Meet Lynne Fiddmont: After being the go-to singer for an astounding and diverse roster of musical talents that includes Phil Collins, Patti Austin, Stevie Wonder, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Yolanda Adams, Norman Brown, Bill Withers, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Whitney Houston and Seal, this lady is ready for the world to hear her voice, her music, and her story. The lady is Lynne Fiddmont, and her first step toward total self-expression is her life-affirming debut album, Flow (released on the lady's own boldly named recording imprint, MidLife Records).
Instrument(s): vocalist, keyboards, percussion.
Teachers and/or influences? I didn't take any voice lessons until I was already a professional singer. My interest in lessons was to preserve my voice by learning to breath and relax while singing. I developed some bad habits that I work on even now.
My influences, which are far too numerous to mention include, Stevie Wonder (of course), Minnie Ripperton (she must be because so many say I sound like her), Angela Bofill, Chaka Khan (wish I could sing like her), George Duke, Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Patti Austin, Nancy Wilson, Phoebe Snow, The Jackson Five, and so many more...
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... While in my junior year at Boston University, studying Public Relations, I had a revelation that I was pursuing the wrong career. I called my mother and told her I wanted to quit school and pursue music. Her response was, "I don't think so," and, well, the rest is history. I did finish school and in retrospect I think it was the best course for me. I learned a lot about marketing, and I was driven to spend all my extra time developing as a musician. I bought some congas and took lessons and sang with a Top 40 band four to five nights a week - and I did get a clue when I got a standing ovation during our high school musical. I said, "Hey, this is alright!"
Your sound and approach to music: My sound is a mix of all the music I've ever heard. It's funny, so many people say that I remind them of Minnie Ripperton and it surprises me because ... don't get me wrong, I love Minnie Ripperton, but I didn't grow up listening to her a lot. I did listen to Chaka Khan a lot, and I sound nothing like her, so, saying that to say this: I don't know how I got my sound, but it is what it is. Actually I think what people hear when they say I sound like Minnie is, our approach to singing is similar. When I hear her, her voice is soft and pleading and unique. She didn't try to sound like anyone else, and she had a pleading quality to her voice. I share a lot of those characteristics, but I don't think I actually sound like her. But the similarity lies in how we approach singing.
Your teaching approach: There's a mental and a physical aspect to teaching. I encourage people to find their own voice and learn to embrace their individuality. I also encourage taping themselves so that they can weed out the things that are not attractive to them. I also stress how important it is to tell the story at all cost. Then the physical aspect of trying to relax and breathe properly is also very important. It's one that I continue to focus on.
Your dream band: When I think of my dream band, I might start with Marc... but no, then there's Freddi... I mean Nate... well, Ricke... Andr... Smit... Eri... Alex... and... then there's Richard Bona. The reason I said his entire name is because I recently saw his band in Japan at the Blue Note, Tokyo, and his band has my dream band qualities. The dynamics they play with is stunning. They go from loud and intense to soft, and still intense, without any adjustment time. They are supportive of Richard's voice, which is soft like mine, and they play with sensitivity that I absolutely love. So my dream band is a cohesive, friendly group that plays with big dynamics, sensitivity, intensity, and great love for music. I'd also like to give cudo's to the musicians that I've been working with: Munyungo Jackson, Ready Freddie Washington, Little John Roberts, Abe Laboriele, Vadim, Andrew Ford, David Leach, Lamont Van Hook, Fred White, Keith Fiddmont, Smitty Smith, Land Richards, Roberto Montero, Kevin Brandon, Luis Conte, Kevin Ricard, and many more.
Anecdote from the road: Well, I love to play Ding Dong Ditch. Anyone who has been on the road with me knows the drill. If someone is knocking on your door and running, it could be me!!!
Favorite venue: I love outdoor venues such as the Greek Theater and the Hyatt New Porter. They are both intimate outdoor venues with great atmosphere and greenery. Blending music with nature is magical. Also, this year I will get the great opportunity to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival. That's hot!!!
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? This week it's U R Loved because it seems to have an immediate healing affect on people. Just hearing the words "I love you" over and over seems to fortify people and remind them of the love in their life.
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!