Nancy Bos, is an acclaimed author, international speaker, and owner of StudioBos Media, who has taught voice for over twenty years. As a globally recognized voice expert, Nancy truly believes that everyone has a right to sing and to use their voice.

In this episode, Nancy explains that voice teachers are incredibly lucky people, because they have the opportunity to live out their passion every day and witness the joy of transformation and empowerment in their students. Nancy shares her personal story of how she had to unlock her own voice which had been suppressed as a child, as well as, overcome severe performance anxiety in order to help others reach their highest potential. She opens up about her life’s mission to inspire people all around the world to find the freedom to express, through voice, that part of who they are that connects us all.

This is part one of a two part interview with Nancy and I’m sure you are going to truly be captivated by her wisdom and experiences. Without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

In this episode

1:09 – Introducing Nancy Bos

6:49 – Nancy’s first singing lessons

11:17 – Change of direction

15:38 – Dealing with performance anxiety

30:11 – Singing through change

37:46 – Today’s generation of women

40:43 – Helping people find their voice

44:48 – Getting over performance anxiety

51:24 – Meditation

Find Nancy online

Celebrate Singing is Nancy’s new event company promoting the joy of singing, focusing on women in midlife and beyond.

Singing Through Change is Nancy’s new book that is changing everything around menopause and voice!

All of Nancy’s books and podcast can be found on her publishing company page https://studiobos.com/

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:10

Hey, it’s Dr. Marisa Lee Naismith here and I’m so honoured to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you, listen and you will be inspired by amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers, and music industry professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to help you live your best life every day. As singers our whole body is our instrument and our instrument echoes how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. So don’t wait any longer, take Charge and optimise your instrument now. Remember that to sing is more than just learning about how to use the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:08

Nancy boss is an acclaimed author, international speaker and owner of studio boss media who has taught voice for over 20 years. As a globally recognised voice expert, Nancy truly believes that everyone has a right to sing and to use their voice. In this episode, Nancy explains that voice teachers are incredibly lucky people because they have the opportunity to live out their passion every day, and to witness the joy of transformation and empowerment in their students. Nancy shares her personal story of how she had to unlock her own voice which had been suppressed as a child as well as overcome severe performance anxiety in order to help others reach their highest potential. She opens up about her life’s mission to inspire people all around the world to find the freedom to express through voice that part of who they are that connects us all. This is part one of a two part interview with Nancy, and I’m sure you are going to truly be captivated by her wisdom and her experiences. Without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:42

Thank you, and welcome to the podcast. Nancy boss. It is such a pleasure having you here today. We only met a couple of weeks ago. And I can honestly say from my side of the fence that I just felt an instant connection with you. I love what you stand for. I love your philosophies. And I just thought where has this person been all my life? So welcome. And thank you for being on the show how you going?

Nancy Bos  03:13

Thank you It is really great to be here. I feel the same way, like the instant connection. Just love getting to know you. So thank you for sharing yourself with the world through this podcast or I wouldn’t have met you. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:23

Oh it’s so fun. And I get to meet people like you. And the good thing about a podcast and as you know, you have a podcast also, which we’re going to get to later. But it’s almost a little selfish because you learn as well. And you ask the questions that you want to know the answers to. So it’s a little kind of sneaky selfishness there as well, but we won’t tell anyone that. Okay, so where are you right now?

Nancy Bos  03:52

I’m in a small town outside of the Seattle area. I live in the woods in a place called Kitsap peninsula. And it’s in Washington State near Seattle.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:04

Oh, that’s amazing. Seattle is a beautiful city. I’ve been there. The highlight for me was going to the Boeing factory, though. Yeah. really fascinated with that place. Yeah. So we’re going to start with a little bit of biographical information. I always loved to know the person behind the the rock star teacher and pedagogue and vocologist. So tell us about you. Have you always sung?

Nancy Bos  04:38

Oh, yes. Yeah, right. That was one of those that that my mom and dad made a rule. No singing at the table. You know, that was the only place I wasn’t allowed to sing. So, yeah, but singing is just part of being human. Right?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:49

It is. Yeah, little thing. I think I’ve never met a little kid who didn’t say so. Yes. And you have a philosophy too, that you believe that everyone has the right to See?

Nancy Bos  05:00

Absolutely. Any, any anybody who’s worked with teenagers notices that around those middle school years, or 10, 11, 12? A self consciousness comes in. Right? And, and a lot of times even before then people are told not to sing by somebody that they respect or even somebody they don’t disrespect. Just hearing that shuts things down, right. Yeah. And so one of my missions in life is to get people beyond that. And I could talk on that for like three hours alone. So let me know.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:37

No, that’s fine. You you go for it. I love that philosophy. So when when you were a child, and you were told to quieten down? I mean, did you quiet down or did you continue to sing? 

Nancy Bos  05:52

As a child I had the confidence to think of it as a compliment. You’re amazing. Yeah. Nancy, just just you can sing later. I can sing later. Great. I will.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:10

And you did? Yes. Singing training, you did share your experiences with me. So be interesting to hear about all of that, too.

Nancy Bos  06:20

Yeah, well, um, I was the, the little girl who sang the solos in church and joined the adult church choir. By the time I was 12. And in middle school, when my voice was lower than many of the boys. I was singing the tenor or even the baritone on the Three Dog Night harmonies that our jazz choir was saying, Yeah, it was pretty cool choir. And, but then, as I got into high school, the whole education system in that era, which was a few decades ago, steered everyone toward classical music. So I was learning really, and karamja Ben and, and on the radio, I was listening to Helen Reddy and, and my Oh, and, and Johnny Cash, and there was no common ground. It was like it was ballet versus, you know, straight dancing. So suddenly, the kid who’d known all along that she was a great singer didn’t know anything, right? Yeah. And I started taking voice lessons. I don’t think I told you about this part before I started taking voice lessons when I was 16, which was very young back then people didn’t take voice lessons. And I was not in high school. They didn’t know that college in the US in the in the 1970s, and 80s. And so I started taking voice lessons from a college professor who was he was condescending, he did not want to teach me, he would smash his hands up my cheeks. And now tell me to open my mouth make my mouth longer. So So singing lessons, became torture, classical music became torture. And I can’t I also had some some issues, you know, a performance anxiety creep up around that time. So my knees would shake when I performed right. And can you relate to that?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:17

Well, I’m just listening to your story. And I’m thinking, you’re at the most vulnerable age you could possibly be at that it’s a time that you need someone championing you. And here you have someone tearing you down? Yes, I would have had a lot more than performance anxiety, I can assure you of the door. Oh, I don’t even know how I would have reacted. Because I haven’t been in that situation. My journey was very different. I trained in the 70s. But I happen to have the only CCM teacher in the whole of Australia living around the corner. So I was attending lessons there. And I was singing all the music that you talked about not Johnny Cash, but I was singing Tina Turner and all that kind of music at the age of 14 and loving it. So I can’t imagine how that made you feel. So what did you do about that? How did you handle it?

Nancy Bos  09:20

I didn’t handle it. Well, I went off to college, and became a music major because I was the girl who sang all the time, right? And so of course, she’s going to be a music major. And my performance anxiety got worse there to the point where I actually my junior year, switched over to a music management major. I love business. And so I got a business and economics and music degree in order to avoid doing my senior recital. And I was told at that time that the only route was to be a performer or a school teacher.

Nancy Bos  09:59

Yes. 

Nancy Bos  09:59

And I I don’t like classrooms full of children. I can relate to that. So it’s either the opera stage, or the classroom. Right? Is it? Well, I didn’t want to do either one right parallel. Yeah. And so I was just stuck. But I knew that I loved to teach. So I asked a college teacher, how do I become a voice teacher. And he very kindly gave me a journal of singing from the US based National Association of teachers singing, he required that I give it back a week later, but he said, there’s a whole organisation, just for teaching voice. Now, in order to become a voice teacher, you have to go over to Europe and have a professional career. And then when you come back, a university will hire you to be a voice teacher.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:51

What is going on in that country of teaching you back in the 70s? Yeah. And I got to say, probably still goes on now. In some and occasional institutions. I know that for a fact. Yeah, that’s devastating.

Nancy Bos  11:07

Yeah. And you bring up a really good point. It’s still goes on now. And it’s been 30 plus years. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:12

Yeah. Okay. So you then from what I understand, your direction changed, though. Didn’t you start going? And I remember you telling me you worked at footlocker. Yeah.

Nancy Bos  11:28

I couldn’t, couldn’t find a job in arts management, because of the economy at that time was the arts were being slashed, and eventually landed up as a store manager for a lady footlocker casual store and did that for a few years, paid off all my college debt and completely forgot that I was a musician. It was just like, gone. And I was really finding a lack of meaning in my life. I find I go to work. Yeah, I do a good job. I have employees. You know, it’s great. I ran the number one lady footlocker casuals in the country. So it was working, but nothing in my, in my heart, you know, for it. And I just remember one day, getting out of my car at home. And I had this lightbulb moment. I mean, really, just music was given to me. Just music and and I was like, Oh, yeah, I’m a musician. I had forgotten. And in fact, at that time, I had already met and was engaged to my husband. I think he didn’t know that he married a musician. footlocker manager,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:37

it never came up. It just wasn’t part of me at all. Yeah. Wow. That’s a real big disconnect. Yeah, there was a real big, massive, massive that is like a Canyon. One life and another life. Yeah, like two different people. Yeah, it’s really something. So you, you then thought to yourself, okay, this is who I am as a musician. How did you then find your way back? Because I do know you had a performance career?

Nancy Bos  13:09

I did. So you know that. Maybe I would imagine, you know, that when we’re listening, the universe tends to provide right and give us what we need. And now I was listening. And sure enough, the church, I was going to the music director, left, and they needed an interimintrum music director. Well, they did a search. And so I stepped in as the interim music director. And I didn’t love it. Because again, there’s 30 people in front of me, and I’m supposed to conduct them. And I’d only had one semester of conducting but I got them through and I felt the musician in me.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:44

They started and finished at the right time. Yes. What happened in between?

Nancy Bos  13:53

Yep. And and then my husband and I moved off to a small town where there was one fabulous voice teacher. And I started taking lessons from her. And I said, You know, I was scared to bring it up. But I said, Oh, because she had her doctorate in, in voice, right? I said, I would like to be a voice teacher someday. And she said, fabulous. We’ll have you teaching in a few weeks. She knew that I was good. She knew I knew my stuff. And she decided she could mentor me. And plus she had too many students. And so I could take some of them. Yes, exactly. So she got me on my feet as a singing teacher. But then I was a singing teacher who was teaching but not performing. Right. And I picked up another choir. So I was directing a choir, but not soloing. I was mentoring soloist but not doing it myself and still stuck in classical is right. And my teacher was a classical teacher. And I remember singing she said she just gave me some some music from the soprano anthologie the grey one. And West Side Story or something Yeah. And and not too bad. Well, no. And it might, it might not have been any right. It was soprano legit. And, and I sent read it because I really didn’t know that music either. And she’s she’s just like, wow, oh, there’s something there. But she did nothing about teaching musical theatre, she just could see there was something there. So that was confusing. And then move I moved again one more time with my husband and started my own voice studio. And when I hit age 35 and I was teaching singers and I was working as a as an alto section leader and acquire in Seattle. And I wasn’t performing, I again, had another realisation that you’ve only got one life. And I had this deep regret that, you know, how can I How can I live this life without sharing the stories that come out of my mouth? And I’ve got I’ve got several performance anxiety stories that I could share. And one of them I want to share with you, please do I was with a this is this is kind of a funny one. This was back when when I just become a musician again. So so I was at the lady footlocker and I was singing with a with a jazz group. So my closest friend was a piano player. She said, this is called top hats and roses. And what we would do is we would do jazzy arrangements of standards or eight of us, and we would perform them at RV parks, you know, winnebagos recreational vehicles, we would perform those every Wednesday and Saturday. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:46

How hillarious!

Nancy Bos  16:51

$50 bucks a night not bad. Winnebagos and mosquitoes. And yeah.

Nancy Bos  17:05

So that was my first solo since, you know, the college mess. And I remember that the people in the group thought I was just a fabulous singer, I was far more trained than any of them. And when I got up to sing my solo, I was a wreck. You know, they could tell, they could see that I wasn’t breathing, they could see me shaking. And as soon as I got done, I would turn around and come back and I would be a mess. And somebody would have to hug me, you know? And, yeah, so there was a lot to overcome there. But, but I didn’t really perform again, until I was in my 30s and had that realisation that, you know, you just gonna have to figure this out. So I didn’t have any coaching on how to figure it out. But I had heard the advice that the more you sing, yeah, you’re a gets, right. That’s part of it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:58

Yeah, that’s Yes. That’s what people will usually say, is just get up on stage as often as possible. And slowly, but surely those nerves will disappear. That’s what I was told. 

Nancy Bos  18:11

Yeah, yeah. What do you think? What do you think of that? 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:14

Well, because I was told that by people I trusted, that’s what I did. I actually started my performance career, my professional career when I was 15 years old in a band, and I was working three or four nights a week at different functions. By the time I was 17, I was working five nights a week, and earning more money than any of my school teachers. But I just kept getting up there, like, I just didn’t know any better. And I didn’t have the information that we have now where they talk about breathing and all these, you know, and meditation and, and mindfulness and all these the end the tapping, I mean, it was get up there and start singing. 

Nancy Bos  19:03

Okay, so, so yes, that is and that is part of it. Because when we’re performing those variables in the environment that aren’t there when you’re just at home singing right and so loudly Yeah, somebody is going to cough somebody now phone is gonna ring somebody is gonna look really grumpy. And you have no idea what they’re thinking but you assume they hate you know, there’s, there’s going to be variables, the sound is different, the pianos different whatever. Your guitar string breaks, so, so that yes, absolutely. You have to go out there and do it a lot. As far as one time that I had to do this. So I started setting up performance gigs for myself, and one time, I don’t know if you’re a Star Trek fan, but I’ve watched all the star

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:43

No.

Nancy Bos  19:46

good on you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:48

I’ve watched Tammy.

Nancy Bos  19:54

So, in Star Trek, there’s this thing called a holodeck, where you walk into an empty room and the computer pro ramseur realistic environment for you. So I had a, I had a choir solo. And so I just decided the only way I’m going to get through this is if this is a holodeck, and they’re not real. And talk about I didn’t know anything about mindfulness either. But that’s what that is, right? Yeah. And it totally worked it totally.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:20

Well. I’ve not heard that. But oh, nobody know. But they say, imagine everyone in the audience is naked. Right? You’ve heard that once. Yes. I mean, that would put the fear of God in me. I mean, some of those people sitting in the audience are not the most attractive people. And you don’t want to see them naked.

Nancy Bos  20:47

Yeah, yeah. I have to say there is something about imagination, but not that one.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:52

not that one. So after all those experiences that you went through, and I mean, they’re pretty significant. And, and they were life changing for you? Absolutely. They saved my career. Yeah, yes. So as a teaching, when when you went into running your own studio, and students were coming to you, did that have an impact in the way that you approach teaching? And the language that you use with your students, though? How you guided them in this in the teaching studio?

Nancy Bos  21:30

I would say that it impacted the type of student that I accepted. Yeah, if a student was a live active, live a living active adult, adult performer, then I would, I would tend to not take them, you know, because I’d be like, you know, I can, I can work with you on getting your voice better. But as far as the practical experience of what you’re having on the stage, I can’t really address that. So I felt that I was very good at technique and repertoire. But but not at teaching performance. So I started performing at my kids, my own children’s Youth Theatre with them. And so I started getting theatre performance, and they started giving me better and better roles. So it got more and more intense until the point where I was actually music directing, and, yeah, so so I gained my music theatre chops in a community theatre like that. Yep. And then was able to go on and do some professional productions as I got better and better and more confident confidence is so much of it. So for me, though, that aside from quantity of singing, which I motivated myself by singing for causes, for instance, I decided I was going to have a fundraiser for a specific student who had a disease. And so then there’s no way I could back out, you know, and it was all about the good cause and that quantity of performing like that, but one thing that I went through that was very unusual was that I tried hypnosis. And there is a type of hypnosis that is science based. I’ve seen it used on people that’s it’s quite practical, they get you in a very calm place and talk about suggestions or concepts with you in this mental place. But there’s another kind of hypnosis that’s far more hard to put your finger on, right? It’s more I don’t know, new age. Wo wo, whatever.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:30

Wo wo hypnosis.

Nancy Bos  23:34

Exactly. And I went to woo hypnosis. Wow, I didn’t tell anybody, because that just wasn’t part of my reality. science based, you know, and, yeah, and, and this woman had, I think I had like four sessions. And at the last two sessions, she had me put my arm out. And then she would push on my arm and say a number, and then push on my arm and say another number and then push on my arm. And she would see how my arm reacted differently to those different numbers. And then hey, yeah, and then she would page through a book to see what that number meant. And it was a really fat book. And then she’d know which next two numbers to read and which next two in which next two, and I have no idea how long that went on, because I was hypnotised but I’m guessing an hour, hour and a half,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:20

I think you’ve reached at least a million by them.

Nancy Bos  24:25

No kidding. And at the end of that, I realised a couple of early sources of criticism and judgement in my childhood, that were part of my performance anxiety, the root of it, where it started. And then once the performance anxiety started, it just kept spinning up and spinning up and spinning up you know, you perform one’s nervous, you don’t feel like you did good. You’re going to be more nervous the next time so you’re not going to do as good then so you’re going to get even more nervous the next time and that’s what was going on. Yeah, I discovered that the root of my performance anxiety was was ridiculous. You know, something like we hear so many people say, Oh, my elementary school, you know, church music director told me to just be the quiet butterfly or something, you know, like that. Yeah, that that can be the cause. Yeah, performance anxiety. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:17

Yes. And really, that takes me back to the point before that, we have such a responsibility as singing teachers, weak, we have the ability to create someone losing their voice. Yeah. And, and that loss of voice isn’t just in singing but voice in life as well. It can shut them down in life. And, and I find it especially a almost like our larger responsibility when you’re working with children, that you have to be so kind and fill them with positive thoughts and positive energy, because you can make or break their, their singing experiences. And the last thing you want is for them to lose the joy of singing and lose their voices in life as well.

Nancy Bos  26:15

Yes, absolutely. The joy of singing is so much. And and yeah, if you take away that joy of singing, especially for a person who’s a born singer, you know, it and that part of their identity is completely removed. Like it was for me briefly when I was at lady footlocker. Oh, that’s permanent damage. Yeah. And it can change a person’s life. How many people have you heard say that? Oh, yeah, I was a soloist in high school. But now I’m, you know, and I’m not a singer anymore.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:46

Oh, my goodness. But how many people do hear also that say, Oh, I can’t sing. You know, I sound terrible when I sing. I mean, who told them that? Right? And and the other thing is, when you tell people that you’re a singing teacher, the first thing everyone asks me is, can you teach anyone to sing? Is that what is that the first thing you’re asked? Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you can have that almost on repeat. You can almost save them asking the question. Yeah, that’s my phone, I know what you’re going to ask. And for you, I know that you have this very firm belief that everyone has the right to sing. So you believe that everyone has the right to have their voices heard? And you’re working really hard to champion other people to find their voices? Where has that come from? 

Nancy Bos  27:50

Where has that come from? I, you know, one of the best things about being a teacher is that you’re also learning when you teach, right? Or perhaps people who go into psychiatry are helping themselves while they help others. Right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:08

Psychologists, everyone that that I know, that has problems wants to be a psychologist. Yes, I have had problems as a child once done a psychologist. Yeah.

Nancy Bos  28:18

Yeah. So that that very, the way that I took your question is very, very, to the point and interesting. And, and I love it. And that is, you know, like, I think what I took is that what what is it about me? Or what happens that I want other people to find their voice?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:35

Absolutely. With me, where is that? That Where have you drawn that mission? That inspiration to follow that, that mission and that path in your life?

Nancy Bos  28:47

Yep, yep, that that inspiration comes from being a strong, independent woman. And I have to add the word woman, because the strong and independent great, but being a woman who’s been judged, you have to make a choice to ignore judgments that hold you back. Right I had to make I had to make those choices to ignore judgments that would hold me back. Maybe this is goes for men too. But I think it’s pretty well documented for women. And there’s there’s a cultural norm that our generation you’re in my generation is coming out of. We were the first generation of liberated women and who knew what that was. So somebody still has to raise the kids and make dinner so Honey, you may be liberated but you better stay home and do that. You know, that’s that’s a squashing that’s a killing that comes from our society. And that I’m sure happened to be in many different ways like it does to all women and I’m sick of it. But there is there is a part of, of the medical world that the word, this is totally going off on another tangent. So that’s why On the brakes if you want that’s fine.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:01

No, I’m, I’m, I’m coming along on this ride, on the ride with you. Yes.

Nancy Bos  30:09

Awesome. Well, when we when I was writing the book singing through change was, which is about women’s voices in midlife and menopause and beyond. We did research that showed what hysteria is a hysteria. Yeah, I know. It’s like out of the blue hysteria is Easter ruse is the Greek word for uterus. And hysteria was a diagnosis that started some three 400 years ago, that was put to women, adult women who started acting differently than women should act. And it could be anything from headaches, many women because of their hormones, they get migraines. So that could be a hysteria. Many women because of their hormones in their 40s, or 50s, will have periods of rage. That would be hysteria. Yeah. And and these are all now we know that this is due to massively fluctuating hormones, and it can be dealt with in the medical world. But the word hysteria was a medical diagnosis until the 1980s. And it was meant for women in midlife who are not acting like they’re supposed to act. And one of the phrases if you look in the Wikipedia for hysteria, one of the phrases is women who have a tendency to cause trouble for others. And yeah,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:24

I’m deeply and highly hysterical. Were both hysterical. 

Nancy Bos  31:37

That is part of the root of my nature to help women find their voices and men, but mostly women. Is that yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:42

And I want them to become even more hysterical, more hysterical, please, let’s make some trouble. Yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. And when you talk about women being becoming independent, and, you know, society changing, it actually has not happened that long ago. And in some cultures, it’s still not happening, like old share, something that I’ve not shared before, is that I was married previously, to an Italian men. And I come from an Italian culture where as a child, I was raised that children is seen and not heard. Yeah. And so I never spoke up. I couldn’t disagree with my parents. I wasn’t allowed an opinion. And then I married that person. Yeah, yeah. And I was only at 20, I was pregnant with my first child living in a suburb where I was surrounded by Australians. And I was the only European. And it was very lonely, because I was so young, and everyone else was so much older than what I was. And there I was at 20, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. And I wasn’t allowed to follow my career path. And I was extremely in a situation that I started to realise I was not happy being in because I was not that person. Yes, yeah. And I mean, people that know me now would not know that, that I was quite down, and I was not allowed to have an opinion. And I was that domesticated Italian? Why, in my early 20s,

Nancy Bos  33:32

and that’s part of the culture where I grew up to, I mean, not not the Italian thing that’s completely opposite. I grew up in a Scandinavian culture in the middle of the United States in a place called South Dakota, which is classic prairie country, you know, sod houses and waggon trains. And, I mean, I was born after the waggon trains had gone through, but just for perspective, they were cars when I was born.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:57

Yeah, I was gonna say You look great for 150. Just for those who might be younger.

Nancy Bos  34:04

So but but that Scandinavian culture and the Lutheran Church that I was raised in there is a hierarchy of voices. And definitely, you need to be a team player. Nobody should stick out. We are all in this together working for a greater purpose, which truly, when it was survival, and you were building sod houses and cutting new farmland and fighting the enemy, then yeah, survival is the thing, but when it’s now a city in a suburb, and women’s liberation has happened, and still the culture is saying Quiet, quiet, quiet. And I know there’s a lot of people who can say they’ve experienced that I was always jealous of the people of New York who could just be loud in and out.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:51

yeah. And in our industry, we have there’s a tendency for the woman if you’re in a band to be The chick singer. Yes. And I was tarnished with that brush. I was the chick singer in the band. But I tell you what, if you survive that you can survive anything. Yeah. Like when I’m at work, and someone says something to me at work, I work with a lot of male musicians who are excellent teachers. And I could come back like that. They say anything my comeback, select this, but I said, not only did I work with men, all these muse, those who are very condescending, but try working in a bar at three in the morning, when it’s full of drunks, who are basically yelling out, and this is my Australian accent coming out now. Get your gear off. You do that. You learn, you go into fight or flight mode. And I tell you what I fought. And I learned. So now like, independent, strong woman, I know I can deal with anything anyone ever says to me because of that. And that’s what we had to deal with in the industry. And I’m sure that still around now that culture.

Nancy Bos  36:17

Absolutely. And the the child who’s raised in a culture where they’re not allowed to say anything your children are seen and heard, or the dad has the ability to silence the child with a word or a look, that those kids don’t learn how to fight, right? We learn? Yeah, we learn how to obey. Yeah. And you learn how to fight. How did you learn how to fight?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:45

I don’t know. But deep down, I think that I’m just, I’m very resilient. I’m tenacious. And if anyone tells me, I can’t do anything, I’ve become the person that will do it just to spite you. And if you tell me that I don’t have the ability to do something, I will find a way to learn how to do it just to spy too. Good for you. It’s taken a lot of life lessons. It’s taken loss. It’s taken a lot of things. For me. Basically, I’ve been brought up in the school of hard knocks. Yeah. And that’s where all that has come from.

Nancy Bos  37:28

And you were encouraged by your teacher, your fabulous teacher, right. Don’t let those knocks stop. You keep going. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:35

So that takes us to where we’re at now in life. And we talk about, you know, that women were silenced, but also to the generation of women that are coming through now they’re facing other challenges. They are they have different challenges to what we did. We were told to be silent. Yes. But the women now, are they losing their ability to communicate? Do you feel for other reasons? Interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. I mean, I’m, I’m thinking about things like, we don’t pick up the phone and call people. We tend to send emails because of technology. Do you think that there’s other factors that are silencing women?

Nancy Bos  38:29

Yeah, I do think also, the pressure for some of my high school girls that stayed with me, they were outstanding, brilliant, they could do everything. And that that pressure, and that has something to do with the town that we we lived in, which was a really successful town called Bellevue, Washington. And that pressure to be everything and do everything means that the girl is required to ignore herself, right? Right. This hour, you are a mathematician, and you’re getting all A’s. And this hour, you’re the lead in the musical and you’re killing it. And this hour, you’re in volleyball, and you are going to spike that ball, you know, and to be the best all the time at everything means there’s no chance to find out who you really are. So yes, there’s the technology problem. And then those in that kind of overachieving world, there’s the society problem. I would say, I’ve witnessed college students that do you get confused about that? How to talk to people, especially during the pandemic, where everything now is online, they, for a while, don’t even know how to leave their house. And I know that wasn’t a problem in Australia as much as it was in other parts of the world where college students didn’t leave their apartment or their dorm or their house for a year, basically, because everything was online. So you’d get up and grab your coffee and put on your bathrobe and go to class and do your homework and you just have I can’t even imagine what that’s going To do for silencing people’s voices is something we have to keep a lookout for.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:06

and also by doing that were silencing their emotions. 

Nancy Bos  40:10

Yes, absolutely. That’s the only way to deal with it. Yeah. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:14

They don’t know how to express themselves. I can’t communicate and use their voice. That’s another instance where some people will lose their voice in life, I suppose.

Nancy Bos  40:28

Yeah, it certainly is good to have a good therapist, or a good friend or a good coach or mentor to help you through those things. Because it’s, it’s unprecedented, unprecedented in the history of the world. We don’t know how to emerge from this. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:42

Yes. And how do you help people find their voice in life? Because that’s something that I know you’re working on. And specifically with women, I understand that and I think you gave the demographic of women between 40 and 70.

Nancy Bos  41:00

Yeah, the that the the most important aspect that I found, is to help women tap into the, into the fact I believe it’s a fact that we were all put here for purpose, we all have something inside of us that’s dying to get done before we pass from this earth. And if a woman feels that her life or her silence, is blocking her from delivering that message from sharing what she’s passion now, passion, passion, taken from the the original meaning, which is the passion of Jesus Christ, on the cross, dying, for love of us, that’s what passion means. So what are you there? That’s the source of the word passion. Yeah. And so what are you passionate enough about? That you can’t help yourself, but go, do say, Tell the world? Once you find that and start to believe that that is why you are here, then it’s time to look for ways to look for ways to get through whatever it is that’s blocking you. And sometimes those blocks are people. In my case, I had family members that were blocking me as you did with your Italian. Yes, yes. Yeah. And so sometimes it’s a very harsh reality that we find ourselves having fallen into. But that that meaning of life, you know, I don’t want to die without having sung I don’t want to die without giving my message. That Yes, that’s real. That’s the truth. That’s the truth. We get one life we have to live it. And so encouraging and empowering women to move forward in their passion. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  42:45

So when I listen to you speak, there’s another side to that. You’re talking about passion. But you’re also talking about purpose to me, because when I think about passion, it’s something that I want to do. And purpose is what you do for others.

Nancy Bos  43:07

So very good. Those both start with you. Absolutely. And instead, I think it’s what comes through you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:16

Yes.

Nancy Bos  43:17

Have you ever delivered a song or a message that you’re like, I don’t know where that came from? That that didn’t come from me that came through me? Have you experienced that?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:27

Yes.

Nancy Bos  43:28

Yeah, songwriters. And Paul McCartney talked about that, you know, that song, I woke up with that song. And I just wrote it down. And it was amazing. You know, we hear that kind of thing all the time, I’ve had performance like that. Clearly, our purpose or passion doesn’t come from this body. It comes from how our soul is attached to all the other souls and the energy of the world. That’s the source not from this body. But from something much bigger than who we are. Yes.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  43:56

So it’s almost like an out of body experience. It can be it can be yes. I know sometimes, like for me, now, I don’t perform. But my purpose and passion is also trying to help others and my, I believe I’m here for I want to live in service for other people. And there are times say, when I’m creating content, and I’m working on something, and I and then I walk away from it, and I come back the next day. I go, where did that even come from? That was good. I don’t remember writing that. Yes. I mean, there’s other times that go What the hell was I thinking? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. But I see what you’re saying.

Nancy Bos  44:47

So part of getting over performance anxiety, is getting rid of the ego. It’s and so I never I never finished this journey, the real piece that I think is, get out of the way. It’s not about you, if you are wondering how now maybe maybe you’re singing in a strip club, and people really care about how your body looks. But if you’re worried about what do people think of me, that’s not a meaningful way to deliver an important story or message you get out of the way the message goes through you. And it’s the same thing with speaking, it’s the same thing with life. It’s the same thing with raising children, or talking to your employer or starting a company. It’s coming through you, and you need to know that it’s right.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:30

Yes. And that can be really difficult if you’ve been criticised a lot as a child. And if even if there was a hair out of place that people around you were looking for a source of criticism.

Nancy Bos  45:47

Absolutely. But what right do they have to criticise you? Do they know better? Or they know they’re not? I mean, maybe at the time, they were 40, and you were 10. But now that you’re 40, you know, they were 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:59

oh yes im 40 😉

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:05

Okay, and in our singing, teaching community, things of becoming verily very targeted towards using science based techniques, approaches, investigations, troubleshooting, yeah. Do you think that is benefiting our community? Or is it getting in the way of what you’re talking about? Where it’s almost saying that your voice is the larynx, and we don’t worry about the rest of what’s going on?

Nancy Bos  46:45

The The interesting thing to me is that such a huge part of our population lives in the world where the sciences, what they need to 100% believe. And and I think that the tradition of yin and yang would, would speak to this. And so if you are a Yang person that needs the hard facts, and you need the science, in order to serve your students the best then yes. Isn’t it great that the science is there, so that you can speak to your students that way? And if you’re the opposite? I like to think I’m balanced. I do just as much science as I do, you know? Absolutely. But, but I do think that that is a spectrum. And I think it depends on where you are. There. There are a lot of there are a lot of there’s a lot of bad instruction that’s been done away with because of science. I remember a Yeah, back in 2005, I said to Scott McCoy. Dr. Scott McCoy has written one of the leading books on physiology and anatomy and acoustics. And I said to Scott, so how do men do falsetto? Do they have like a second wind pipe? He’s like, oh, oh, Nancy. And the thing is, I wasn’t alone. They were older teachers that thought that men had an unusual mechanism in their throats that allowed them to create what they called falsetto like a whole different part of the voice or an extra track. And so thank goodness for science.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  48:14

Yes, you would have spent a lot of time looking for it.

Nancy Bos  48:17

Making up my own theories. Yeah, exactly. Oh, I could never do that. Yeah, yeah. Yep.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  48:24

So you believe that everyone has a story to share? How do we know what that story is? And have you found your story to share?

Nancy Bos  48:39

Absolutely, I have found my story. It does continually change. But as the evolve, yeah, the hasn’t this Well, again, and I know that it wasn’t as bad in Australia, but you should be jealous of that as part of the pandemic is that those of us who were in isolation for months, months, had an incredible opportunity to look inside of ourselves. And we are seeing the results of that. And, and what we’re seeing is that people are hearing and experiencing spirituality and a deeper understanding of the energetic connectedness of all people, much more than we did before when we were just in the daily grind, you know. And, and so I think that that hearing that looking for opportunities through meditation or prayer, or a spiritual guide, or religious mentor, are great ways to find out what your purpose is. And also though, I don’t think it necessarily appears to a person before a certain age. I don’t think that a 25 year old should expect to know why they’re on this planet. Maybe their job is to just keep selling tennis shoes at lady Foot Locker, in order to prepare skills for later, you know, once their purpose is revealed.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  49:53

Yes. And in terms of you talk about meditation, And prayer. Are you a spiritual person?

Nancy Bos  50:04

Very much more more than more now than I was before the pandemic. Yeah. You know, so I started by saying that I was in this, this jazz group that saying it Winnebago parks. Another thing that I love doing is singing a funerals. So I’m professional funeral singer too. Isn’t it crazy?

Nancy Bos  50:23

I love this. There is nothing more fun. And sometimes, if I get emotional, I mean, this sounds ridiculous fun, but talk about a great way to be able to help people in their most vulnerable moment that you can provide transportation transport into a calmer place or a place of retrospection or connection with the dead. Absolutely something that I love experiencing and that spiritual journey that may or may not live beyond death. Is is something that I’m absolutely fascinated with.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:00

So what is the craziest request you’ve had for a song at a funeral? Yeah, totally.

Nancy Bos  51:07

I’ve had to do some Mick Jagger music. You know, as these baby boomers die, they asked for crazy things.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:13

Yeah. Yes. I think I’d like Justin Timberlake.

Nancy Bos  51:17

Oh, why not? Yeah. Absolutely. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:23

So do you meditate every day?

Nancy Bos  51:26

I do. Now, I didn’t used to. And I’m hooked. In fact, I’m pretty hyper person. And I never could calm down enough to meditate. Thankfully, though. Now, there’s these tools that help us meditate. And my favourite meditation teacher is in London, her name is Linda Hall. And how could I have ever known about Linda hall? If it wasn’t for modern technology? So I’m so grateful for that? Yes. Do you like guided meditations, then? I do. And I like backing tracks. And I feel like this is the the, you know, the cotton candy fluff of the meditation world, but I really do like it!

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  52:03

and for some people when they meditate, obviously, you know, we all meditate. I meditate every morning. I can’t say I’m still very good at it. Sometimes. It’s not till the last minute that that’s to quiet. Nine minutes of this is going on. And then the last sin Yeah, yeah. But during those sessions, have you ever had aha moments?

Nancy Bos  52:32

During those sessions? I usually. No, I don’t believe I’ve had aha moments during meditation. I think, though, that I, I prefer a mindfulness meditation that takes me out of the tight, small place that I’m in and allows me to open up so in a way, yeah, more like perspective moments. Have you had aha moments in meditation?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  52:57

Yes, I have. I can’t name anything right now. But it could be what I’m going to title something. And I’ve been trying to figure it out. And that that thought will just pop up, or, yeah, and it’s just a gift. It’s just given to. Yes, I suppose. For me, if it’s an aha moment, it’s a piece of a puzzle that falls into place. When, at any other time during my busy day. I can’t seem to find that missing piece. Yes,

Nancy Bos  53:31

yeah. I’ve enjoyed though, that kind of I call it a transformative experience when performing sometimes there was an opportunity that I had, this is a back to back rehearsal, and then performance as seeing at a church in Croatia with with choir and I was singing Morten Lauridsen samanya mysterium in this gigantic, old, old European Cathedral, like at least 800 years old. And so the reverb in there was three and a half seconds. When I was doing the rehearsal, I was in my body, and I was in the words, and I was listening for the piano, and it was bad. And when I got up to sing the solo, I got my ego out of the way. It’s like, well, that rehearsal was bad. It’s going to be whatever it’s going to be. So let’s just sit back and enjoy. And then I got to not literally but mentally float, with the sound waves in the cathedral and just totally enjoy this. Wow, transformational experience. It was probably the singing highlight of my life, those four minutes. And that as singers, you know that that got my ego out of the way. I wasn’t nervous because I was just a vehicle for the sound in this glorious place. And I gotta say, three and a half minutes of reverb really helps, because you can actually listen to yourself.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:50

Yeah, yes. And I suppose when three seconds, not three and a half minutes, that’s when you get out of your way. Yeah, then you are not judging yourself. Right? And then you don’t care if other people are judging you. Yep. Would you agree with that?

Nancy Bos  55:12

Yep, it is what it is. This is what I’m putting out. And let’s go on. Yeah. And then if you can get out of judging yourself, doesn’t that release all kinds of mental and physical tension that allows you to be the storyteller that you need to be? Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  55:27

And a lot of people forget that. As singers. We’re storytellers. 

Nancy Bos  55:30

We are storytellers, one of my best examples of that was I was singing sweet child of mine with a GarageBand. Right then so this is a local GarageBand I’m doing sweet. Tell her that song. Yeah, it’s like made for a woman’s voice. But right before that performance, in fact, it made me come late for that. My daughter earlier in the day had slammed her thumb in the car door, and we had gone to the doctor, she’s terrible pain with tremendously built up pressure under her thumb. And this is so gruesome. The doctor drilled a hole in her thumb and released the board, and then laughed and appropriately as doctors are want to do, and the pain was relieved. But in the meantime, she was sobbing, I was sobbing, and then I go off to the performance, and I sing sweet child of mine. And it was just all there in that song. And when I got when I when we got done, the drummer goes, wow. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:27

I’m thinking about my daughter and the bleeding. I must say you have some gruesome stories.

Nancy Bos  56:39

I do, dad, blood, you know, let’s keep them entertained.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  56:52

We hope you enjoyed this episode of voice and beyond, which was part one of a two part episode with internationally acclaimed voice expert Nancy boss. In the following episode, Nancy shares her wealth of knowledge on the impact of menopause on the voice. We look forward to you joining us next time.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:28

Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode have a voice and beyond. Now is an important time for all of us to spread positivity and empowerment in our singing voice community. It’s time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow. So you can show up for your students feeling energised, empowered, and ready to deliver your best. Be the best role model and mentor you can possibly be and watch your students thrive as you do. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it with a friend or a colleague who you think will be inspired by this, copy and paste the link and share it with the people you think will enjoy listening to this show. Please share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. If you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would love to know what it is you enjoyed the most about this episode? And what was the biggest takeaway for you? I promise you there are many episodes to follow as I’m committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one. I’d like to finish up with my final thoughts. Remember that to sing is more than just learning how to use the voice. as singers. Our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo what we feel physically mentally and emotionally. So singing is not just about the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to your company next time.

JOIN MY COMMUNITY