Allow me to introduce Joseph Eid, a prolific and profound songwriter and singer based in the Los Angeles area, but can be seen on tour worldwide. Joseph has been named one of the 100 Hottest Live Unsigned Artists of 2012, 2013, and 2014 by Music Connection Magazine. You can hear what the well-deserved buzz is all about on his debut album Human. Joseph’s warm and honest voice brings the listener into his thoughtfully sweet and cuttingly insightful lyrics. I’m excited to share his professional insight and tips on singing and songwriting with all of you!

SS: Do you have a process to your songwriting you have found to be the most effective? If so, what is it?

 JE: I don’t really.  It is a great mystery.  Sometimes I will get a concept and then I’ll sit down and start playing a chord progression and words will just start to come out.  Instead of trying to think about it, I let whatever wants to come out come out and sometimes record it.  The subconscious is an ocean. I like to approach songwriting in that way first.  Once I get the idea, then I bring in my brain to try to make sense of it all. But I let it start in the unknown first.  But there are times where I will sit with a strong feeling about a situation and try to write about it too. No formula. just being present.

SS: What would be your tip for other aspiring songwriters out there on how to write a song?

JE: Write what you know. write from your own personal experiences and the things that are uniquely you.  The more personal a song is, the more universally it connects.  Don’t write for others.  Write for you and watch how others will connect.  We all feel the same things and go through the same experiences so people connect to the truth.

SS: Do you have a favorite songwriter and why?

JE: Yes. The band Indigo Girls – Amy Wray and Emily Sailers.  They write from the heart but their songs are more than just songs about love and life.  There are deep messages in the songs that teach.  I love songwriters that teach me things and their intent was never to do that but the songs that come through them are bigger than them.  They are universal truths that can be a road map for others.  That’s the mystery I love about songwriting.  Sometimes you write something and go “wow i can’t believe I wrote that…it’s wisdom.”  and hey, maybe you didn’t write it alone.  We are working with a greater source.

SS: Do you have any rituals before you perform to get your voice ready?

JE: Yes.  The day of my show I make sure I do a solid 20 minute warm up working out all of my range. I do this not right before I perform but a few hours before the show.  Then before I play i do a quick 3 to 5 minute warm up, whether it be lip trills or a couple of scales.  If the venue, situation, or time doesn’t allow for that then I know I’m still OK because I did my workout earlier in the day.

SS: What is your go to vocal trick?

JE: The Ventriloquist. . . learned this from my vocal coach Roger Burnley.  You can do it anywhere, anytime.  I try to get the notes and sounds out that I want without moving my lips, or any muscles on my face.  That always gets me vocally in the closer to the place i need to be.

SS: What have you learned about your voice you didn’t know 5 years ago?

JE: I learned that I can sing and sing and sing for hours and not get tired or hoarse. Years ago I used to think that the voice gets tired after singing for an hour or so and needs a break or that it’s painful to sing night after night for hours.  Since then, with a little more technique and experience under my belt, I find that the voice only gets strong and better the more you use it.  I recently had to play two back to back 2 hour shows, solo, just me and my guitar.  I can honestly say that I never got hoarse, tired, and my voice kept getting even stronger.  It’s how you sing.  If the technique is right you should be able to sing on and on.  Valuable lesson for me and it broke the old myth I used to believe that the voice needs to be saved and rationed.

SS: Any advice for other singers on how to maintain and improve their voice so they can sing and sing and sing?

JE: I really am a strong advocate of finding a voice coach that you trust and enjoy working with.  Even if you just go in for a tune-up once a month or once every two months (whatever you can afford), it’s worth it.  Because to have a voice technician watch what you are doing and make you aware of any bad habits is priceless.  They can give you tools to help you preserve your voice and make sure you are not doing something that later down the line is going to give you problems.

SS: Any dos and don’t for singing?

JE: My theory is if you can’t hit a note while you are quietly sitting in a chair and singing it softly, then you should not be trying to hit that note on stage.  If you don’t have the control to own it quietly then don’t scream it or push it out night after night.  That will lead to problems.  Once you know you own a run or a note or song and you can sing it softly, then you can kill it on stage or in a recording and know you got it…that you don’t have to rely on a trick or a certain emotion, etc.. to get it.  DO drink lots of water.  DON’T sing drunk or high.  When you are not sober, you tend to do things vocally like pushing and things in general that you wouldn’t otherwise do and then you wake the next morning feeling hoarse.  Oh and DON’T be in a loud bar the night before a show scream talking with friends.  The next day, you will feel it.

SS: Great advice on singing dos and don’ts. Who is your favorite singer?Singing With Sonnet Joseph Eid

JE: Ok so yeah, Bono is one of my favorite vocalists.  Everything he sings he sings with great passion and truth.  I believe every word.  There is a very unique quality to his voice that makes you know it’s undeniably him and I think that is a beautiful thing.  A voice is like someone’s soul and should sound like no other. He has great control and i love how all the notes are forward and resonate there whether he is singing high, low or anywhere in between.  It’s all connected all the time.

SS: Any upcoming shows? What are you working on now?

JE: I have been hosting my own night at a place called 55 Degree Wine.  It’s a night that I call The Song Village.  I book the night with 2 other artist and I also perform in it.  It’s a great vibe and right now it’s on every 3rd Tuesday of the month in Los Angeles (Atwater Village to be exact).  I’ll be going to NYC to do a show on July 2nd there and also a few other shows in that area.  Been writing a lot of new stuff and hoping to get back in the studio to start recording my next album later this year.

SS: Exciting!! Okay – Best piece of advice you have received about singing?

JE: Only sing what moves you.  Sing the songs that give YOU chills. Because that is the only way you can give others that feeling.  If you feel it, everyone else will.

SS: Of all your advice and singing tips, what is your #1 tip you would like to add to the singers tip page.

JE: Whatever you want to sing and want to master singing full out, first know that you can sing it softly and master it quietly.  If you can do that with control and hit every note and be able to move through the song with ease when you are quiet, then you know you will be able to nail it with any style and take it to the max.

I love writing songs.  It’s the most exhilarating part of the process for me.  It is a gift that I am so grateful for and a mystery that keeps unfolding.  I enjoy sharing the lessons and stories that come through me.

Thank you Joseph for sharing your personal experience, tips, and tricks. You have some real-life applicable tips and knowledge about the voice and songwriting that show your expertise and materful use of your talent and skill.

Want to see Joseph live? Follow his tour schedule, listen to his music, and say hi @ twitter,facebook, or IG or www.josepheidmusic.com.

Comment, join the conversation, share your tips…@sonnetmusic

I had the pleasure of meeting and performing with Dina Valenz in Portland, OR last year for Matt Boydston record release show. It was a fantastic night of music and talented performers. Dina’s songs were playful and sharp and her voice carried her songs with strength and a beautiful sound all her own.

Dina is a Los Angeles based singer songwriter, who recently released her EP “With My Shades On”. If you get a chance to catch one of her shows, you will be in for a real treat. Here is what Dina has to share about her singing and songwriting.

SS: Do you have any rituals before you perform to get your voice ready?

DV: I do a couple vocal exercises and sing along to a few of my favorite happy songs to get psyched up for the show.

SS: What is your go to vocal trick?

DV: Not really a trick but I try to make sure I’m good and warm before a performance. That includes sipping on hot tea with honey.

SS: What have you learned about your voice you didn’t know 5 years ago?

DV: Don’t force anything. If I am performing a challenging song and I can sense that my voice isn’t at it’s best that day, I will readjust and maybe go into falsetto instead of belting out the high note etc. There was a time when I felt like I had to push through to get the best performance but as long as the energy is there and you’re not straining the performance won’t suffer.

SS: Any advice for other singers on how to maintain and improve their voice?

DV: It’s important to give your vocal muscles a good work out. Sing everyday but be sure you warm up first.

SS: Any dos and don’t for singing?

DV: Don’t be afraid to try new things.

Do let yourself feel the emotions of the song.

Don’t get too caught up in the technique.

Do have fun!

DV: My favorite singer of all time is Jewel. She has a very unique sound to her voice and has great range. The thing I like most about her is that she’s raw. She has an incredible voice but she’s not afraid to let everyone hear the notes that don’t sound so pretty. She lets her emotions come through in her performances and does not hide behind filters and auto tune even in the studio.

SS: Any upcoming shows? What are you working on now?

DV: I’ve been busy with the release of my newest EP “With My Shades On” which is currently available on itunes, amazon & streaming. I’ve been doing a number of shows in promotion of this record which have been really fun! The next big thing I have coming up is a showcase at the Orange County Fair on August 1st where I’ll be playing the Meadows Stage.

SS: Best piece of advice you have received about singing?

DV: Be yourself. Try not to sing like other people. If your voice has a unique sound, that’s great! It makes you different and helps you stand out in the crowd. It took me a long time to be comfortable with my own voice. Coming away from vocal classes I thought I should sound like the Disney princesses and thought I was doing something wrong because I didn’t have a strong soprano voice. I’m glad I met the right people along the way to guide me and help me feel confident with the big belty voice that I have. Now I feel like I can perform any type of music with the knowledge that I can make it my own.

SS: Of all your advice and singing tips, what is your #1 tip you would like to add to the singers tip page.

DV: Going along with the previous question I would say my #1 tip is not to get too caught up in technique. It’s important to know the fundamentals but be sure you are being true to your own voice and be proud of it.

SS: Do you have a process to your songwriting you have found to be the most effective? If so, what is it?

DV: I’m a melody person. I always have my cell phone near by so I can record anything that may pop in my head at any given moment. When I sit down to write I will usually go to my voice memos and see which melody stands out and go from there. The melody will give me the direction that the song needs to go and then I work on the lyrics and craft the story.

SS: Do you have a favorite songwriter and why?

DV: Yes! 3 and they’re brothers who were big in the 90s. Yea that’s right Hanson! lol I’ve been a huge fan of theirs since they came on to the music scene in the 90s and have continued to be a big fan of their music until now. The melodies that these guys come up with are incredible. Everything is hooky and that’s what I strive for in my own writing. Happy music that will stick with people and make everyone feel something.

SS: What would be your tip for other aspiring songwriters out there on how to write a song?

DV: Listen to a lot of music. I’m always really inspired by what I’m listening to at the time. Keep listening to music and look up lyrics to read along. It will help you learn what works and what doesn’t work in a song. If you can, get someone objective (other than your mom) to listen to your songs and have them tell you what they really think. Be open to constructive criticism and keep writing!

Visit www.dinavalenz.com to listen to Dina’s songs and catch her next show. You can follow her on twitter/IG/Facebook @dinavalenz.