Veteran vocal coach Melissa Cross finds the zen in screaming

Joining hosts Alicia Atout and Tori Kravitz, famed vocal coach Melissa Cross guested for a conversation spanning her career and accomplishments on a recent edition of the She's With the Band podcast series.

Quickly getting into the specifics of Cross' expertise, the longtime coach who has worked with the likes of Slipknot, Megadeth, Gojira, Lamb of God and an endless roster of greats (See her client list - HERE) detailed the crux of what she brings to the table.

Explaining that her biggest treat is "when a student notices they aren't coughing up blood anymore," Cross discussed how her job is to help vocalists associate prioritize technique over emotion when it comes to emptying their lungs into a microphone every night. Explaining that artists instinctively rely on the emotional element of their sound, Cross says that is what ultimately leads to performers hurting themselves vocally.

Tapping into that primal, visceral component often means there is no control and the wear and tear of making that sound every night without control is a recipe for disaster. Cross coaches artists to reoganize that catharsis, finding a sound effect vocally that they can better control, then re-associating that sound effect with the original emotion the artist was looking to convey. She admits it is a very abstract process, but a vital one in terms of vocal health and longevity.

Best known for her series The Zen of Screaming, Cross further detailed the concept of raw emotion as it pertains to purging vocally. She elaborated on the idea of compartmentalizing pain and sorrow, rather than allowing that to consume you entirely. It's that distance, the ability to identify the feeling and almost surrender to it, that makes for a controlled burn rather than a raging inferno. Therein likes the basis in finding zen in screaming.

Cross goes onto explain how frequencies are especially important. She shared that the spectrum of screaming that is more often than not associated with rage exists on the same frequency as the band - hence losing the vocals. She details how she teaches vocalists to tap into a different frequency that may not sound louder, but translates better audibly because it doesn't compete with the band, rather, compliments it.

The conversation dissects the psychological aspect of screaming, the importance of implementing technique and underscores how Cross has become an crucial ally for some of the greatest voices in heavy music.

Check the episode of She's With the Band with vocal coach Melissa Cross below.