no solos now has branches in mentoring and expressive arts. But, decades ago, when I first hung up my shingle, I was fixing to be strictly a vocal coach. It’s impossible to remain strictly a vocal coach. A voice is made of body, feeling, air, and mystery. As the body, feelings, and air are also mysteries, well, there you have it. Suddenly, without my exact consent, I was not only a voice coach, I was a mystic.
The first thing I figured out was this: to change a person’s experience of voice in our culture, you must honor and address the inevitable layers of emotional, physical, and spiritual isolation. There are many ways to do this, but the thing is, when a person feels connected to something greater than herself, a truer and therefore more interesting, voice comes forward.
Consider Bobby McFerrin. Technically, he’s a solo performer, but if you squint your eyes and ears, you can begin to see that he’s in an ongoing dance with all kinds of things: gravity, space, vowels, vibration, rhythm, punctuation, the ancestors, and a whole host of other things we’ve lost the ability to name. Now, the best idea I’ve got is that these things aren’t things; they’re beings, subtle presences, visitations…
A soul-centered or relational approach to creativity, then, becomes less a matter of self-expression & more the record of a life-long conversation with the great mysteries. no solos is an exhortation and a prayer. It is also my way of mentioning gratitude for the possibility of communion - communion among humans and between the human and more-than-human worlds.