I met the magnificent Jessye Norman at the British Library in London yesterday. It was in a series they are hosting about American Studies. She was there promoting her new book and also to tell stories and anecdotes about her life.
Not only did she speak about her magnificent operatic career - one of the finest Wagnerian Dramatic soprano's ever - she also spoke of her experiences of American Apartheid.
Her life and career were full of obstacles, yet she would never accept these limitations.
I asked her to sign my copy of the book - but I asked her to write something inspirational for when I am struggling in this turbulent music industry.
Here is what she wrote:
"Work Hard! Singing is a pleasure, a joy and an honour!"
I love that the first thing she writes is "Work hard!" Singing may appear to be effortless to some people, but only because they have put many hours of work in to achieve that result. And when you are struggling - work hard. When you are celebrating - work hard. But never forget to enjoy the journey.
I feel so inspired right now!
Believe it or not, I don't wake up sounding performance-ready! Before I sing, I always have to warm up my voice. Doing this not only prepares my voice for all the notes I'll have to hit. It gets me in the zone, too, and allows me to focus on my music. It's also a good way to stop pre-show jitters!
Trills, scales, and vowel warm-ups are some of my favorite exercises as a soprano. But there are a lot of different vocal warm-ups for different parts of the mouth and throat. If you're interested in singing and want to know the most popular ways to exercise your voice, I suggest taking a look at this infographic. It lists 7 simple ways to make your voice performance-ready. Thanks to Encore Music for the link!
Presented by Encore Music Lessons
I can not begin to tell you how much fun I had taking part in ITV's new daytime show "Who's Doing the Dishes?"
I feel sad that it is over. But so privileged to have been selected to be on the show.
Even the casting process was really exciting when I got to the final stages and was invited to the ITV head office in London for a screen test. I applied after seeing an advert online saying they were looking for contributors and pretty quickly they decided that they were interested in working with me on the show - I think they loved the fact that I am a classical singer!
So how does it work - what's the show all about?
Presented by Westlife's Brian McFadden, 'Who's Doing the Dishes?' is a brand new format for ITV Daytime. Some might say it's a hybrid between 'Come Dine with Me' and 'Through the Keyhole'. Four contestants (myself included) travel blindfolded to a mystery celebrity's house. The celeb cooks a three course meal for us along with some clues and then at the end of the night we have to guess who the celebrity is. If we guess incorrectly we have to do the washing up. But if we guess correctly, we win some money and the celebrity has to do the washing up.
"THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE MOST FUN SHOW EVERY TO BE A PART OF" I hear you cry.
Yes. Yes it was. I am a very lucky girl.
On the first day I met the other contestants that were going to be my team mates for the week.
David - a Scotsman living in London and blogging superstar at:
Genny - a happiness coach and "confidence queen" who sang us a happy song at every dinner party:
And last but not least,
Johnny - A media studies graduate who is obsessed with reality tv celebrities
A very unusual mix. Mostly because we were Jenny, Genny and Johnny (and David). So to save confusion I was Jennifer for the week.
Together we went to the homes of 5 different celebrities and had a wide variety of food served to us.
I don't want to give away too much about who's houses we went to - you will have to watch the show to find out!
However, best of all (and probably my favourite part of the filming) was when we did my "hero shoot". This is what the production team call the individual shots of me that let you see a bit of me in my own environment. For this the Royal College of Music were kind enough to let us use the Britten Theatre. I wore one of my biggest most glam dresses and sang Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" accompanied by my good friend (and first singing teacher) Catherine Francoise on the piano.
The lighting in the theatre was incredible and I am very exited to see how this is going to come out.
The series will start in September on ITV and airs Monday-Friday at 4pm. I will be on from the 22nd-27th September.
Check it out.
It's going to be HILARIOUS!
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.