We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Hosterman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claire, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
I think one thing that many people don’t know about my industry as a singing coach is that it’s far more than scales and warmups. Over the past 17 years, I’ve studied with world class teachers in Paris, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles, and also created my own technique; but the biggest thing I have learned about singing is that it’s actually 90% mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual. And this is what makes me stand out as a top singing coach in Los Angeles, working with singers and actors on tv shows, as well as helping people around the world become the best singers they can be. The best singing coaches out there combine body, mind and spirit in order to achieve transformation. Many may not know this, but I am also a life coach who works with people from all over the world, helping them get the results they want by getting to the core issue of why they’re stuck. My motto is: “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything,” meaning that if you want to triple your income by next year, you need to look at the other areas of your life to see how they are affecting your finances—because they all feed into the other and are interconnected like a divine ecosystem. Do you want a better relationship with your spouse? Then let’s look at your relationship with yourself/with God/The Universe, or even your own dreams. Likewise, in singing, I can give a singer top, world class exercises and technique, and yet the results may only go so far, as we often have something blocking us mentally, emotionally–even spiritually and energetically!–from hitting the note. This may sound, “Woo-woo”, but everything is interconnected, and if we don’t tackle the way we relate to ourselves, our thoughts, beliefs and relationship to our own body, the information is only going to go into our brain—whereas information needs to go into our body for it to really settle, for true learning to take place. I’m not going around like a crazy life coach in lessons, asking about my students’ lives and how they feel that day (although this sometimes happens, and a student may ask for a 5-10 min life coaching session while in a singing lesson, in order to shift a thought or belief pattern that’s keeping them from hitting a note or letting go of tension). However, I use subtle language, intuitively reading the student, giving them body poses that may make no logical sense, but that somehow releases a repetitive thought. Or I may notice that they always talk really fast–which never allows them to be present in their bodies–and, by having them talk slower, they become more aware of their body (that they even have a body!), which leads to an opening of their physicality. And then, BOOM, they hit the note! Every lesson and student is different–but I often spend most of the time with students working on actual singing technique, while peppering in subtle cues to the mind and body that help release a block. I may make a comment that really hits them and unlocks something, and then they leave the session glowing, light, and able to not only hit the note but also be more of themselves in the world. It’s an amazing gift to give, and I am so grateful I get to bring the body, mind, and spirit together to help people create MUSIC.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
With my growing clientele, I now have a waitlist of people wanting this kind of training. It turns out that people are hungry to learn the inner and outer work it takes to become the kind of singer that sells out stadiums. I never knew that I would incorporate both singing and almost shamanic/transformational work. But, at the same time, I am not surprised, given my various life experiences.
Although I had a wonderful childhood in many ways (with extremely loving parents and a deeply caring sister), I experienced frequent bullying while growing up, leading to low self-esteem. I was also incredibly enmeshed with my father (who later took his own life when I was 22). During my late teens and entire twenties, I struggled with debilitating depression and anxiety, feeling utterly lost and unable to even feel a sense of self. I felt like I was a crab with no shell, and had no protection from the outside world coming into my own space. Because of my highly sensitive nature and ability to feel others around me, my already natural ability to read and “tune in” to others became heightened and I often felt overwhelmed with all of the “information” I was getting from people, all the time. A trip to the grocery store, for example, was a big ordeal, as I didn’t know how to filter out the intense stream of emotional and energetic information I was receiving from everyone around me. It took me a while before I was able to turn this “clairvoyance” and intuitive reads into a gift.
Over time, as I taught students to sing, I realized that all of the warmups and techniques I was giving them wasn’t enough. I could see that there was more to singing than just scales, breathing and body postures. True, I already had more experience and tools than a beginner or amateur teacher (many of whom often only lead a student through 10-20 mins of the most basic warmups taught in choir classrooms, like “Mama made me mash my M&M’s,” “Bumble Bee,” solfege or “Do re mi fa sol la ti do”, etc. *Hint: These basic warmups actually do nothing for the voice unless applied correctly). However, I had always had a deep connection with the emotional, energetic and spiritual world, and wondered if there might be a connection between my students’ blocks and their own thoughts/emotions/beliefs.
I began experimenting with my students’ own awareness within themselves, and giving them simple but tangible ways of thinking and being to help open their bodies. It was definitely a learning curve at first, but suddenly it was as if a light switch turned on and students were getting rapid results left and right. Singing, I realized, is truly both inner and outer work–we cannot have one without the other. Word began to spread, and more people came to me for both singing and the “inner work” needed to advance in their career or art.
I’ve been so lucky to have success in this industry and to be a singing coach to whom many top artists agencies in LA send their clients. Along the way, I’ve learned many important lessons: one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that I cannot train everyone to be a “star” or an amazing singer, and that their success or inability to apply the technique has nothing to do with me. My job, as a singing coach, is to teach them everything that I know, and then it’s their job to apply it and work on it, themselves. I cannot “give someone their own voice” or “make them into an amazing singer.” That’s just not how it works. I used to beat myself up for not being able to get a singer to where they wanted in, say, a matter of days or weeks (which I used to think, with great disillusionment, that I could). This understanding removes an immense weight from me–it’s not my job to “make someone a superstar.” That’s actually up to the singer and where they are with their own self-awareness, connection to their body, their amount of practice and dedication, and just blind luck sometimes. I used to say that, “Everyone can learn to sing.” I now say that, “Most people can learn to sing at least decently.” Some students experience slow and steady changes over months and perhaps a year or two, and then I have students who change drastically in a matter of weeks! The human body is mysterious, and some people get these exercises within minutes, whereas someone else may grasp them in months or years. Every person is different.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely the beach!! Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu would be a must for us. And then to some amazing restaurants on the beach, where we would stuff our faces with Italian food (can you tell I’ve been craving pasta lately?). Plus, I would take them hiking in a more private canyon with my puppy, Beau (I live up in the hills in Sherman Oaks, which has many private and secret trails). Funny enough, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I haven’t explored LA in the 7 years that I have lived here. I’m kind of a homebody and would rather hang in the back yard with my family on the weekend. As an introvert and someone who works from home (my studio is next to my home), I also tend to stay near my neighborhood. But it’s my goal this year to venture out and explore LA. Perhaps we would ride horses at Sunset Ranch (which my sister, Mom and I did for my Mom’s birthday one year). I love having a relaxed, easy day with no real goals, allowing us to just leisurely pick what we want to do.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could not be here without the amazing support of my family: my Mom, Dad and sister. They have been my biggest cheerleaders since day one, and their encouragement and deep love and trust for my path and who I am as a person has shaped who I am today. Also, to my parents for paying for my expensive voice lessons for years, which was like an investment for university! I try to pay them back every day. And my sister (Emmy-Award-Winning actress and singer Dove Cameron) inspires me every day to lean into the next versions of myself that I may be afraid of entering, for fear of what may be on the other side. She is the queen of transformation and she and my Mom are my biggest inspiration (my Dad died ten years ago).
In addition to them, I want to thank my amazing first voice teacher, Mark Power in Seattle. He saw my voice and gave me all of the wisdom, nurturing and love for singing that I never knew I had. I never knew I WAS a singer until I met him. It’s not just the techniques he taught me–he taught me to BE a singer. To see MYSELF as a singer–a part of me I never knew I was until he helped me find it. He helped me realize I had passion, deep expression (that I had buried deep below due to bullying while growing up) and power. He woke me up to this part of myself, which is a great gift and I am eternally grateful to him.