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Can This Course Help A Parodist?

First, please forgive this post as it will likely be long.

I found this site after searching for a local vocal coach in the Canton, Ohio area. The reason I was doing such a search is simple- I'm probably in way over my head and need help.

My name is Wild Bill, and I'm a musical Parodist- like Weird Al Yankovic. However, there is one big difference- I have a good voice. Weird Al is a great singer but doesn't have a great voice. Lyrically, our work is in the same league. However, due to my vocal range and ability I can take on songs that he cannot. Mind you, I state this of my own opinion. I have never had any vocal training of any kind in my 50 years.

Parody singing isn't like what folks typically do as professional singers. As a Parodist, I have to sing across many genres and styles; often having to imitate the style of a popular singer as opposed to, 'making it my own'. This perspective may seem counter-intuitive to a professional singer but is absolutely essential to my craft.

So why am I in over my head? Well, I finally had the guts to audition for America's Got Talent. I submitted one of my videos to the producers and then signed up for the auditions in Cleveland that occurred on December 10th of 2016. I figured that I'd just be part of the mill and be done with it. Well, that isn't what happened. At this point, I have had my private audition with the executive producers and will know within two weeks whether I will be performing before the celebrity judges.

There has never been a Parodist on AGT and therefor my only competition is Weird Al. Also, as a Parodist I have to sing songs that the viewing audience would be familiar with. Thus they must either be songs that are well known on such shows (AGT, X Factor, etc) or songs that are simply part of the cultural furniture of the English-speaking world. Due to this, I have chosen to parody through the course of the competition the following songs through to the finals:

"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
"Make You Feel My Love" by Adele
"Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles
"Play The Funky Music" by Wild Cherry
"Nessun Dorma" by Puccini
"So Many Words" by Extreme

As you can see, this is an extremely broad brush stroke of genre and I'm quite uncertain if I can even be helped at this age- especially with the opera. Am I doomed? I may have less than 7 months before I have to sing opera on live national TV before 10+ million viewers and I'm freaking out. Is it even possible to get to that level? I know I'll never be a Pavarotti, but if I can at least get to the Paul Potts level (who also will never be a Pavarotti) I may stand a chance. Can Ken's course help or will I need some one-on-one help to accomplish this in such short time?

As an example, this is the video that I sent to the producers. Please forgive the extremely poor video and audio quality as it was recorded/made using some extremely cheap equipment by a guy (me) that was ignorant on how to use it.



-Wild Bill


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    Howdy, @WildBill!

    Are you familiar with Anthony Vincent of 10 Second Songs? He's a KTVA alumnus and he sings in a lot of styles. Here's a few samples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEMPszVD3uk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjTUKNhoQ58 Anthony was right here on the forums a few years ago, asking for help with the course. Now look at him.

    So can the course help you? Sure. Does it teach parody? No. But what you learn can be applied to do better parody.

    Depending on how badly you want this, I would recommend doing the course, AND getting skype sessions with Ken, one-on-one. You could just do the skype sessions, but he would be training you on his basic principles at the hourly rate, so it would be more efficient for you to cover that on your own time, using his course, and then zeroing-in on details that you want to go over one-on-one.

    Ken has performed many of the tunes you plan to do, so he has personal insight on how to pull off great renditions of songs like This Love, Nessun Dorma, Funky Music, and more. So he's already worked out a lot of powerful details on how to perform those very songs. No local coach is going to have chops like Ken's on songs as varied as those that you want to do.

    Think about it.

    All the Best, and good luck with the competition!

  • AlyonaAlyona Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 288
    Cool that you are doing parody! Of course Ken's technique will help a lot!) ))
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