By Annabel Williams, Head Vocal Coach of X Factor & Britain’s Got Talent with over 20 years of vocal coaching experience.
Now more than ever I feel like people should be doing what makes them happy and pretty much most people I know love singing.
I think if you can speak you can sing, and before anyone says, but what if you ‘can’t’ sing – first and foremost no one should stop you singing if it’s what you love doing! Music can be extremely therapeutic and I urge anyone who always wanted to take singing training of some form to do it today! It’s never too late to pick up something new and learn a new instrument. There are loads of online courses, brilliant local teachers and full and part-time colleges to look into. Something to suit everyone.
When I started creating my app, the main thing I wanted, was to make a super useful tool for people that DO sing and love to sing, that they can have on the go, or at home, wherever they might want to improve. I didn’t find anything online that got straight to the point and wanted to create something that helped you instantly. You can create your own personal playlist and there are videos of me explaining in very simple terms, how to sing each exercise correctly.
My favourite tips for good vocal health are the following…
Fresh Ginger juice
Ginger is nature’s antibiotic and anti-inflammatory in one! It’s full of antioxidants and for even the most accomplished singers, over long periods of time singing, the vocal cords can become inflamed and fatigued.I have a ginger shot every day. It’s got a bite to it so it’s generally sweetened with another natural juice like apple juice to make it more bearable! My favourite ginger shots are the ones from Sainsbury’s MOJU ginger shots, as they are fairly strong and are one of the cheapest.
Steaming is one of the best remedies for the voice. It’s the quickest way to rehydrate the vocal cords and to reduce inflammation. Doctor Nelson’s are great (and ideal if you don’t want to mess up your make-up!) but I prefer an electric steamer and actually use the nose attachment of a facial steamer from a company called Beurer. You can get it on Amazon for around £30. All my clients have it and use it daily. Great if you have lost your voice too.
Vocal Singing Straw
My friend and vocal coach Josh has a brilliant range called ‘vocal tubes’ (vocaltubes.com). Basically, you half fill a glass of water and blow bubbles with the tube in your mouth while making various sounds with your voice! It’s really fun and a great way of rehabilitating the vocal cords and helping them to vibrate more freely, therefore helping you to sing better!
The warm-up app that I created in lockdown has over 5000 people using it now and is now the number 1 paid music app on the Apple Store. ‘The Vocal Coach’ has everything you need to do a decent warm-up. Warming up your voice is super important to enable you to sing well and for long periods of time and not lose your voice at the end of it. There are exercises to extend your range, and also to help you get those soulful riffs! You can make your own playlist and even set reminders to practice in your own ‘vocal calendar’ which is linked to your smartphone diary.
I believe that singing is a gift that we should all be able to enjoy, and therefore the training for it should be fun and enjoyable too! I want to encourage anyone that isn’t feeling brave enough to give it a go or thinks they ‘can’t sing’ but always wanted to try, to just go for it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
About the expert
Vocal powerhouse Annabel Williams has spent many years honing her expertise in the music industry. From backing vocalist to celebrity vocal coach, she also expanded her reach last year with the release of Apple’s best-selling vocal warm-up app ‘The Vocal Coach’.
Annabel has a proven track record as a world-class singer in her own right, with the honour of singing regularly at the celebrated jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s in London. Her career spans over 20 years, during which time she has provided backing vocals for some of the world’s most renowned singing stars including Grammy award winner Jennifer Hudson, Cee Lo Green, Michael Bolton and Alison Moyet.
Turning her hand to vocal coaching, Annabel has created an extremely successful business as a celebrity vocal coach and also enjoys the position of Head Vocal Coach for ITV’s The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent since 2012. Her list of celebrity coaching clients includes Katy Perry, Little Mix, Nicole Scherzinger & The Pussycat Dolls, Bring Me The Horizon, You Me At Six and Brit award winner Ellie Goulding amongst others.
With an expanding list of celebrity clients and TV contestants, Annabel set up her own company The Vocal Coach in 2016. Having successfully coached thousands of singers, a part of her still strived to help those at the beginning of their singing career as well as those on the brink of turning professional. Last year Annabel created and released The Vocal Coach app. It topped the App Store chart, securing the number one spot, and has now generated over 5000 downloads.