G’day Y’all!

I’m so excited to be officially welcoming you to my somewhat crazy #J9VIBES blog! Yee ha! This is where you will learn about my unique experiences within what is most definitely a crazy entertainment business. I promise to share with you the I Love Lucy-like adventures that seem to be a part of my daily life, just as fast as I can type them. And I also promise to educate you as to why in the world I have coined the made up hashtags #J9Vibes and #Ausanadian (stay up to date with my blog and you’ll learn more). I mean, how cool is it to be part of the #bloggers world now, right?!

But first – some exciting news to share! There’s a big event this week in #MusicCity #Nashville #Tennessee, known to us as #CMAFEST2017. And for those of you who have been following my shows lately, you’ll know that I’m usually playing with my 4-6 piece action-packed band, so this week is even more exciting to me, because it’s gonna be a lil’ bit different. You’ll be able to catch me down at THE STILLERY, in the heart of downtown #CountryMusicFan rush, where I’ll be going solo! That’s right, just me and my #guitar — That Damn Ol’ Guitar (oooo perhaps I’m giving you a teaser of the show?) — And I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be debuting some new songs, so you’ll get a front row sneak peak to what we’re in the middle of cooking up in the studioJ And I promise to sing some of your past J9 fav’s too, including #Bulletproof.

So pop open your calendars, because I’m scheduled to hit the stage at 5:40PM this upcoming Thursday, Friday and Saturday and I would love to have you there! And even better, if you’re able to get down there early, from 2pm on wards, you’ll catch me co-hosting the entire show alongside the ever-loved Kaptain Jack of #RenegadeRadio.

Well thanks for joining me in my first official #J9VIBES blog and let’s get started to kickin’ off an incredible CMA FEST 2017! Here’s to a safe, happy, fun, soulful, and truly country week!

Hope you enjoy this lil' acoustic montage below - this is J9 'going solo' lol :) Oh and remember, my comments section is always open, and I love hearing from you there. But most importantly, don’t forget to ‘SMILE, because it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to!’




5 Ways to Avoid a Performance Disaster

Vocal Coach Janine Le Clair shows you how to set up for success and avoid a disaster on stage.

Vocal Coach Janine Le Clair shows you how to set up for success and avoid a disaster on stage.

Life doesn’t stop, even when we are having a larger than life experience on stage – things can and do go wrong.

Here is just one example of not-so-ideal situation on stage, when Adele felt that she needed to start again during the 2017 GRAMMYS. She stays true to herself whilst dealing with a technical mishap and powered on in the second take, in a remarkably controlled and executed performance:

I want to give you my top tips for avoiding stage mistakes, and for handling them when they are unavoidable. They come from twenty years on stages around the world in solo, acoustic, full band, tracked, televised, outdoor, indoor, and in radio stations, stadiums, casinos, banquet halls, pubs, clubs…I think you get the idea.

1. Practice with a live audience

Simulate the nerve-racking environment by organizing a few live audience rehearsals. Perform your song, your set, or your entire show to a random audience such as your neighbors; or your parents’ friends; or your close friends and their families; or even your co-workers.

Try to practice in front of a small audience first!

Try to practice in front of a small audience first!

Chose your audience by asking yourself this question: Who will make me the most nervous? By creating this trying situation in advance, you will be learning how your body reacts to pressure.  By the time you hit the stage, you will be much more self-aware. This is a great tool.

If you’ve repeated this simulation exercise a few times it will become second nature to recognize if you’re suffering from a touch of nerves.  This knowledge will calm you down and allow you to take back control of your body and voice.

You’ll say to yourself, “I got this. I know my voice feels shaky right now, but when it felt like this before, I still hit the note. So, I’ll be able to hit it now!”

2. Rehearse your timing

I recommend practising with your accompaniment at a very low volume to see if you can still sing and/or play in rhythm and tempo. Consider video taping yourself and be honest about what you see and hear when you play it back.  If you’re struggling to stay in time, work with a metronome or drum loop.

If you have practised in this way, and end up having any technical difficulties during the performance itself, you’ll still deliver a great performance because you will trust yourself more.

3. Hand-write lyrics for memorization

If you are iffy on the words and know deep down that they won’t roll off your tongue readily, write the words down. And I mean, properly write them out old-school on a piece of paper with your fingers physically gripping a pen or pencil.

Trust me. This technique will solidify those words into your brain. Write out each verse until you get it correctly. The same goes for the chorus and bridge. And then, go back and write out the entire lyric to the song.

You’re way less likely to forget words in moments of distraction or technical difficulties if you use this trick.

Don’t stop, get it, get it (even after messing up).

Remember, that no matter what happens on stage, you need to keep going. You’d be surprised how your audience will go with things as long as you believe it.  I once sang the wrong word in the middle of the national anthem. Though mortified of my mess up, past experience had taught me I’d better not flinch, and in fact I acted as if that was exactly how it was supposed to go.

My conviction must have worked. Afterwards an audience member complimented me on my rendition being one of the best they’d ever heard.

4. Train to keep your energy up

Keep your energy up. You may think this is obvious advice and with a roll of your eyes, be thinking; of course I’d keep my energy up. Yet, you’d be surprised and I caution you against underestimating the power that comes from preparing this skill in advance.

Rehearsing with enthusiasm can go a long way. Training yourself to perform with energy also goes a long way. And practising to maintain a good attitude most definitely goes a long way.

Remember to smile, because… you got this

If you watched Mariah Carey’s performance New Year’s Eve 2017, you noticed that it was riddled with technical challenges. (Heck, I’m not throwing shade; Mariah is my idol!)

No one knows exactly what went wrong up there except for her and the crew. And yet, to my surprise, she chose to focus her energy on what was going wrong, instead of using her vast experience—and the platform of a world stage—to create a positive spin.

Regardless of the sound complications, she could have displayed enthusiasm and excitement through both her voice and body language.

5. You can’t plan for everything

Sure, you can do your best to: rehearse and make sure your crew and your band members are well informed; have a solid sound check; ensure your set lists are perfectly organized; your batteries newly replaced; and your voice wonderfully warmed up. Of course, you should do all these things as this is your best chance for success on stage.

But, in the event that something goes wrong, just do your utmost to stay in the moment, don’t draw attention to the mistake, and remember to smile, because… you got this!



Do I Look Silly On Stage?

Vocal Coach Janine Le Clair shows how you can engage yourself and your audience more effectively.

Vocal Coach Janine Le Clair shows how you can engage yourself and your audience more effectively.

Not all songwriters are born with the gift of singing. And not all singers are born with natural stage presence.

This can lead to paralyzing feelings on stage.

In fact, there is a fear common to all the artists I work with who are trying to forge their way as original artists.

The best advice I can offer: focus on the words.

This is the thought: “how do I look when I’m up there?”

The best advice I can offer these emerging artists and developing vocalists is simple: focus on the words.

Staying in the Moment

Wondering how you look when you are on stage takes you out of the moment itself.

On the contrary, focusing on the words, or the musical script – if you will – gives you a story to tell.

This is your primary role as the performer. Thinking solely about the lyrics in the song as opposed to how you look or how well you’re hitting the note, will kindle a natural interpretation and induce natural, honest hand gestures and body language.

What Do I Do with My Hands?

You don’t need to worry about your hands as much as you might think

You don’t need to worry about your hands as much as you might think

You will be surprised that you won’t need to think so much about gestures as they arise authentically when you are concentrating on the visual storyline within the text.

Essentially, you need to take a less technical approach and eventually you have to learn let go.

We don’t plan our gestures out in advance when we are talking to a friend but they inevitably match the conversation we are having.

Our body tends to respond in an organic way if we are present in the moment. The lyrics in a song are an extremely valuable tool that you, the performer, have been given as a gift.

Of course it isn’t ‘bad’ to rehearse gestures.

Making a video of yourself rehearsing, coupled with working in front of a mirror, are also useful tools to create personal awareness of how focused you truly are.

But never underestimate the power of this happening naturally as you devote yourself to the lyrics.

The Danger of Overthinking

You may argue there is so much to think about while on stage. This is very true.

However, it’s only once you have a multitude of experiences under your belt that you will be skilled enough at being fully present within the story while simultaneously being aware of technical or personal intensifiers which may throw a hindrance on stage.

Be patient.

This experience, and thus this skill, will develop over time. In the meantime, amplify your rehearsal craft and challenge yourself to stay connected to the story.

Don’t let your thoughts wander beyond anything other than the lyrics.

Even during a musical interlude you need to keep your inner monologues going. Actors religiously use this technique very efficiently and effectively.

Sing to An Audience – Even if You Are Alone

Even if you’re in a room by yourself, sing to an audience.

Stax Records renowned producer Steve Cropper gave me some great advice: “even if you’re in a room by yourself, sing to an audience. You’ve got to realize there are millions of ears listening.”

I personally believe if you’re 100 per cent committed to your action, believe it, and are engaged in the lyrics, you will evoke pure emotion from your audience.

To answer the ‘how much is too much’ emotion question, I simply point up to the framed pictures of Michael Jackson on the wall in our Music Row Voice studio, which capture him literally in mid air, with a cheeky look and raised eyebrow, and I answer, “It can’t be too much if it is authentic.”

As a performer you are here to touch people. If you are doing that, you’ve done your job!


The Glottal Attack Epidemic

I love gravely, half heard consonants from time to time, but today’s singers are often missing a true emotional connection to their songs –says Janine Le Clair.

I love gravely, half heard consonants from time to time, but today’s singers are often missing a true emotional connection to their songs –says Janine Le Clair.

There is never a danger of singers deepening their emotional connection to their songs. After all, great singing moves us emotionally.

There is a danger, however, with ‘emotive singing’: a half cry, a quivering tone, gravely half-heard consonants which appears to be the holy grail of many singers today.

In the industry we call this approach the glottal attack – this terms describes the percussive pulse from vocal cords as in a slight grunt, found most notoriously at the onset of a word.

The issue is that an ‘emotive sound’ does not mean your singing is conveying emotion to your audience, especially if you’re delivering it in that fashion simply because you think it’s the way you have to, or its the way you heard it demonstrated.

It’s absolutely critical that you form your own emotional connection to your music – I’ll explore some ways how.

Artists Who Get Away with Glottal

There are some very popular artists who have developed an emotive style of singing – and it works for them.

However, when you are working on covers, I encourage you to find the way you would deliver the phrase or song.

Adele is one of the few artists who has developed an emotive singing style – and it works for her (Source: Adele, Facebook)

Adele is one of the few artists who has developed an emotive singing style – and it works for her (Source: Adele, Facebook)

It shouldn’t be any less ‘connected’ to the lyric, but in fact, more so, because it is from within your own experience that I ask you to pull.

Andra Day, Ariana Grande or Adele approach their songs with a fair bit of glottal fry.

If they sing a line in a particular way, as beautiful as their delivery may be, I suggest you not go for the glottal approach.

Instead, as an exercise, speak that same sentence several times in a row out loud, imagining you’re saying it to a stranger or perhaps a long time friend.

Note the different ways you choose to start and finish that sentence. I am betting hardly any of them have a glottal beginning.

You have to remember to be open to your own inflictions and bounce and phrasing. And surprise, surprise, that may mean you actually do not have a glottal attack at the beginning of the word or sentence.

A Secret Behind Emotion

Think back to the musical era of the 1950s: emotion was never questioned. It just was.

The radio stars were singing how they sang because they were young and carefree, lacking auto tune, full of fun or emotion or innocence, whichever was appropriate for their song.

They didn’t have YouTube or Streaming or thousands of other vocal examples at literally the tip of their finger.

They weren’t ‘learning’ to sing with a specific type of glottal attack because ten of their friends saw 20 YouTube videos on ‘how to sing with emotion’.

They simply sang how they sang, and quite frankly in my opinion, the emotion was there.

But guess what was almost always also there? ARTICULATION. Consonants that could be heard and even breathy sounds behind vowels.

A Plea for Your Own Emotional Approach

In my work with singers in Australia, Canada and, now, on Nashville’s Music Row, I’m convinced that many young singers are not aware of how strongly consonants and good diction can help support their cause for ‘emotive’ singing.

Think about yelling at someone in anger or hurt or despair. In that moment, you are stronger in your articulation than ever – as you absolutely must get your point across.

In that moment of anger, hurt or despair, you are stronger in your articulation than ever

In that moment of anger, hurt or despair, you are stronger in your articulation than ever

Singing a song can have the same level or urgency. And actually hearing the ‘c’ when singing the word ‘cry’ sometimes is a good thing.

Perhaps having a substantial ‘s’ in the word ‘same’ wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

I love the gravely, half heard consonants (from time to time) and I myself am a fan of this popular sound, so don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the trends of modern commercial music.

However, I am not a fan of over use.

I’ve witnessed first hand the elation my students feel when they discover the emotional power, for example of articulating a word with a slight breath in front of it (their pitch is corrected as a result as well).

They suddenly are opened up to a world full of options, a universe where we can understand what they’re actually singing, and a sonic galaxy all of their own, where they are free to utilize a glottal fry beginning if they ‘feel’ it, or free to attack the sentence in a totally different fashion.

They have access to consonants and articulators on their face and in their mouth for a reason: to assist their vocals.

We have lips, teeth, a tongue, and cheeks; why not choose to use them?

Examples to Inspire You

Here are some examples of less glottal deliveries, and more articulated, consonant strong vocals:

1) India Arie – I Am Light

Have a listen to India Arie’s delivery of “I Am Light”. It’s a gorgeous example of connected, legato singing and subtle uses of the less articulated words. I doubt you will find a single word in this song that is not emotive. In fact, I feel this vocal is so strong that it could be described with its own catch phrase – ‘Goddess’.

2) Briana Tyson – Left My Heart With You

Briana Tyson uses simple and delicate glottal choices. But they’re more like the grace notes of a concert piece-very tasteful. And she actually sings the ‘s’ in soul, and the ‘h’ in ‘heaven’ for an example of clear articulation.

3) John Farnham – You’re The Voice

I don’t think anyone would challenge John Farnham’s nickname as ‘The Voice’ (long before the TV show), and here is a clear example why. He evokes heaps of emotion, but still with well supported articulation.

4) Celine Dion – The Power of Love

Of course I have to mention the vocal powerhouse Celine Dion. Even though she has embraced her French Canadian accent which lends to a specific diction in itself, she doesn’t lose articulation and attacks on the beginnings of her word – not for a beat.

I implore you to not be scared of your own interpretations. Close your eyes and sing the same sentence several times in a row, each with a different approach and make sure at least one of those has very clear consonants. Don’t be scared to move your lips and get a bit dramatic, to see what you create. Try singing it with great volume or very softly. You have the power to create your own emotion, and that power lies within your body, your feelings, your experiences – and these are unique to you. So embrace them.


How to Make it as a Singer in Nashville (or Anywhere)

Wonder what takes to make it in ‘Music City USA’? Janine Le Clair’s hard-earned advice applies to all singers, anywhere.

Wonder what takes to make it in ‘Music City USA’? Janine Le Clair’s hard-earned advice applies to all singers, anywhere.

When you come to Nashville as a singer, you need to remember that you’re one of hundreds of singers that have probably arrived here this month alone. It does not make your talent any less valuable. It does not mean you don’t ‘have a shot’. It only means that you are now among the best of the best, and the fact that you are a ‘singer’ is nothing unique in itself.

But in fact, you are unique, and you always will be.

You want to remember that your voice and what you have to offer is always yours and no one has that certain blend of voice, delivery, interpretation, ideas and presentation, the way in which you do.  I’ve put together a little list of some things you should keep in mind when coming to the famed capital of country music, in hopes of not only expediting, but getting the best out of your experience here.

Keep in mind:

1) Nashville is first and foremost a community. It’s like a large family unit, and highly protected. You won’t be just accepted without observation; they want to make sure you’re here because you love the music, you value your craft, and you’re willing to work at it.

Connections in Nashville happen mostly through the song itself

Connections in Nashville happen mostly through the song itself

2) Your achievements back home in your hometown are not necessarily of interest here. You may have won the biggest award ever at the county fair, but what they’re more concerned with is what you have done here in Nashville. Who have you met and started collaborating with? Are you playing anywhere? How long have you been in town? Are you in the process of recording or have you recorded?

3) Even if you’re not a songwriter, you need to realize that this is a song driven town. Connections here happen mostly through the song itself. Don’t think of this as a discouragement, because truthfully: there is no job for the singer without the song. The song is the baby. And it’s well nurtured and cared for in Music City USA. The sooner you embrace that, the better. So, you ask what happens if I’m not a songwriter? That’s fine. Just be on the look out for great songs. Partake in venues that have original music; mingle with songwriters; and listen for songs that suit your style. Saying you sing, but you don’t know what won’t be good enough here. The good news is that a great voice is always welcomed. Don’t forget that the songwriters are looking for incredible vocalists who will inspire them to write beautiful songs.

Now you ask, how do I navigate around this new community? I have some advice for you:

1) Get out there amongst others in this community. Attend as many writers’ nights as you can. Yes, that’s correct – ‘writer’s nights’. This is where interaction and networking in Nashville takes place. You listen to new songs; hear new voices; and meet new writers. It’s a great place to introduce yourself and let it be known that you are new to Nashville. Have business cards with you that list your website and social media links. Approach the writers whose songs you genuinely enjoy, and do so as a legitimate fan. Often relationships are formed that way.

It is difficult to perform in Nashville if you are new, so it’s very important to network!

It is difficult to perform in Nashville if you are new, so it’s very important to network!

2) It is difficult to perform in Nashville if you are new. Spots are filled up months in advance. However if you are out there networking you will most likely meet someone who has a gig booked. Support them at that show. They may end up inviting you up to sing a song. Or you may end up meeting someone that helps you connect with that venue for a later date. Don’t be afraid to pair up with great vocalists. There is power in numbers. Join a gig where there are several other great singers performing. It’s not a competition. Surrounding yourself with great talent makes your own caliber grow as well.

3) Introduce yourself at the recording studios that are known in town for doing demos. You may hear of those opportunities through fellow musicians. (Also, there are plenty of helpful Nashville musician websites that list all this kind of information.) You know those writers you met at Tuesday night’s writer’s show? Let them know you are available to sing their songs (keep in mind, musicians in Nashville play for tips). They’ll probably take you up on it!

I love Nashville and you will too. Trust me, it is worth the blood, sweat and tears. Welcome to Music City!



Achieving Performance Connection – Janine Le Clair

Emerging vocalist, writer and coach shares her recipe for career success .

Emerging vocalist, writer and coach shares her recipe for career success.

Janine Le Clair was named “Most Outstanding Vocalist” at MusicFest Canada and was Winner of Western Australia’s “Best Female Vocalist” – GWN Awards.

She works in Nashville with a busy coaching, writing and performance schedule – we asked Janine her insights on what is working best for her singing and career:

Janine is a soulful Country recording artist, an international award winning vocalist and renowned vocal coach

Janine is a soulful Country recording artist, an international award winning vocalist and renowned vocal coach

One influential singer, and what it is that makes them stand out to you?
Celine Dion – because of her unbreakable, effortless and ever-relentless commitment to her delivery.

Something’s that’s worked for you in reaching a larger audience?
Narrowing down only a few social media platforms that can be used well and maintained and then growing the fan base amongst those specifically.

A performance FAIL?
Failing to be vulnerable and let the audience get to know me and focusing more on the ‘show’ and fourth wall is an easy trap in which to fall – my advice is DON’T do that, as it won’t offer up your best performance.

A performance SUCCESS – and why…?
I think you are always sure to succeed on stage when you let the vulnerable story of the song come out, not only in speaking to the audience, but in your delivery.

Favorite Vocal Gear & Why?
In-ear monitors because they allow you to have the proper balance, reducing the strain on your voice.

A vocal-singing lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
I can tell you from first-hand and others’ experience that you do NOT want to get into a habit of clearing your throat as it will definitely do more long-term damage than short-term good.

A few ingredients of a memorable vocal performance?
I recommend taking your audience on a journey of vocal diversity, with dynamics and textures and explosive endings, and never disconnect with the intent of the lyrics.

Her favorite aspect of performing? – The chance to connect to others through music

Her favorite aspect of performing? – The chance to connect to others through music

Most important lesson you have learned about social media?
I think the most important lesson I have learned about social media is that each outlet has its own purpose and format and you want to use that platform the way for which it was intended.

Most important lesson you have learned about vocal health?
I have learned that the vocal folds are delicate and may not take to abuse well and that you should be kind to them; keeping them rested and hydrated.

A question you wished we asked you – and your answer?
What is your favorite part of the performance experience? The chance to connect to others through music, and watch their faces and the impact my songs and hopefully my delivery, has had on them.

What is an area of your career that is a little (or a lot) unique or different?
I don’t know of any other Canadian/Australian in country music, living in Nashville TN, who is also a very successful vocal coach to emerging and established artists. If others forget my name, maybe they’ll remember the girl ‘from two countries’ or the vision of a kangaroo with a hockey stick or a koala drinking maple syrup. Either way, I’m lucky to have a unique story that instantly gives my fans and colleagues an association with me that is easy to remember and certainly stands out. I have represented both of these nations in many different performance situations, for which I am so proud. I have sung both the Australian and American national anthems at government events in California, specifically because Houston TX and Perth WA are sister cities.



5 Tips to Develop Vocal Textures

Discovering diverse ways to deliver a lyric is like opening up your own galaxy to navigate –says Janine Le Clair

Have you ever stopped to think how often you actually listen to an ENTIRE album of one artist? Or how few artists we enjoy enough to listen to ALL of their twelve songs in a row?

The average listener may not know why they’ve become bored, but it’s easily done – even if you are a great vocalist singing your best.

How often do you actually listen to an ENTIRE album of one artist?

How often do you actually listen to an ENTIRE album of one artist?

Too Much Sameness

Too much of the same can be the very reason they didn’t line up to buy your album.

Of course, continuity in vocal resonance is an important indication of expertise and ease on the listener, but I think of Stanlislavski’s remark: “Generality is the enemy of all art.”

Within each verse, sentence, thought, moment, word, lyric, there are opportunities for what I call “texturizing”.

Create Textures

If you truly want to captivate and mesmerize, lend different descriptions to the thought, deliver varied resonance and chose a myriad of colors in your vocals.

There are dozens of ways we could say a sentence to a friend, foe or family member; each of those revealing more information about the situation, the mood, the opinion, the desire, the intent or the essence of your motivation.

Adding texture is a way to stay true to the truth in a delivery.

Furthermore, figuring out which choice of textures is your favorite, or the one that ideally resonates with you, is the key to a seasoned vocalist.

At the end of the day, believability cannot be faked.

Tips for Acquiring Textures

There are many ways you can diversify your texture. It can come out through consonants, breath, tone choice, dynamics and many other techniques.

One of my favorite moments is when an artist makes this particular discovery during our lessons because it’s like opening up their own galaxy to navigate.

Their options become endless.

Here are some of my favorite beginning tips on how to acquire a variety of textures:

  1. Experiment as if you were a cartoon character. Think about voices like Homer Simpson, Daffy Duck, The Muppets etc…those actors are using different resonant pockets to get their voice to diversify like that, which proves there are many extremes of tones. Push your tone into your nose then pull it way back into your throat and repeat that sentence, while finding one or two in between choices of resonance placement as well.

  2. Practice with the same note. Sing the exact same note on one vowel at a time, four times in a row with three objectives; a full chest voice, a lightened chest voice (adding falsetto texture), a head voice, and a lightened head voice (adding falsetto breathy texture). This will work best in your mid range, in a spot where you’re able to sing the same note in either head or chest easily.

  3. Repeat this exercise on vowels such as ah, oo, ee, eh, oh. Repeat again with consonants in front starting with b, m, v and then d, l, n and move to k and g. Then repeat using two or more vowel combinations in the one breath.

  4. Tape Yourself. Repeat this exercise on an entire sentence in a song you are working on. Tape yourself as you do this. You’ll be amazed how much more you pick up on after you listen back to a recording, rather than just in the moment.

  5. Listen closely to great “texture singers”. Some of my favorite examples are Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, John Farnham, Vanessa Amorosi, Tina Arena, Carrie Underwood and the late, great, Michael Jackson.