Don’t you just love getting caught under the spell of the always energetic, glowing and sparkling Natalie Cole.
She used to sing R&B, and later found herself in the devoted arms of a global jazz audience with her album Unforgettable, on which she re-recorded standards sung by her father, Nat King Cole.
Natalie passed away only recently and we miss her! She was a tremendous singer, songwriter and actress who sold over 30 million records worldwide. Yes! Those numbers rock!
Whenever I listen to Natalie Cole, I hear such joy, such cheer, such playfulness in her voice. And when you see her dance with her unsurpassed elegant and funky moves (and legs you wanna kill for) you just know that she simply loved what she was doing.
Let’s be inspired by Natalie’s joy.
I only have one tip for you today: smile. Yes!
S.M.I.L.E. For the duration of your song.
In ancient teachings the “Inner Smile” was already being used. Now what’s so special about that Inner Smile, I can just hear you ask?
Well, here we go. Ever heard of the False Vocal Chords? Those mean little bastards? All they wanna do is protect you. You can locate them just above your True Vocal Chords.
Do you know that choking feeling – when you are tensed, afraid to sing that high note, very emotionalized – that’s when your False Vocal Chords come into action. They signal a possible danger and constrict, to avoid anything coming into your windpipe (or trachea, as it’s also called).
But when you smile, they signal peace and quiet, and they actually retract. It’s the White Flag. We can all relax now. In that relaxation (or retraction, as we call it) – there is beauty to be found.
You will much more easily soar through your higher notes. AND your sound will have more brilliance, more warmth, more depth. A winning combination! So keeeeeeep on smiling!! Sometimes it can be that easy! Thank you, Natalie, for reminding us.
Dutch jazz singer Ilse Huizinga is listed as one of the best jazz singers of all times. In Scott Yanow’s (Downbeat) “The Jazz Singers, the ultimate guide”. She has 8 albums and over 25 years of experience performing and coaching worldwide. Despite all this, she still does her own grocery shopping! On this site she also hosts her popular online jazz vocal courses.