We recently caught up with world renowned voice coach Gary Catona, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the world. He has also released a book entitled ‘Wisdom for Singers and Philosophers’, which every singer and artist should grab a copy of. Full of inspiring and uplifting quotes, it’s a definite must read! We also touched on the singers of today and what is lacking in today’s music industry. Here is what he had to say:
Hi Gary, great to meet you! How did you first get involved with teaching voice lessons?
I was frustrated with traditional voice lessons. I had multiple teachers and did not experience any significant improvement. After 10 years of formal study, I resolved to go off on my own and through research and experimentation, assembled my voice building system –a system based on aggressively developing the voice muscles. As it turned out, my system was a revolutionary process, even though it contradicted the prevailing approaches to voice teaching. It was then, that I decided that getting my groundbreaking system out into the world, was more important than my own personal ambition to have a singing career.
Who were some of your influences/inspirations growing up?
My greatest inspiration was that of the Philadelphia, super voiced, operatic tenor, Mario Lanza -who also sang pop songs –in fact, he had hit songs on both the pop and operatic charts. Without Mario, I would not have been inspired to pursue a career in singing.
Who was your first big client and how did that job come about?
My first star student happened to be the most famous person in the world at the time — Muhammad Ali. Through a bazaar series of unlikely events, I found myself teaching one of my childhood idols to make his speaking voice stronger. It was a life-changing experience.
What have you learned about teaching voice that you didn’t know before you started? Also, what are the main points for sustaining and maintaining a healthy voice?
I was surprised to learn how much muscular potential there is in vocal muscles. This in fact, guarantees that dramatic changes are always available to those who undergo the right voice building regimen. The main point is: “Behind the great voice is the muscular voice”. Vocal fitness is crucial to vocal health –and that means voice building!
You worked with Whitney Houston on getting her voice almost completely back to where it was before she died. How was that experience?
Working with Whitney was a delight — impossible to put into words. To have her incomparable instrument in my hands was a fantasy come true! As quoted by Whitney Houston:
“I am so excited, I can feel and hear my voice opening up and getting stronger every day and my high notes, too!” -WHITNEY HOUSTON
You have also released a book full of amazing quotes for singers, tell us about that?
Yes, it’s called ‘Wisdom for Singers and Philosophers’ –it’s a book for singers and artists and is made up of inspiring insights into singing, art and life in general.
What are your thoughts on the singers in the music industry today?
There are many gifted singers today who are not getting the proper vocal training and personal guidance as far as what it means to be an artist. Singing is not simply about winning singing competitions, becoming over-night successes and becoming famous! It’s about bringing to light –using the magic of the human voice, a life vision. It’s a way into the meaning of human existence through exploring emotional truth. Singers today, have lost that guiding light!
I couldn’t agree more with that last answer! Lastly, what are your plans for the future with your company?
I want the world to rediscover the wonders of the human voice! –so as to reclaim its supreme artistic value. I am looking for TV projects that could work towards that side of things.
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