Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol - Country Week - notes

Every week, I take notes on American Idol Contestants, offer them advice and create videos for them after the show, which I post on my website and on Youtube.

I've decided to include some of my notes on my blog. You can read the rest of my advice to EVERY CONTESTANT since this season has begun, on my website!

Lil Rounds

Says she’ll hold back on the r&b cuz it's country week.
Martina McBride – Independence Day

Randy Travis slowed it down a bit. Interesting tip.
My Reactions – Okay girl, take it away! There we go, by the end of vs 1, you’re telling a story now. Keep telling the story cuz you know you got the voice... so it’s about taking the audience on a journey. How do you feel about what you’re singing? A nice solid full, dedicated last note. You did good my sista. I’m not so thrilled with the song choice though, but hearing you singing it was a treat.

Randy –struggled at the front for him – didn’t feel comfortable for him. Was “all right.”
(Lil – don’t worry about answering him or standing up for yourself. I’m glad you didn’t do “I will Always Love you.” Everybody does that song on Idol.)

Kara – we all know you’re a great singer so it’s about you doing what you felt and that’spart about being an artist – gave you props.

Paula – said vocals were spot on, hair, make up and clothing and the only thing – 1 verse would have went better....

Simon – it came over that she was forced to sing a song somebody requested and felt uncomfortable. I disagree with Simon. Said it just wasn’t you. He’s WRONG and I believe it's a stereotype. It's about how committed you are to each part of the song.

My Advice – they all need to be more patient. It wasn’t about cutting out a verse, it was about your commitment to the part of the song that should build. You kept it a little “even keel”instead of building in intensity as the song went on into the chorus. They wouldn’t have felt that way if you were COMPLETELY PRESENT as you sang, so next time, just stay committed to the song – and yeah you could have picked a better one, but honey, you sold it to me! You always provide excitement and satisfaction when you sing!

Adam Lambert
Johnny Cash

My comments– I like what you’re doing with the song cuz you’re making it yours. Yeah baby. I Loved it. So dramatic. LOL. Dat’s hawt!

Kara – all a little strange – got the drama she loves from him and eyes. Strange but... she liked it. Confused and happy.

Paula – Says you stand out and you are true to who you are as an artist – Although it’s country music week – great choice of song, liked sitar, Not sure if you're a quick study and born natural and raising your own bar each week. (Excellent comments Paula)

Simon – (is gonna rip on it)... yep. He said, “What the hell was that?” Says people are throwing their TV’s out the window. Said it was "indulgent rubbish." Said it was horrific. Not it wasn't!

Randy – Greatest thing about it was CURRENT, YOUNG, FRESH, HOT!

My advice –Yes, Randy and Paula are correct. (never listen to Simon. He just pretends to be an idiot). Sweetie, part of me wants to just see you win already. Because you are a true ARTIST and you know how to use your voice and you know what is unique about it. Just get over the relaxed tongue thing. There are moments when you’re singing that I feel like you’re in a vocalize. I know you’ve had vocal training and that’s fab. When you practice, make your drills.....

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

How to Define Yourself as an Artist (Letter to Tatiana Del Toro)

Read Dot’s Exclusive Letter to Season 8 American Idol Contestant Tatiana Del Toro. This letter is meant to empower all artists who are learning how to step into their power. Let’s learn and grow from one-another!

Dear Tatiana,

I know you are probably very confused, discouraged, overwhelmed and saddened by your recent “departure” from American Idol. I want to write this letter to you, because believe it or not, my heart goes out to you. You are in the process of defining who you are as a human being, and when you’re in a show as big as American Idol, you’re not only dealing with your every day personal concerns, but all that energy and pressure from all of the millions of watchers, friends, and family. Everybody is giving you advice, telling you how you should act, think, feel, and what to say. Some are trying to help you, and others hurt you. It can be a very difficult process. This is why it’s so important to know who you are and LOVE who you are.

It appears that over the episodes you have been featured on, you have changed dramatically, from a gitty, flighty, emotional girl, to a mellow dramatic girl, to a girl with a thick accent. Well, maybe all of these are aspects of you, but I’m here to tell you and others, that it is important for YOU to define who you are. People don’t respect someone who appears “lost,” no matter how badly you want something. You have the determination and quite a gift, but somehow, you haven’t found a way to really make that work for you yet, because you got lost in the confusing energy of other people. Now it’s time for you to learn how to “OWN your energy.” You’re not the only one on this Season’s Idol who got lost in trying to DEFINE YOURSELF as an ARTIST. But you were the most interesting one! And I knew they would bring you back because of that. I believe that you have something very good, and once you choose to define what that is, you just may make an even bigger, better mark in the world. The reason why so many people talked about you isn’t because you are a bad person, it is because you remind us all of our own weaknesses. We’re all connected, and you my friend, have made an impact. So be proud of yourself. You got much further than many of the others. And I don’t believe it was because of your laugh. It has more to do with the fact that you can sing, and you were “interesting.”

The things you did right:

1. You always had a song under your belt – great repertoire.
2. You showed great passion and determination.
3. You trained your voice and worked hard to sound great.
4. You took care of your outer appearance and looked great!

The things you still need to learn:
1. How to Connect Authentically to who you really are.
(When you do this, there is no “competition.” It is just an adventure. You feel happy, at ease and accepting of what is. Scotty MacIntyre gets this on some level.)

2. How to define yourself as an Artist. Know what you have to offer.
(When you do this, you choose how you want to feel and own your own energy. You recognize your inner power and you don’t try, you trust.)

3. How to recognize your amazing qualities as a human being!
(When you do this, you always have your own back. There is no despair, striving or failure, just life lessons.)

4. How to be PRESENT.
(When you do this, there is no past – worries, there is no future yearning. There is just what I call, the “Wowness of the Nowness.” That amazing feeling you get when you belt out your favorite song and no one is around, and you feel so alive. You’re not judging yourself. You’re not even trying, you’re just BEING. You showed us glimpses of this in your first stage performance, and it shocked people. Learn how to stay in the moment and go with it.

You do have a gift, my friend. I hope that you continue to sing, and let this American Idol competition empower you. I have a feeling it will. Just spend time alone, with yourself. Sit quietly and just breathe. When thoughts come up, don’t judge them. Just breathe. Over time, you will feel better. Life goes on my friend. Yes, people will talk about you, but remember something; It’s none of your business what other people say about you. It is your business HOW YOU CHOOSE TO SHOW UP IN THE WORLD! Keep on SINGING honey chile and best of luck in your vocal journey.


Dot Todman
Hollywood Vocal Empowerment Coach
(To read Dot's advice to all Season 8 American Idol Contestants, Become a Member and Click HERE)