Priscilla
@PriscillazPlace | @Priscillasingz | #PriscillazPlace | [email protected]

I was studying Raymond Usher sometimes ago as a Professional Secular Artiste. I realised that, he is a perfect example of a singer that has exhibited Uniqueness & Versatility nicely. Also, last year, I bumped into Segun Obe {One of Nigerian Gospel Contemporary Singer) in Atlanta and asked him why he chose a different sound with his recent single(AKA) he said he wanted to task himself to do something different … and he did it well. That got me thinking of discussing this here. How do you stay true to yourself and still try something new? And lets not forget executing it excellently!

With me today, I have the elegant and graceful GOGO MAJIN- a Multi-talented lady, Singer, Voice coach for Project Fame West Africa 2008, Pioneer of Vocalize; A music workshop/seminar that holds yearly. She is also the beautiful fashion designer of the GM4FM line, which has been making waves in the fashion industry for being exceptional.

She was one of my sponsors at Priscilla’s Place for the 2014 Christmas Giveaway. There’s something about Gogo that pulls me, She has a calming nature, friendly and good-natured! I Was curious to hear her views on this topic and she will be discussing this thoroughly, we also touched the fashion world abit- Here is the fabulous classy Gogo.
 
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Gogo Majin
Priscilla- When we say a singer is unique, what does that mean?

Gogo- For me, it means that there are certain qualities about this singer that sets them apart from everyone else. A singer could be unique for different reasons.

For their distinctive tone quality; that instantly recognizable sound to their voice such that they sound like no one else. For such artists, you can tell they are the ones on a record even if you have never heard the record before.
Some singers might not have that distinctive vocal tone but have a singing style that’s unique to them. They have vocal dynamics and techniques that are unique to them.
For some other singers it is the unique genre they belong to or how they managed to blend certain genres in a way that has not been done before that makes them unique. It’s more about the music than the vocals.
Another way a singer could be termed as unique is the manner they write their songs. For these artistes, their unique artistic DNA is in their song-writing style. Singers like this may not have the most distinctive voices or singing style but they will be considered unique because of their song-writing.

Priscilla-Hummn!! Love these qualities you mentioned, do you also think or believe that all singers should be versatile? Why?

Gogo– I think versatility is a great thing to aspire to be as a singer. A singer that is able to adapt effectively to different genres, functions or roles is generally more interesting and stimulating. We all like a singer that switch it up and pull a surprise on us every now and then. A singer with many layers underneath the layer we already know.

Priscilla-Why do singers think they should explore or be versatile?

Gogo- Creative people are generally restless. We like to try out different things and generally don’t want to to be stuck in a box or become predictable. So I guess that’s why. Sometimes it’s pressure from the record label to follow trends, what’s hot right now and what that other successful artist is doing.

Priscilla- What do you advise singers that can’t execute versatility successfully? Should they stay in their area of strength and make it better or keep working towards versatility?

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Gogo the Singer

Gogo– Versatility just for the sake of it won’t pass, because people will see through it and might come off as contrived. I still say that focusing on your strengths and being consistent is also key. There are some artists who have a more conservative approach to their vocals and while I encourage my clients to try to push the boundaries as much as it remains believable and healthy to your vocals, . Do not lose your vocal identity completely just because you want to be seen as a versatile artist.

Some artistes just by virtue of their vocal tone can do multiple genres without losing their vocal identity and still sound great and authentic, while some singers have such a heavy vocal tone they are better off singing songs in the more mature genres like adult contemporary or gospel. On the flip side, some singers have a light vocal tone that might not be able to carry heavy emotion laden genres like soul or gospel and so pop is a better alternative for such singers.

Gogo majin
Gogo as Voice Coach

Trying to Figure out their vocal identity and where they fit in can be a big problem for some singers. At auditions, you come across singers who have good voices but have chosen a song in a genre that’s wrong for them and it doesn’t let them shine. This is where an extra pair of ears help, someone who listens to you when you sing and can provide professional guidance and direction. Like a voice coach who can provide guidance not just for vocal technique but also vocal style and performance.

Priscilla- I know you organize voice training workshops via VOCALIZE, can you give us some quick tips on healthy singing/voice habits?

Gogo- Sure I’ll give a few:

Gogo Majin
Gogo Majin of Vocalize

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water everyday! Your vocal cords need moisture to vibrate properly and water is the best way to keep your vocal cords moist.

Try to cultivate the habit of warming up your voice before you sing. This includes before you sing at rehearsals. If you can do the warm ups every morning before you speak that will be even better. It’s important that the muscles involved in the singing process are warmed-up and exercised in order to keep them healthy. When your voice is warmed up the right way it makes a world of difference when you sing.
Do all you can to avoid vocal abuse. What are some examples of vocal abuse? Singing or talking to large audiences without proper amplification, talking over loud music, not singing within your range, talking too loud for too long, not getting any vocal rest especially when you have a cold or bacterial infection.
Priscilla-Okay since you are into fashion too, I would want your opinion in the area of style sense for artists- Do you think, they should have a unique style sense or get creative with their style?
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Gogo the Stylist for GM4FM Line

Gogo- The music industry is a very saturated industry so I think artists should have a style identity that sets them apart from all the other artists. Image is important and sometimes the image is what people see before they even get to listen to the music. I believe the right kind of image can attract people’s attention and make them eager or at least curious enough to listen to your music. The artists clothes, hair etc can make a bold statement as to who the artist is and what they stand for.

Some artists have an over the top sense of style and for some other artists its a minimal sense of style. Whatever works for the artist and does not stand in the way of their creative ability or make them come across as trying too hard is great.

Some artists come up with their own ‘look’ Some other artists do so with the help of a stylist. The stylist helps the artist craft a look based on the artists’ sound, target audience and personality. The stylist will also pull looks from designers for events and so on.
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Having said all these, Stay true to yourself, do not lose your identity, It doesn’t hurt to try something new if you can pull it off beautifully.
Thank you so much Gogo. Enjoyed chatting with you.