How I love listening to Deborah Brown! She’s soooo on top of her game. She, to me, is one of those highly skilled and trained singers that took the art of jazz singing and scatting to a whole new level.

She used to teach in the Netherlands and I grumble to admit that I never had the opportunity to experience her coaching – but I did see her live performances where her beautiful and flexible voice always thrilled me.

She simply ticks all the boxes:

Athletic voice
Impeccable timing
Flawlessly in tune
Inventive Phrasing
Immaculate Improvisation
Presence and Performance

Oh, and yes, she also knows how to play the piano…

We all might as well just stop singing immediately and have Deborah do it.

Luckily there is this saying that we can cling to: “It would be quiet in the woods if only the best birds sang.” Can you breathe again? Can you sing again?

Nowadays Deborah Brown lives in the States and continues to perform around the world. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Deborah’s musical talents have propelled her from coast to coast in the USA, and have led her to the far east and Europe.

So if you missed her, that’s just a case of really dreadful timing.

Seriously, if you have a chance to see one of her live concerts – do! And tell her I said ‘hi’.

Now, what shall we pick from such a gifted singer as Deborah Brown, where basically, you could pick anything. You know what, let’s start with that athletic voice. Let’s do some stretching ourselves and challenge our vocal chords.

This is one of my all time favorite exercises. Ready?

Sit or stand up straight.

Smile, with your lips closed.

Start humming, not too loud, not too soft, in a clear voice, in your comfortable range.

Make it sound like there’s a little mosquito in your room.

Sustain the tone.

Feel the vibrations of the ‘mmmm’ at your lips, maybe even at your cheeks or nose.

You shouldn’t feel any tension in your throat.

Now – make a siren. A very even siren. Slow, and then quick.

Do it over five tones. Low – high – and back again. Very, very evenly. Now increase the span over which you sing your siren; hit an octave.

Do it again, and start a bit higher.

Make sure the sound is light and clear.

Make sure you keep your lips closed in a smile, to avoid tension in your throat.

That’s it! This is your prescription. Yoga for the voice.

Do this exercise daily, and before you know it, your voice will be as flexible as Deborah’s.

Have fun!

See you on stage,

With love,

Ilse Huizinga

My album tip for you:

Deborah! Deborah Brown – September Records, 1987

Deborah’s site: