Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recording Artists: Don't Fry Your Vocals (Or Annoy Your Audience)

"Vocal fry"
"Speaking in questions"

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? Maybe you've never heard the phrases, but you've heard the examples of them in talking with others. You'll notice them in the video clip below, a video that was included in a recent Business Insider article on how vocal fry, when used in a job interview, may be hurting people's chances of getting hired (vocal fry is when the vocal chords are used to intentionally create a raspy sound to the voice).

Equally annoying is speaking in questions, which is quoted as "that annoying habit...where one (typically a woman) raises her voice at the end of a sentence, as if she were asking a question." Not only is this annoying, it completely highjacks one's credibility because it typically sends the message that the person is unsure about what he (but usually she) is saying.  

Not only do these bad vocal habits hurt job seeker's chances of getting hired, they also hurt recording artists' chances of being taken seriously in meetings with labels and in media interviews, and over time, they can even cause damage to their vocal chords, the very thing that helps them make a living.

But it's not just these two particular habits I want to focus on. As a media coach, I cannot ignore all the things Zoey Deschanel (of whom I am a fan) did wrong in this interview:

  • She seemed unprepared for an interview on a red carpet (you WILL get interviewed on the red carpet so come equipped with some thoughts and soundbites prepared so you don't sound clueless!).
  • Right off the bat the interviewer had to start digging. Deschanel gives a very brief answer to the first question without elaborating, requiring the interviewer to ask for more detail. Don't make an interviewer do this. Your job is to make their job easier.
  • She says the word "Like" WAY too many times!
  • She speaks in questions.
  • She doesn't maintain eye contact.
  • She seems distracted.
  • She has a hard time putting her thoughts together in an organized manner and cannot succinctly describe her projects.
  • She is redundant in her use of words and phrases.
  • She looks at the floor.
  • At one point she even turns away from the interviewer.
  • She uses "um" and "uh" a lot.
  • Her hand gestures and head bobbing are very distracting.
  • She does a lot of eye rolling (at this point I'm pretty sure she's got a good buzz on).
  • She doesn't seem to even know why she is at the event or what her role is for it.
I don't know about you, but that was probably one of the most painful media interviews I've had to watch. This is a good example of what NOT to do, and of why media coaching is SO important! Even seasoned entertainers often need a brush up on their media skills, just like they need continual vocal coaching to maintain their instrument. Is it time for you to improve your media skills? Contact us and we'll get you scheduled for a session right away.

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