David Jaanz with student/X Factor 2016 winner Isaiah Firebrace. Image courtesy of Lion Hearts Publicity.
The David Jaanz School of Singing has a reputation for producing stars, with a massive list of students who have obtained global success in the music industry since the school opened three decades ago. I sat down with David to discuss why he started the school, the reasons behind it’s huge success, and his teaching philosophy. After some brief introductions…
The Australia Times (TAT): So David, did you work in the industry before opening your own singing school?
David Jaanz (DJ): Yes, I sung in my band. We represented Australia in the World Yamaha Competition in 1989- and we won. We beat 22 000 bands from around the world, and I was signed to Sony.
TAT: When did you open the school?
DJ: Thirty years ago.
TAT: And you have a couple of schools?
DJ: We are in Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland. We probably have around 400 students nationally. Singing students vary from beginners to advanced to professionals.
TAT: And what was the vision for when you started, what did you want to create?
DJ: I found that a lot of the coaching I received was very technique based, but lacked a bit of heart, and lacked a bit of soul, and lacked a bit of that X factor kind of coaching.
I just wanted to bring emotion back to singing. I wanted to bring authenticity back to singing. I wanted to bring real storytelling back to singing. That is what inspired me. It’s been an incredible journey- star after star after star for over three decades.
TAT: Has that vision been realised?
DJ: Yes, twenty five years ago I was teaching people like Peter Andre, Merril Bainbridge, Madison Avenue, people with top tens in the US, I’ve also taught people in musicals- The King and I, I’ve got students doing Wicked in Japan, and some of the big musicals around the world.
I veered more into contemporary, so from the ‘recording artist’ point of view- Delta Goodrem, the winner of The X Factor– Isaiah, the winner of The Voice– Harrison Craig, the winner of Australia’s Got Talent– Bonnie Anderson, and the runners up of a lot of these different shows.
We’ve had lots and lots of success, with incredible voices like Kaity Dunstan who is in the US and touring with some of the major acts. So we’ve been really blessed to be able to bring forth this new generation of singer that’s got a chance on International markets, not just here.
These are cutting edge singers that bring something fresh. We are also very big into uniqueness and songwriting, really building brands. Emotion Centred Singing is mining for uniqueness and greatness in an individual.
TAT: Do you teach all the students yourself?
DJ: No, I carefully select my coaches and train them in the approach- Emotion Centred Singing. So it’s really hard to become a coach here. It’s not about the money, it’s about brilliant singers- and you’ve got to coach them well. It’s about looking after a singers voice- technique, and that balance between technique and the emotion style.
TAT: Does singing at David Jaanz require an audition?
DJ: Yes, we have an audition process. We’ve got to feel like you’ve got something.
TAT: What are some of the recent success stories to come from training at the school?
DJ: I think the biggest one is Delta Goodrem- I worked with her on her album Innocent Eyes which sold 1.2 million copies. Probably the other biggest one is Isaiah right now who is representing us in Eurovision. He’s all over the media, he’s had 50 million views. Just absolutely incredible.
TAT: How do classes run? Do you do group lessons and private lessons?
DJ: We’ve got a very unique approach and I think we need to emphasise that. There’s a certain way we do things, and it brings out champions.
We are very big on personal development, so our motto is- ‘creating the stars of tomorrow’. We teach people life skills, confidence and self-belief in being able to get up in front of audiences. I imagine it would help people that wanted to be business leaders or to get confidence.
Emotion Centred Singing is a lot of inner healing. You have to heal some of the damage of the world. We live in a negative world. We live in a world that conforms and we’re always comparing ourselves to everybody else- and that’s the problem. We need to run our own race.
TAT: It sounds like you have a focus on healing…
DJ: Most coaches just do scales. That’s skimming. That’s like having a cake and just skimming the icing- but you’ve got to go into it. You’ve got to take a bite. A lot of what we do is gospel- it’s about discovering the ‘inner singer’. It’s going deep, so a lot of it is incredible inner healing.
—-end of interview—-