What does swimming have to do with music?

What does swimming have to do with music?

I have two passions in life; music (obviously) and swimming. Ive been passionate about water sports my whole life, I love to be in the water, I love surfing, scuba diving and anything and everything to do with water sports. Most people don’t know that I spent 8 years as a competitive swimming (shout out Edmonton Keyano Swim Club) and only quit because of a knee injury that killed my potential swimming career. Today I am very thankful for the injury because it led me down the music rabbit hole but I have never lost my passion for swimming.

So what does swimming specifically have to do with my music.

  1. I tell all my vocal students to swim. Why? Swimming is the best form of exercise for your body and specifically for your lungs. I firmly believe that I built my vocal power with a swimming foundation. Breath control is one of the most important things for a vocalist to master and luckily for me I was a competitive swimmer when I started taking vocal lessons with a qualified instructor who taught me to breathe from my diaphragm. So I was being trained to focus on my breathing from two different disciplines at the same time. Even for vocalists who have never been avid swimmers I still recommend starting a swimming regime. You will be amazed at how your breathe control will improve and how much more powerful your voice will become.
  2. Being a competitive swimmer in my adolescence taught me about discipline. I am a big fan of solo sports because you are only as good as how hard you’re willing to work. Music is no different. No one can force me to practice those tedious and goofy vocal exercises that I’m sure every singer hates. I have to do it. No one could force me to wake up every day at 4:30am to hit the pool. I had to do it. I was a very motivated swimmer and made national qualifying times because I was disciplined. I treat my music career the same way.
  3. Sometimes music is not fun. Don’t get me wrong I love music more than anything but working towards a music career is very stressful. Swimming is my way of releasing stress and turning off my mind. It’s something that I’m good at, that I enjoy and that has NOTHING to do with writing music. I always encourage other career musicians to find another hobby that they enjoy so that when music becomes stressful and unnerving you have a healthy release. After a swim, I always feel more relaxed and I find that it helps me with writer’s block.

Thanks for reading, time to hit the pool!

swim-3swim-2swimsurf


Sacrifice

These past couple weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’ve been missing out on in order to keep my music career on track. Im not writing this blog post as a complaint but really an honest observation. Trying to develop a sustainable, long-term career in entertainment requires an obscene amount of sacrifice. Personal, physical, financial, mental, pretty much in every aspect of life.

I have been in alot of bands over the past 15 years with some great musicians. As I think back on all those bands I have come to realize that it’s not always the lack of talent that prevents a band from making the transition from a “weekend warrior” to a professional artist, it’s the amount they’re willing to sacrifice to make the dream come true. The majority of people are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed in this business, because sometimes it honestly sucks. Having to make a choice between one of your best friend’s wedding and saving for your next album is really hard. This summer alone I missed three weddings of friends and family. I’ve cancelled vacations that my husband and I had panned for months, I’ve moved away from my friends and family and I rarely do anything that doesn’t have to do with my music career in some way.

Along with the many sacrifices comes paralyzing fear that the decisions you’re making are wrong. Should I have gone on that vacation? Should I have purchased that piece of gear (even though it cost a fortune and I couldn’t afford it) etc. Every decision you make as an artist costs you in some aspect of your life.

But, along with these sacrifices comes something truly amazing! Here I am creating music that I love with band members that I love and who understand what it takes to succeed in this business. Music is my way of becoming immortal! After I die, my voice and my thoughts will continue to live through the music I’ve created. That is truly amazing!

My biggest fear in life is regret. I know that it’s unavoidable but I really fear looking back on my life and wishing that I would have followed my dream. It would have been really easy to take my Bachelor’s Degree, get a job, buy I house (which I sold to fund my business), have kids and continue on with probably a pretty good life. But for me this simply wasn’t an option. Im truly OK with failing at this music thing, but I am not OK with not giving it everything I have. I want to be able to reflect on my life and say, ‘Wow I did that.”

Im really sorry to the friends I don’t see as often, the friend’s and family members who’s weddings I couldn’t attend, to my husband for moving him across the country and to the people I’m going to lose along my journey.

To those other musicians out there who are pushing through the shit storm of this industry and making the same sacrifices for their art I would like to say you’re not alone in your journey and I draw strength from you.

To everyone afraid to make these sacrifices I urge you to keep this quote in mind;

“The more scared we are of a calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it” (Steven Pressfield-theWARofART).

I am truly scared to death of this industry and of the next step in my journey, but in the end it’s what I feel like I’m here to do and won’t ever quit! -KVH


Branding and Photography

Hey everyone! I wanted to focus this month’s blog entry on photography and branding. This came to mind because I’ve received a few inquiries about our photography and some compliments in relation to our band visual as a whole.

Branding your life performance:

I’d like to start off by talking about branding your live show. It’s important to look like a performer, it doesn’t matter what your genre is, you need to look like a performer. Compliment your music with an amazing visual and deliver a killer performance. 

When you’re a group, the look of uniformity is important! Whatever your uniform may be you should look like a cohesive unit. That’s why you’ll notice all the VH guys in the same outfit on stage; black clothes, leather vest and black make-up under the eyes. The guys wear this for EVERY SHOW! I myself compliment with a black, lace-up outfit and lots of black make-up. The four of us look like a group, whether you like our look or not there is a uniformity there.

A tip that was given to me last year is to NEVER wear another band’s shirt on stage. I think it’s awesome that you buy other band’s merchandise but, strictly from a business perspective, when you wear it on stage your advertising that band not yours.  

If you want another great example of performance branding check out my sister’s music and website, Brittney Grabill. She is a pop artist and has an amazing on stage look!

Branding Your Photography:

I love looking at photography as art. When the band and I were searching for photographers we searched high and low for someone who could not only take a great photo, but turn it into a work of art. Thus we work with Renee Robyn of Renee Robyn Photography

Band photos and artist photos are super important but so hard to capture! Essentially you have to give your music a look and offer the audience a visual sampler of your sound. When I work with artists on grant applications this is something we spend a lot of time on. Artists need to take photos that reflect their brand and their sound.

Also, please remember that great photography is expensive but worth every penny! Instead of grabbing a friend to snap some shots please invest in a professional photographer! You can also get grant funding for promotional photos (shout out to Edmonton Arts Council and Enterprise Toronto for funding our last couple promo shots).

Thanks for reading!

KVH


New album- World of Make Believe

We are so excited to be releasing World of Make Believe to the world. This album has been such a labor of love and felt like it took forever to release. This album took us through alot of ups and downs, during the writing process and in the studio.  There were so many songs to choose from and we compiled this album to take the listener through a journey of the sociological imagination. We’re hoping people will listen to our music and look at the world through new eyes. People need to look around and notice the chaos around us and also realize that one person can make a difference in the world!

Enjoy the album and thank-you for your support!cover2


Vocal Health

So many people ask me how I keep my voice in great shape. It’s true handling extreme vocals is difficult, but with the right preparation anything is possible. 

First of all I seek out the best vocal coaches I can find. I have worked with some of the best coaches in LA and New York in order to create the voice I have today… and Im still working on it. There are more things that I want to accomplish and master with my voice. 

Second I practice EVERY DAY! Even if it’s just a 20 minute warm up, I try and give my voice a work out everyday….unless I’m sick.  When it comes to extreme vocals I only practice them 3-4 times a week and only after a long warm up. 

Lastly, overall vocal health includes hydration and a healthy diet. It’s important to keep your vocal chords hydrated and nourished like any other muscle in your body. Grether’s Pastilles are also great for the vocal cords.  

Hope this offers you a glimpse into my vocal regiment- keep singing because without music life is meaningless. 

  • KVH