Anyone who knows me knows that I support a lot of vocal coaches. But, when it comes to publishing a vocal coaching product other than my own, I am very picky about who I will work with to release a new vocal product. This is because I have a very strong work ethic and moral obligation to promote coaches who are on the same mindset as myself. When I discover a coach that has amazing work ethic, is morally uplifting to their students, respectful of other coaches ideas, even if the ideas differ from their own, and overall, presents information that has benefitted my own vocal growth, I become excited to work with them to help them release their thoughts and ideas to the world in paper form.
James Lugo is an engineer and vocal coach who has been like a mentor to me. Very amazing and unique approach to working with students and explaining vocal ideas in a different way than what I’ve ever read before. He’s always uplifted his students and worked with some of the top artists in the world. So, when James sent me a small 10-page eBook he had written years earlier, I saw the diamond in the rough and knew it could be turned into a full-fledged vocal manual.
I believe that James was just as excited to see this book coming to fruition as I was to work directly with him. Following in the footsteps of branding, he named the book, James Lugo’s Vocal Insanity to work hand in hand with his instructional video, James Lugo’s Vocal Asylum. Together they make the perfect pair for Stage 1 of his vocal training methods. (He is currently working on stage 2.)
So, what makes Vocal Insanity any different from any other book out there on vocal training? Well, as with any other book, he addresses how to warm up the voice, shares is tips for the stage and the studio, even offers vocal health tips. But at its core, James focuses on something called the pharyngeal voice, that unique cutting tone you hear on vocals by Robert Plant at the beginning of Immigrant Song and Axl Rose on Welcome to the Jungle. I was actually trained in pharyngeal by Jim Gillette on an exercise called the E-Scream, but I never knew what it was until James explained it to me. James then showed me exercises that work hand-in-hand with the E-scream to take that cutting-edge sound all the way into a full voice tone. I was amazed by his approach that he ever wrote an article for one of my books touching on the basics of his exercises.
Still, for me, an article wasn’t enough, and I believe he needed to release a book explaining the overall concepts of his methods. So, what you get in this book are the same techniques and exercises he used to develop his voice and range that even put him out on the road fronting an amazing band like Nazareth! James knows what he is talking about, and he explains it in such a way that keeps the understanding of the vocal mechanism at a simple level so that any level student can learn enough about the voice to understand what is going on inside the body without ending up with brain overload to bog you down with terms and throw you off the truth path, which is singing. In my opinion, there has been an uprising in coaches overusing terms, which desensitizes the singer from their true goal. Unless you plan to become an ENT, your goal should be to develop your vocal muscle, not learn a dictionary of terminology. And in the end, James Lugo gets results without making a mess of understanding the voice.
So, why would anyone want to learn this piercing rock tone? Because it actually makes it easier to sing higher and sound more convincing. It is not a cheater’s way or some soft mix used by pop singers. It is hard-core power that activate certain frequencies within your vocal tract to allow your voice to cut through the mix and stand out above the guitars, which can be hard for many singers competing with blazing shredders. I spent a month practicing James Lugo’s exercises as we wrote this book and I can say that I personally know that his warm ups and pharyngeal exercises will do for any singer wanting to sing Guns N’ Roses, ACDC, Aerosmith, and more. FYI- these are vocal muscle-building exercises and they work for ANY STYLE. As well, I love them because they go hand-in-hand with my own exercises and cab be incorporated into anyone practicing my vocal routines.