We talk creative

Extreme singing with Jennifer Diehl

Published on 12 May 2016 by Guillaume

When I met Jen in high school, she was seventeen and already had a solid vocal technique with a bit of experience as a live performer. It was fifteen years ago, now she’s developed a great ability to push her voice to the extremes but with a lot of control. Jen is professional singer as well as vocal coach, she’s kindly accepted to introduce her work to us:

Singing is emotional, just being able to let it go is an emotion people don’t really know how to handle.

Jennifer Diehl
Jennifer Diehl

Jen, do you remember when you first started singing?

I started listening to music really young as I grew up in an artistic environment. When I was a child, I used to listen to and sing fake english on my father’s favorite albums even to the point where I could sing every single note of every guitar solos!
I’ve been lucky he had good taste in music given that my first singing efforts were to Guns N’ Roses’ The Spaghetti Incident and Metallica’s Black album when I was just 7 years old.
I’m really thankful to him today but definitely not sorry for having ruined his albums with scratches!
I sang on stage for the first time when I was 15 with my guitar teacher and it was probably the moment I realised this was what I wanted to do.

Which artists have you been inspired by?

Tricky question! It’s a never ending list!
Well as I said in the first question, as a child I was inspired by the music my father used to listen to: Pink Floyd, Metallica, Queen, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Guns N’ Roses… but a few years later I tried to educate myself by discovering new music genres.

I really got interested in the groove and the sung/spoken style of hip hop music. I fell in love with the Fugees, the Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill… It was totally new to me and fascinating to be able to sing so many words so I definitely had to learn how to do it.

At the same time, I was still listening to rock and grunge music like Nirvana of course, Soundgarden, Silverchair, Alice in chains, Faith no more… I’m fascinated with Chris Cornell, Layne Staley and Mike patton’s voices, they are my vocal gods! I can tell they really are a part of my vocal inspirations today.

I also went to school every morning with some bands in my CD player that became the soundtrack of my teenage years: System of a Down, Rage against the machine, Deftones, Korn, Foo fighters, Slipknot, The Offspring, The Red Hot chili peppers…

All these bands and artists will be an internal inspiration, I’ve learned to play, to sing and even scream, how to be on stage, I’ve built my singing personality through them and they became a part of me.
Even if I still discover and appreciate new music, I can tell that now I am more inspired by cinema, literature and history events. It can be a theme, a story I heard, a fictional character, someone’s life…

I know you can provide extreme singing training, which is not that usual. Can you tell us about your vocal coaching skills?

When I started to take singing lessons as a student, I realised all the possibilities you could have, all the things you could do with your voice when you knew how to use it properly.
Now I love helping singers to feel the same. Vocal techniques give you choices to interpret a song in the way you want.
Singing is emotional, just being able to let it go is an emotion people don’t really know how to handle. All your life you learn to behave socially so, for example, screaming on a song without hurting your “self controlled” voice isn’t an easy thing to do for everyone. I teach rock, metal singers or actors to release this energy with the safety of singing techniques.
I first learned to do it on my own and later I found two teachers specialised in extreme singing to help me understand what I was doing and how I could use these vocal effects in a healthy way. I also had the support of a vocal specialist in Paris who checks my vocal chords every year with a camera to see how they react while I’m doing extreme sounds and the long term effect and result. After more than 10 years of using extreme vocal effects my voice is still absolutely healthy.
Screaming is the very first thing you do when you’re born so I can tell my job is to help people regressing and releasing tensions 🙂
(An amazing book about the link between our emotions and the scream: “The primal scream” by Arthur Janov)

What are you currently working on?

One year after I quite my previous band in Paris, I’ve been in touch with Fire Red Empress, a band from Birmingham who found me on the internet. I joined the band as the lead singer last September. It was exactly what I was looking for, mostly rock with in your face riffs and huge energy, a touch of stoner and metal influences and the icing on the cake, they are really cool! I felt at home right away and the first gig with them was like we had already played together before.
We’ve just recorded our first album a few weeks ago and released our single “Hail the face”. Our plans are basically touring as much as we can and conquering the rock world!
I’m pretty excited about this project and I’m looking forward to releasing the album.

What’s your dream as a singer?

Of course you can’t ask this question to a rock singer without expecting an “I want to be rock star” answer! There is no point to keep going on stage and put all the money you’ve got in an album if you don’t have the faith anymore. But I’m also realistic, it’s not like 20/30 years ago anymore, the music industry is dying … well … it’s already dead so another fantasy would be to be invited to feature or have a song produced by one of the artists I quoted above. That would be AWESOME!

Official website: http://jenniferdiehl.net

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