Posts Tagged ‘singer’

Marc Reeves live – Remember Me album launch party (full set)

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Neath The Beeches – The Frames (folk acoustic rock Glen Hansard singer songwriter)

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Jealous Guy by John Lennon – UK singer songwriter acoustic male

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Singing tips for those bad vocal days!

We all have them right? Whether it’s a cold, sore throat, dehydration or any number of other causes – all singers have their off days. Sometimes it happens for no apparent reason, often due to lack of sleep and/or stress. As I’m currently struggling with ongoing sinus problems (or at least that’s what the doctor tells me) I thought I’d share with you the tricks I’ve learned to deal with those off days, and also how to minimise them:

1) Sleep well, maintain a balanced, healthy diet – seems pretty obvious, right? You would think so, but it’s amazing how many of us don’t get enough sleep, or neglect our diet. I’m not the best at keeping on top of either – but it’s amazing how much better I feel when I am well slept and eating decent meals!

2) Drink LOTS of water – again, pretty obvious. But again many people don’t drink enough water – especially singers. You should be drinking more than 8 glasses a day. I find it’s helpful to keep a big bottle of water by my side, especially on the day of a show- that way I can stay constantly hydrated. This is probably the easiest step of them all, and yet the one that has the biggest difference!

3) Lemon & Ginger – both are great for a rough throat of for fighting a cold. Try ginger and lemon fruit teas – or squeeze some fresh lemon and mix it with boiled water, honey, and a bit of ginger. It tastes great and really helps soothe your throat and clear out your airways.

4) Vocalzone tablets – these things are great! They’re essentially a mixture of menthol, myrrh tincture (I think?) and other good stuff. Tom Jones and other famous singers use these. Simply take one about 10 minutes before you go on stage. They are very soothing and help you to relax when you sing. You can get them from most pharmacists and health food stores, as well as music shops. In the UK they’re about £3.50 for a pack of 24 tablets, so they’re not bad value.

5) Vocal warm ups. Just as an athlete needs to warm up their bodies before an event, so they don’t strain themselves, a singer should warm up their vocal chords. If you can, before practicing or playing a show, you should do warm ups for 10-15 minutes. I usually last 5 or 10 before I get bored! (haha)

Some simple excercises are A) humming. Start with the note you can hum with the smallest amount of effort. Keep humming that note for a few minutes. Once your voice starts to relax, starting moving up the scale. Don’t push your voice, do it gradually, and don’t force yourself out of your range. B) vocal trills or rolls. I’m not going to try to explain this – here’s a video instead as it’ll be easier for you to grasp:


Just doing these simple excercises can go a long way in making your singing life much easier. It doesn’t stop there though and there a lot more excercises and vocal techniques you can learn – which is why may professional singers opt for singing lessons.

6) Quit smoking, quit drinking – although both are considered to be equally bad for the voice, most people don’t drink alcohol constantly throughout the day, whereas many smokers smoke throughout. I used to smoke and quitting was the best thing I did. I found it surprisingly easy to quit, but it may be worth you seeking help from your GP if you’re struggling.
As for alcohol – I still drink socially every now and then, but I refrain from drinking at shows until after I’ve performed. All I’d say on this one is be sensible – your wallet will thank you for it anyway!

7) Vitamin supplements – they will help strengthen your immune system, and Vitamin C can help prevent colds. Right now I’m taking Vitamin C and Vitamin B tablets. The Vitamin C tablets are chewable and taste yummy.

Obviously this is all suggestions based on personal experience, and if you are having ongoing vocal problems it is best to go see a doctor or ENT specialist and try to get to the root cause. I am certainly no expert and not qualified to give proper advice. These tips are generally aimed at people who have the odd off day, rather than someone with ongoing issues.

Hope someone finds this helpful, just thought I’d share some thoughts with you :)

All the best,

Marc. 2.0! level up!

So my website just got some rare candy and has now leveled up!

Yes people, I now have this fancy, automatically updated news feed right on the home page. Thanks to some user suggestions (those mainly being from Fee Tunes – cheers!) I’ve de-cluttered the home page quite a bit, leaving only the most relevant and up to date content. I realise I was trying to cram too much in before. Now you can just see what I’m up to and listen to my album – the rest of my content is left for you to explore elsewhere on the site, rather than having it shoved in your face the moment you type into your browser :P

There are some minor tweaks elsewhere – including some subtler changes to the nav bar, which I think you’ll all appreciate :) I’ve also got tweet buttons around the site now, as well as the facebook ‘like’ buttons, so all you tweeters out there can tweet to your hearts content!

Obviously anytime any major renovations to the site take place there’s going to be some needed tweaking here and there, as I learn what/what doesn’t work – so expect thing to maybe change a bit over the coming weeks.

Any suggestions? Anything you want changed or like/don’t like? drop me a line at or head over to my Facebook page and post on the wall :)

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Anger at education system leads to obsessive music making…do I win?

The Kala Sessions. A result of frustration and the need to unwind.

So from Friday 19th March – Sat 20th I was holed up in my bedroom making music. It feels like I haven’t done that in a while. I mean after making my album Perfectly Fine I was pretty tired of recording and mixing. I’ve still been doing it as I’ve been writing a lot of new music lately, and I’m slowly working on another album – but these two days were different. I sat down and wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered two songs in two days. The album has just been bits here and there so far. This time however I was in a total creative zone where for those 48 hours the music just totally took over. I haven’t enjoyed that feeling in a while – just being impulsive and making some music, without really any purpose or taking into account the outcome. I just did it for the there and then, and it really helped take my mind off things.

You see, long story short, I’d had a bad week. For those of you who don’t know, I’m doing a degree in music technology. Last week I got my marks back from a big sound to picture (creating sound effects and a score for film trailers) module and they were a major shock. Apparently I had handed in the video files in the wrong format (ie the audio and video files were sepearate, but that was because there were two different audio mixes.)

Yes, the educational system does not like it when things aren’t submitted correctly. Even when you’ve quite clearly done the work, spent countless hours on it, & the evidence of that is plain to see. Nevertheless, the wrong-formatting led to me being passed on the whole module because it was technically ‘late’ (if you don’t hand things in on time in uni land, you can only get a pass.) Even though in reality it wasn’t late at all.

What good is an educational system that treats people who work extremely hard in this way? Deadlines are there to ensure work is done on time – and if it is but there’s a technical hitch then surely leniency should be allowed? I mean really, does everyone just have to blindly follow the rules even when it’s obvious my kind of mistake was clearly not why they were put there in the first place?

I don’t know, I’ve worked so hard on this course, and this mark could potentially change my whole grade for the year as it’s worth like 15% of our overall mark. Gutted would be an understatement :(

Aaaaaaaaaanyway, the point is my frustration led me saying to myself fuck it, I’m gonna spend a bit of time enjoying myself being creative, and forget about my uni work while I can.

So after finishing these tracks I wondered what to do with them. Do I hold them back for the next album? I mean these songs were just a bit of spontaneous fun, do I really want to take them further in that respect?

Well the answer was no, so I’ve just decided to put them out as a free download.

They’re available HERE from & also at




Just a little background info on these recordings for those interested. Waiting for You was recorded totally live with just me and my Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele. I Want Out was recorded by recording my ukulele first, and then overdubbing my vocals. The organ was also overdubbed as unfortunately i’m lacking in the the ability to play guitar and organ simulatenously :( Oh and the bass again for the same reason.

For you tech-heads it was recorded with an Audio Technica AT2020 LDC microphone and a Takstar & Red 5 Audio SDC mics, through a Echo Layla 3G audio interface into Pro Tools 9. All the mixing & mastering was done in Pro Tools also.

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