Today I want to talk to you about how to find your passion. My experience as a singer in a crossover metal band taught me more about how the voice works than I thought I already knew. It forced me to think more about the role of the body when working on my vocal control, and how it taught me about facing the truth about myself and what my true passion is.
Your comfort zone
Going outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but teach you some important things about life and about yourself. I can tell you from my own experience that versatility is the one thing that has allowed me to work as long as I have in the music business. You’ll often hear from people online that the best way to be successful is to find out what your specific niche is. In other words, to pick a lane and stay in it. That’s great advice for most situations; however, leaving your lane can teach you more about yourself than you thought, and maybe even help you discover another lane.
I sing a lot of different styles. I’m a classically trained tenor, and I was a member of a pretty successful vocal jazz choir when I was in school. When I was a recording artist with Sony I did dance music, and, believe it or not, I was also a rapper. Since I started making the majority of my money as a live musician I’ve done mostly pop, R&B, and soul. I was even a keyboard player in a country band!
I’ve always been a pretty fit guy, even when I was younger and a lot heavier. I’ve been a gym rat since I was a teenager, doing weight training at least 3 to 4 times a week. I also have asthma; I was born with it and still suffer from it to this day. I took up distance running in my 20s to improve my breathing and increase my lung capacity. So I would consider myself in pretty good shape. That being said, I never imagined how much my physical endurance would be tested as when I became the lead singer of a band called IO, a crossover-metal band.
Put the pedal to the metal
I love rock music, the heavier, the better. So of course, I was very excited to play with this band. To give you a quick back story: the guys in this band were already successful here in Germany and internationally, but under a different name: Guano Apes. So you can imagine how excited I was when they asked me to start a new band with them. I immediately jumped at the chance. We called our new band „iO“. You can see one of our music videos here.
Fast forward six months later, when we started playing our first gigs. It was very intense because I started experiencing something that I wasn’t used to feeling in my many years of being on stage: I was afraid. In all those years of performing, I rarely lost my voice while on stage, but as the frontman of iO, I found myself exerting more physical energy than I’d ever had to in the past because I was scared.
I was scared that the crowd wouldn’t like me, since our audiences were all rock and metal fans and here I come with my soulful singing style. I was scared because I was playing with these amazing, famous musicians. Mainly I was scared because of the physical toll that singing this kind of music was taking on my body and on my voice.
When we were on tour, I would lose my voice after almost every show, sometimes after only 4 songs into the set! However, my solution to this problem was to work out even harder: lift more, run more. The idea was that if I got in better shape, I would have enough stamina to complete a show without losing my voice.
Mind vs. Body
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all; of course, I was physically stronger, but my voice was still giving out quickly. It was then that I realized that my voice wasn’t in the same shape that my body was. It wasn’t reaping the benefits of my newfound strength and endurance, and I was using my new physical strength to compensate for what I perceived as weak vocal technique.
One gig in particular sticks out in my mind. We had a gig as an opening act for a well-known German rock band. I was sick on that day; I had what I found out later was a mild case of laryngitis. We got on stage to do our 30-minute set, and as soon as I started singing I immediately knew that this was going to end badly, but we were already on stage, so I had to get through it somehow. So I literally powered through the gig, using my physical strength to make up for the fact that my voice was failing with every note. It got so bad that at some point during the show, I could actually taste blood in my mouth. That’s when I knew for sure that something had to change.
I needed to figure out how I could get my voice to be as fit as the rest of my body. The solution to this challenge wouldn’t come to me until two years later when I was a contestant on the German version of The Voice.
The Voice Of Germany?
In the next article, I’m going to tell you about my experience on the Voice and how that led me to create my VOXXBODY® workout program. Trust me, it’s a cool story, especially for those of you who are thinking about trying out for a singing competition or casting show. See you soon!
I’m all about helping people like you get stronger, healthier voices and bodies, so if you’re looking for a program that incorporates all of the vocal and fitness tips that I give you here, please check out VOXXBODY®.