What’s it like to work in Hollywood? For Jon H., one of our newest instructors in North Hollywood, it’s a life of auditions, long days on set, and of course, a lot of fun! Jon’s experience began at an early age, spending much of his elementary and middle school years going between studio sessions and singing for movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact, Amistad, Hush and Jungle Book 2. After nailing the job as a background vocalist on the hit TV show Glee, Jon continued on and was cast as a Warbler on the show for Seasons 2 and 3, and is currently filming Season 4. Jon also competed on NBC’s The Sing-Off with his a cappella group Kinfolk 9 in Season 3 of the show.
Sound fun? We thought so too! Read on for my interview with Jon, and check out his advice for students hoping to ace their next audition…
– Suzy S., TakeLessons staff member and blogger
What steps did you take that helped you network and find auditions throughout your career? What kind of training helped you get this far?
[After] I returned home from college, I immediately got on the phone and contacted as many vocal contractors as I could and took them to lunch. I figured that I am a product in this business, and I needed to prove to them and the world why I am the best for the jobs that are out there. Early on in my life when I was blessed with certain opportunities to work with prominent people in the music industry, I made sure that anyone I met, I acted very professional and stayed on my best behavior.
The training that helped me get this far was mostly in college with my vocal coach. The other was the mass amount of time I spent recording myself and other artists in my college dorm with ProTools.
What is life like on the set of Glee?
On-set life is a blast. It is usually very hectic as we are back and forth from set to our waiting room, where we are constantly being brushed and done up with make-up. I love set – so many great conversations and I love everyone on the Glee set from the cast and producers to the crew. I am definitely blessed to be a part of such a great show.
How is auditioning different for a show like Glee and The Sing-Off, as opposed to other auditions?
Auditioning for Glee, for Robert Ulrich, was fun. Robert is an amazing casting director. He makes you feel so comfortable. Glee and The Sing-Off are obviously singing shows, so you have to sing in the audition, where most other shows on TV today only require you to memorize a script.
What has been your favorite performing or filming experience so far, and why? What is the best part about working in Hollywood?
My favorite experience so far was the entire Glee Live 2011 tour. [It was a] 3-month tour all over the world with some of my best friends. We played in some of the largest venues in the world, and sold them out. The O2 Arena in London was a blast, as well as Staples Center here in LA, where the Warblers performed in front of all our friends!
Probably the best part of working in Hollywood is that I live here as well, so I don’t really have to go through a boat load of traffic every day! I also love how it is such an eclectic town. Everybody has so many amazing talents and they are actively chasing after their hopes and dreams.
What advice would you give to students about selecting a good song to audition with?
If I were to give you advice on song choice, I would have to say choose a song that shows off your voice the most. Pick a song that makes you stand out and shine above the rest. Also make 100% sure it is a song you can relate to on a very personal level. Music is so personal and song choice is one of the most important things.
Jon H. teaches guitar, singing, music recording, music theory, and opera voice lessons to students of all ages in North Hollywood, CA. Learn more about Jon, or visit TakeLessons to search for a teacher near you!
Photo by Loren Javier.