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?
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.