Michael Sean Harris helping others to find their voice with new book
When approaching a music career, vocalists are motivated to find their voice and sing out loud. After spending years nurturing young minds, Michael Sean Harris is hoping to help other performers do just that with his first book, Mike’s Pocket Performance Pointers.
Harris is no stranger to entertainment. He is an incredible performer, a music lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts School of Music, member of Cathi Levy’s Little People and Teen Players Club and Adult Players, as well as The Ashe Company, among others. A vocal coach for many local sensations, like Chevaughn, Tessanne Chin, Julian Marley and Kumar, he has weighed in as a resident judge on the local high-school talent show, ‘All Together Sing’.
“I decided to write Mike’s Pocket Performance Pointers because of the great demand I was experiencing from people wanting voice lessons and performance coaching,” he told The Gleaner. When he realised that he could not meet the request personally, he discovered another way to get all the ‘birds’ singing, using his techniques. Jotting down concepts and ideas he was taught, and has acquired, from years of experience as a performance coach and voice teacher he created the book that would be a unique vocal guide. In doing this, Harris said he was able to provide more people with access to the necessary information.
While attending Berklee College of Music, Harris was taught to be a responsible musician and be aware of the plethora of possibilities his talent had to offer outside of vocals, like education and entrepreneurship.
His book explores stagecraft and performance, from preparation and production to performance or staging. “Music means versatility and being able to constantly adapt. Some things are constant and never change, while many other things are always changing or in some kind of cyclical pattern. It is prudent to be able to change and adapt with the seasons,” he said.
Harris said the reception to the book has been overwhelmingly positive. Comments made from non-singers are that the principles outlined in the book apply to their own professions; people like public speakers and emcees, business people who need to be able to present their concepts to others, and even dancers. “I think people really appreciate how uncomplicated and straightforward the language is in the book. The design and layout of the book is very attractive and colourful,” he said.
Harris has also started a podcast called Mike’s Moments Of…. With a point of view to share, he knew the stories of others in the industry. He was all too happy to generate content ranging from Jamaican music history, culture and the arts to current events and inspiration. Additionally, he has started an online platform, www.reggae-on-line.com, with one course so far in vocal performance coaching.
Having produced a book, made music and worked on music for a film, the music professional has plans to release more music and to participate in some fun collaborations. If you want to pursue your passion in music, Harris advises that you start with the aspect of the art form that is easiest to you, “If you want to sing or play, find opportunities in your community, or your church or your school. If you feel you need training, then do that. Find ways to express yourself. Nowadays, the Internet is an open platform where you can set your own rules and go at your own pace,” he said.