The “MythBusters” master is now teaching students at My Place Productions
Heavy metal is characterized by amplified guitars, heavy distortion and vocals that can shatter glass — literally. For instance, Nitro singer Jim Gillette's act of breaking a wine glass with his voice was not just a stunt for the “Freight Train” video. It was a real-life talent he eventually passed on to Columbus native Jaime Vendera after becoming Vendera's vocal coach.
Vendera has demonstrated his glass-shattering ability on over 60 TV shows worldwide, from “MythBusters” to an episode of “Superhuman Showdown,” which was filmed at Ohio Stadium and the Columbus Guitar Center. Now a voice teacher himself, Vendera recently returned to Central Ohio to offer lessons at My Place Productions in Gahanna. Alive caught up with him via an e-mail interview.
In 2014 you injured yourself shattering glass on a TV set in Tokyo. Tell us what happened and how you're doing.
A shard flew into my throat and pierced the back wall of my pharynx. The result was a large knot that I've had for over two years. Luckily, Turkish Dr. Ilter Denizoglu was able to examine and diagnose me. … The good news is that my vocal cords are in perfect health. The bad news is that I have nerve damage, which is affecting my vocal cord function. Luckily, Dr. Denizoglu started vocal therapy on me in Krakow, Poland, and after that one session, the knot has shrunk by half. I will see him again soon, as we plan to conduct many vocal workshops together, so I will be back to 100 percent without surgery before long. I am a very positive person, so this has not stopped me from performing.
What types of students do you see and what is your teaching technique?
Since 1996, I've had thousands of students, including well-known singers from bands like Dream Theater, [Columbus-based] Starset, Hinder, Skyharbor, Thriving Ivory and many more touring artists who need to stay in shape on the road, as well as children who need to be heard above the crowd at a school play, [and] even senior citizens just looking to have fun in church choir or at karaoke. I am what you would call a voice-strengthening specialist … because I focus on vocal muscle-building for more range, power, stamina and enhanced resonance.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment, and what is next for you?
I really don't think in terms of accomplishments. I just drive on and on to the next project. I've set a world record, appeared on dozens and dozens of televisions shows, written and co-written over 70 books, audio and video programs, started an online school, worked with rock stars and even released a vocal training app. … Right now, I am writing another vocal book and working on new vocal videos. After they are released, I'll probably hop back to writing more fiction books.
Anything else you'd like to say to prospective students?
If you love to sing, do it with all your heart. I've been in love with singing since I was 3 years old, when I first heard Elvis. Then I played sax in school, joined a bar band at 16, moved to Los Angeles at 19 to study voice at Musicians Institute and kept singing and performing because it was my passion.