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BY: Kurt "Swingcat" Johnson

You see it all the time at Karaoke shows or many singing events. A truly talented singer has a gifted voice, but the overall performance is clearly lacking something. What they are lacking is stage presence and polish, two qualities that oftentimes are overlooked by good singers who want to take the next step in onstage performances.

That's where KJ Rocky Rhodes and his Performer's Training School come in. Rhodes draws upon the collected knowledge of over 50 years in the entertainment industry. He teaches entertainment students how to create a polished and professional stage presence to go along with the voice.

Rhodes' stage experience includes professional band singing, television roles ( including parts on Hawaii Five-O ) and over 20 years as a successful Karaoke host, starting in Hawaii in the 1980s and continuing in the Pacific Northwest. He presently hosts regular gigs in downtown Portland at The Embers and AJ's on the Rails and other locations.

Rhodes is selective in who he takes on as students. They are required to audition in order to be accepted into his classes. He is very honest and will tell them up front if they have the talent to take it to the next level. If they aren't at a high enough skill level, he won't waste their time or money.

Rhodes credits an entertainer who became a model that he follows to this day, the great Lou Rawls, who once said, "Don't become a singer, become a song stylist." Rhodes incorporates that philosophy into all his lessons and his own onstage performances. He explains, "I want to teach people to recognize their style, their sound. I want to take my many years in show business, everything I've done and seen and I want to help create and mold my student's images regardless of their style. I want to help them find and create their dream and musical image."

Some of the items Rhodes addresses in class are makeup, hairstyle, clothing, before and after recordings, the facts of band life and being on the road. Dates are arranged based on individual schedules and all ages are welcome and can audition and practice at AJ's On The Rails, 1022 S.W. Morrison.

Presently, he is teaching individuals only, but is looking at small groups in the near future. He also adapts his teaching style to the client. Lessons start with music theory and history, musical knowledge, storytelling, life interpretation and lyrical poetry. Rhodes attempts to teach the student how to reach in and recreate the emotion in the song. He sums it up this way; "Let's take your dreams and my skills and make it happen!"

One of Rhodes' students of about four months, Callie McCoullough, had this to add: "He's doing a lot with me on inflection, delivery and getting to a point of being really professional on stage. I was referred to him by a friend and found we had much in common. We've been specifically working on delivery, phrasing and singing a song the way it's supposed to be sung. As a result, I have improved greatly and am very confident with my stage performances. I eat, breathe and sleep singing. It's a passion. It's therapy for me. I can get up on stage and I'm in love with the world! I do a lot of Nat King Cole and big band songs. Rocky and his wife Suzanne paid me a big compliment by telling me I remind them of Rosemany Clooney. I've always wanted to do this my whole life. It's like what do you want to do when you grow up? I want to be a singer. Rocky's venues are outstanding. The response you get is unmatched. The crowd at Embers is wonderful. I truly, truly love the whole situation."

You can find more information on The Rocky Rhodes Performer's Training School at his website or call 360-608-0677.

If you have any further questions, please call Rocky at 360-608-0677

Also available; Custom song discs for $2 a song (with a 5 song minimum).

Again, these are the songs no one else has, or you don't want to buy a
whole disc for just that one special song you want."

Rocky Rhodes

(360) 608-0677 Cell
• (360) 694-1120 Message & Fax


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