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Ep.118 Mastering Mix Voice And Belt With Gemma Sugrue

The incredible Gemma Sugrue joins Alexa this week to take a deep dive into the world of mix voice and belt techniques. We’re thrilled to explore this topic with Gemma, especially after our enlightening conversation with John Henney in episode 101.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Gemma believes the belt is characterised by a thick vocal closure, a ratio of high pressure to air pressure and a significant presence of upper partial activities in the harmonic spectrum frequencies. She sees a belt as a way of singing that deviates from the norm and is recognisable by its specific vocal qualities.
  • Mixing involves singing higher notes with power, control and balanced resonances. It requires effective vowel modification, smooth vocal transitions and proper management of air pressure and airflow. It is a coordinated and controlled technique that allows singers to achieve strength and skill in their higher ranges.
  • When teaching singers about mix voice and belt, Gemma prioritises developing their listening skills. She believes it is crucial for singers to excel in perceiving sound before focusing on physical sensations. By enhancing their auditory intelligence and spectral hearing abilities, singers can naturally align their body parts to produce the desired sound.
  • Gemma focuses on helping singers develop a strong and controlled mode one up to G4. It’s essential for singers to be able to sing all the vowels and navigate through that octave effectively, maintaining a speech-like dominant sound. 
  • Gemma also emphasises the importance of accessing a full falsetto range as part of a singer’s skillset. 

BEST MOMENTS

‘I call it entering into the option area’

‘A mix is anything that’s connected and still in mode one’

‘I like to start with refining the engine first before adding the gas’

‘As you sing, there’s a different pressure quality to each note’

‘We want a larynx that’s on the move’

EPISODE RESOURCES
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ABOUT THE GUEST

Gemma is an artist coach and the founder/director of Pro Vocal Artist, an online mentorship program for original music artists. Gemma also co-founded Voiceworks Studio, an Irish company that offers choir training and lessons for singers.

Gemma’s performance credits as a vocalist include working as a singer for hire for various TV shows (Dancing with the Stars, The Late Late Show) and for artists including Bon Iver, Damien Rice, Maverick Sabre, Rosin Murphy, the RTE Concert Orchestra, The RTE Symphony Orchestra and many more.
Gemma is a sought-after contemporary vocal coach and is currently working with artists, including Cian Ducrot and Ryan Mack. She is a former board member of the vocal coaching network, Vocology in Practice, and an artist consultant for the LA-based organization VocalizeU.

Link to podcast presenter’s bios


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