Los Angeles, the city of Angels, brings about images of pampered actors and musicians too self-absorbed to offer anything of substance outside of their personal universe. So, imagine my surprise to find myself in an oasis called Monrovia, one of a hundred small towns that, combined, create Los Angeles. Monrovia is just east of Pasadena and nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
I’m not here to give away a well kept secret but as a constant traveler, I found Monrovia to be the most pleasant and accommodating town I’ve visited this side of the Atlantic. Not only is this small town a beautiful spot, but also the residents are just as charming. However, the real magic was the golden opportunity of working with Pete Strobl, whom in my professional opinion and from my personal experience is the most accomplished and intuitive vocal coach on the planet. There might be those that dispute my claim, but then they weren’t working along side Pete and me for eight days.
We worked on average 7-8 hours a day and it never felt longer than a couple of hours. Warming up correctly is key…my voice never grew tired and Pete knows how to keep work interesting. Add to that that Pete’s a prince of a guy who, from what I witnessed, never meets a stranger. Everywhere we went in Monrovia this 6’ 7” character knew every person we crossed paths with…fun indeed. I have decided Pete’s the Prince of Monrovia…I said it here first!
As singers we all need a tune-up now and then, and this one was many miles overdue. After spending a lifetime in Nashville working with great singers and songwriters, I have picked up some good and some bad habits along the way. My goal in working with Pete was simply to tone down an accent that had crept into my singing after years of writing and singing in Nashville, a credit I’m proud to claim. To accomplish this feat, Pete designed a series of vocal exercises focusing on breathing and diction; pretty amazing results. I wasn’t disappointed in my vocals beforehand, but now I’m excited to use these new techniques not only in my live performance but also in my studio work coming up. Pete has given me new tools to practice with and use from here on out. Thanks Petey!