TC-Helicon recently had the opportunity to catch up with Singing Success’s Brett Manning for a discussion about life, music and his thoughts about being a singing teacher. “I was born in Oregon and moved to Utah when I was three. I married when I was 25 and moved to California, and then back to Utah. When I was 32, I moved to Nashville. I’m passionate about sports—I love World Cup soccer, huge Tennessee Titans fan and I love Utah Jazz. I love MMA and UFC, which consequently goes hand-in-hand with singing. I used to be a fishing addict because I love the calmness; I used to play basketball three times a week, three hours at a time because I love the prospect of mastering a shot. It seemed to me like mastering your voice—all you have to do is be accurate. I am a major student of history, theology, philosophy, nutrition and exercise. I’m a huge fan of running and I’d rather be writing a song than doing just about anything else. However, my greatest love in life is my four children.”
We asked Brett how he initially became a singing teacher and what it was that fueled his passion for this “I was protesting bad singing, so I helped people without the intention of ever trying to become a teacher. I just simply became one. Success, changing people’s voices, inspiring them to change their lives—all of this fuels my passion to teach. You absolutely have to love having a student and teaching them. If you don’t give a crap, it doesn’t matter how much technique you have under your belt. If you demoralize a person, you have nothing.”
“Success, changing people’s voices, inspiring them to change their lives—all of this fuels my passion to teach…”
We then asked Brett if he could share what he feels are the essential techniques a singer should have in order to master their craft; “Every singer should be able to crescendo-diminuendo on every pitch, while maintaining a smooth and even tone quality, an unobtrusive consistent vibrato and a connection from chest to head voice, that is so seamless that you cannot tell when they are leaving chest and entering their head(this is much harder than it sounds).
Also, the singer themselves should have a distinctive sound. Once you are refined, you should allow yourself to be reckless. Style and vocal texture beat out dry technique. Two words — Thom Yorke. One of the biggest barriers singers can face these days is Irrelevance. Meaning that they have no distinctness nor is their voice contemporary to what people are listening to on the radio, whether Top 40 or indie.”
Brett feels that it’s very important for singers to have vocal lessons in general; “People need to keep up their game. Every golfer has a personal coach. We don’t hear ourselves accurately. Neither do we know how to fix all of our vocal trouble. In this industry, your voice has to be on all the time.”