Hi everyone. Jeff Weber, here. I have been proud to serve as a WCOPA judge for many years.
Perhaps you have seen me recently as a finals judge. Perhaps you have attended one of my seminars.
I have been producing music, concerts and festivals for many years and I thought I would share a few insights into what music judges like myself prefer.
Song selection is by far the most important component of a successful audition. A fantastic song can elevate even the most mediocre of singers, while a poor song choice can decimate even the most talented of singers.
A fatal mistake that many contestants make is to select a huge, over the top ballad that requires the vocalist to sing in a booming voice culminating in a huge crescendo of false emotion. While that may work for judges who are not in the music industry, it has quite the opposite effect for those of us in the music industry. Especially me!
I find that singers who select these types of songs may possibly have wonderful technique but have little or no understanding of the lyric content of the song. A song’s emotional impact on the listener is never derived from technique.
In my world, a singer has to connect with a song emotionally. The lyric has to speak deeply to a vocalist for him or her to deliver a heartfelt rendition. I don’t mean loud! I’m talking about passion. I’m talking about dynamics. There has to be a commitment to the lyric that is borne of sheer desire and understanding.
If you are fortunate enough to have proper technique and a bold, voluminous voice, treat that bold volume as a secret weapon! If you bring it out sparingly, when the song requires a certain pinch of dramatic emphasis, it becomes an incredibly powerful tool for you. Please remember that a great song is a mixture of predictability and surprise.
But, to sing a song with excessive volume throughout your performance does not allow the song to breathe. The song has no place to go. It actually feels like you are attacking the listener! As a judge, it’s exhausting!
A song has to be nurtured, caressed and even seduced by a vocalist. A song has to breathe. The singer has to deliver a well of emotion that the listener can feel. Notice, I didn’t say “hear.” I said “feel.” A song is all about the feel. To just “sing” the song is not to understand the song’s meaning. Believe it or not, the audience can tell if you are just “singing” the song. If you are “feeling” the song, audiences can feel as you feel. They can share your passion and commitment. They can even share the intimacy of your delivery. You’ll have them in the palm of your hand! As judges, you’ll have us in the palm of your hand, too.
Sing us a song you believe in with the passion of your beliefs, and we’ll believe it, too. That’s all we need.
And, one final bit of advice – every time you sing a song, no matter where and no matter when, sing the song, no – feel the song, as if it was your last day on this planet, and this single moment in time will be the legacy you leave behind for family and friends. It’s that important.
Hope to see you at the next WCOPA competition. I want to meet you, so if you see me there, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself!
Jeffrey Weber has been a widely-recognized music industry professional for more than 40 years. He has produced more than 200 CDs with releases on just about every major label as well as a host of independent labels. Along the way, his projects have yielded two Grammys, seven Grammy nominations, at least 17 top 10 albums, two number one albums and an assortment of other honors. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1634816