Meet the man helping pop stars and execs find their voice

Meet the man behind Sam Smith's voice
Meet the man behind Sam Smith's voice

For the past three decades, Anthony Wade has helped people find their voice.

The famed vocal coach has trained a diverse roster of personalities, from pop star Sam Smith to politicians, business leaders, and top sports team managers.

Nicknamed Dr. Voice, Wade says his passion lies in helping people use their vocal chords to maximum impact, whether they are singing or speaking.

"How often do you think about your voice," he asks. "You use it all day. You speak with it. You make sounds with. It is a profound tool that we use in communicating, in persuasion, singing, performing."

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His interest in the human voice came from a lack of confidence in his own ability, says Wade. He was unhappy with his singing voice, and spent years experimenting with different techniques in order to develop it.

His efforts led to teaching posts, and even to writing music for several British television shows.

But the moment Wade realized he could turn vocal coaching into a business was when a Shell (RDSA) executive asked him for help in being more effective when negotiating with oil companies in the Middle East.

"It was then I realized, oh, here's a business. Here's an interesting thing," he says. "I can actually make that person a better person by (improving) the way they talk. I can actually add something to that charisma."

One of the biggest stars Wade worked with was a 15-year old British pop star -- Sam Smith. His record company asked Wade to help train the young singer.

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"I textured his voice by giving him techniques and making him aware of his chest voice. Making him aware of the different registers," says Wade.

"When Sam came out, you couldn't tell if he was black, white, a boy or a girl, and people thought, 'who is that singing? What an unusual voice.' And I think that's the magic of what making voices or working with voices is about."

Whether his clients are famous or not, Wade says his goal is to make them aware of the sound they create, and help them bring it into sharp focus.

Wade takes on about 70 clients a year, including companies such as Barclays (BCS) and Vodafone (VOD), but he insists financial gain is not his motivation.

"It's not about the money, it's about the lives you can affect and how you can inspire positive difference to other people," he says.

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