Posts By :

Felicia Ricci

Are You Scared Of Being Accomplished?

I sat down to write a singing-related newsletter but all the topics kept falling flat (no offense, singing, I still love you, but that's the truth).

At this moment, on the verge of 2017, my mind and heart are seated on the metaphysical equivalent of a Six Flags rollercoaster.

There's a fine line for me to walk with respect to divulging personal thoughts. I don't want to veer too far off topic -- you most likely found me online and enjoyed my singing lessons and info, and Dr. Phil moments might not be your thing --

But what the hell. Maybe we can relate to each other and stuff. 🙂

Here goes.

Accomplishment scares the sh*t out of me.

On the Grand Staircase of Life (I don't even know what that means? But let's embrace this architectural metaphor for a second) I do this thing where I painstakingly climb to a new, higher step, look around, smile, feel the accomplishment, take a breath....

...then feel the blistering altitude, the ensuing vertigo, clutch my pearls*, start screaming "It's too high! It's just...too...high!" and summon all my willpower / recite every motivational mantra / close my eyes and sway softly in order not to tumble straight back down.

(*I don't actually wear pearls.)

Bottom line: fear makes every accomplishment feel risky.

I'm pointing this out because this is way more subtle than I, and maybe you, ever thought. I always thought fear was OBVIOUS, like a villain in a movie. Sneering and greasy and wearing dark clothing and speaking in vague accents.

But in real life, fear works undercover. Fear stages subconscious sabotage. Fear dresses up as "common sense."

Fear isn't a monster. Fear is familiar. Fear tells us:

"If I [ACCOMPLISH X] then there are downsides. Better stay safe."

"And if I DON'T [ACCOMPLISH X] then there are actually many benefits! Life can stay warm, fuzzy, comforting, and status quo."

Here are some examples taken from "Fel's Fear Brain," a mysterious and baffling entity:

  • "If I become more confident, then there are actually downsides. I could turn off my friends, my customers, my family, and be a lonely, confident weirdo."
  • "If I DON'T become more confident, at least I know I'm taken care of, and life will stay normal and steady and familiar."
  • "If I perform more, then there are actually downsides. I'll seem like a stuck-up, attention-seeking nut. Worse, I could make a fool of myself, and invite ridicule, and make people think I *think* I'm so amazing, when in reality, I'm not!"
  • "If I DON'T perform more, at least I can stick to what's working, and not suffer any embarrassment or revelations that I actually suck."
  • "If I grow my business, then there are actually downsides. I'll lose touch with the people I love (you, my students), I won't have any time, I will stop being genuine, I will become a greedy freak, I will grow a goatee and laugh maniacally."
  • "If I DON'T grow my business, I won't have to worry about more responsibility, or any competition, or any other conflicts. I'll stay small but familiar, and unthreatening."

....I think you get the idea?

But even though I'm shaken and wary, I feel hopeful. Why? Because I'm NOTICING this dynamic.

Noticing fear's subtle UPSIDE/DOWNSIDE tactic is the first step to moving beyond it.

So I'm asking you to ask yourself, on the verge of 2017, to do the same.

Time to engage in a long, hard, intimate, maybe even sexy stare at your fears.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I holding myself back from doing?
  • Is it...singing more?
  • Making time for myself?
  • Taking care of my body and exercising?
  • Performing in front of others?
  • Auditioning for that local musical?
  • Speaking in front of coworkers?
  • Giving a lecture at a nearby school?
  • Asking for a raise?
  • Changing careers because WHAT THE HELL?
  • Starting my own online business?
  • Writing that love letter?

Fear will act accordingly. It will show you all the DOWNSIDES of acting up. It will also show you all the BENEFITS of staying exactly as you are.

But we know better now, don't we?

When you're on the "Grand Staircase Of Life" (lol this metaphor), and you summon the courage to take one step higher, before you leap back down, take a pause and remember:

  • You are not alone. We are all secretly worried, wondering, seeking, embarrassed, and winging it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
  • Acting with faith and courage is (1) easy to write in a social media quote, (2) really f*cking hard to do in real life. ("Leap and the net will appear" -- YEAH OKAY HOW ABOUT NO?) 🙂 But it will get easier.
  • Have patience through the fear. If you can feel fear or discomfort and not run from it, often you can literally change the feeling. A daily meditation practice (or daily singing practice! for many, singing = meditation) can help you hone in on these fearful feelings, and ultimately release them.
  • You are contributing to a higher good. When we elevate our state, and move toward joy, we elevate the mood of the planet. (Example: "Auditioning for that local musical means I will move closer to my dream of performing, which means I will live with more joy, which means I will encourage others to do the same.)

Here's the moment where we all take a long, cleansing sigh.

This felt good to write. I hope it also felt good to read.

I want you to know that I'm here for you, and that each and every one of us has a vital mission to move toward joy and the highest version of ourselves. That doesn't necessarily mean the big bucks, or the best grades, or the best house, or the best resume --

It means having the strength to perceive fear, and take each new step anyway. It means having the courage and faith that we've all got each others' backs.

I'm here for you. Thanks for being there for me.

Love,

Fel

P.S. Leave me a comment about anything at all. I'll read every single one.

Sneak Peek at The Lazy Singer's Warmups!

Do you struggle with knowing how to warm up your voice, especially on days when you're time crunched?

I've been there.

Even if you only have 10 minutes, it's better to warm up efficiently than to skip a practice session altogether.

But WHAT exactly do you do? And is it really possible to get good vocal work done in a short amount of time??

Yes.

And I've got your back 🙂

Enter: The Lazy Singer's Warmups! -- my brand new warmup set. It's designed to build consistency, vocal freedom, and relaxed, open singing in just 10-33 minutes per day.

You get the MAXIMUM amount of results in the absolute MINIMUM amount of time.

If you only have 10 minutes, I’ve got you covered. A little more time? You can keep going with 3 more. And so on. And on days when you have 33 minutes? Do the entire set!

Any way you slice it, you build vocal consistency without wasting time.

As a bonus for my awesome email subscribers and blog followers, I'm posting Lazy Warmup #2 below -- it's called "The Lip Trill Extravaganza!"

For a sneak peek at what these warmups are like: (1) Watch the Cue video, where I explain how it works and what to do, (2) Watch the Demo video of me singing through the entire warmup, (3) download the audio file (.mp3) for you take with you and practice, (4) sing along and feel how this simple warmup gets your voice all gooey and open!

The full set of Lazy Singer's Warmups includes 12 warmups, each with a detailed cue video and full demo video, as well as audio downloads for all warmups. You also get a free bonus .PDF of singing-related FAQs that will become available in the next couple weeks.

Please watch the cue video, and then give The Lip Trill Extravaganza a try (you can sing along with me)!

 

Right-click HERE to download the "Lip Trill Extravaganza" audio file >

 

Do you like what you're seeing / hearing / feeling? I hope you'll join me in the full Lazy Singer's Warmups course!

*UPDATE on 11/25/16 -- All warmups now available! 🙂 Get them here!*

Lazily yours,

xo Fel

How to Sing Any Song with Modified Lyrics

This video is about my favorite singing "hack" - modified lyrics! This easy singing tip will give you the most bang for your buck, even (especially) if you're a beginner.

If you've watched my "How to Sing Chandelier by Sia" video, or any others in my pop song series, you know that I like to take regular English words and translate lyrics into singer-friendly vowels. Why? It can do WONDERS for your singing.

When you rewrite singing lyrics with more "open" vowels, which are easier and more resonant to sing, they become a million times easier for singers to tackle.

What's more, it makes your singing tone less closed or pinched, and more open, rich, and resonant.

I get tons of requests to translate specific songs, which I will keep doing in future, but I also wanted to give you my guidelines so that you can do it for any song that you like to sing!

Be sure to download my .PDF summary so you can check out the best singer vowel translations and start singing in with a more open, resonant, and beautiful tone.

Please leave me a comment to let me know if this video helped you translate and sing your favorite songs!

xo Fel

Sing Without Tension - 3 Easy Warmups

Vocal tension is the #1 culprit of strained singing, vocal fatigue, burnout, and vocal problems! These 3 warmups will help prime you for relaxed, open, free singing.

Remember: if you're someone who experience lots bodily tension (like yours truly!), singing without tension is possible -- you just have to incorporate relaxation techniques into your vocal routine.

The 3 vocal warmups in the video below are:

(1) The Teapot Hiss - eliminates lower body, ribcage, and lower back tension that can creep "up the chain" and affect your voice.

(2) The Scary Lion's Yawn - busts jaw, tongue, neck, and throat tension, all in one!

(3) "Oh, Wow!" - a simple warmup to reinforce a relaxed jaw and open throat.

Try these simple vocal warmups and let me know if they help you relax and free up your voice! I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.

Also -- stay tuned for my vocal warmup series called "The Lazy Singer's Warmups," coming soon! Sign up for email updates to the right and you'll be the first to hear about them, along with fun bonus goodies, once they're released.

 

Vocal Warmup to Open Your Voice (and Give Yourself Love!)

Singer buds! Many of you have talked to me about the incredible amounts of tension you experience while singing, and I want to help!

I've been cooking up some cool warmups that (1) Relax you, (2) Open your voice, (3) Get you LOVING on yourself and feeling confident. 🙂

(I've been trying to come up with a title for these, I'm thinking "Let's Get Singer-High"?)

Anyway, I wanted to give you a short 'n' sweet preview of one warmup that will get you to:

(1) Open your voice and relax your throat and larynx

(2) Lift your soft palate while relaxing your jaw

(3) Look at yourself in the mirror and think HEY I LOVE MYSELF!

And here it is!

The sung line is "I LIKE LOOKING AT YOU" and the musical pattern is 1-1-3-2-1-1.

Simple, right?

Here's the nitty gritty:

 

(1) Look in the mirror while you do this. It will help to make sure....

(2) You keep the back of your mouth open and relaxed the whole time, kind of like you're yawning. So you sing "I LIKE LOOKING AT YOU" more like "I LAHK LUHKING AHT YUH."

(2) When you create these words, keep your jaw dropped and try not to move it. Stay open.

(3) Your tongue basically has two "touch points": the back of your bottom teeth, and the back of your top teeth.

(4) Start around a middle C and go for about an octave and change. Stop if it starts to hurt.

(5) As always, breathe using your diaphragm!

(6) Really heed the words you're saying. YOU LIKE LOOKING AT YOURSELF because DAYMN you're sexy.

 

Hope this warmup is helpful! Leave me a comment to let me know (1) if some more warmups from me to relax you and get you feeling the love for yourself and your voice sounds fun, (2) whether you enjoyed this warmup!

Love,

Fel

 

P.S. Fellow songwriters! Tonight at 8PM my voice teacher Cari Cole is doing a Facebook live event for songwriters!

It's her 2nd free training before her Signature Songwriting Circle begins this week -- enrollment period is almost over and the course is almost sold out.

 

The free training topic is:

 

Songwriting Shop Talk: Writing Songs That Will Get You Discovered

 

...and it's going to be rad.

 

Cari Cole is an Artist Development Expert & New Music Business Mentor, and she has so much wisdom to offer to aspiring songwriters ready to get serious. She's going to share how there are no real "tricks" to songwriting, and describe how you can hone your artistic process to truly reach your full potential.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE TONIGHT AT 8PM! >

 

See you soon, amigos! xoxoxo

If You Feel Stuck, Uninspired, Or Lost

There have been times in my life when I have not practiced my singing. Like, at all.

As with any long term skill, my commitment to singing has had peaks and valleys, especially for the past three years. Sure, sometimes I've felt jazzed, but more often than not I've been in a "bare-minimum-maintenance-whatever" mode. I practiced a couple times here and there, or not at all. :-/

My excuse was:

I'm good...enough. As long as my singing is decent, I can demo things in my videos and lessons. If I lose my skills a little, what's the big deal? It's not like I'm singing for audiences anymore.

(Ugh. Just reading those thoughts back to myself is hard. What an uninspiring point of view!)

And because I felt so uninspired, my singing suffered.

When it comes to singing, or any long-term goal, frame of mind is everything.

When I am not inspired, I lose momentum. When I lose momentum, I stop tending to myself and the things I love. 

In my "good enough" phase, my singing skills began to fade. Stuff that used to be easy (belting, delicate controlled singing, long held notes) took more concentration and effort than ever. The less regularly I sang, the more my muscles forgot what great singing felt like. And tension began to creep in like crazy.

I was treating singing like a chore. Rather than mentally CELEBRATING my singing talent, I was focusing on everybody else's singing. I neglected myself, and was secretly preparing for my downfall.

Oh well, I thought. Time to pass on the torch of singing to the next generation.

This defeated frame of mind was undermining my vocal instrument -- something I'd worked my whole life to grow.

And, let me tell you, it was not a fun thing to witness.

Until, one day, the shift happened.

I'm thrilled to report that I've felt a surge of energy, optimism, and commitment to my voice. I've written about this in a couple of newsletters, so you've probably already heard stirrings from me already, but quick recap...

I'm an ARTIST! I've come to terms with the fact that I cannot live my life not performing! It's simply time to pursue my lifelong dream of writing, recording, and performing my own music. Because if I don't, I will just explode!

My process of realization has been long. It has involved much soul searching, journaling, contemplation, and devoting meaningful time to reawakening my voice.

I know from your comments that you can probably relate to my story.

You are all at different places in your singing/career/life journeys. I know many you have encountered that feeling of plateauing, or not feeling as stoked about singing as you once were.

That is so okay! You are not weird! And you are not doomed! We can totally get the fire back. And here's how...

HOW TO GET THE FIRE BACK INTO YOUR SINGING:

  1. Set a short term singing goal that makes you giddy with excitement. This could be big or small -- as long as it makes you psyched and can happen in the near future. Examples: "In two weeks, I'll record a love song for my significant other." "I'll finally get up and sing karaoke next weekend." "I'll audition for a new agent next month." 
  2. Set several goals for the next 6 months to a year. Mine are: I'd like to share music with my mailing list (you!), write 50 songs, record my first album, and perform live locally in Philadelphia.
  3. Set one ridiculous, so-fun-it-tingles goal. Think of this as your "ultimate dream!" Mine is: I'm standing onstage, looking out at a stadium of people, and we are all singing the same melody together. The feeling I get when I picture this is so warm, electric, and tingly!
  4. Commit 100% to a singer ritual. I say "ritual" because your practice time is sacred. For me, I've been warming up every day, rain or shine, and combining it with meditating if I have time. If I don't have time, I stick to basics: lip trills, diaphragm breathing, jaw, tongue, shoulder stretch (10 minutes is better than no minutes).
  5. Make practice fun and INSPIRING -- and visualize your goals! When it's time to write music I light a candle in my office to stay centered. I also have full view of a Vision Board on my wall, where I've posted inspiring photos, many of them of my favorite female artists. I even put on crazy outfits sometimes! I'm talking gold lamé crop tops and light up LED sneakers (not kidding).

And these days? My voice has come back like a long lost friend. I'M EXCITED, INSPIRED, and COMMITTED, and my singing reflects it.

So don't tiptoe around calling yourself a "singer" or an "artist" or a "musician" or a WHATEVER. Don't tiptoe around your goals. Don't be embarrassed by your dreams. And don't despair when your enthusiasm seems to dip.

Singing is a lifelong process, and we are all in it together.

You don't have to have everything figured out. Look at me -- I'm still flailing around wildly! I have no idea (1) what my timeline is, (2) how exactly my career is going to come together, (3) what my music is going to sound like when I have some "finished" songs, (4) when I'm going to be comfortable sharing it with you guys (soon, don't worry! I know, I am so annoying!).

BUT -- AS I TEACH, SO I DO! I always encourage you guys to go boldly forth, pursuing your passions, so why don't I do it, too! THAT IS THE GENERAL IDEA! Let's not fret about the details right now. Let's get INSPIRED. Then, one foot in front of the other. And the staircase will appear. 🙂

I promise you, it's going to be spectacular!

With love and so much freaking energy,

Fel

P.S. Let me know if you have experienced a dip in your singing confidence and enthusiasm by leaving me a comment! I read every single message. xo

Why Do Mean Online Comments Hurt So Much?

Recently I looked at a video of myself singing that I had posted on YouTube about a year ago. For some reason I didn't think about one very challenging aspect of this: the comments!

I love reading your comments on my blog or my instructional videos because they include your ideas, reactions, and suggestions for future videos. But comments on my performances are quite another thing...

For some (not all) of these, I need a different mindset entirely 🙂

I found myself getting pretty worked up. But the weird thing was, certain negative comments STUNG, while other comments didn't faze me.

I wanted to better understand WHY certain online comments are so hurtful, while others are no big deal.

In this video, I'll talk about (1) how the negative thoughts we choose to hear reflect a shadow side of ourselves, (2) how it's important to witness and forgive the negative thoughts that we all carry around within us.

I'll also teach you an easy and effective meditation for overcoming fear and negative thoughts that may be holding you back. It's all about mindset!

Can you relate to this? Have you ever read a mean comment about you or someone you love and experienced the need to respond, defend, or attack back?

Lots of love,

Fel

What If Your Voice is Not Perfect?

Here's a thought... What if the qualities you believe make your voice less than, actually make it cool and interesting?

I've contemplated this question a ton as I venture into writing my own music. So far I'd describe my strange songs as a cross between: Grimes, Lana Del Rey, and Every Broadway Show Ever.

ANYWAY. My vocal background and training is musical theater singing, which means I'm hardwired to think: "These notes (high, low, whatever) need to come out cleanly, perfectly, and without any noticeable variation, damnit!"

And while I still love that I'm able to unify my chest, mix, and head voice cleanly (for the most part) -- and I believe it is important for singers not to be held back by any technical "holes" in their voices --

The truth is: for many genres of music, embracing our imperfections, or the reasons our voices are unique, can unlock a whole world of interpretation, variation, color, emotion, and interesting style choices.

Take it from the Leaning Tower of Pisa: imperfect is cool.

Take it from the Leaning Tower of Pisa: imperfect is cool.

For example, I am naturally higher-voiced, meaning I was born with thinner vocal folds and at certain parts of my range my voice lacks dark undertones. It instead seems to float "on top" of notes, with an almost cutesy sound to it.

When I record my voice in my home studio, I will often adjust my face shape to develop a darker tone -- I open my mouth more, drop my jaw down, and make sure I'm engaging the lower half of my face. I also stand up straight and utilize my chest resonance.

But recently I wrote a song where the character seemed...well?

Vulnerable. Feeling small. Expressing thoughts that were difficult to express.

So what did I do? I recorded a take where I thought, "Let me just embrace ME, however it comes out. Let me use this higher voice. Let it thin out where it wants to, sometimes breaking, sometimes being breathy, and maybe this will better reflect the vulnerable nature of the song."

And the result is...

NOT perfect. 🙂 But (in my opinion) way, way more interesting!

Three questions for you:

1) Have you ever wondered whether "perfect singing" is really "the best" singing??

2) Are there any artists performing today that you admire who don't have perfect voices but who you LOVE to hear sing?

3) Wanna hear my first song? (Currently finishing the mix and planning to post a video soon to YouTube, but my mailing list will be the first to hear it AAAAAH!)

Leave me a comment here on my blog!

Lots of love,
Fel

P.S. I don't often fish for encouragement but, man I could use a little right now! 🙂 Very different process creating music versus teaching or filming tips videos. But onward I go!

Love ya.

Singing Into a Microphone - How to Record Vocals for Best Results

Here's a lil video all about microphone singing! My best 6 tips for knowing how to record vocals for optimal results.

My tips include....

1) Set levels so they're not too high; otherwise you'll max out and distort your vocal recording -- and, worse, try to hold back or sing tentatively to accommodate this too-high setting. Instead, aim for a lower microphone level. You can always boost it later.

2) Get your live monitor/headphone levels right! Singing with headphones always presents its own set of challenges, so I almost always leave one ear outside of the headphones as I'm singing to get some live feedback.

3) Don't forget your breathing DOWN BELOW! The microphone picks up what you're creating up top, however, the work and effort happens via the rest of your body. Don't forget your technique or become a "neck-up" singer in the studio.

4) Be mindful of how distance to the microphone affects the nuance, intimacy and volume of what you're singing. Closer = more intimate. Further away = taller, more echo-y, for louder moments.

5) Learn how to breathe without harsh, noticeable gasps (super distracting -- and in the video I give you a quick tutorial on how to do this).

6) Finally, experiment! Microphones are incredible tools, so don't be intimidated! Just practice and see what sounds good, then trust your instincts. 🙂

In the video I also mentioned that I was using an Audio-Technica AT4040 condenser microphone for $299 - http://amzn.to/29hKetW

Ooh! Even better -- AT4040 plus pop-filter and XLR cable, for $299: http://amzn.to/29gKJVd

Other good condenser microphones....

AT2020 microphone is $99 - http://amzn.to/29lNwh2

AT2020 microphone with USB hookup is $149 - http://amzn.to/29gLqOE

MXL 770 for $75 - http://amzn.to/29fUlDm

My headphones are also Audio-Technica (see a trend here?) and you can find them here: http://amzn.to/29fUiaP

*Please note, these are Amazon affiliate links.

Hope this video and these resources are helpful! Please leave me a comment to let me know whether you've been recording some vocal projects, and whether you'd like more videos like this!
xo Fel

How to Face Your Fears - 15 Minute Meditation

This video is different than most of my videos, and to be honest, it was scary to film.

Watch to learn about a 15-minute meditation I use daily to face one of the strangest, elusive, and most overwhelming forces in life: fear.

So many of us deal with fear and negative thoughts when it comes to realizing our dreams, reaching our full potential or, really, just existing in a world that can feel negative and scary.

I wanted also to describe how to meditate (as best as I could) - the actual process - to help demystify the experience. Everyone's journey is different, but here's some insight into what I do.

I hope this meditation for fear is helpful for you. Leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts!

Lots of love,

Fel

Healing by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200048
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Other cool tracks: