Contact: MacKenzie Reynolds - Capitol Music Group, MacKenzie.Reynolds@umusic.com
It might feel like only yesterday that Pete Yorn soared to stardom with his debut record Musicforthemorningafter. But 15 years after the release of that gold album, the singer/songwriter—who notably collaborated with Scarlett Johansson for 2009’s Break Up—endures. Yorn took a six-year hiatus from his solo career, during which time he performed with J.D. King as the Olms, but now he’s back with his first solo album in six years, Arranging Time.
What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a singer?
I’ve never been a technically great singer, but I just do my thing. Learning how to work dynamics and getting more consistent with my pitch is something I’ve developed over the years.
Have you had any formal vocal coaching? What effect did it have?
Before I got signed, many years ago, I took two or three lessons with a well-known coach, but it wasn’t for me. I felt I was losing what made me different. So I just went back to singing how I always did.
How do you warm up your vocal cords before a performance?
I just sing some songs and keep Halls honey lemon [drops] close by.
What are your diet do’s and don’ts (alcohol, caffeine, weed, etc.)?
No real diet do’s or don’ts related to singing, but I find getting sleep is huge, and eating before early morning radio/TV helps to wake up my voice.
How do you shake out any stage jitters, or cope with red light fever?
I’ve learned various approaches to disassociate from myself and just become hyper-present. And when those don’t work, a nice shot of tequila or bourbon will!
What are your favorite personal performances of yours, live and studio?
The Live from New Jersey record [from 2004] is pretty good. That was a fun show. In studio, the vocal on a song called “On Your Side” still hits me pretty hard. On the new record, the vocals at the end of “Shopping Mall” feel good. Typically, though, I don’t really like to hear my own voice.
What are a few of your favorite all-time recordings or performances by other singers, and why?
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” by Judy Garland [is] one of the greatest songs ever written [or] sung by one of the greatest singers ever to live. She was perfectly cast to capture the deep longing that lives within that song. It really moves me every time [I hear it].
What are your most memorable stage mishaps? And how did you deal with them?
Hmm, recently at my last London show, one of the amps to the PA blew up during our second song. I could tell something happened ‘cause our sound guy was scrambling and all the energy seemed to suck out of the room. (But our monitors were working, so it wasn’t totally obvious there was an issue to the band and me.) In my earlier years, I think I would’ve panicked a bit, but instead I just told some jokes and told everyone of the issue, and we went backstage until it was fixed. We came back about 10 minutes later and continued the show, and I think that mishap actually made for a memorable moment. We ended up having a great night.
Are you loyal to specific types and brands of microphones and in-ear monitors? If so, which ones?
Whatever sounds good. Typically I let my sound engineer figure that stuff out. I trust him. •