(This article was written and published on myslsworld.com)
The SLS camp in Los Angeles was an overwhelming success again this year. The nightly open mic performances by the attending students were an inspiring example of the possibilities available to students of the SLS program.
Although the annual Seth Riggs camp has been going for nearly a decade, this year was shamefully the first that I attended myself. And what an exhilerating experience it was! The camp had any of a number of routes available, depending on your interest, whether it be songwriting, dance or musical theatre. Everyday was packed from early morning till night with classes, independent study, private tutoring, industry networking and performance opportunities. Various mid to high profile industry professionals including talent agents, signed artists, producers, Lawyers and innovative industry visionaries, all provided excelerated tips for survival and success in the industry.
For the brave, every morning at 7 AM began a specially designed yoga class for singers!!! Let’s just say, I heard good things about it (I did my best – I managed to attend 1 class). Howerver, the most profound learning for me happened in the songwriting class of Rob Seals, entitled Hitmakers and Heartbreakers. Cheesy title, sure, but every class left practically every student feeling uplifted, inspired, connected, equipped, and full of creative possibility. The musical Theatre track was led by industry professionals and was packed with performance opportunities, feedback, repertoire review, and even a lecture given by the canadian born musical director for the Broadway hit “Wicked”, Boko Suzuki. All musical theatre classes were curated by Master SLS IMT instructor Jefferey Skousen (after chatting with him, he is interested in visiting Torontto, so hopefully, we can get him up soon). The daily SLS Application class led by SLS IMT instructor Dean Kaelin was enormously insightful given Dean’s invaluable knack for turning SLS concepts into digestible analogies for the beginning and intermediate student. Each day, different students were featured center stage as Dean gave personal attention applying the technique to individual voices.
The Greenroom hosted casual question and answer sessions taking the spotlight everyday with a rotating array of industry professionals including talent agents, signed artists, and producers. It was every students golden opportunity to gain valuable insight into a complex industry.
It was also wonderful to have all of the finest SLS Instructors together under one roof at once teaching “in the trenches”, as Level 5 SLS Instructor Lorna Emata Goodwin so aptly described it. My every other day lesson with John Henny was thrilling, but nothing compared to my lesson with the man himself, Seth Riggs, at his home in Bel Air. Though I’ve had many lessons with Seth, this was the first time I could be live in his studio. What an experience! If being in his stunning studio amidst the energy, photos, and thank-you’s from the most talented and respected singers in the world didn’t leave me breathless enough, the lesson itself surely did! Never have I sung so easily and brilliantly in all my life!!! He even hung around after the lesson playing me recordings of Michael Bolton’s shockingly succesful attempt at classical music. Hearing Bolton deliver a near perfect mix on a high Bb was evidence enough that Seth knows no boundaries for the training of singers in any style!
The daily open mic performances were stunning and gave every student the opportunity to sing live any song of their choice. Every student was backed by a stunning and talented live band, recieved personal wardrobe attention, and critical feedback at the end of the performances by the IMT’s themselves, and various industry professionals. And of course, the whole thing was recorded and edited for video to the highest professional standards for the students to take home and remember for years to come.