It has been fairly obvious that Drake's voice has improved significantly over the past few years. From "Take Care" to "Hold On, We're Going Home" to "Heat Of the Moment," there is a noticeable change in his control, tone, range and more. I figured he must have gotten a vocal coach, but I didn't realize just how long he's had one. Meet Dionne Osborne. She has been Drake's vocal coach since before he went on his first tour. In an interview with Jia Tolentino from Jezebel, she talks about everything from how she met Drake to how she has changed his habits to help improve his singing. She seems like a pretty cool woman and it is very interesting to find out just how involved she's been in Drake's life over the years. You can check out the interview here and read a couple of my favorite excerpts from the interview below. Enjoy.
Jia: How did you deal with translating that to tour life?
Dionne: The first tour, honey—I was horrified. This major rapper was onstage just screaming at Drake and I remember Drake turning around on stage to look at me, and I tried to hide it, but my face must have been horrified. Let me tell you, rappers are the most underserved artists in our industry, and they are grossing the biggest bucks! They desperately need coaching. They come out and it's like four of them, all yelling! All yelling the same thing. They're not even yelling different bars. They're not even layering themselves. They're not even yelling the right pitches. They're yelling the lead vocal up the octave and they sound like some random dude in a basement screaming along to their own songs. Like bad karaoke. Not like the artists they are.
It just sounds horrible. But then again, if you don't know what you're doing, you do need three other dudes to do it along with you.
The year we did the Club Paradise tour, we had J. Cole, Waka Flocka, Meek Mill, French Montana, and it was just amazing and crazy. I think the other acts changed some, watching Drake. I loved watching the evolution of all of the artists that summer. It was dope.
What about after the show, when it's the after party?
The tour itself is already so intense, you know: that first tour, Drake was doing a 60-minute set, we didn't even have an opener, he's sleeping on a tour bus, eating crappy food, and he was recording his album. But he's still got to go to the after parties. So, I went out with him the first two nights on tour to help him learn how to manage that on the road. These club owners were sending out thousand-dollar bottles of champagne. Drake's the biggest sweetheart, and he's cool with me just standing in the VIP area with him. Unfortunately, everyone thinks I'm his mom, not someone there as a professional.
Hahaha. Oh my god.
The first three years, everyone thought I was his mom. Sandy is a cute Jewish woman who looks nothing like me, but you've been in the club, you know—if I'm older than everybody, and I'm in the VIP, I must be Drake's mom!
So he's standing there, his hand wrapped around the neck of this thousand-dollar champagne bottle. I pull it to me. I'm not a big drinker, I'm a total lightweight—I'm a daiquiri drinker, or margaritas, but champagne just knocks me out. So I don't know anything about it, don't know this one's so expensive. I'm like, "You don't think you're gonna drink this whole thing, do you honey? You can have a GLASS." He looks at me like I'm crazy! So I call over the management and tell them Drake needs water, and they bring me a whole case! There are more and more people crowding in here, I'm getting crowded to the back, so I start passing a bottle of water through the crowd. His bodyguards are all looking back at each other, like, "What is this?" And I'm just mouthing, "GIVE IT TO DRAKE."
Finally it gets to Drake, and the bodyguard just points right at me. Literally, Drake's shoulders go down six inches. Totally resigned. But, he drank the water. He got it!