Tips on Live Performance and Artistry from Sirintip

Sirintip Live Performance
Accomplished singer-songwriter Sirintip shares insights on vocal effects, vocal health and performance.

Sirintip is a riveting singer who has toured with Snarky Puppy, opened for Wayne Shorter and has just released her debut album, GroundUP – produced by three time Grammy Award Winner Michael League.

She bridges the gap between pop and jazz, using uniquely rich vocal effects melding with traditional instrumentation. We asked her to share insights on using vocal effects, developing vocal technique and working with a band.

What performance would you single out as being a “turning point” & why?

Probably my performance at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Before that, I didn’t have the full support from friends and family for leaving Sweden to the US to pursue jazz. Especially since what I do artistically is pretty different from what most people are exposed to, it’s always been hard for my family to understand what I’m trying to do. For a long time, I had family members wondering about how come I still didn’t sound like Celine Dion or become “famous” after so many years in music school. But after the competition, most of them accepted it and realized that their personal taste is no measurement for quality nor success.

A vocal artist who has inspired you?

Bobby McFerrin, particularly the way he uses his voice as an instrument. 

What has Bobby McFerrin done that’s opened up a vocal/musical possibility for you?

I especially love when he accompanies a song like a bass. Since my range isn’t as low as a male singer, I wasn’t physically capable of avoiding the range-clashes that would happen while accompanying another instrument. That’s when I started to look into guitar pedals and found one that takes my voice down two octaves. McFerrin is also one of my main inspirations behind me getting the rest of my pedal effects since it allows me to camouflage my voice and be one with the band instead of always the lead instrument.

Sirintip’s Pedals for Live Performance | Photo: Stella K.

What’s an activity (or quote, book) that inspires you?

Showers. I start most of my songs in the shower.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in terms of vocal health or technique?

The connection between the body and the mind. A happy & healthy mind/body = happy & healthy voice. And hydration!

Habits, practices, ideas that have had a great impact on your life?

I love to start my warmups with yoga, meditation and grounding exercises. My breathing used to be shallower and I couldn’t always execute what I wanted to do technically or artistically. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening despite all my training. But once I started to work with my body, become more aware, connect with it – then all the vocal tools started to fall into place, and I could be more consistent in my performance level. 

What is a vocal technique change that has led you to a stronger, more resilient voice?

The body and mind connection for sure.  During our childhoods, we might have been taught to not yell or make certain sounds. Having learned these kinds of restrictions can hold our singing back. That was the case for me since I was taught at a young age to not be loud. I just needed to connect with myself again on how it felt be angry, excited, demanding – and how to communicate those feelings with my voice instead of just keeping it all inside. This has helped my singing communication become more authentic. So, it’s about not only working on vocal technique, but also the emotional side of the picture.  If you remind your body about the emotional connection of speaking, yelling, calling, sobbing (etc.) you’re more likely to be able to execute your singing in the way that’s authentic to you. 

If you had to pick just one vocal exercise, practice technique or warmup, what would it be?

Straw phonation – aka a type of S.O.V.T. exercise.

What performance was a “turning point” & why?

Going on tour with Snarky Puppy. Having them as my backup band was a dream come true. Their level of professionalism, musicianship and listening is out of this world. I’ve always had the benefit of playing with incredible musicians. But there’s something else about playing with a band that has toured nonstop for the last 15 years. Their interaction, respect, responsiveness to each other’s playing, and attention to detail is what makes them so good. The magic lies in the details; take away that deep listening to each other and the magic is gone.

The magic lies in the details. 

– Sirintip

Some lessons you’ve learned as a singer working with a backing band?

It’s important to know how to communicate how you’d like your music to be played in musical terms such as being able to count off, knowing your key, and developing your ear to listen to the band while singing. There’s also having knowledge about the instruments in your band to share specifics about how you might want the drum groove to be played or at least to be able to sing the groove you have in mind, creating clear charts and making simple demos. 

What’s key to making the band experience work for you?

It’s important to have people skills to create the most inspiring workspace. Yes, running a band is a business, but you can’t view it as that. A band is like a team. Everyone needs to be on the same page and working for the same goals to be able to create a successful show together. Respect and listening is crucial. However, it’ll be easier to work as a team if you know how to communicate your goals as clearly as possible while also being open to suggestions. 

What’s the biggest dream/goal you have set for yourself as an artist?

To tour around the world with my music and meet/work with people from different cultures. However now with climate crisis we’re facing, I’m not sure if flying around is my priority anymore. I’m therefore working on another idea that I can’t share yet, that I hope to make public in conjunction with my album release. 

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