Did you catch The X-Factor last night? There’s definitely a lot of talent on the show this season! Among this talent is power pop trio Girls United, who earned a coveted spot in the Top 16 last night.
But behind every great performer is also a great teacher, coach, or mentor. And in this case, the girls can credit Los Angeles-area teacher Stevie B., who has been working with the group since the beginning.
We recently caught up with Stevie to get the low-down on the behind-the-scenes action, the role of a vocal coach, and more. Here’s what we learned…
What has been your involvement with Girls United?
I’m involved with everything live. As their vocal coach, I’ve worked with them on vocal development and artist development. For live shows like the X-Factor, I’m working with them on their live vocals specifically, and also developing their arrangements.
What’s it like behind the scenes at X-Factor?
It’s pretty chaotic, and you have to be prepared to wait around a lot! Thousands and thousands of people show up to audition in each city. It’s also in front of a huge audience; the girls went from doing small gigs to performing in front of almost 8,000, so it’s pretty intense. You can also really feel the emotions and the intensity of the other performers backstage. A lot of these singers are coming from parts of the country where this is their only shot, as opposed to coming from Los Angeles or another big city where there may be more opportunities.
What exactly is a vocal coach?
In vocal work, there are generally three categories: vocal teachers, vocal coaches, and vocal producers. But with me, I’m all three at once. To me, the most important thing is not doing the exercises, but how you perform. No matter how talented you are a singer, it can be a completely different feeling being in front of an audience. Many singers have trouble with this, so I work on getting you to a place where you can deliver in front of people. And it’s usually more of a mental thing, too – I’ve always said that singing is 70% mental and 30% vocal skills!
How can a student be sure they’re working with the right coach or teacher?
You should notice improvements right away if you’re working with the right person – not huge leaps and bounds, but noticeable results.
One of the best ways to see if you’re improving is to record yourself. I tell all my students to record themselves singing whatever song they’re working on, and then sit down with the lyrics sheets and make notes that have to do with the fundamentals, like where your energy dips or your pitch is off. Then sing it through a few more times while looking at your notes, and then rerecord yourself. If you continue doing this, and you’re practicing consistently, you’ll see the improvements at the end of the week!
Didn’t catch yesterday’s performance? Here’s the clip:
What’s next for the group? Tune into the X-Factor on Fox, or follow Girls United on Twitter or Instagram. They also recently released their first music video, a cover of Ariana Grande’s “Pink Champagne” – check it out here!
Stevie B. teaches singing, songwriting, and music performance in the greater Los Angeles area. His specialties include mainstream genres (pop, country, etc.), live performance, and recording studio development. Check out Stevie’s TakeLessons profile to learn more and book lessons! Or, search for vocal coaches near you here.