocal tone.
Your face is a key RESONATOR for creating beautiful singing tone -- so if you're droopy, tense, or not creating space as you should be, you are seriously cutting off what's possible for you as a singer!
In this video, I'll give you some cues for expanding not just the middle of your soft palate -- but also the left and right sides -- which will, in turn, make pitch and tone much easier for you.
I'll also show you a (hideous!) face stretch that you can do before and during warmups....