Had To Share: Sunday Best Audition Tips!Published by Torrence Glenn on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm.
Auditions in Dallas were a huge success and overall, there were a lot of great and talented singers who came through the audition process, VIP and otherwise. (For all the info you need to audition in LA and Atlanta go to the Sunday Best 4 page here.) But although I did a version last year, after this past weekend, I think it’s time I updated it a bit. And by “it” I mean a list of tips, do’s and don’t for audition for Sunday Best! So no long intro, lets just get into it…
1. Don’t lose the melody. If one has to think really hard or pay too close attention to the lyrics to figure out what song you’re singing, you’re no doubt singing it wrong! It’s an audition not a live show with your name on the bill/marquee. Therefore, you’re “interpretation” probably won’t work out so well. What I’ve noticed is that a lot of people, in the hopes of doing something “new” to the song, literally took the lyrics and created a “DIFFERENT” song altogether. Most of the twists, turns, and bends you’re doing to the perfectly simple melody of Amazing Grace don’t even sound right without instrumentation to support it anyway. So wait til you get a band behind you to show your …. ummmm… creativity if you know you can’t show it EFFECTIVELY a capella. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!
2. Walk, DON’T RUN! While we’re on the subject of melody, I might as well get this out and clarify. No, I’m NOT opposed to runs, riffs, melisma’s, yodels, etc. I’ve been known to do a few in my singing days but use them as a tool and not as a crutch. If there’s a run on every word, I probably can’t tell what song you’re supposed to be singing or at the very least it’s distracting (especially since many folks are doing the same run style anyway.) Runs, if overused, literally HIDE the sound of your voice. Like I told a group of contestants on Saturday, the only thing you have that is completely unique to everyone else in this thing is your voice. We can copy each others style, tricks and everything else, but your tone is uniquely yours, almost like a fingerprint. And since we’re indoors and nobody’s vocally trying to rob a bank, there’s no reason for everyone to put on gloves. (I hope that made sense, you know I can go hardcore with an analogy, lol.)
3. Don’t diss the hymns. Now, I know church and gospel have changed a whole lot over the years but if I run into one more person (especially you young ones) who don’t know the hymns and old songs of the church, I’m going to scream. These songs have stood the test time of time for a reason and many of them are really quite good and not just simply old and traditional. They’re songs that are familiar and for most people who are familiar with them, still make us feel good when we hear them done well. They’re also classic enough that there’s no one version of it that we can unfairly compare yours too, which brings me to….
4. Beware of AMBITIOUS covers. Now I can’t tell you what to sing as long as it’s something on the song list, and if you want to sing it, go ahead! But come on, you’ve got to do some ridiculously amazing singing for me not to think about Sheri Jone’s-Moffett’s original version of “Encourage Yourself” when you try to sing it in 20 seconds! It’s a little too familiar and she made it hard for ANYONE to sing it after her, much less someone trying to compete for a record deal in a small room with no instruments. Also, if you’re going to sing a song originally recorded by the judges…. yeah, you better sing it real real good. Because it’s one thing to listen to a bad audition but it’s another to listen to a bad audition of YOUR OWN SONG. So if your vocal chords are still in “Shackles” and they make you “fall down” and you can’t “Stand…” Yeah, sing something else!
5. It’s about ministry but it’s STILL TV. I know, the auditions start early in the morning and many of you have to get there late the night before just to get a good spot in line but nothing’s worse than hearing a great voice from someone who looks a mess. Yes, it’s about God and the good news message, but wouldn’t you rather receive good news in a pretty envelope? Presentation is still important. So find you something presentable that won’t wrinkle and tie up that hair in whatever way works for a long ride/wait and do it right. And no, that doesn’t mean spend a whole lot of money or something like that, but everybody’s got something nice they keep for special occasions. And before you go using season 3’s winner Leandria Johnson as an example, think about her situation. She didn’t wake up that morning and say “these flip flops and socks are the business and I know this is my Sunday Best. Let me put this on!” NO! She had a special circumstance that caused her to have no choice that day and she pressed her way in spite of. But if you’ve got the means to prepare, then prepare yourself!
6. Open your eyes and look like you care…. I know many times in church, that’s how we start off singing as kids and never get past the habit. We close our eyes and sing our hearts out so that if anybody looks at us funny or doesn’t respond to us we’ll never know. But when you’re ministering on the big stage, you have to connect with your audience and that includes the TV audience or even the 3 judges sitting in front of you. A song isn’t only sung it’s DELIVERED, and if you can’t see where it’s going, you just might miss us. Plus, you won’t be able to see us when we’re trying to tell you you’re audition is over. And the second part of this tip is to look like you care! I saw a lot of folks with their hands in their pockets, chewing gum, and just trying to be so “cool” that they seemed apathetic. Well if you don’t care, why should I as a judge with the power to send you to the next round care? Somebody wants this thing bad and God forbid you and your take it or leave it self gets their spot. No sir, no ma’am. Want it, care about it and do it right!
Well, that’s it for now, anything else I think of I’ll add but this should help you out a whole lot if you’re coming to audition in LA or ATL. Can’t wait to see you there!