Yesterday, I shared my story about how I lost the use of half of face after a stroke and Bells Palsy nearly twenty years ago.
Today – I want to tell you about the hope that I never thought that I had to slowly bring my face back – and a great woman of God who is helping to make it happen.
I want to introduce you my vocal coach – the absolute best in the business. I don’t just say that – I know that with a fearce understanding. Her name is Jan Smith – but those of us who know her and love her affectionately call her “Mama J”.
Mama J’s professional credits include multi-platinum, Grammy winning and nominated artists Usher, The Band Perry, Rob Thomas, Matchbox Twenty, Justin Bieber, Drake, Keyshia Cole, Sugarland, Monica, Jill Scott, LaToya, Ciara, TLC, Omarion, India.Arie and Collective Soul. While she is one of the first names mentioned by Grammy award winners in their acceptance speeches – Mama J has a great passion for God and His church.
When I connected with Mama J, I confided in her that I was worried about my drooping face and closed eye and how it might be a distraction to some.
I was honestly more concerned with her fixing more of my enunciation of words – after all…doctors had told me that the damage done to my face was already done. There was nothing that could be done to fix my face.
She began giving me some ways that I could fix some enunciation issues in singing. – and then began to take a look at some of my facial features and the way I moved my mouth, eyes, and cheeks when I sang and talked.
She gave me some simple direction – and some excersizes to perform. She gave me something even better…
…Mama J gave me hope. That’s the fluffy way to put it. The down-right real way to put it is that she flat out challenged me.
You see – doctors had given me an excuse. Doctors told me that what was done was done. Mama J told me I had no excuse.
It is evident when talkng to Mama J that she knows more about the voice, the face, and the complexity of how God created those parts than 99% of the world does. He knowledge is vast. I have been a professional singer/artist for many years – and learn things from her each conversation that blow my mind.
She told me that I could retrain my eye and my face to move again. I was hesitant to believe – but she showed me aresa where I was already (unknowlingly) trying to compensate on my own – all I needed to to was figure out what my muscles were doing and capture the movements.
In nearly 20 years – I have not been able to open my right eye past a certain degree. It simply doesn’t happen.
After nearly a month of working on Mama J’s excercizes – I am able to open both eye’s almost equally on my own.
Some of you may be reading this today because you are dealing with something similar. Others of you may be here simply because you are worship leaders/pastors or on worship teams and have influence within your teams. If you are – I want you to get to know Mama J.
Jan Smith has an amazing passion for church worship teams and the desire to see teams become more aware about proper voice care.
“For worship leaders to not be informed – to me thats a problem in the church and I want to be a part of that solution.”
Can I make a personal invitation for you to stop by Mama J’s website today and get to know her?
Thanks, Mama J! You’ve “openned my eyes!”