Rock Reads: Dynamic Song Performance: The Singers Bible by Pepper Jay with John Michael Ferrari

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

Have you ever heard someone singing (or trying to) and thought that they sounded like a bleating sheep? Perhaps the ovine noises were intentional; according to author Jay, making the "baa" sound is a great vocal exercise designed to develop a singer's vibrato, tremolo and note tags. Vocal techniques are just a small part of this "bible" for singers as Jay covers everything from phrasing to stage presence to creating a fan base in this very thorough primer. And Pepper knows of what she speaks; she broke into show business as an actor in sitcoms like "The Real McCoys" at just seven-years-old, and since has taught drama and dance and produced live entertainment, film, TV shows and music videos. Broken into chapters with titles like "Communicate Your Song," "How to Move Onstage" and "Package Yourself," Jay's advice is given with the aim of showing the performer how to tap into the audience's mindset, in essence expanding on the premise of "working the room." Topics include being sincere with your lyrics, playing to the camera (and audiences, large and small) and how to develop mannerisms like how to walk on stage gracefully and how to not go overboard with stage patter. The latter portion of the book focuses on things like how to mimic your idols, the importance of a demo tape or reel, deciding whether to utilize a manager or agent, and more abstractly, how to "be" a photograph. And while most of the interested readers of Jay's book will likely indeed be singers, she points out that the book is written in such a way as to be helpful to other types of performers including stand-up comedians, magicians, models, public speakers and even trial lawyers. John Michael Ferrari contributes original photography. Get it here

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