Sunday, June 5, 2016

Change is a Coming!

I have come to a point in my life where I realize I need to evaluate the things that are taking up my time and make sure I'm spending my time as wisely as possible.

So yesterday, I carved out a free moment to sit down and evaluate my music business.  You see, very important changes are happening in my life.  This week will be my last week as a public school music teacher, at least for now.  Next week, I will be fully employed by my year-old company, K L J Creative.  My company serves as the umbrella for all of my creative pursuits: books, music, consulting and blogs.  And I'm excited for the company to potentially grow and blossom into something much bigger than I initially thought it could be.

I was thinking about my blogs and going over what is working and what isn't.  I write 3 blogs!  I don't know why I do this to myself, but I guess it's because deep down, I will always be a writer at heart.  But still, trying to constantly come up with new content for three different blogs can be daunting and exhausting at times.

One of things that I figured out was that this is my most popular blog.  It literally has ten times the visitors than my other two.  So first of all, thank you for that!  I so appreciate this amazing audience who wants to know more about singing.

Upon further reflection, I realized that the title "The Choir Singer" doesn't accurately reflect the season of life I'm in.  So, in a few weeks, I am going to reveal a new name for this blog as well as give it a much-needed facelift to keep providing the quality content you've come to expect.  I am also cutting one of my three blogs so I can focus all of my energy on this one and my website blog (

So yes, change is a coming!  But change is a good thing and I think you are going to love the new blog and the new title!

Stick around!  It's about to get interesting!

As always, Happy Singing!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

On the Other Side of the Table

On Friday, I had the privilege once more of doing one of my favorite things to do all year long: I got to serve as an evaluator for the Fine Arts Festival here in Florida.  For those of you who don't know what Fine Arts is, it's basically a performing and visual arts competition for Assemblies of God youth.  Here in Florida, Fine Arts is really big.  Like 4,000 students running around and competing in difference categories like human video, choir, songwriting, and short sermon.

Every year since 2012, I've made it a priority to serve as an evaluator.  If I'm working, I take a day off work just so I can attend.  One of the reasons it's so important to me is that half my lifetime ago, I was standing on the other side of the judges' table, competing in Fine Arts myself as a young teen.

When I see a young lady step up in front of a small crowd, swallow nervously and grab the microphone to sing a solo, I get it.  That was me.

Oh, the joy, sweat, and tears it took to prepare for my solo every year!  I painstakingly took the time to choose the best song for my voice and practice it with the track (cassettes in my day; I know, I'm dating myself) and perform it in front of my family.  Oh, the nerves of performing it in front of strangers who had the power to "advance" me to nationals if they thought I was good enough.

I still remember the year I was a sophomore in high school and I wrote a song just for Fine Arts.  It was a good song and also very vocally challenging.  I had a track made and sang my little heart out.  My solo did not advance and I was devastated.

So I try to keep my personal experiences in my mind as I delicately write comments about the young girl in front of me singing her solo.  I try to remember the exhilaration of nailing a solo and the devastation of not quite hitting the mark.  I try to be the encourager I needed all those years ago from the evaluators.

In retrospect, I value Fine Arts for the yearly experience I got to express myself through my music.  It was great training for all of the writing and singing and performing I do most days of my life now.  What the evaluators said to me is now long-forgotten.  But the experience remains special to me.

I love what Christian recording artist Natalie Grant said once when she talked about competing in Fine Arts herself as a teen.  She said, "I never won anything, but I savored the experience and it's priceless to me."

For someone who never won anything at Fine Arts, Ms. Natalie seems to be doing pretty well for herself these days.  Oh, and I heard quite a few of her songs being sung on Friday.

I guess that means there's hope for me!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Sale (You Don't Want to Miss!)

In honor of Spring Break and it beginning to look a lot like spring everywhere, it gives me great pleasure to announce the Spring Sale of my eBook Ten Weeks to a Better Voice.

Ten Weeks to a Better Voice is the go-to guide for learning about and developing your best voice.  And as the title says, you'll do it in just 10 weeks.  The normal retail price for this eBook is $5.99, still an absolute bargain compared to a single $30, $40, or even $50 vocal session with a voice coach.  But because it's Spring Break week for me, the price is going to be $2.99 March 20-26th only.  To go to my Amazon page for this product, click here.

I don't write books that I myself can't use.  I would never place value in products that don't wow me because I don't have time for that and neither do you!  But this book is one I keep returning to over and over again because it has such practical advice on how to be the best singer I can be.  My favorite chapter is "Week Eight: Dealing with Performance Anxiety".

Want to know more about the book?  Here is the description:

So, you want to sing? Or maybe you already love to sing but want to know more about how your own voice works.  In just ten weeks, you can become the singer you've always wanted to be.

Ten Weeks to a Better Voice will help you:
-Increase your range
-Care for your voice for life
-Troubleshoot and eliminate common vocal problems
-Perform with ease and confidence

Even if you can't study with a vocal coach, this book will help you discover your individual voice and maximize your areas of strength.  Each chapter includes action steps to take your singing to the next level.  Get ready to sing it like you mean it!

Hopefully that description convinced you to check out the book, but if that didn't do it, here are two of the reviews from customers on Amazon.  One of them is a top 50 Amazon reviewer!

"This book is designed to get the beginning singer off to a good start: 'What you hold in your hands is a manual on the basics of vocal technique.' TEN WEEKS is designed to 'provide you with the tools to get you singing correctly with confidence.' 

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Week Four covers 'Strengthening the Head Voice.' It seems to me that head versus chest voice is a more advanced topic, but no harm in explaining that to the beginner right away."

"Kristin has done a fantastic job. It is like taking a college level vocal course and concentrating it into a powerful easy to understand reference guide you will use throughout your singing career. Many who sing for the most part do not understand their own voice and how to maximize and protect it. This book will definitely give them the information and edge to succeed."

My goal during 2016 is to reach and impact at least 100 singers who would like to get better at their craft.  This is such a great way to get that started. I really hope you'll consider investing in this book, especially at the rock-bottom price of $2.99!  You just can't beat it.  

Remember, Ten Weeks to a Better Voice will only be on sale for $2.99 from March 20-26th.  Follow this link to my product page on Amazon.  

Thank you for your awesome support!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Success is Not an Isolated Event

This past week, I experienced what I consider to be a successful moment in my music career.  I found out from my publicist that the first radio stations had decided to add 3 of my songs from my new EP Make Something Happen into their rotation of songs.

When I got that email, I was overjoyed.  I mean, what singer doesn't dream of writing songs and actually getting them played on the radio?

However, the more I started thinking about it, the more I realized that this success did not come all by itself.  The station manager did not magically decide to play some random Christian singer's music from Port Orange, Florida.  No, there were a lot of steps that got me to this place of experiencing this success.

1. I had to write the songs that are now going to be played.
2. I had to find the right people (producer, engineer, musicians, etc.) to help me produce the product.
3.  I had to find the funding to produce the product.
4.  I had to follow through and actually see the product come to completion.
5.  I had to choose a publicist to help me spread my message.
6.  I had to spend a lot of time honing my biography and writing the "stories behind the songs".

I've come to realize that every success we experience in life is usually not an isolated event.  Meaning, we've often had lots of little successes along the way that we don't think about actually contributing to the larger success.

Think of it this way: You don't just decide to run a marathon and then go do it.  You have to put in the time of actually training for the run beforehand and lots of little runs end up contributing to the overall goal.

Likewise, as a singer, you don't just go out and have a rockin' performance that everyone raves about without putting in the time and effort to hone your musical skills.

So, here's what I'd like to ask you to do.  If you're working towards a larger success, whatever that might be, start counting and celebrating all of the little successes that will get you to that goal.  Want to make an album?  Spend some time writing a new song that you can't wait to share with the world.  Want to sing a solo but feel scared?  Count the success of joining and singing in your church choir first.

Once you realize that success is not an isolated event, you will begin to celebrate all of life's little moments that will get you to any level of success that you desire.  Pretty soon, you will be unstoppable as you go from success to success and start to experience your wildest dreams coming true.

Happy Singing and Happy Living,


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Choosing the Right Key for Your Song

I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this topic, but rest assured, it is a very important one.  Have you ever tried to sing your favorite song from the radio, your mp3 player, or whatever and find your voice isn't quite up to the challenge?  It's frustrating, right?  So, you probably just give up and think, "I can't sing this one" and move on to something else.

Here's a little known secret: the real reason you probably can't sing the song is because it's not in the right key for you.  That's not to say with a little practice and working with a skilled vocal coach you could never sing it in that key.   But why waste the time and energy when you can just try it in a different key and experience much faster success?

Many times, I work with clients who do not want to change the key of the song they are attempting to sing because they view it as exposing their weakness or something.  I don't see it that way at all.  I think changing the key to fit your voice as a singer plays to your strengths.  So, never be afraid to do it, especially if it allows you to sound better, pretty much instantly!

I am also learning this lesson in my own life.  I'm currently in the songwriting stage for upcoming music projects and am very mindful (this time around) about the keys that I write my music in.  Not only do I need to be able to sing them skillfully when it's time to record, but I also need to make sure the keys of my songs will sound great when I have to perform them over and over again to a live audience.

One of my unreleased songs, "Faithful Father" started out in a higher key.  As I was piecing together lyrics and music, I decided to lower the key a half step, just to see what it sounded like.  Voila!  It was like a different, much stronger singer performing.  The song found its perfect key and my voice found its best sound.

So the next time you're tempted to give up on a hard song, do me a favor and try it out in a different key.  Lower it or raise it depending on your needs.  I bet it will make all the difference!

Happy Singing!

For more tips like these, and a structured program to get you singing at your best, check out my book Ten Weeks to a Better Voice here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Singing and Homeostasis

I never thought I'd get into science.  It was not my "thing" in school.  Dissecting frogs, learning the names of the bones of the body, trying to solve [impossible] chemistry equations--not my cup of tea!

However the older I get, the more I appreciate science because it actually has everything to do with singing well.  How do I know this?  I've experienced it firsthand.

This past weekend, I had my first performance of a song off my new album, Make Something Happen.  All day on Friday, leading up to the performance, I determined to practice so I would go into the performance feeling completely confident and fully warmed up.

Around noon, I was driving in my car and practicing the song along with the recording.  Only, my live performance was not coming out well.  I couldn't sustain the high notes, much less gather the energy to reach them in the first place.  I was a bit scared that I was having an "off" day with my voice, which is a totally normal thing, by the way.  I just didn't need to have one on a day I was performing solo.

Lo and behold, I found myself remembering a word from 6th grade science class: homeostasis.  I instantly realized what my issue was.  I stopped practicing because there was no use in frustrating myself even more and I arrived home and immediately made myself a sandwich and fruit for lunch.  The reason I wasn't singing well?  I was hungry.

Now, all the people who know me are laughing right now because they realize how true it is that I'm "off" when I'm hungry, but I have the science to prove it!

Wikipedia defines homeostasis as "the property of a system in which variables are regulated so that internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant".   In other words, the human body is constantly trying to balance itself to make it more efficient.  That's why you need so much food each day, but not too much food or you'll start to gain weight.  That's why you need so much sleep but not too much sleep to provide energy for your day.

Here's what happened after I ate.  I let my food settle and then went into my music room to resume practicing my song.  I practiced 4 times before the actual performance, and they were some of the best practices I'd had.  Before the show, I made sure I ate another nutritious meal, this time dinner, and then I had a cup of tea and honey and some water.  My performance turned out great!  I felt energized and my voice held up beautifully.

Here are some quick tips to think about if you're practicing for a performance and your voice is not holding up:

1.  If you feel faint, do you need to eat something?  Try eating a light meal and be sure to include some fruits or veggies, both of which contain vital water and nutrients.

2.  Are you completely satiated from your last meal?  Wait to practice singing for an hour or so to allow your food to settle.  Otherwise, you'd better practice alone because you'll be belching through the whole rehearsal.  Gross!

3.  Are you just worn out?  You may not have the luxury of a two hour afternoon nap (who does anyway?), but can you fit in a cat-nap?  My absolute favorite naps are between 15-30 minutes long.  They get me over the mid-day slump and I wake up much more energized and ready to take on my day.  If you don't think you'll wake up after half an hour, set a timer beforehand, then snooze away.

4.  Are you stressed?  In my book Ten Weeks to a Better Voice, I talk a little about the effect of stress on singing.  And yes, stress definitely affects singing.  One of my favorite ways to combat stress is to get some fresh air.  Lucky for me, I live in Florida and can usually get in a walk outside most days.  If you're not able to get outside, take a ten minute break from your music and walk inside.

All of these tips will help you reestablish homeostasis in your own body and hopefully help you practice and perform at your peak!

(Don't try to sing when you're hungry!  Go eat a quick snack or meal, then get back to practice.  Your body will thank you.)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Dreaming and Doing

2016 feels like a banner year already!

For those of you who don't know, I recently released my debut music project Make Something Happen into the world.  It became available digitally several weeks ago and on Wednesday of this week, I received my CDs in the mail.

(Here I am making a silly face, but I promise I was really excited about this!  If you would like to hear more about my project and the stories behind the songs, visit my website,

Sometimes I can't even believe this project is out.  It was so much work, but truly work that I enjoyed doing every step of the way.  I especially enjoyed the 4 trips to Nashville I made in 2015, all related to my growing music business.

Make Something Happen is a project I'm so proud of because all of the songs are from the deepest places in my heart and soul.  If you want to know how I feel about God and life in general, listen to this project.  It feels like I'm wearing my "heart on my sleeve".  And I'm ok with that.

I will leave you with this because I think it's very appropriate to my life and my music in this season:

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." -Steve Jobs

I am really loving what I'm doing!  Probably because I've been dreaming of doing it for a long, long time.