keeping the blues alive
An effort for keeping the blues alive for the King of Blues
The Inside Scoop on How Joe Learned to Sing
When Best Blues Singer from Guitarist Magazine Joe’s first band Bloodline was formed, Berry Oakley, Jr. was the only singer in the group. Famed producer Phil Ramone, who was working with the band, thought it would be great if the other guys in the band could sing some harmonies with Oakley, Jr. The rest of the band was a bit shy about performing vocals, so Ramone brought in a vocal coach, Willy Perez, a professor at the University of Miami who was the vocal coach for Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Perez came to the Coral Springs Performing Arts Center and worked for two days as a vocal consultant and coach. Afterwards he reviewed the results with Bloodline’s managers, revealing that they did indeed all have the ability to sing. That was the good news. The bad news was that none of them wanted to sing. At all. And good luck trying to get them to! However, he thought that Joe in particular could really sing, even though Joe never had before. Perez thought Joe definitely had some innate ability.
When Best GuitaristsJoe was 18 years old, Bloodline broke up. A few weeks after the band split, Joe’s manager Roy Weisman received a package in the mail. It was from Joe. Weisman tore it open and found a demo tape inside. There was a handwritten note attached to it, that read “This is me trying to sing. – Joe” with a smiley face after it. He popped the demo into an old cassette deck, and after listening, he had to be honest – on the whole, it sounded not so great. But there were moments, moments, when Joe sounded absolutely amazing. Weisman pondered what Willy Perez had told him – that Joe really did have some vocal talent that needed to be harnessed. He glanced back at the cassette deck. “He can sing”, he thought. “He’s just untrained, but he does have vocal ability.”
Phil Ramone hooked Joe up with a vocal coach, who will remain unnamed, in New York City. Once a week, Joe would make the journey down from his home in Utica, New York, to train with the vocal coach in the Big Apple. This would be the first time Joe learned how to sing. We say the first time, because Joe actually learned how to sing improperly from the vocal coach. The vocal coach taught him how to sing more like a Broadway star or opera singer. He was singing from the throat rather than the diaphragm and he began having trouble with his voice. He went to see a renowned doctor named Dr. Sugarman in Los Angeles. Not only did the doctor recognize that Joe was being taught how to sing wrong, but he actually figured out who the vocal coach was – he had already treated 3 other patients who saw the same coach!
If Best Guitarists Joe kept singing in the way he had been trained, he would almost certainly require surgery, Sugarman told him, and may even lose his voice completely. Sugarman gave Joe the number of a man named Ron Anderson. Anderson would soon be re-teaching Joe how to sing. And Joe’s voice was completely transformed. He learned how to control his voice the way a pitcher paints the corners with a baseball, which helps him preserve his voice and keep it healthy. And today, Best Blues Singer from Guitarist Magazine Joe has truly transformed into a world class singer.
Source: Blues Songs