Leona Lewis – Pop Singer with a Flawless Technique

Lewis possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range which spans four octaves.  

Music critic Neil McCormick, of The Daily Telegraph, has praised Lewis’s technical skills, writing, “Her mezzo-soprano range allows her to take melodies from luxurious low notes to high-flying falsetto, gliding with elegant power and impressive control through all kinds of fluctuations and modulations.”Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic adds, “Lewis can hit what seems like high belted notes.”

Leona Lewis uses her head register on the high notes and never belts even tho’ it sounds like she is belting because of the sheer power behind it.   She actually extremely classically trained and has no need to strain.  The secret to her vocal prowess is that she still practises operatic scales on a daily basis.

Sinead O’Connor and Bel Canto Singing

Bel Canto singing
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 28: Sinead O’Connor performs at City Winery on October 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

As reported in the Huffington Post, here are some musical quotes from Sinead O’Conner last year regarding Bel Canto singing – the technique she studied at the Bel Canto School of Singing in Dublin.

Now, the 48-year-old Irish songstress says her Italian training dictates she avoid material that doesn’t offer a rich emotional association.” As written in a Facebook article “It’s been “nine months or so” since Sinead O’Connor took her love away. That’s when the singer lost her emotional connection to the hit “Nothing Compares 2 U,” so earlier this week, O’Connor announced on Facebook that she will no longer perform the song:

 “OK, the time has come for me to cease singing Nothing Compares 2 U. The first principle of the manner in which I’m trained as a singer (bel canto) is we never sing a song we don’t emotionally identify with. My job is to be emotionally available. I’d be lying. You’d be getting a lie. My job is to give you honesty. I’m trained in honesty. I can’t act. It just isn’t in my training. I have ceased singing other songs over the years for the same reason.” She explained in a Facebook Post on 16 March 2015.

I agree with Sinead and her integrity regarding the Bel Canto approach. The real beauty and value of Bel Canto singing is in it’s honesty and purity.  As your voice gets freer and more pure, it can’t help but reflect the emotions unique to you in your individual life experiences.

This honesty is further enhanced by song choice.  Once you get your natural sound fully vibrating, then you will know what songs most suit your voice, making it easier to create your own unique interpretation organically, naturally.  You are a work in progress, as we all are and to feel and express lyrics and melody deeply and honestly is true art. You will feel it from the depths of your being and so will your listening audience.




Beautiful Prince

famous rock and roll legend(photo courtesy of www.okayplayer.com )

It was very sad to hear of the passing of famous rock and roll legend and musician extraordinaire Prince today.  Most people know him as an amazing musician and rock legend with an incredible stage presence, but I was fortunate enough to have met him in person to experience his artistry, authenticity and kindness firsthand.

It was just before the launch of his world tour “Sign of the Times” in the spring of 1986 in Stockholm when I was performing at the Grand Hotel across from the Royal Palace in the Old City across the canal.  A friend of mine was in town playing at the Sheraton Hotel, so after my gig, which finished at midnight, I’d often go over to hear him play.    Prince had booked out an entire floor of the Sheraton for two weeks with his band and full entourage to rehearse the show before the European leg of the concert tour.  On most nights, Sheila E. and the other band members would be sitting around the piano just hanging out. Prince was a very private person, so never did join in on the ongoing nightly gathering.

In the lobby bar one Saturday afternoon during his stay, a local music agent was having a showcase of all international singer/pianists who were performing at the various 5-star hotels in town.  There were about seven or eight of us.  About half-way through the auditions, all heads turned as Prince came walking through the lobby towards the piano area.   He sat down very quietly with one of his bodyguards with his full attention on each artist as the remaining four of us sat down at the piano to play.   With total respect, he sat up very straight and still and truly listened.  Knowing Prince was listening, I was a bit nervous and turned around and in that moment, he gave me the sweetest, most respectful and humble nod, as if to say “Don’t be nervous, I’m only here to listen to the music.” It was very touching how warm and kind he truly was.

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries” – Prince, Famous rock and roll legend 1958-2016.