Featured Instructor: Juliet Russell

Headshot of Juliet Russell instructor at Singdaptive
Singdaptive’s teaching team includes a resident vocal coach on The Voice, UK.

Juliet Russell is a singer, composer, choir MD and vocal coach. She has written music for film, television and radio. She has performed worked with innovative artists including Paloma Faith, Damon Albarn, M.I.A, Imogen Heap and Bollywood composer Aadesh Shrivastava in Mumbai. 

Her tour & solo album “Earth Meets Sky” involved collaborations with artists and choirs across the UK. Juliet is also the Musical Director of Assemble.

A quote that inspires you?

My close friend (and fellow Singdaptive coach) Simone Niles often talks about building the plane as you fly and that’s very much my philosophy. Just start and build as you go – you’ll learn skills as you encounter new challenges and eventually you’ll be looping the loop.

Which Singdaptive lesson of yours you would like most singers to see first?

Whichever one you are drawn to – I trust your instincts.

You can find all of Juliet Russell’s lessons and courses at Singdaptive.com

The lesson you found it most difficult to create for Singdaptive.

Without doubt, it’s the tongue one, as it looks so horrible on camera! It can be useful to work with the tongue though.

The lesson you found it most easy to create for Singdaptive + why

Probably the vocal techniques for choirs videos, as we were with a real life choir and I just had to do “me”.

Watch a preview of Juliet’s “Reduce Tongue Tension for Singing”

Something that happened off-screen when creating a Singdaptive lesson that you’re glad isn’t on screen!  

I’ve got a brilliant out take video where my dog starts having a bad dream and making weird noises, and then the cat knocks into the tripod.

An object (at home) that inspires you in your creative work

I’ve got some ammonites (shell fossils) – one that my dad bought me and one that my husband bought me; I love them because they are prehistoric, absolutely beautiful and have lasted for millennia. It’s a bit like standing by the sea, remembering you’re here for a blink of an eye so stay connected with your life’s purpose and try to make the world a little bit better than it is now.

A key turning point in developing your vocal work?

In relation to performing, realizing that it’s not really about me at all, it’s about getting in the right space so you can connect with the music, feel it and share that feeling with your audience. 

What is your top tip for singers for honing their expressive skills?  

Be courageous and be open and honest. It takes courage to show yourself and to be vulnerable while also projecting a ‘performance self.’ Also, get out there and perform. There are things you learn on stage that the best vocal coaches in the world cannot teach you. There’s so much you can learn through experience – so gift yourself those experiences.

Practice and awareness of onsets will help choirs to achieve the blend and “feel” for the music that they are aiming for.

Something someone told you that inspired you in your singing work?

In terms of leading by example, working with both Jennifer Hudson and Sir Tom Jones has inspired me. They are always ready to sing. If you’re a singer, always be ready to sing. 

What performance or artistic production of yours would you single out as being a “turning point” & why?

There have been lots, but because it’s the most recent I would say producing Blue Monday. It was such a labour of love to pull it together during the pandemic, and a hugely collaborative process. It marks a turning point in terms of setting out Assemble’s artistic intent and my skills as a vocal arranger and producer.

What performance did you attend that would you single out as being a “turning point” in your creative work & why?

So many! Stand out performances have been Prince, Stevie Wonder, Björk, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, David Bowie and I love Laura Mvula. I saw/ heard her perform again a couple of weeks ago. She’s fantastic live. Her voice is monumental. Recently I’ve seen Georgia play live and she’s great as a solo performer – a drummer as well as a singer and producer.  Self-Esteem is really great live too – another drummer / songwriter / vocalist. I’m looking forward to her album. Plus I saw an artist called Joel Culpepper at Wilderness festival. He’s really soulful and had the audience rapt throughout. Having said all that, you can find magic at an open mic night. Music is magic!

What are some of your career dreams/goals?

To bring creativity, positivity and inclusivity to whatever I work on and whoever I work with. That’s a lifelong work in progress. A lot of my goals at the moment are about creation and completion. I’m creating a lot of new music and new resources for singers. With both I’m spending as much time as it takes on the process and the production.

I love collaborating and recording so more vocal arranging for albums, performances and films would be amazing.

A question you wished we had asked – and your answer :-)

Q: Would you like VIP tickets to Coachella next year? 

A: Yes please – and thank you so much.

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