"Your technique is just not good….”
Yup, that’s what she said to me.
I had just turned 22 and had made it to the finals of the Dallas Opera Guild Competition. Although I didn’t win, the competition was very stiff, and making it to the finals alone was a huge accomplishment for me.
Afterwards, I met with the judges, and most of them said boring things like “good job, you’re so young, you will do well.” However, one judge, who still sits at a high level in the opera business pulled me aside and said these words I will never forget:
“Your technique is just not good. You don’t know how to sing. Your instincts are what got you here. I believe you have what it takes to become great, but you need to find a way to learn how to sing.”
I felt ABSOLUTELY CRUSHED.
I felt someone had killed a part of me inside. I wanted to QUIT SINGING right then and there. Having faulty technique was so shameful. The worst thing that could happen.
At first, I resisted her words… what did she know? She can’t sing. But, I knew she was right...
After a couple weeks of moping, I went back to the drawing board. As often the Universe does when you put out a desire, a miracle happened, and I found a wonderful voice teacher who helped me fix my technique. (I was real committed and drove 6 hours every week to and from his studio.)
I watched/read tons of videos/books about singing, self-development and neuroscience, re-acquainted myself with new research about the voice, committed to a daily yoga and meditation practice, and by fixing the foundations of my technique (both mentally and physically) after a couple years with my teacher, I started winning competitions again, getting dream roles, getting a lot of professional work, and being happy with my singing.
Looking back, one of the hardest realities of this time was feeling that I was THE ONLY ONE who had to work on her technique (I know **silly**, but true story). I would watch famous singers and think they have this easy, that’s why it works for them. I would scour YouTube looking for firsthand accounts from great singers about their technical ideas, but found very little, or only bits of information. It felt very lonely and disconnected.
Of course, having grown up, I know firsthand that this is not reality, and singers at ALL levels are still thoughtful and methodical about their technique, but these conversations are NOT BEING HAD publicly.
Somehow, talking about technique feels taboo and should only be discussed to demonstrate how perfectly one sings, not HOW to overcome the imperfect.
One book that really inspired me during this time was Jerome Hines’ Great Singers on Great Singing. This book interviews well-known singers in the early 1980s about their vocal technique. It is so insightful, and I highly recommend reading this NOW if you haven’t. This book gave me the confidence to know that even great singers have to work on things daily, and don’t just “open their mouth and gold drips out”.
So, I created a brand new series to pick up where the ‘80s left off: #TechniqueTalks which demystifies conversations surrounding vocal technique with behind-the-scenes access to great singers of today.
Singers will be getting RAW and discussing technique-y things you won't hear in your regular opera interview... (like how to really sing #lasperanza)
Register for my email list below, and be sure to never miss behind the scenes access to these interviews!
I'm Julia Radosz
I help singers realize their complete vocal potential through holistic and customized training of the voice, body and mind.
Along with my career as an opera singer, I have been teaching private voice for over 15 years.
My students have received many honors including final selections for NBC's The Voice, Miss America pageants, classical voice competitions, and artistic scholarships for conservatories and universities.
Additionally, they regularly perform leading roles in Musical Theater and Opera, both in regional companies and educational institutions. They can be heard as solo artists or in bands throughout the USA, ranging from Pop to Rockabilly, on stages and with album releases.
As an opera singer, I have performed with companies such as Opera Orlando, Opera Naples, National Moravian-Silesian Theater, Annapolis Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Gulfshore Opera, Little Opera Theatre of New York, and Tri-Cities Opera. Major roles include Marietta (Die tote Stadt), Madama Butterfly, Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Donna Elvira/Anna (Don Giovanni, Violetta (La Traviata), Fiordiligi (Cosí fan tutte), Susannah, Antonia (Les contes d'Hoffmann), and Suor Angelica.
I have won a few competitions, including The Jenny Lind Competition, Connecticut Concert Opera Competition, The Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Competition, and 5 Towns Music and Art Foundation Competition. Additionally, I was 2nd prize winner of the Kosciuszko Foundation Competition and the National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Young Artist Awards, 3rd prize winner of the New Jersey State Opera Competition, as well as a grant recipient from CareerBridges Foundation.
I currently live in Bratislava, Slovakia with my fiance who is a Slovak conductor, and I miss my dog, Fifi, who is keeping my Dad company in Florida.