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a little bit on joe lynn turner

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excerpts from an interview ....

You have one of the best voices in music with a great range, were you vocally trained?

JLT: Yes, my father told me to get training; he was a pretty wise man. He was a singer but he was not a singer by profession because he had children and my mom said that’s it, you have to provide and music is a risky business. I think this is a good story, his dream became my dream. I never knew I was a singer until I was playing a local dance in a gymnasium and our singer got sick. I was singing background and playing guitar, I was the lead guitarist. I stepped up front because someone had to finish the show. And I started singing and a lot of people started coming up to the front and there was like some serious applause. And I was like, “Wow, maybe I got something here.” I am a believer in full potential; try everything in your life. I always wanted to be an actor, I believe I could be a great actor, I feel it’s a natural thing. I was blessed with this talent, God just gave me something I am so thankful for but I am quite content doing this. So I learned singing, I knew I could sing because I felt it and I guess that is what people felt and heard. But yes, my father told me if you are going to build a house you better get a hammer and he meant get some lessons. So it took me 6 or 7 teachers before I actually found a teacher that was connecting with me. A lot of people teach but they don’t connect with the student. I spent a month with one, a couple of months with another, and yeah, I learned some things from each of them but until I meat this guy named Martin Lawrence, here in New York on the West side. He was warming up Pavarotti and he was warming up Whitney Houston when she was first coming up. I even sent Bon Jovi to him. I’ll never forget that when Jon called me and was like “Man, I gotta get some lessons under my belt, I hitting the big time”, and I said “Well you gotta go to one guy and one guy only.” He had a unique technique and he was Martin Lawrence, he’s passed away now. His son Donald Lawrence teaches the same technique now. That’s when I started getting range and everything else. The first thing he told me was, “I can’t teach you how to sing, I can teach you the technique of singing but I can’t teach you to sing, that’s gotta to come from your soul and your heart.” So he said, “I’m going to teach you how to improve your range and your faculty but the rest is up to you.” I could be standing there at a half hour lesson sweating like I was in the gym because this technique is a tightening of the diaphragm and support in the bowel area, it’s a push down pull up, it’s a real physical thing because as singers, you’re not supposed to sing from the throat you gotta sing from beneath that. You can sing when you are sick. Hell, I sang “I Surrender” sick, I had a cold and he taught me how to sing above a cold. That really was what the turning point was for me, those lessons. My dad was right, God bless him, because he told me you can’t just go out there and start straining from your neck. And my range was not as good as it is because I didn’t have the technique. One of the greatest comments that was ever given to me was by Roger Glover, bass player for Deep Purple and Rainbow, and I’ll never forget it, he said in an interview he gave, unbeknownst to me at the time but he said “Joe Lynn Turner has found his voice”, and that was a proud moment for me.

I grew up in a gospel church. I grew up in a black church. Although my parents had been Catholic I would walk by these gospel churches and that’s where I would stop in and one day they invited me and they said “You sound like you can sing boy maybe you oughta come up here and be in the choir.” I was the only white kid in that choir. So that’s how you find your voice and develop your style.

another interview...

Austin: Have you received any vocal training?

Joe: I did not have any formal training up until right before my first album with Fandango.

Austin: Have you ever used any books/CDs/DVDs to help with your vocal development?

Joe: I have many old books that I read and used but these go way back before there were all these vocal coaches making DVDs, videos, e-books, etc. I can't remember all the titles but I never have used any current CDs, DVDs or books.

Austin: Your voice has changed over the years. What do you credit this to? Has it just come with age, or is it a change of style you've consciously developed?

Joe: I credit the change to natural maturity and experience that comes with age. As I have gained more experience and aged I have been able to refine and define my style more.

Austin: Back when you were starting out, how often did you practice to develop your voice into what it is today?

Joe: When I was taking lessons I practiced every day for about an hour but that was because I wanted to practice the techniques I was taught in lessons. However, I want to stress it is never a good idea to over do it or sing too much. It can wear the voice out.Currently, if I have to sing in a professional situation I only warm up about 20 minutes.

Austin: What kinds of things did you do in the early days to develop yourself as a singer, and to cultivate the unique style you are known for today?

Joe: It goes back to the soul and R&B. I listened a lot of those types of artists and also worked on developing an ear for pitch and tone.

Austin: You've always had a large range, but how long did it take to build it up?

Joe: I am still building it up. The process never ends. Sometimes truly finding your "own" voice can take a lifetime.

Austin: Did your head voice come naturally, or was it something you had to work on to get it to the quality it is now?

Joe: I had to work on it at first but now it comes very naturally.

Austin: When you are preparing to sing, do you do a warm up? If so, what does the warm up consist of, and about how long does it take to perform. After singing, do you warm down?

Joe: I use some vocal exercises from my singing lessons 25 years ago. I have them all on CD now. A lot of humming and tongue rolls, things like that. Unfortunately, there is often no time to "warm down" because in most situations, after a show there is schmoozing and socializing that has to be done with fans and people in the music business. I have to be careful not to talk excessively after a show or before a show to where it ruins my voice.

Austin: You're known for having a good control of your voice, especially when it comes to adding rasp. A lot of Voice Connection readers are interested in techniques used by famous singers to apply rasp, so where do you feel it when you sing raspy as opposed to singing clean. Do you feel it up against your soft palate?

Joe: I honestly never thought about this that much. I guess it comes naturally for me. When it happens I feel it from the throat.

Austin: What other changes do you make to your approach when your singing raspy as opposed to singing clean? Do you add more volume, push a little harder, etc.?

Joe: It's all about dynamics and emotion. I really focus on putting emotion into my singing and feeling the lyrics and what comes out comes out authentically that way. If it's a whisper or a rasp, both can have an emotional effect on the listener.

Austin: At what volume do you sing? Do you try to keep it around the same level that you speak, or do you sing

with a lot of volume?

Joe: Volume? It depends on the song and situation. I actually sing with a lot of volume...I am a loud singer.

Austin: Do you have any idea of what your current range is?

Joe: 4 or 5 octaves but I do not know for sure because I never really had to know. I can handle very low notes and high pitched screams with ease. Whatever a song requires.

Austin: When singing, what kind of support do you use? Do you utilize what Jaime calls the power push (pushing down as if going to the restroom to avoid strain and add power to your voice)?

Joe: Yeah that is a good way to describe it. I call it a push down/pull up technique.

Austin: Have you ever caused any major damage to your voice?

Joe: Not major as far as something like nodes or anything that requires surgery. I have always tried to sing correctly. Sure, I have blown out my voice some nights...or after 4 night in a row. It's really not a good idea for a singer to do more than 4 consecutive nights. The voice needs a rest after that.

Austin: When your on the road and are having vocal issues, how do you get your voice back in shape by show time? Any tips for The Voice Connection readers?

Joe: Lots of steam...steamy showers...a steam room if one can be found (some hotels have them) and herbal teas. Olbas oil is awesome, I use Tiger Balm as well. I do travel with a small steamer. It's important to stay hydrated, eat properly.

Austin: A big issue for many singers would be singing in the morning. When you have an appearance to do first thing in the morning, what do you do to get your voice performance quality ready?

Joe: Some cups of coffee or tea, warm up the throat in a hot shower...again...lots of steam.

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Marty and Don Lawerance are like the Seth Riggs of the east coast. Tons of singers on the roster from mick jagger to lady gaga. I had a very close friend of mine that was singing in transiberial orchestra who showed me his warm ups no secrets, all very basic 5 tone scales on hallelujah or arrivederci. Sing out the top of your head, stuff like that.

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yes, my brotha....

very lou grammish..lol!!! turner is one of those singers who has the slot i'd like to be in....not a superstar household name, not gonna end up on the rachael ray show any time soon...but he's a well regarded vocalist, always in demand, sang backup for michael bolton, and is a singer's singer.

here's one daniel turned me on to and the classic "i surrender.":

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when i watch him closely you can just tell he's one of those guys that has figured out how to get the most from his voice. his mouth shaping and laryngeal moves are very deliberate.

this is one great vocal......

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Joe has always been great. He's one of those singers who you appreciate even more after you try the songs he's featured in.

He was definitely my favorite singer Yngwie Malmsteen ever worked with, although I really liked Göran Edman, too.

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...

He's one of those singers who you appreciate even more after you try the songs he's featured in.

...

Didn't know him until my teacher gave me to sing "I Surrender", full of G/A/Bb and very powerful. The very few times i can sing this without straining i know i am using proper technique/support, i'd say a good song to find someones weaknesses.

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totally..that's a very demanding song...i'm actually trying to learn that one now.

i realize to get though it you have to sing it the opposite of what it sounds like...you have to keep relaxed and keep open in the throat so it doesn't "bunch up on you." .....and you have to have your catch breaths in good shape.

fun, fun., fun.....

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