General Voice Care

Hey there,

So my students and friends have been asking me a lot of questions about general voice care and tips and I thought it would be great to blog about it!

3 Most important things for all singers are

1] a fit body

2] The ability to relax immediately

3] Mastery over breath.

This is because for singers, their body is their vocal instrument, and one sings on voiced breath! Well, you may ask, why voiced breath? Can you try to sing without breath? It’s not possible!

Here are some very general voice care notes:

Basic Fitness :

• You must maintain good general health. Sleep well each day. Get adequate rest to minimize fatigue. Life can get very busy and hectic and at such moments, you could at least try and get power naps!

• Exercise regularly. Physical/ cardio activities like running, cycling, etc. are excellent to strengthen and regulate natural breathing mechanism. Personally, i love to run for about 30 to 45 minutes !! You could also start small with things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, some ab crunches and squats at home, etc.

• Eat a balanced diet, including vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Its necessary to replenish the energy we burn out, when we perform.

•While every body is different, through prior experience, one will know best, what diet, food items (especially cold or hot) or activities affect or don’t affect one’s voice/ health. It’s not the same for every person and hence, no specific restrictions.

Vocal fitness :

• Maintain body hydration; drink a lot of water daily. Also, Steaming is great for the voice as it provides direct hydration to your vocal cords.

• Avoid breathing smoggy, polluted air or things that irritate the throat. You can carry a handkerchief and cover yourself.

• Limit the use of your voice in noisy parties and noisy environments like planes.

• Avoid whispers. Sometimes, we squeeze our vocal cords tightly together to produce a whisper or clear our throat, which is more traumatic and causes more stress or irritation to the delicate vocal cords. Instead of whispering, you’d rather speak in proper tone. Avoid throat clearing and voiced coughing. When you feel like, you could try to dry swallow or have a good big sip of warm water. Sometimes, I also like to have Haldi milk (Turmeric/golden latte) or honey and ginger in water or beverages or in my food items. They help if you have some kind of irritation in the throat.

• Sometimes, we tend to speak too fast or without breathing well. You may avoid that by speaking in phrases rather than in paragraphs, and by breathing well, before each phrase.

Relaxation : 

Yoga and Meditation are great for singers and artists. Especially breathing exercises in Yoga like Kapalabhatti, Anuloma-Viloma and other pranayams, and Yoga Asanas or poses like Shavasana – Corpse pose, Sarvangasana – Shoulder stand, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) or any other poses that stretch and lengthen the spine, or broaden your chest, or focus on the core are great for singers. In terms of meditations, personally, i like the Vipassana Meditation and Chakra meditations, but you can also look up simple guided meditations on Youtube.

It helps to relax deeply, reduce muscle tensions, improve flexibility and blood circulation, helps to focus and concentrate better, enhances energy and strength, etc. It is also great for people with respiratory problems.

Corrective Practice Routine :

•Stretching, Body warm-ups, Breathing exercises followed by Vocal warm-ups like scales, trills, etc. should always be done prior to singing.

•Always relax any neck, jaw, face & shoulder tension while singing.

•Vocal cool-downs are also essential to keep the singing voice healthy. Some of the best ways are to just do lip trills and scales in descending order. Breathing exercises are great as cool downs too.

•A good, relaxed, aligned and noble posture must be maintained throughout to achieve free and full sound ! Read this amazing article on Breath and Posture by my teacher Gilles Denizot | Opera Labs

So that’s about it!

It’s so basic, that everyone can do, and with a little help, I strongly believe that everyone can sing too! If you have more suggestions to the voice care notes, please feel free to add them in the comments below 🙂

 

Happy singing ! 🙂

In the news !

Yay! Thank you Mansi Shanbag for the lovely article in Afternoon DC ( Pg 23) dated 7th Sept 2016!

For those who missed it, get to know a little more about me. Here you go :-

 

TRILLING, THRILLING, JILL OF ALL TRADES!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Mumbai-born and based Sharanya Natrajan has the titles of singer, songwriter, music producer and entrepreneur down to the dots. What’s more commendable, she even got Google’s stamp of approval with them writing a case study on her initiative: ‘Indian Anthem Project’. She has worked on ad-jingles, film music, and has collaborated with a slew of bands and artists. Afternoon D&C Feature Writer Mansi Shanbag got Sharanya Natrajan to talk about her more-than-impressive resumè.

How were you introduced to music in the first place?
The very initial introduction to music was, of course, through music being played at home by my mom and dad, and school group-singing activities. I was one of the kids who sang the National Anthem and ‘Vande Mataram’ on the mic daily for the school assembly. But the more serious introduction would be just after my graduation in 2010, through my first metal rock band called ‘Athanasia’, wherein I’d call myself as the female vocalist of the band.

What genre would you categorise your personal sound in?
My personal sound is Pop. Although it does have subtle influences from blues, soul & rock, it is majorly popular music.

Are you affiliated with any record labels or management companies?
I’m one of the artists with a MCN called ‘Qyuki Digital Media’.

Tell us about the various bands you are affiliated with?
Currently, I sing with an Alt Rock/Pop Rock band called ‘Spacehuggers’, a fusion project called ‘Soulnest’ & all my other collaborations with my friends under ‘Sherry and friends’. In the past, apart from the metal band Athanasia, I’ve also been a part of an English cover band called ‘Casual Affair’, electro-acoustic project called ‘Neonheads’, a Hindi-English covers mashup band called ‘The Hues’, and sung as a guest with ‘Cirkles’, ‘Kickstart freedom’, etc.

Tell us about your personal project?
My personal project is basically just putting my raw sounds and soul out there in the best possible way. These are songs that I have written, composed, arranged, and in the process of recording and producing them. I have plans to work with a few sessions’ musicians too, who will help me see this to completion. I’m excited!

How do you seem to manage and juggle multiple bands, as well as your own project?
Well, managing time has always been a fighter. I’ve always been doing multiple things or projects, which I’m extremely passionate about. I’ve made mistakes, been late sometimes, been stressed out and it can take a toll on you.  So, I’m still learning better ways to handle the juggling more smoothly and I try to stick to the purpose or the reason why I do, what I do. And when you really love something, you find time for it and either you find a way to do it or you make one!

Tell us about the Indian Anthem Project?
Indian anthem project is a very special project close to my heart and a tribute to my singing journey. The song that started as an acapella arrangement of my voices turned into a mass collaboration (now on YouTube) that involves 32 well-established singer friends of mine, singing the National Anthem ‘Jana gana mana’ over an SATB western choir arrangement of more than 100 crowd-sourced voices and videos sung by people from more than 7 countries, who I met via facebook and other social media networks. With the help of a few friends sitting in my bedroom, we set up a website and uploaded the backing track and dummy reference audios, along with Indian and western notations online, which anyone could easily download, learn and participate with or without their self-shot videos. The response, being organic, was astonishing! Later, the audio and video was compiled with help of sound engineer friends and Enzy Studio and many friends and Qyuki helped me to shoot some and compile and edit the videos. The buzz invited Google to look into it and they compiled a case study, featuring this story as Google’s ‘Top 35 Success Stories of the World’, and ‘ Top 3’ stories of India, in 2014. This whole project was conceived and executed in exactly a month.

Which has been your favorite song to record?
This is a tough one. My favorite song to record has been ‘Ranjha’ which I’m soon about to release. But apart from that, it’s a tough call between ‘Kaahe Bisrave’, which was recorded all live by the Australian producers Lachlan Magoo Goold and Yanto Browning, in a hotel room, and mixed and mastered in two hours. ‘Indian Anthem Project’ was also quite an experience in itself. They are both so close to my heart, with so many stories and memorable experiences during the recording journey, and I’m so grateful for both the experiences.

Who are your main influences. musically?
I am majorly influenced by absolutely varied artists like Imogen Heap, Tori Kelly, Nicole Scherzinger, Jeff Buckley, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Alt J, John Mayer, Norah Jones, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Nirvana, Skrillex, Western and Indian Classical Musicians.

Do you write music? Also, what are your commercial/mainstream experiences as a singer?
Yes, I do. Mostly, my bands work on originals either written by me or co-written with me. I’ve also sung a small bit in ‘Gulaab Gang’ and ‘Neerja’ and I’m excited about the duet I sang; a title track of a movie called ‘Khamiyaza’ set to release by the end of this year. I’ve done an English rap for a Haryanvi film song and some small bits for a couple of South Indian Movies. But I have a wider experience in singing for TV commercials and Radio Jingles. They’re all so fun !

What do you feel about the live music scene in Mumbai?
I think Mumbai has so much scope, so many artists, but not enough venues supporting live music, especially Indie Music. One of my favourite places that I loved performing at, was Bluefrog which has shut down. We need more such venues especially in the suburbs, that are open to all kinds of music and not just Bollywood.

What future plans do you have?
For now, I want to share my music and voice with more and more people. So, working on my songs, recording and releasing them is on the top of my chart, followed by performing more, and really getting out there to more cities and people across boundaries.

If not a musician, what would you be?
I really don’t know, I turned into a singer in 2010, songwriter in 2013 and a musician in 2016.

I am already so much more even now, with my knowledge and 17 years training in Bharat Natyam dance, 4 years of experience running an event management firm, some experience in music production, training and experience in recording techniques at Yash Raj Films, and experience in teaching music. And I’m excited to know what more I can be!

 


You can view the original article here : http://www.afternoondc.in/city-news/trilling-thrilling-jill-of-all-trades/article_176164

 

Indie 100 – releases their album featuring Soulnest

Soulnest is my fusion project with my amazing friend Shivangi Amrit. Our first song was P.S. I Love you / Goonj

This song has gone international. Last couple of month this song has been playing in more than 220 countries over 130 radio stations. Thank You Ralph Mueller from Australia for putting us on your indie Radio show ‘Ralphy’s Music of the world’, twice and Tina from Dee Rocks Radio, UK!

And now, we finally released our much awaited second single internationally with Indie100 – an independent music project. Indiearth and Earthsync collaborated with QUT (Queensland University of Technology), Brisbane, Australia and brought down 2 amazing multi award winning, star producers Yanto Browning and Lachlan Magoo Goold, to India who recorded, mixed and mastered 10 Indian indie songs!

We had the opportunity to get recorded by them live at Taj Connemara, Chennai where they put this whole magic together in just 2 hours ! Deep gratitude to the lovely musicians who came in, last minute, as sessions and brought our song to life! Shivangi and I, also thank Varshita and her parents for hosting us while we came down to Chennai for this ! Lots of love to you ! Now go hear the song, if you haven’t yet ! We are also excited for our friends who released their songs along with us on this album. Their songs are lovely too ! Do hear them !

Find our song here.

https://indie100.bandcamp.com/track/kaahe-bisraave-aint-nobody

‘Kaahe Bisraave / Aint Nobody’ Song Credits :

Indian Vocals : Shivangi Amrit

Western Vocals : Sharanya Natrajan

Composition and Arrangement : Shivangi Amrit and Sharanya Natrajan

Lyrics : Shivangi Amrit , Sharanya Natrajan and Varshita Ramesh

Keyboards : Keshuv Huria

Tabla : Saurabh Joshi

Bass : Conrad Simmons

Guitars : Merwyn Christopher

Drums / Cajons : Pradvay Sivashankar

Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Yanto Browning, Lachlan Magoo Goold and Rhys Tyack

Special thanks to Kristina Kelman from QUT, Australia,  Roy Dipankar & Rohan from Indiearth, Chennai, India for making this happen for us  !

Also, Yay ! We are in the media thank you Prem from the Hindu :

“As students of sound engineering, we were very excited to test some of their mics and recording equipment,” says Sharanya Natrajan of Soulnest. Along with Shivangi Amrit, the other half of the group, the duo recorded ‘Kaahe Bisrave/Ain’t Nobody,’ a bilingual fusion track, with Sharanya singing the English lyrics, and Shivangi in Hindi. Having put together the performing musicians in just a couple of days, the two were nervous, but Sharanya says, “The process was very easy, and they {Yanto and Magoo} were very encouraging.” She adds that they were excited about the Indian instruments used, particularly the tabla.

Read below:-

http://m.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/indie-music-for-the-soul/article8792082.ece

Love and peace !

 

My Magic number 3

I’ve been listening to / reading about the magic number three and it seemed apt to name my 3rd blog post as that! I also happen to be a number 3, being born in the month of March (yay Birthday month) on the 30th ! All leads to the number 3 !

So many updates!! So, this is what happens when you don’t blog for long!

In this blog, I shall divide my experiences into the magical 3 parts; World outside me, world inside me and love! Read on!

  1. The World outside of me !

Some really amazing women interaction happened, in the spirit of women’s day! Poo was in town, and we attended her lovely dance & musical play headed by another lovely talented lady named ‘Sharanya’ ! Eeeee yess! Its so rare to meet same named person for me, because its not like I have a very common name in Bombay! I probably know 3 of them now ! (the magic number!!)

Reena Soni this other lovely woman and fantastic friend, was in bombay for one whole day and we tried to catch up on months of gossip and what not! I have very rare but lovely girly moments with some of my girl friends and this one surely tops the list! Come back soon !! <3

And apart from this, I spoke at an event called ‘Voices’ initiated by SLP Women (energetic & fun bunch of women entrepreneurs) about my artistic and entrepreneurial journey ! That,…was very interesting! I don’t know if everyone were hooked to my face because i made sense or because they thought i was crazy and quite amusing with expressive eyes! but their nods and Yes’es were quite assuring 😉 Andddddd also, it was the first time I accompanied myself on the guitar and performed my original compositions for 15 minutes ! 🙂 🙂 Yes I’m still blushing about it !:-) 🙂

And then a ‘crazy, sleepless, roller-coaster songwriting ride’ happened with Kaly! Omg not only is this woman super duper talented but is also so much fun, with a fantastic sense of humour, is a lovely friend & an amazing soul!! And here is what we finally cooked together for the women’s day! please excuse our sleepy baffled looks and terrible lip sync attempts!

I love collaborations! Be it with Kaly, or my recent jams with unplugged boys at home, or the few pending project sessions that are lying in my Macbook Hard drive ( grr which i need to finish soon!). The best part about collaborations and playing music with different people is the different vibes each one bring, to music, to art and to the whole experience and every time the blend has a different essence and aftertaste.

Other kinds of Collabs, I’ve been having quite a few good productive meetings with Avish and Hemant, & hopefully we might be cooking something together soon! #Indieheart

2. The World Inside Me

Other than the experiences with the world outside me, there’s been quite some experiences with the one within! Alot of self observation has been happening! Like they say at Vipassana, be aware and equanimous all the time! So, I try to practice the “stay” or the balloon, or ‘gubbaar’ as i call it ! It means to stay in the moment, stay with the sensations, stay in the flow, stay with the breath like a helium balloon! Applying them to my daily practices and routine chores! Also, ever since i discovered one problem area (or may i put it as ‘an opportunity to improve’ area) during singing (i.e.the jaw tension), I’ve been working on consciously keeping it free and relaxed !

3. Love ( Compassion wala Not romantic wala :P) before you get wrong ideas ! I know some of you very well by now!

Only love is real! & I truly believe in it!

The new little kitty in my house is such a perfect example. We don’t know each other but she comes from no where and she has all our attention with the immense unconditional love she showers us with! Such an absolute lovebomb she is !

And we do have a tough time finding her an appropriate loving home ! We cannot keep her because our dogs haven’t and wont accept her! It’s been a week since this 6 week old bundle of joy has been a guest at ours, playing with us, taking all of us to task (in a good way) keeping us on our toes!! look at her !

Something wonderful happened today! Mom and I, went searching for a “billie wale baba” (Cat Man/ Saint- literal translation lol) that we were told about living across a lane in Charkop, sector 9!

And to our absolute surprise, we were so taken aback to see this old (almost under nourished) poor couple, taking care and giving food, medicines and shelter to more than 200 cats in his small shanty (‘jhopadaa’)! Mom and I asked him so many wh questions almost like we were interviewing him. We went back and donated 2 bags of cat food and ordered for more! We couldn’t believe such genuinely amazing and compassionate people exist! Infact, If you’ve been reading my last couple of FB posts about the cruelty to animals, my constant tags were #whereisthelove? #whereiscompassion?

Maybe this was an answer from the universe!

Now, I’m so moved by what he does, I want to do something for him and his cats! I want to do something with him! Maybe we could convert it into another Cat Cafe Studio or a Cat house with adoption center ! If you’re interested to help in any way including and especially monetary way, Ping me ! 🙂 Also, if you’d like to go visit, let me know!

Happy note to end the blog : Share the love! Spread love ! Cheers!

P.S. : If you know someone who is willing to adopt the little kitten please ping me ASAP!

Bonus kitty video below 😛

The Valentine week !

aye aye aye Raanjhaaa.. (humming – new song coming up)

Good afternoon (as i write & stop humming) Lovelies !

I’ve had a pretttay wonderful week, filled with grace, beauty, love, joy, art and so much music apart from 1 specific song playing in loop in my head & Car 😉 !

I’ve been working on a song for a while, and finallyyy, it has been Mixed & Mastered wonderfully by an amazing friend and beautiful soul Jerry Silvester Vincent! I’m so excited that I can’t wait for it to be released. Every time I hear this final version now, I feel like a helium balloon filled with happiness floating and bouncing 🙂

Thank you Jerry, you are such a rockstar!

It’s also been a pretty sweet bonding time with my new neighbourhood buds and their little pets! That reminds me, we’ve been on a binge with Coco (Guilty & will run 2 kms extra, I promise).

Apart from that, where I live, it’s pretty chill and cozy at nights & so I’ve spent them at home with my lovely parents and pets watching our love grow stronger, each day! (touchwood)

So… the big question ! Yes, I spent this year’s valentine’s day doing what I love the Most (& I hope you did too!) Music !! So many new souls of all ages (literally taught kids from 6 years to 41 years old adults), beautiful songs, gorgeous Pianos! My 1st day at Theme Music (Juhu) as the Western Vocal instructor!

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& You know what, the 6 year olds have a mind of their own! I’m serious !! And if you sit back, relax and listen to all that they have to say, you will know how beautiful they are !

The others astonish me as well! It is such a breath of fresh air to meet new artists young or old, with so much to offer! As I teach, I’m sure I have so much to learn! Looking forward to what this week has to offer !

Love Love

Over and Out

Sherry 🙂

 

P.S. : Last year, for Valentines, My friend Shivangi Amrit & I collaborated on a beautiful original composition called P.S. I love you / Goonj ! Check it out if you haven’t!

My 1st blog ! Yay!

Hellloooo Rosebuds and welcome to my blog!!!

 

I’m going to try and keep this unfiltered & unedited & give myself a chance to open up to you and for you, to get to know me up close and personal. Lately, my friends have been complaining of not knowing what’s happening in my life, unless its on social media, youtube, soundcloud or other media! And some others have been accusing me of being too secretive and shutting the world out! Artists can be that and I’m not denying! But here is a chance to make up for that & what better opportunity than a blog on my site!

 

Though I’ve never done this before, I’m going to try out new things! New things are always fun! You never know what you are about to discover unless you try!

 

I’m not sure where to start from, since a lot has happened in the past. Some awesome things like a lot of recording, commercial projects, personal collaborations, lot of learning, I’ve been working with 2 brilliant vocal coaches/ friends Varun & Akshay while my vocal guru Gilles Denizot is away, I’ve been traveling, having fun, a lot of happy moments with family and friends, but I also have my share of downs and sad moments, lost close ones, many friends turned strangers and strangers turned friends, shit happens and you get yourself together and move on. 🙂 Circle of life!

 

Some quick mentions:

1. These awesome Australian producers Lachlan Magoo Goold and Yanto Browning selected our indie composition and recorded and produced my friend Shivangi and me, with a fun bunch of musicians who helped us out. The song is now under post production & will be out worldwide, in the month of April 2016 tentatively! Fingers crossed!

 

2. I had an experience worth a lifetime on my roadtrip to the North East of India with a crazy bunch of creative folks. This project was led by Jay called the #RtxProject and we did a lot of creative, artsy, lovely music stuff with the bunch of travellers as well as the cool local guys at Kohima, Dimapur, Majuli, Dawki, Guwahati & Shillong !

 

3. Right after that outdoor adventure, was another adventure on the inside! An interesting course called Vipassana at Igatpuri (near Nashik) where you remain silent for 10 days and cut out from the world to embark on a beautiful journey within you! I also made a new bunch of awesome girl friends there !! & Now, we have a whatsapp group! So Cool! Go technology!!

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These experiences tend to change people and are pretty powerful! We are learning constantly, but these experiences accelerate learning at different levels altogether. So go travel, go meet new people, collaborate, explore art & music, go play, stay still, meditate, flow! Its brilliant and I’m so grateful to have had them!

 

Ever since I got back, life has become even more interesting!!! I ran my 1st small marathon 10km (yeah i actually physically ran) and completed it!! I started learning to play the guitar. The bouts of creative inspiration have led me to write some new material for my new songs! Also, I’ve been recording a lot of TV & Radio jingles and Voice Overs lately! Which means, Yay, you will soon hear my voice !!! Ones to look out for – Jumbo King Vadapav, Peter England, Talwalkars, Enrich Salon, & Crossword bookstore.

 

 

ALSO!! I did backing for a song called ‘Darr se’ for the movie featuring Sonam Kapoor called ‘Neerja’ which will be out anyday now! Oouuhh!!! soo excited !!!

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Small things are happening! It’s been a great Sunday so far and today I finally watched the movie ‘The Last song” that features Miley Cyrus! Its such a cute film and I’m sure most of the girls will agree. It’s a pretty neat film to spark the valentine spirit in you !

 

More from me, very soon!

 

Lots of love, light and good vibes !

Sherry.