Q&A with Lis Lewis - Moving From Theater To Pop

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If you've been singing musical theater and you want to make the switch to pop/rock music there are some things you need to know. The vocal training you've had up to now has given you some useful basics...

breath control, tension release etc. But the tone of  your voice and the stylistic elements will need to be different. In my vocal studio I often see singers throw away all of their prior training in order to make the sound they want. Pop and rock music calls for an edgier tone with less vibrato and warmth. It is more rhythmically based than theater music with fewer sustained notes and more runs and flexibility. But you still need to have strong technique.

Now's the time to find a good rock or pop vocal coach. You should learn to release the tension in your throat, neck and jaw, create the right kind of tone and build your range without shouting. If you already have a vocal coach, ask them what you should be doing in your exercises to shift from one style to the other.

A More Natural Style

Besides the differences in sound, rock/pop music is less dramatic than musical theater. You aren't playing a character inside of a story line. The songs are about you and while they must have emotion, you aren't acting out the moment in real time. You need to have a more natural approach that involves more personal gestures and clothing rather than dramatic gestures and costumes. You will also have to talk directly to the audience and share your personal journey with them. This is about you and your experiences; you aren't playing a part anymore.

Lis Lewis is a vocal coach and author in Los Angeles, CA. Her clients include Rihanna, Britney Spears, The All-American Rejects, Demi Lovato, Gwen Stefani and many more. Please visit her website for more information about the world of pop music, http://www.TheSingersWorkshop.com

Lis Lewis is a vocal coach who has trained Rihanna, The PussyCat Dolls, Gwen Stefani, All-American Rejects, Demi Lovato and Linkin Park among others.