It's a Vocal Process: An Interview with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher

Did you know that everyone who contributes to the Voice Messages Indiegogo campaign at the $15 level and higher receives access to the webinar of their choice from Vocal Process? Based in the UK, Vocal Process is run by Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher, who are multidisciplinary, multimedia voice educators. We interviewed Gillyanne and Jeremy about how they got their start in voice, their webinars, and why they support Voice Messages. Keep reading to learn more!  

How did you get your start in the world of voice, and what initially attracted you to the career?

 Jeremy Fisher at the keyboard.

Jeremy Fisher at the keyboard.

Jeremy: I trained in oboe, piano and accompaniment at music conservatoire. I’ve always loved working with singers and actors so my career has embraced opera, the classical concert hall, cabaret and musical theatre in London’s West End. In my 40s I studied vocal physiology and technique to add to my experience of working in different music genres. I have a 3-D mind and an acute ear, so I can visualise what is happening inside someone’s voice--it’s very useful when teaching vocal technique!

Gillyanne: I trained in singing piano and violin and did my undergrad training at university. I then worked as a professional choral singer and recitalist for 15 years in the UK. Story songs were my love and moving to working with actors was a natural transition. Working with people who needed to sing but had no musical background really fired my curiosity about how the voice works--not only for singing but also for speaking, shouting, calling and other forms of vocal noise. Working in London’s premier drama schools allowed for much collaborative work between my discipline and the spoken voice disciplines. When I reached my 50s, I realised it was time to dig deeper into what underlies vocal pedagogy and I embarked on doctoral research, specialising in female voice use in different musical genres. 

Vocal Process has a series of webinars, and Voice Messages backers receive a voucher to choose one. Tell us more about the webinars. How did they come to be? Who is a typical customer? 

Vocal Process

We have singing and spoken voice clients around the world in so many time zones, and we found that Webinars were a great way of delivering focused training. Our clients can attend the live event or watch the recording in their own time. We’ve had some amazing feedback from them.

Each hour-long Webinar covers a particular voice topic: spoken voice (healthy speaking voice; pitch, pace and power for presenters); singing voice (warm ups; taking chest voice higher safely; understanding two different types of head voice); vocal troubleshooting (improving range and breathing); performance coaching (exam/audition techniques; changing vocal style without losing your ‘voice’); and teaching skills including how we work with our own clients and diagnose their vocal issues.

 Dr. Gillyanne Kayes (right) coaching a client. 

Dr. Gillyanne Kayes (right) coaching a client. 

Our customers are typically professional voice users, so they could be international opera singers, film actors, recording artists, musicals/cabaret performers or CEOs. We also teach many singing and voice teachers, speech pathologists, singing leaders and choral conductors to apply our techniques in their own work environment and to their specific situation. 

It sounds quite spontaneous when we deliver the Webinars, but we pack a LOT of techniques into each one. We actually spend up to five days planning, building and rehearsing each Webinar.

We were determined to make solid vocal knowledge available to as many people as possible without the hassle of travelling. As one of our participants said, “It’s the best thing you can do for your voice in your pajamas!”

What resonates with you about Voice Messages? Why did you choose to get involved? 

Jeremy saw the trailer almost as soon as it came out. “I was immediately struck by the topic (voice in all its different guises) and the ethos of the Voice Messages team. Having just written our book, This is a Voice, on everything from improving your speaking voice to classical and commercial singing, ventriloquism and beatboxing, I recognised a kindred spirit!”

We were very touched by the way Martin described voice and its emotional impact and wanted to reach out and share some of the things we’d discovered over the years. Offering the Webinars as perks for the documentary’s Indiegogo campaign was a no-brainer for us! 

Tell us where our audience can go to learn more about your books and teachings and how to stay in touch. 

There are so many ways people can find out about us! 

Starting with our books: This is a Voice was commissioned by the Wellcome Foundation, and has 99 accessible and tangible exercises for your voice. Singing and the Actor and Successful Singing Auditions are our two vocal technique books aimed at actors and musical theatre singers. Singing Express is our series for children (5-9) with over 100 original songs and techniques appropriate to each age group. 

We’ve also created bestselling technique DVDs, we run Singing Retreats for performers and teachers on our estate in Wales, and we give personal coaching and masterclasses by Skype to voice users all over the world.

The best way to find out what we’re up to is to join our email list on www.vocalprocess.co.uk. We send out special offers and reports via our free eZINE every few weeks. Also on the website we have a whole host of freebies including Six of the Best Apps for singers, and the famous Vocal Process downloadable larynx. We’re about to add our BBC interviews with Cerys Matthews MBE, and our Guardian Science Podcast on voice, so you can hear us talking about our love of all things vocal.

If you’re a social media fan, Jeremy runs the @Vocalprocess Twitter feed, and Gillyanne runs the Vocal Process Facebook page.

Our byline is “sharing information, promoting expertise” and we’re very happy to be doing both with Voice Messages. Cheers!


Get a Vocal Process webinar and help Voice Messages reach its fundraising goals by contributing to the Indiegogo campaign today.