Video transcript
Vocal masterclass with Michael Mayo

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[theme music]

[piano]

ARLO SIM : (SINGING) There was a boy, a certain, strange, enchanted boy. They said he travelled very far, very far, over land and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye, but very wise was he.

And then one day, one magic day, he came my way. And, as we spoke of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me. The greatest joy, you'll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.

[vocalisation]

There was a boy, a certain, strange, enchanted boy. They said he travelled very far, very far, over the lands and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye, but very wise was he.

Then one day, one magic day, he came my way. And as we spoke of many things, fools and kings, oh, this he said to me. The greatest joy, you will ever, ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.

[vocalisation]

There was a boy, a certain, strange, enchanted boy. They said he travelled very far, very far, over the lands and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye, but very wise was he.

And then one day, one magic day, he came my way. And as we spoke of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me. The greatest joy, you will ever, ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.

[vocalisation]

[applause]

MICHAEL MAYO: Thank you, yeah. Yeah, that was really great. Is this a song that you do a lot?

ARLO SIM: I only started doing it for the past 2 months, month, yeah. Doing it for my HSC, so yeah.

MICHAEL MAYO: Cool.

ARLO SIM: Yeah.

MICHAEL MAYO: Yeah, I think you sound really great. And, I can tell that - I really like the energy that you're singing with. And it feels like you have conviction when you're singing this song, which is really great.

I think what I might say is, kind of, the approach you're taking at the beginning, sort of the more free section, and the approach that you're taking with the more rhythmic section, it might be interesting if you try sort of flipping those.

So something that I noticed - did you guys have a conversation about this beforehand? This was like you guys sort of given the charts now. And you're like -

ARLO SIM: Yep.

MICHAEL MAYO: OK, cool. Yeah. So, what I would say, in general, when you're in the sort of situation where you're like meeting someone for the first time, and you give them the chart, it's usually a good idea to sort of just talk down.

Right? Which, like he's such an incredible musician, that like you don't have to. Right? Because that was great already, on its own.

But, the thing you're going to want, to take it to the next level, is to just have that little conversation. Like, this first section is going to be free. This next section is going to bring in the time, blah, blah, blah.

Like, who's going to bring in the time? Are we going to start time together? Is he going to bring in time? And then, you're going to come in later. You know what I mean? That sort of thing.

Because those sort of nuts and bolts are very, very easy to talk about, for literally like 10 seconds. And then you jump in. And you feel like you're on the same page. And then, you don't have to worry.

And not that - you didn't feel worried. It wasn't that sort of vibe. But, I think that's the sort of thing that can sort of alleviate a lot of that sort of stress. Right?

Now, that being said, I want you to do the beginning section again. And, this time, I want you to think more about your phrasing. Because I really like the phrasing that you were doing. But, it wasn't always clear to me what you were going to do, before you did it.

And, I think for Kevin as well, there were moments where you went for something, and because it wasn't necessarily made clear, it's like, what are we doing? So, there are a lot of ways to do that. Right?

But, before I say what some of those ways are, I want you to just sort of go ahead and do it, thinking about that, and see if you sort of notice a difference. Cool? So, just take it from the beginning, the out of time section.

ARLO SIM: Yep. [clears throat]

[piano]

(SINGING) There was a boy, a certain, strange, enchanted boy. They said he travelled very far, very far, over land and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye, but very wise was he.

MICHAEL MAYO: OK, let's pause there, real quick. What was going through your mind just then, just out of curiosity?

ARLO SIM: I was trying to make it more obvious of when I was starting and ending, I guess, the phrases. And -

MICHAEL MAYO: Totally, I felt that. I think you can go even further with that. And, that's not to say that you need to be like super, crazily demonstrative, and just everything is like 'blah.' Right? But, what you can do ... let me show you what I'm talking about, real quick. So, let's just start right on.

(SINGING) There was boy, a very strange, enchanted boy. They say he wandered very far, very far, over land and sea.

Right? And the thing is, you don't even have to really move your body. Because all you need - just then, all I did was look at him.

(SINGING) A little, uh, and sad of eye.

Right? Because the thing is, it's like you're in it together. Right? It's not just that he's sort of providing this, and then you're laying on top of it. It's like you're both sort of like exiting into the arena together, at the same time.

Let's go to the time section. One thing that I love, that you're doing, was I like your dynamic range. And, I thought that your quiets and louds are really good. I think that maybe you could bring it - bring a bit more sort of through line and fluidity from those.

Because there is something really cool about being super soft, and all of a sudden being very loud and vise versa. But, I think that that sort of thing is really only effective if that's not all that's going on. You know what I mean?

Yeah. So, why don't we take it from when the time comes in. And then, this time, I want you to think about, in your phrasing, I want you to think about, dynamically, how you're going to sort of try something new.

ARLO SIM: Yeah, OK.

KEVIN HUNT (PIANO): And you're generally hearing this a bit faster than I'm hearing it, I think.

ARLO SIM: Yeah.

KEVIN HUNT (PIANO): Cause you're like ... [vocal beats]

ARLO SIM: [vocal beats]

KEVIN HUNT (PIANO): OK. Yeah. Sorry, I was bit -

ARLO SIM: No, that's fine.

[piano]

(SINGING) There was a boy, a certain, strange, enchanted boy. They said he travelled very far, very far, over the lands and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye, but very wise was he.

And then one day, one magic day, he came my way. And as we spoke of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me. The greatest joy you will ever, ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.

MICHAEL MAYO: Cool, can we pause right there? So, I notice that you're sort of getting louder in the same spots.

ARLO SIM: OK.

MICHAEL MAYO: Right? So, it sort of starts a little bit softer. And then, when it ... [vocalisation]. I'm forgetting the words right now. But basically, the greatest joy you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return. That's when you sort of turn on the gas. Right?

So, why don't you try ... and we're just going to do this last one, because we have to move on. But, why don't you try starting loud, and getting softer.

ARLO SIM: Sure.

MICHAEL MAYO: Yeah?

ARLO SIM: Yeah.

MICHAEL MAYO: Let's try that.

ARLO SIM: Yeah.

KEVIN HUNT (PIANO): Straight in?

ARLO SIM: Yeah, a 1, 2, 3.

(SINGING) There was a boy, a certain, strange, enchanted boy. They said he travelled very far, very far, over land and sea. A little shy, and sad of eye, oh, but very wise was he.

MICHAEL MAYO: Start coming down here.

ARLO SIM: (SINGING) Then one day, one magic day, he came my way. And, as we spoke of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me. That the greatest joy, you will ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.

MICHAEL MAYO: Mm. Yeah?

[applause]

Great. So, the thing to keep in mind is that human beings, no matter how like 'educated' they are in what jazz is, every person who has ears can hear contrast. Right? And they can tell the difference between things. They can tell when something is different than the thing that just happened before. Like all people have that in common. Right? As evidenced by the fact that everyone was like, 'Oh, he sang it softer.' Right?

So, this is something to keep in mind. Because oftentimes, I feel like we get into these routines, and we get into these default settings, many of which are cool.

Like, there was nothing wrong with what you did before. It's a wonderful option. And, had you done what you did just now more than once, I would have told you to do the other thing. You know what I mean?

It's just a matter of exploring your musical palate, your musical expression, in a way where you feel like you can - if something different happens, that you're not going to be like ...

ARLO SIM: Yeah.

MICHAEL MAYO: Yeah, exactly. Let's give it up for Arlo. Well done.

[applause]

Thanks for coming.


End of transcript