Thomas Barnette is a pageant vocal coach who is responsible for the music production and arrangement of many prominent state and national titleholders.
The day I spoke with him he had nine hours of back-to-back voice lessons and mock interviews that booked his day solid. Below are my questions and his responses to help you perform the best vocal talent possible.
Steven: Who have you worked with in the past?
Thomas Barnette: I worked with the past three Miss Georgias, including Chasity Hardman, who was a talent preliminary winner and the first runner-up to Miss America, Kristen White, who was Miss Black USA and several other Miss Georgia USAs on image and interview.
Steven: How do you suggest pairing a song with a girl?
Thomas Barnette: The girl has got to emotionally connect with the song. If the contestant cannot emotionally connect with the song they will not be able to sing the song to the best of their ability nor will they be able to engage the audience and more importantly the judges.
Steven: What is the difference between singing the song and performing the song?
Thomas Barnette: The song that the titleholder selects has got to mean something to her. When a girl is singing the song in a pageant she has got to be willing to be vulnerable before the judges and crowd. If they want to do well in the talent portion of the competition they have to emotionally open up and show people who they are.
Steven: How do you connect the girl emotionally to the song?
Thomas Barnette: Truthfully, that is something that cannot be taught, an emotional connection can only come from within the girl. She has got to ask herself, “What makes my heart sing?” She needs to think about her biggest dream and to visualize what that dream looks like and then find a song that tells the story of her most intimate dream.
Steven: So what is the X-Factor to selecting a song?
Thomas Barnette: Two things to consider:
- Can the song showcase your talent?
- Can the song be professionally composed inside the minute and a half time restriction?
Thomas can be contacted at email@example.com.