Michael Jackson’s coach trains Chinese talent

 

 

 

Michael Jackson’s coach

trains Chinese talent


By Deng Yaoming, Zhang Jianhua and Liu Lishan

 

U.S. vocal coach Seth Riggs has been the master behind the magic of several superstars, including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Madonna. Now the 83-year-old is coaching a new Chinese singing sensation – and she’s just 13 years old.

In early September, Riggs and his family traveled to the Chinese mainland for the first time, offering hands-on vocal training to teen singer “Dou Dou” in south China’s city of Shenzhen.

“I came to visit a friend here and he said we have a girl for you to work with. We want you to help her because she needs to get to the next level’,” Riggs said.

“Dou Dou,” also known as Huang Jiaqi, is a budding star who made her name by singing the 2008 Beijing Olympics theme song “You and Me.” During the 2012 London Olympics, she gave her first overseas concert at the Hackney Empire Theatre in London at the invitation of the International Olympic Committee.

However, like many young singers transitioning into adolescence, Huang has struggled to find the right methods to keep developing her talent. Riggs’ training is expected to help her learn how to maintain and develop her skill.

During their half-month-long stay, Riggs and his wife Margareta Svensson trained Huang for three to four hours every day.

“Riggs taught me how to sing songs in the right way, get me through the transitional period and eventually have a more mature voice,” Huang said, adding that she has gained a lot from the training sessions.

“She has a wonderful ear and she stays right on pitch when she sings. She had to change from singing like a little girl to singing like all of us,” Riggs said. “She got on very quickly. We are very impressed with her.”

Riggs used a teaching method known as “Speech Level Singing” to train Huang, the same technique he used to coach Michael Jackson.

Riggs created the method while still a music student, as he was unsatisfied with his own singing at that time. He discovered a way of singing that utilizes the same vocal techniques used when speaking. The method allows singers to sing with greater power, clarity and expression, but with less effort.

Riggs has trademarked the teaching method and has since been busy using it to teach professionals and amateurs alike.

“They may come in for one or two lessons instead of thirty years like Michael Jackson and forty years like Stevie Wonder,” Svensson said. “It doesn’t really matter if they are famous or not. He’s going to do the same thing anyway.”

“So what I do is I try to make everyone as good as I possibly can and see how many are willing to stretch and embrace other expertise to add to what they are doing,” Riggs said.

For Huang,the training has been music to her ears.

“In the past, I had to yell with all my strength to sing high pitches and I would be totally exhausted after finishing a song. Riggs taught me to use my stomach and avoid yelling too loudly while singing,” Huang said.

“Now I know why some great singers can perform more than 20 songs a night and still feel at ease,” she added.

According to Riggs, Speech Level Singing has been used by more than 120 Grammy winners. His call sheet is a veritable “who’s who” of singers, actors, dancers and entertainers from around the world.

Jackson was one of Riggs’closest clients, having studied under Riggs for over 32 years. Riggs’decades of training blossomed into friendship as he trained the superstar through years of rehearsals, concerts and tours.

Four years after the King of Pop passed away in 2009, Riggs recalls Jackson as a true professional who would give his life to the perfection of his art.

“We lost a wonderful young man. He was so dedicated to what he did that I don’t think there will ever be another Michael Jackson,” Riggs said. “No matter how good he is, how good he was, no one will ever be able to be Michael Jackson. There was only one.”

Huang is not the first Chinese to have received training from Riggs. Well-known singers JJ Lin, Coco Lee and Leehom Wang have all traveled to Los Angeles to receive voice training from the master coach.

Riggs said he hopes to introduce his singing method to more Chinese artists. He is trying to branch out online in order to reach as many Chinese students as he can. He added that he hopes his efforts can strengthen artistic ties between the U.S. and China.

“We would like to borrow some of your [China's] technology or perhaps offer some of ours in exchange. It’s a very exciting process,” he said. “We hope that we can form a bridge between the two nations.”

 

 

 

CHINA VIEW

 

Video 1:Michael Jackson’s

teacher trains Chinese teen star

 

 

 

 

The genius behind many of the world’s top artists has a new star in his sights.

American vocal coach Seth Riggs has been the master behind the magic of stars including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Madonna.

Now Riggs has begun coaching a new Chinese singing sensation – and she’s just 13-years-old.

In an exclusive interview with China View, Riggs lifts the lid on his friendship with Michael Jackson, his legendary training technique and his predictions for his new prodigy.

While he may not look like your typical star, this is the master behind much of the world’s rock n roll royalty. Not just rock n roll, but pop, classical, blues and the list goes on.

Seth Riggs, is the American vocal coach who has instructed Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Ricky Martin, Ray Charles, Justin Bieber, Rhianna and Michael Jackson to name just a few.

Riggs is considered by many to be the most successful voice teacher in the world.

Now by chance, this star-maker is sharing his magic with another star-in-the-making.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): Well you know, I really came to visit a friend here. And I came to visit him and his wife. And he said we have a girl for you to be working with. And we want you to help her because she needs to get onto the next level. Because we don’t know how to get there. So I said sure. I mean I’m here for a couple of weeks. So we started working with her. She is only 13.

Dou Dou, or Huang Jiaqi, first made her name after performing the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

She staged her first overseas concert at the 2012 London Olympics, after being invited to perform by the International Olympic Committee.

However, like many child singers transitioning to teen-hood, Dou Dou, from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, has struggled to find the right technique to keep developing her unique talent.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): She has a wonderful ear. And she stays right on pitch when she sings. And she had to change from singing like a little girl to like all of us. You can’t do that when you grow up. You got to have a nice smooth voice.

DOU DOU (Chinese teenage singer): I am growing up and my voice is changing. This transitional period is crucial for me. Riggs taught me how to sing songs in the right way, get through the transitional period, and eventually have a more mature voice. I’ve been learning a lot and making progress during the training sessions.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): So I showed her how to “yi-yi-yi-yi….”, which is a grown-up’s head voice. I showed her how to support that because if you don’t “gi-gi-gi….”…So she got on very quickly and Dou Dou is very very fast. We are very much impressed with her.

The youngest of Rigg’s students in China, Dou Dou knows just how lucky she is to be a protege of this legendary American vocal coach.

DOU DOU (Chinese teenage singer): I know Michael Jackson used to be a long-time student of Riggs. I admire Michael Jackson and I was really surprised to know there was such a great singing teacher behind Michael Jackson. I am thrilled to be Seth’s student.

During their half-month-long stay this month, Riggs and his wife Margareta Svensson, tailor-made daily training sessions for Dou Dou – some lasting almost 4 hours!

The secret behind Rigg’s success is something he dubs “Speech Level Singing”. Unsatisfied with his own crooning, Riggs created the method while still a music student.

He discovered a way of singing which utilises the same vocal techniques used when speaking.

The method allows singers to sing with maximum power, greater clarity and expression but with less effort.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): And I discovered that when my lungs stay down just like we breathe “ha-ha-ha”. But it didn’t go up. Because when it goes up “ha-ha-ha”, you see. But when you stay down, when you don’t reach, “ma-ma-ma….”That is above what I see. I thought that works. And then I went up further, “ma-ma-ma”….That’s above high key. That’s above the magic flute. “Wow I’ve got to tell everyone about it.” And so that’s what I started to think of a Speech Level Singing.

The rest as they say is history. Riggs patented a trademark for his “Speech Level Singing”. Since then he’s been busy teaching the technique to superstars and amateurs alike. For Dou Dou, the training has been music to her ears.

DOU DOU (Chinese teenage singer): In the past, I had to yell with all my strength to sing the high pitches, and I was totally exhausted after finishing a song. But Riggs taught me to use my stomach while singing, and avoid yelling too high. Now I know why some great singers can perform more than 20 songs a night and still feel at ease.

According to Riggs, Speech Level Singing has been used by more than 120 Grammy winners. His call sheet is a veritable “Who’s Who” of singers, actors, dancers, and entertainers from around the world.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): They may come in for one or two lessons instead of, you know, thirty years like Michael Jackson for forty years like Stevie Wonder. Justin Bieber came a couple of times. Rihanna once. So these are big stars of today.

Seth’s wife Margareta, who accompanied him to China, is also a successful singer in her own right.

MARGARETA SVENSSON (Swedish singer): It’s going to be the vocal technique. They come to him, because they need his help, or they want to learn. It doesn’t really matter if they are famous or not famous. He’s going to do the same thing anyway.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): So what I do is I try to make everyone as good as I possibly can, and see how many are willing to stretch and embrace other expertises, to add to what they are doing.

One of his closest clients was Jackson, who Riggs coached over 32 years. The decades of service blossomed into friendship as Riggs trained the superstar through the years of rehearsals, concerts, performances and tours.

Here, Riggs takes Jackson through his paces in one of their telephone training sessions.

(Audio and photo files in 1994 )

The pop idol passed away in Los Angeles, on the afternoon of June 25, 2009, sparking mass outpourings of grief.

Riggs was working in Russia at the time and can still recall the shocking moment he heard news of his friend.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): Someone called me at 11:30 at night, and said he’s gone. And I said who’s gone? Michael. Michael who? Michael Jackson. Oh, where’s he gone? He’s dead. (I said) Don’t call me at this hour and tell me this kind of things. I am not interested in this. This is not very funny!

Riggs recalls Jackson as a true professional who would give his life to the perfection of his art.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): We lost a wonderful young man. He was very talented, who was heart…when somebody was in trouble, he went up to meet them immediately, and he would hire a jet and go out. He just was such a fabulous, fabulous person.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): Michael was so dedicated to what he did that I don’t think there would ever be another Michael Jackson. Because he is a legend. And no matter how good he is, how good he was, no one will ever be able to be Michael Jackson. There was only one.

While Dou Dou is Rigg’s latest Chinese prodigy, it’s not the first time he’s passed his trademarks secrets onto the country’s stars.

Singers JJ Lin, Coco Lee and Leehom Wang have all traveled to Los Angeles to receive voice trainings from the master coach.

Riggs says he hopes to expand his training business here, spreading the word of his unique technique among Chinese artists.

He also plans to branch out online, to reach as many Chinese students as he can.

All this he hopes will be the stepping stones to strengthen artistic ties between the US and China.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): And we would like to borrow some of your technology or offer some of ours perhaps for exchange. And it’s a very exciting process. That’s what we would like to do. We hope that we can form a bridge between the two nations.

 

 

 

 

 

CNC

 

Video 2: U.S. vocal master

eyes Chinese talent 

 

 

 

 

Seth Riggs is well-known in Hollywood as having been a vocal coach to the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and many more famous pop singers.

Now, he’s in China providing vocal training to a potential new star.

This is Seth Riggs, an American vocal coach who has instructed Michael Jackson, Madonna, Ricky Martin and many other world-renowned singers.

Seth is considered one of the most successful voice coaches in the world.

And one of the busiest.

In early September this year, 83-year-old Seth and his wife Margareta Svensson travelled to the Chinese mainland for the first time.

At the request of a close friend, the couple stayed in China’s southern city of Shenzhen, providing hands-on vocal training to Chinese teenage singer Dou Dou.

13-year-old Dou Dou made her name by performing the theme song of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

And even this legendary American vocal coach was impressed by her voice. 

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach):  ”I showed her how to support that because if you don’t ‘gi-gi-gi….’…So she got on very quickly and Dou Dou is very very fast. We are very much impressed with her.”

Although Dou Dou is still young, she already has rich performance experience.

In 2010, she was invited to sing at China’s biggest annual Spring Festival Gala.

During the London Olympics last year, at the invitation of the International Olympic Committee, she staged her first overseas concert in Hackney Empire Theatre in London, as part of “Chinese Culture Week”.

However, as the teenage singer grows, her voice is changing, so Dou Dou finds herself in critical need of vocal guidance.

DOU DOU (Singer): “I am growing up and my voice is changing. This transitional period is crucial for me. Seth taught me how to sing songs in the right way, get through the transitional period, and eventually have a more mature voice. I’ve been learning a lot and making progress during the training sessions.”

For her, the master coach has arrived at the right time.

Seth is training Dou Dou using a method called “Speech Level Singing”, which Seth personally developed when he was still a music student.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): “I think because I was never satisfied with my own singing. And I couldn’t find anyone to help me. And I was so upset. I had scholarships all way through my school. And still going to these supposedly good places to learn to sing. They couldn’t help me. And so I thought maybe I can figure it out myself.”

Then Seth discovered a way of using the human voice that makes singing as natural and easy as speaking. The method allows singers to sing freely and clearly with maximum power and clarity, producing an effortless, powerful and expressive voice.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): “When you stay down, when you don’t reach, ‘ma-ma-ma….’ That is above I sing. I thought that works. And then I went up further, ‘ma-ma-ma’….That’s A above high key. That’s above the magic flute. ‘Wow I’ve got to tell everyone about it.’ And so that’s what I started to think of a Speech Level Singing.”

And the method has proved a huge success.

It is reported that the method has so far been used by more than 120 Grammy winners around the world.

Seth even patented a trademark for the method.

Before visiting China, Seth had already coached dozens of Chinese singers, such as JJ Lin, Coco Lee and Leehom Wang. They have all traveled to Los Angeles to receive voice training from him.

And Seth said he is eager to introduce his singing techniques to more Chinese artists.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): “I think mainland China is becoming more available when they realize that we are not coming here as a threat, we are coming here as another human being.”

Despite Seth’s goodwill, however, the reality is that more and more Chinese singers have gained immense popularity across the country…through Talent TV shows.

And these shows have topped broadcast ratings, revealing a strong demand for Chinese entertainment in the TV market.

One of the variety shows, named “The Voice of China”, made as much as 80,000 U.S. dollars per second during its final episode of its first season, in late 2012.

Reports say Chinese audiences are demanding more back stories from singers. But Seth believes that their most powerful weapon……is simply their voices.

SETH RIGGS (American vocal coach): “And we are very excited about you that you are doing so well. And we would like to borrow some of your technology or offer some of ours perhaps for exchange. And it’s a very exciting process.”

And by doing all this, he is committed to building an artistic bridge between individuals and nations. 

 

 

 

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