We've asked top vocal coach and performer Anoushka Lucas 21 questions- and they are all about SINGING!
Anoushka played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar in the West End, and also had an album in the Top Ten Singer/Songwriter charts. Her self-penned musicals have been produced as far afield as New York.
1. What is the first thing you do to warm up?
Brrrrrrrr up and down gently!
2. What’s your favourite song to sing?
You cannot go wrong with any Beauty and the Beast. Or She used to be mine from Waitress.
3. Which song do you think is the hardest song to sing and why?
There is a song called “On the steps of the palace” from Into the Woods that I find almost impossible!
4. Which singer do you admire the most and why?
Ella Fitzgerald has yet to be beaten in my eyes.
5. What what your favourite job as a singer?
I love going out with my band and getting to sing the songs I have written more than anything in the world! Jesus Christ Superstar was fun too :)
6. Is there one singing technique that changed your life?
When I learned to breathe properly it changed everything.
7. Where did you train as a singers and/or vocal coach?
I taught myself growing up - and then when I got into theatre I went to see a fantastic vocal coach called Mark Maylen and a lady called Mary Hammond.
8. What’s your favourite thing about teaching singing?
I love helping a student sing something they thought they couldn’t think, and seeing the joy that brings!
9. What is a common challenge you see in singers?
There is a tendency to push when you meet resistance - when your voice isn’t doing what you want it to do. It causes all kinds of trouble. I think as singers we can all be quite impatient that way, wanting to be able to do everything straight away.
10. What’s the best tip you can give a singer?
DRINK MORE WATER. Even if you think you are drinking enough - drink more.
11. How do you approach audition nerves?
Pay attention to the song. Remember someone wrote it, and your job is to paint the picture of what they wrote in a way that would please them, not the people auditioning you.
12. How would you save a tired voice?
Rest as much as you can, drink as many hydrating drinks as you can and warm up gently and carefully before doing anything. Also accept it’s not going to sound like it does when you are fully healthy, and let that be ok.
13. Who’s the best singing teacher you’ve ever had?
14. What do you think to people who say that you need different coaches for different styles of singing?
Honestly, I don’t know if that is true or not! Certainly if you want to sing in a classical or operatic space, you need someone who understands that...
15. Which is your favourite vowel to sing on and why?
You can play with it so much!
16. Where do you feel resonance in your body and do you use that feeling when you sing?
I feel it in my head and in my chest. I get a fullness from it
17. What does ‘support’ mean to you?
BREATHING! Learn to control and enjoy your breathing and everything feels so much healthier immediately. And learn to notice your body. The way you hold your body - your chest, your neck, your head, your shoulders - they all play a huge part in how supported your sound is.
18. Do you think that anyone can learn to sing?
I think that anyone can learn to sing yes. Not everyone can become Adele or Elphaba - but music is innate to human beings, and our bodies are the first source of it. I truly believe that singing is about emotion - anyone can learn to tell a story through song, to feel things and share those feelings with an audience, and that to me is singing.
19. Have you got a favourite sound to engage you higher register?
You can’t go wrong with “heeee”
20. Have you got a favourite sound to help a ‘breathy tone’?
21. How do you approach ‘belt’ in singers?
I am still working this out. The first thing to note is that a lot of people seem to approach belting as though it is a completely different beast to everything else they do - all their technique goes out the window and they are suddenly pushing from their throat again etc... so the first thing is to remind the student that belting is a part of singing, and that the stronger your own voice is - through regular practice - the better it’s all going to go. There is a lot about tongue placement also, people get tense and strain their throat and tongue - learning to relax that is key, allowing the tongue to stay down. Then it’s about practice! And easing up towards it not throwing 100% at the wall on your first bash. But like I said I still have work to do here!
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