A Playlist for Soul of Voice

Four years ago I wrote and published my very first nonfiction book entitled Soul of Voice. It was an attempt on my part to discuss with clients as well as with the general public what it is I do as an expressive arts therapist with a special concentration on the voice. Within the text I formulated a seven-step process for which a person may find a deeper connection and authenticity to their vocal expression. Also included were short vignettes exemplifying how each one of those steps can be realized. Particular songs or speeches were selected which lent themselves well to the particular need of the person portrayed.

The book was very well received and helped to boost my clientele both privately and in public workshops. And the information is still vital today. I’m also quite proud of the selections I chose and am currently having my assistant put them together into a playlist. The playlist should help the reader have a deeper understanding of what each vignette is supposed to exemplify, as well as give insight into the work I do within my business, Expressive Voice Dynamics.

Here is an example of one of those selections. It is the opening Chorus speech of William Shakespeare’s play, Henry V. Notice how deliciously the actor Derek Jacobi delivers the speech from an emotionally complex state of being.

Chapter Four in Soul of Voice speaks to the idea of feeling and its importance in conveying information as well as meaning to what one is expressing, an art often now missed in emails and “computer-ese”.  The goal of the expressive vocalist is to convey as truthfully as possible the emotional underpinning of a song or speech. It’s not enough to pretend to be angry or sad or fearful, but one must through their imagination bring to life their own experience of feeling and convey within the artistic medium as if it were their own. After viewing the above example, one cannot help but wonder where Jacobi emotionally went to produce such strong feelings within the speech.

Another example I used in Soul of Voice was the song New York, New York, written by Fred Ebb and composed by John Kander. When sung by Frank Sinatra, one cannot help but feel the singer’s swagger and self-confidence as he proclaims his love for the big city and all it has to offer.  This song exemplified for my client the act of courage and its necessity for anyone desiring to be more vocally expressive. It was such a delight when with this young man to witness the change in his persona as he worked on this song. By the time we were finished with the session, I truly believed he was on his way to not only conquering New York City, but any and all obstacles in his way.


These are but a couple examples as to why a playlist of songs, monologues, and speeches is important to any of us who are interested in potentializing our voices and our expression. If you haven’t read or purchased Soul of Voice, it is still available both in ebook and paperback forms through Amazon.com.

Gwen Overland