BluSeed hosts Watson for vocal workshop

SARANAC LAKE – Singing is a form of self expression, but it takes certain amount of confidence and self awareness to perform.

This weekend, renowned Canadian vocalist Dawn Tyler Watson is coming to BluSeed Studios to lead a workshop on how to let your inner voice out. There’s more to it than learning how to hit the right notes. In fact, Watson said people don’t have to know how to sing to attend.

“We do a lot of spontaneous, improvisational stuff,” Watson said. “It’s very playful, so people have the permission, and we encourage them, to take risks and to try to go with the first idea that comes to mind. That’s not easy for us to do because we judge. The thing about being a critic is we’re always judging everything, and then you’re stuck trying to figure out what you should do. That’s not the essence of creativity. The essence of creativity is letting it come through you.”

The workshops consist of a series of games and exercises designed to increase confidence, quiet the anxious mind and combat stage fright. Full-blown shower singing is encouraged, but here it’s with a group of people.

Watson said there is a technical side to the workshop, too. Musical elements like rhythm, harmony and melody will be explored, and Watson will work with attendees to help them develop the range, tone and texture of their voices.

“Part of it is not so much confidence but what do you expect from your own voice?” Watson said. “Some people expect to sing like Rhianna, or they want to sing like Celine Dion. They think they can’t sing because they can’t sing like Aretha (Franklin), but the point is, you can sing like you, and have as much joy and as much expression. You can move people and reach into your creativity. That’s the point of vocal expression.”

Watson began doing vocal clinics in Montreal in 2006 with Sheila Veerkamp, a friend who’s a music teacher and a songwriter.

“We realized there was a need for vocal expression workshops, so we started doing song circles at her place,” Watson said. “We started doing workshops about a year ago because we realized how therapeutic it is and how accessible it is to so many populations.”

Those populations range for children to senior citizens. Some workshops run for 10 weeks while others, like the one at BluSeed Studios, are just a few hours long.

“The biggest reaction we get from these is that they’re fun,” Watson said. “People come, they relax after work. It doesn’t just touch your singing. It’s also about risk taking, it’s about being vulnerable and it’s about taking your place in a group.”

Watson is a singer and songwriter known for her vocals and captivating stage presence. She is a multiple nominee for various Canadian Maple Blues Award categories, and has brought home eight of those: she won the Female Vocalist of the Year awardteive and is a six-time consecutive winner of the Quebec Lys Blues award. Her other achievements include a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, a Screaming Jay Hawkins award for live performance and a Trophees France Blues for female International Artist of the Year.