All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: December 2010

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Warning About Mechanicals!

Dear friends who record and release music... I'd like to help protect your interests by sharing the following cautionary tale:

I got a frantic message from an indie artist this week. She had a very upsetting note from one of my cowriters, saying to have her attorney contact her. He had been surfing the web, noticed that she cut his song and released it to radio. Problem was, he had not received any mechanical money or signed a mechanical license for the release! No one had contacted him, in fact, about even having a cut on the song.

She had indeed tried to contact his major co-pub, but had not received word back. However, she didn't pursue getting in touch with them. She put the song out and was planning on paying when publishers replied to her. (DANGEROUS)

Releasing a song without proper mechanical licenses from all publishing companies involved can really get an artist into legal trouble. And this is happening... a lot... making a lot of artists vulnerable to lawsuits. Cover yourselves and take care of all mechanicals before you go to the expense of releasing, promoting and marketing your songs!

Another thing you should be sure to find out is whether or not the song you want to record has been recorded and released by an artist before you. If not, you actually have to get permission from all publishers to obtain a first rights license. You and your producer should discuss this before your tracking session!

Though he was justifiably upset, the co-writer of the song I'm talking about did agree to allow this song to continue and will not press legal charges... as long as the artist takes care of getting mechanicals paid pronto. So this should turn out win-win for everyone.

However, it's not a good idea to count on grace from all writers and publishers. Word to the wise... take care of mechanicals BEFORE you release your songs!

Not sure what mechanicals are? See this blogpost at my production website.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold Weather Tips For Voices

Tiz the season to be freezin! And yet... our voices still need to do their jobs. Here are some things you can do to keep your voice happy:

1. Warm up! And I'm not just talking sweaters and coats... don't neglect warming up your voice, just like you would your muscles for any other physical exertion, before your performances or speeches.

2. Keep the vocal container protected! Wear a scarf and/or turtlenecks to keep your throat warm. I have a whole bunch of scarves from which I pick every time I go outdoors in winter. Windy days and cold night air can be vocal terrorists.

3. Hydrate! Just because you aren't sweating a lot doesn't mean your body and voice aren't dehydrating. Drink water and watery combinations just like you do in summer. The artificial heat really takes it out of you.
  • Consider a humidifier... you can get a very cheap one and use it at least during the night. Hotels often have humidifiers available... ask at the front desk.
  • Remember that cars, bus and airplane air is DRY. When you get to your destination, take a hot shower or bath and breathe in the steam. 
4. Get pro health counseling! Find and keep supplements handy for when you feel a bug coming on. They work much better if you catch an infection at it's onset. My chiropractor, Dr. Dwaine Allison, is now using several new technologies to help, and I get tested at the office of my natural health practitioner Lynne Lavers at least a couple of times a year to fine tune the supplements I take. I also am very lucky to have two brother-in-laws (Dr. James Hubbard- who publishes My Family Doctor Magazine, and Dr. Charlie Ferguson -who owns Florence Al's Med Plus Clinic) who are doctors and a sister who is a nurse practitioner (Becky Ferguson)... and believe me I go to them when I need to!

5. Do something physical! It's so tempting to bundle up on the couch or at the computer and not move our bodies when we don't get outside as much. Find a regular physical exercise routine and DO IT.

6. Eat well! ...Especially plenty of lightly prepared or raw fruits and veggies, and lean plant and animal proteins. I drink a 'fresh juice' green drink every morning. Heavy meals take too much energy to digest... and undigested food builds up toxins in your body that can make it easier to fall prey to the microorganisms voices fear.

7. Understand the difference between a sore throat and laryngitis. If it hurts at your vocal cords when you speak or sing, try to go on voice rest as much as possible. If it's your throat tissue, try gargles, neti pot and other soothing solutions. And still watch for the throat pain to become vocal pain.

9. Get more... Lots more tips on vocal health in my 5 page report, available if you sign up for my newsletter. If you are already on the newsletter but didn't get this report, let me know.

If you have any tips for winter weather and voices, please share in the comments below this post online. Thanks!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

International Music Promotion For Indie Artists

I recently had a great meeting with a publicist/promotion expert in the UK. During our discussion, he told me he is willing and able to create effective, custom arrangements for different types of budgets. Those of you who are interested in an international market for your music may wish to inquire about his creative services.

So... the following is from All Things Vocal's guest poster Cameron Tilbury:

It’s a Big World.  Make it Work For You.

Music is big business….and business people like a safe investment.  You may have the best songs, best producer, best manager—all of the best in the business, but to the big labels you are still a risk. 

How do you go from “risk” to a proven artist with an international audience?  You get someone on your team who can get your music to radio around the world, make sure radio is playing it, and do the publicity that gives you the credentials to become a more viable “product” to industry decision-makers.

Cameron Tilbury Publicity is based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England—about an hour away from London.  We’ve helped independent, up-and-coming artists achieve radio airplay in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria---all over Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.   

We don’t just drop you onto a compilation disc and forget about you…we work the music just like it’s done in the US and Canada—by constant contact with the people that get those songs on the air.  We also have access to the US and Canadian radio stations which aren’t as chart-driven and are more “indie-friendly.”

Flexibility is the key to what we do.  We’ll work with your existing team to make you a real international brand—and a safer investment for the labels. 

Visit to find out more, or email us at

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vocal Warmups: A Simple Guide

Vocal exercises should serve definite purposes. They are not something that you just mindlessly do... that can hurt your voice instead of help it! Know the object of any vocal exercise you do. Here's a simple guide to help you:

Vocal exercises should:
  1. Warm up and connect you to your vocal resonators
  2. Work out your breath support and control muscles
  3. Get your eyes, jaw, hands and pelvic floor properly engaged in your vocalizing
  4. Help you sing across your vocal registers without a break
  5. Warn up your head and chest voices
  6. Gradually increase your vocal range... high AND low
  7. Take you in large scales across all your vocal registers
  8. Work up your ability to sustain long notes smoothly
  9. Work any tension, flem, nervousness or numbness out
They Should NOT
  1. Add tension to your voice
  2. Fatigue your throat
  3. Cause any range or tone limitations
OK... you should be ready to perform now! Need help... contact me:)

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Singing Talent Search Launches: Avon Voices

I tweeted about this, but for those of you are into contests, here's a little more info:

Hi Judy,

I’m reaching out to you because I know singing is a passion for you and your readers.

Yesterday, December 1, 2010 Avon launched a global online singing and songwriting talent search, Avon Voices. What makes Avon Voices so special is the passion Avon shares for igniting the voices of women in more than 60 countries along with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be featured on a professionally produced album.  Not only will the performances be seen by millions of participants around the globe but an all-star cast of music legends will be judging the talent search; Fergie, six-time Grammy Award winner, Diane Warren, legendary songwriter, David Pack, famed music producer and Sheila E, award-winning musician.

Avon Voices is about more than providing a showcase for undiscovered talent.  Throughout the year, music will be available for digital download in certain markets (or countries), with a percentage of proceeds supporting the Avon Foundation for Women’s global campaign to end violence against women and girls. To date, Avon global philanthropy has raised and awarded more than $30 million directed to domestic and gender violence awareness, education, direct services and prevention programs.

We would love for you to share the details of this amazing global program with your readers.  Below are a few specific details. You can also check out Avon Voices Facebook  and Avon Voices Twitter for talent search information and breaking Avon Voices news as the campaign commences.

Also, photographs and video of Avon Voices launch are available! Please share these Wireimage photos of Fergie as well as video b-roll from the launch.   

Wireimage Photos of Fergie, Diane Warren & Andrea Jung

Online Press Page with images, video and background:  

There are three ways to participate:

• Sing: Women are invited to participate in the online Singing Talent Search by choosing a song from the website and uploading a submission video through February 13, 2011 at
• Vote: Everyone can be a talent scout and recruit all of the talented people they know, watch videos, and vote for their favorite Avon Voices contenders to help decide the outcome. From April through October, the search will be narrowed down four times by a combination of online public voting and judges’ scores. (Official Round One voting begins April 22, 2011).
• Write:  Women and men may enter the Songwriting Competition. Write an original song that inspires or shares hope and optimism with the world. Simply submit a digital file and lyric sheet at (between May 20, 2011 and July 1, 2011).

We would love for you to share the news about the Avon Voices talent search with your readers.

Thanks so much, have a wonderful day,


Jessica Zeller
Rogers & Cowan | AAE eMedia
8687 Melrose Ave. 7th Fl. |Los Angeles, CA 90069

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Listen Closer To Your Own Song

I had a revelation today. Shakespeare wrote "To Thine Own Self Be True". This, I would say, is never truer than with songwriters. We need to take our own medicine better!

Many times I have written songs I only fully understood years later, or had a bigger picture perception of the subject matter. Funny, our subconscious minds sometimes contain stuff only to be revealed in the future. 

Here's my suggestion:
  • Take a song you particularly like to sing or hear someone else sing, maybe you're not really sure why. It could even be a song someone else has written... but somehow you've made it your own.
  • Listen to it freshly, like it contained some secret wisdom or insight you really need.
Did you learn something? Share.

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