I can trace my lineage as a singing teacher and vocalist to two seminal events in music history, the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera in 1893 staring Jean de Reszke as Faust and to the production of the film Funny Girl in 1968 which launched the film career of Barbara Streisand. I began studying voice with the great teachers, Lee and Sally Sweetland at the age of 19 in Los Angeles. Later I continued my studies with Lee and Sally’s son, New York based, Steve Sweetland.
So here is the connection between the events of 1893 and 1968. In the 1930s, my teacher, Lee Sweetland, studied voice with an associate of Jean de Reszke and Enrico Caruso by the name of Hippolyte de Bernard. From Bernard he learned the word based technique used by de Reszke and Caruso. This was the manner of singing past on to me from Bernard by the Sweetlands.
In 1968 Lee Sweetland received a phone call from the producer of the film Funny Girl, asking for his help. He told Lee that he was about to shut down the production, because their star, Barbara Streisand, had forgotten how to sing. Could Lee help? Lee worked with Barbara just long enough to remind her of what she already knew. The encounter with Streisand was pivotal for Lee. He came to understand that Streisand was “belting” and not switching to “head voice.” Women routinely hurt themselves trying to belt, so Lee went on a quest to understand how Streisand belted, and then he began teaching women to belt without hurting themselves.
So the knowledge perfected in the 19th century for singing opera and concert music, and the knowledge of how to sing pop, musical theater and belt was taught to Doug by his great teachers, Lee, Sally, and Steve Sweetland. Doug’s philosophy as a teacher is to treat every singer as a complete individual. There is no one size fits all “technique” pasted of his students. Each person is unique and deserves a unique approach to helping them be the best artist they can be. The process of teaching voice is one of discovery for both the teacher as well as the student.
In addition to Doug’s broad experience as a singer and actor, he is also a Grammy and Emmy nominated music producer-engineer. Some of the artists Doug recorded include Fred Astaire, Ray Charles, Ry Cooder, Mike Douglas, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jerry Goldsmith, David Hasselhoff, Florence Henderson, Bob Hope, John Huston, Grace Kelley, Mick Jagger, Donovan Leitch, Sophia Loren, The Manhattan Transfer, Dave Mason, Robert Merrill, Randy Newman, Jack Nicholson, Van Dyke Parks, The Persuasions, Nelson Riddle, David Rose, Renata Scotto, Red Skelton, Ringo Starr, James Stewart, and Hans Zimmer.