Career advice and inspiration: Jennifer John, Vocal Coach and Composer
My various role(s):
I have several roles, which include: Creative Director, industry vocal coach (specialising in artistic development), composer of choral music, singer/songwriter, vocal arranger, session singer, music manager.
- I am an award winning composer, vocal coach (specialising in artistic development), singer/songwriter, creative director and music mentor.
- In my capacity as a singing lecturer I work with clients from across the UK, which include: Royal Academy of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, BIMM Institute and Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
- I manage the vocal ensemble, Sense of Sound Singers, and successfully secured their collaborations with Damon Albarn, Seal, Jon Bon Jovi, David Gilmore, Paloma Faith, Blossoms, Yoko Ono and Massive Attack.
- As a vocal coach, composer and music mentor, my clients include ITV’s The Voice UK, Inhaler, Jamie Webster, Dave McCabe and Music Declares Emergency.
- I believe in singing for social change; diversity and inclusion are central to that ethos.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that music and singing in particular enables me to express myself creatively and I get paid to do so. It gives me and all those I work with ‘a voice’ literally and metaphorically. Music makes me feel good and the fact that I can share it through teaching and developing projects makes it even more special.
Tell us something about your role that many people wouldn’t know?
Creating music is a discipline. I can’t just rely on feeling inspired if I want to have a sustainable career as a composer/songwriter. I work at honing and toning my craft so that even when I don’t feel like being creative I can dip into my box of tricks and still create.
What was your first move into / experience of the music industry?
When I was around the age of six, someone came to our school with a range of musical instruments for us to try. I opted for the violin and later learnt piano, going on to join various choirs. I did all of this at Newham Academy of Music which I attended for all of my school life until I was 18, when I moved to Liverpool
Explain a defining moment/role in your career?
There are so many but when I guess when my choir ‘Sense of Sound’ was asked to open for Nile Rodgers and Chic at M&S Arena (2017), that was pretty immense.
What three pieces of advice you would give to your 16 year old self, aspiring to follow a similar career path (include relevant work experience, networking, professional qualifications etc)?
- Always be respectful and easy to work with. A good reputation is a really important calling card.
- It’s really important to listen to other people as well as talking. Ask questions and never be afraid to admit that you don’t know something. It’s the best way to learn.
- Know your craft and collaborate with other people. Practice as much as possible so your knowledge/skills become second nature. Collaborate – You learn so much more by listening to other peoples’ ideas as well as your own. You also learn different ways of doing things which you may never have considered before.
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