News from The Next Big Thing ….

TV vocal coach and artist mentor Joshua Alamu will be acting as head coach for our show at The Leicester Square Theatre on 21st October.  Whilst we really have got used to having one of the top international vocal coaches on hand, giving his time for free for three years now to Success Express Music … let me just remind those who may not know Joshua that he has worked on countless TV shows including Pop Idol (Will Young), Just The Two of Us (Beverley Knight), Dont Stop Believing, Dance X (Arlene Phillips) etc.  He has worked with some truly great artists including Daniel Bedingfield, Joss Stone and more. He coaches in LA, Thailand, Malta and London and currently is on the team for The Voice UK working with the producers to choose special voices for the next series.  Joshua is – without any doubt – one of the most highly regarded technical vocal coaches in the industry today.

Several singers have asked this week if Josh has any special advice on how to be successful at The Voice auditions, so I am attaching this article from him.

For more information on our Success Express Workshops and The Next Big Thing Show at Leicester Square Theatre contact me on 020 8449 0666 or lorraine@success-express-music.com


Having been very privileged to be one of a few vocal coaches auditioning singers all over the country for a new TV show called THE VOICE UK for BBC1, I have come to realise a few things about this kind of audition process.

There are a few tips I would like to share with singers based on 1st hand experience of this type of process which has pretty much dominated the way some artists break into the music industry (both commercial and in musical theatre) for a least 5 years now.

One thing that needs to be understood is; at these types of audition there are literally thousands of people that will apply to have a chance to be heard, some of whom can sing to a good/intermediate/high standard and some who clearly can not.

Due to the sheer volume of applicants, a system of auditioning people has to be implemented in order to separate the chaff from the wheat. Once this is done, there is usually another check point where singers are sifted again to determine whether there is any spark or real potential to move people, entertain people or become a sellable product. These checkpoints are usually manned by someone high up in the music world along side a musical professional such as a music producer or vocal expert etc…

Once a singer makes it through this stage, then serious decisions have to be made.

Obviously auditioning systems like this work differently dependening on what the main objectives are or which company is behind the campaign.

Some systems are very “cattle market” focused, by this I mean people are often not treated very well and are expected to put up with whatever is thrown at them. Fortunately for me, the people behind the show I have been working on have prioritised people’s safety and well being and have also taken enormous  measures to make sure that singers feel comfortable, looked after and appreciated for their time.

So… here are my tips for singers walking through such doors in order to have a chance at getting their foot into the music world at a professional/commercial level.

1) Choose the right song…. A song can make or break a singer, this is such an important part of your preparation. Do a song that best shows of the BEST features of your voice and your musical style.

2) Own it…. the amount of times I have heard Adele’s “Some one like you”, don’t get me wrong, I love Adele, but do not come into an audition and just sing a carbon copy of the song mimicking all the vocal nuances and traits of that singer… do something that is tasteful but unique with the song too.

3) Bring it!…. you have a very short time to impress and this can usually be the opportunity that opens many other doors for you as a singer, do not go into an audition unclear of what you must do, go in there and “hit” them with your best performance that you have prepared and give it your best shot!

4) Prepare, prepare, prepare… The 5 “P’s” (Prepare & Perfect in Private in order to freely Perform in Public) There were some people that walked into the audition singing with lyrics in their hands, this is an absolute NO! Please prepare yourself in advance so that you can freely express publicly what you have studied and perfected in the private.

5) Image… Make sure you look great, do not go over the top, again be tasteful with what you wear and look trendy and comfortable in what you wear. Go with a very neutral look, so that you have the right balance of everything you want to be perceived as. Once you make it, there are fashion professionals that will take your image to the next level.

6) Confidence….It is such an awkward and nerve racking experience doing these types of audition, do what ever it takes to ensure that you are confident in your ability as a singer… when the butterflies  come and the legs turn to jelly, switch on your self belief, realise that you have worked hard to get to that point and that this is your chance to really shine and show what you have developed and worked on… it’s a bit like working on a painting you have been doing from scratch; first doing the outline, then the sketch then the colours and detail etc etc… eventually you are ready to display it and show everyone your master piece… believe in your ability and in the hard work you have done….take confidence in that!

7) Know who you are… sometimes rejection can be the worst thing to handle in any area of life… but knowing who you are before you put yourself into such situations is so important. This means even if you get a “NO” or “sorry you are not good enough”, even though this bruises our pride and wounds our ego’s, you have to walk out of there with your head held high and say to yourself, “this does not determine who I am becoming as a singer”. Where you are now, is not where you will be in a years time if you keep working on your gift. Find a real professional that can give you an honest account of where you are as a singer and what you need to do to improve as a singer/artist and potentially if you really do have the talent to compete at that level. Take that rejection as an opportunity to work harder and hone those skills and to get a good sense of artistic direction. Knowing who you are means that no matter what people say, you can still stand your ground and say to yourself, “what I have inside me is good enough to develop and I know I can come back again much stronger and better with some consistent hard work” or it might even be you saying.. “OK.. I gave it my best shot, and now I know that this is not what I want and this is not what I am gifted at” … and that is cool too.

I hope that this short write up has helped you gain a bit more perspective on this process.

Keep on doing YOUR THANG!

Joshua Alamu

Joshua Alamu appears in association with Success Express Music


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When I met TV vocal coach Joshua Alamu by chance over a mic stand purchase I seriously didn’t expect three years later we would host a groundbreaking showcase for emerging talent on behalf of The British Heart Foundation & Operation WellFound at Leicester Square Theatre!


With extensive experience on TV shows working with too many household names to mention (Pop Idol/Will Young, Just The Two Of Us/Beverley Knight, Joss Stone, Daniel Bedingfield… the list goes on to include The Voice UK right now) Josh had a LOT to say about mentoring raw talent the right way, the healthy way, the old fashioned way …here’s Josh in action:

We wanted to support singers and emerging artists from 14 to *** years to take their singing and performance to the next level and over the past three years that is what we have done. Our vocal/techicnical/performance workshop programme with a live showcase at a great venue allows each singer to experience genuine live performance with a great band, in front of a music industry panel, who give positive feedback designed to inspire not destroy.


The singers loved it, the families loved it, and most of all the venues were excited by the level of talent and great format for this show!  As Success Express Music we went on to produce 5 more workshops/showcase series, and venues were keen to be involved, with showcases on The Southbank and Proud Camden following.  Introducing a programme at prestige venues  mixing breakthrough artists alongside the current and the classy,  those first few singers with raw talent have really had the chance to develop and move forward with their careers.



This year Success Express Music wanted to introduce a second tier showcase and are thrilled to be presenting the Final for  “The Next Big Thing”. at Leicester Square Theatre on 21 October.  Very simply 8 emerging singer songwriters who we feel have outstanding potential will be selected from 2 semi finals to perform before a music industry judging panel for advice and feedback.  No gimmicks, no text phone voting, this is all about the artists and how we can assist them in setting long term achievable goals for a sustainable career in the industry.   This is not a show about awarding worthless ‘management deals’  or useless giveaways by commercial sponsors. Not at all.  We consider any singer songwriter who is invited to semi finals to be worthy of the same help and assistance.  But shows need to have  someone given that special acknowledgement and so the most promising artist will receive a package of relevant benefits, such as vocal coaching, social media training, workshops, opportunities to co-write for major artists and an opportunity to perform at a selected programme of very special prestigious venues.  


The Next Big Thing is all about mentoring talent in a healthy way, and working with us, as a team, as a family to help each artist ‘take it to the next level’.


One artist said to me after performing last night “I have never heard of anything like this! I know I have taken my solo career as far as I can on my own … I know I need guidance and support.”  


And really, in a nutshell, that’s exactly what we do.






Semi Final :  Tuesday 11 September:  The Luxe Spitalfields

Featuring: The Modern Jesters

Special Guests: Just LIke Little People


Tickets £7/£9


Ticket Hotline:  020 8449 0666


Final: Sunday 21 October : Leicester Square Theatre

Featuring: Otty

Special Guest: SheenaMusic


Tickets £15/£12 (child)




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