Hi Victoria, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Victoria and I am a professional singer and teacher. I hadn’t planned on being a teacher initially. In fact, I had a negative attitude towards teachers as some hadn’t been performers themselves. My drama school teacher from Blackpool was brilliant and I see a lot of his teaching style in how I support my students. In general though, my work is quite varied. I did ballet, tap and jazz, worked 6 nights a week as a professional vocalist and performed on cruise ships singing all sorts of genres. My biggest highlights include performing at the Hard Rock Café in Dubai and singing in the Middle East at 5 Star Hotels.
You teach at Limelight in Lancaster. What does this entail?
I teach students ranging from 7-70 years old and an average of 45 students a week. I teach a variety of techniques in a safe and fun manner. When I was being taught, some teachers made me feel insecure and others helped me to find myself. As a vocal coach I can clearly see that most people can sing, so I find ways to highlight what sounds best for them. I was classical and over-trained and it became difficult to mold my voice to other genres. I also touch upon other skills such as how to walk and move on stage. As there is a variety of skill level at the classes, I encourage everyone to have fun first and foremost. My husband who is a professional musician works with me too!
How do you feel your classes could help women in the arts? We interview Charlotte Ryan later in the issue and we hear you coached her!
I have noticed that girls tend to be less certain and less confident. I adore Charlotte. She started with a friend of mine and then moved onto me when she wanted to focus on Pop. I hope that I’ve been a positive teacher for her. I tell her, like a lot of my students, to keep working and keep promoting. She’s now in her first year at LIPA in Liverpool so I’m chuffed for her. She really deserves it due to all the time and hard work she dedicated to improving her voice and music skills. For me, my whole point of teaching is always work…practice…improve…practice etc. You have to keep on auditioning and trying; especially when you miss out. It makes you tougher and better able to deal with the fact that you won’t always get the part/gig. It is a tough business but this will help you become stronger.
Did you face any challenges personally in the arts?
I felt like there was huge emphasis on image and appearance. Strangely, for a lot of my work, I couldn’t have a northern accent! When performing gigs, I also experienced a lot of unwelcome advances in the form of being ‘chatted up’. You learn a lot about people and I’m often telling students to avoid these situations. I’m also introverted at heart and you have to outgoing and social so that was difficult for me to maintain.
Have there been any changes?
Yes. A lot has changed. In this day and age, you can do so much for yourself and more importantly, on your own terms. Networking was really difficult years ago, but now with social media you can put yourself out there. In fact, I set up my own Facebook page Vicky B and it’s great to be able to show them how to effectively promote themselves online.
Have you any advice for our readers?
Having fun is most important. I’m a self-critical person and that can be good and bad. When I teach people, I tell them to give themselves a break! Don’t beat yourself up. Keep striving, keep going and yes, for some people music is a hobby but for others, it is their passion and they are the ones who need to follow through with their goal. Also, live in the moment and stop thinking too much about the future. I became a professional singer at 25 and even now, I don’t feel good enough. But that always pushes me to keep working and improving my vocals. My advice for succeeding during lockdowns is to keep working on your skills and musicianship. It is important to develop your knowledge and social media. Even fitness is important if you are running around on stage and shifting gear. Record yourself and write songs. There is always plenty to do. It doesn’t stop, ever…unless you give up!
Thank you for chatting with us Victoria.
If you are interested in Victoria and Neil’s classes, head over to their website www.limelightlancaster.com for more information.
To get in contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0330 113 7298