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Deborah “Zuke” Smith is a renowned music copyist, piano teacher, songwriter, vocal coach, and self-proclaimed “East coast chick,”  who credits Brett Manning’s Singing Success with not only saving her life but forever changing it for the very best it can be.

In 2000 Zuke was diagnosed with breast cancer and braved the brutal battery of tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, post chemo drug regimen and physical therapy.

“My chemo treatments affected my speaking and singing voice in a very negative manner,” she said. “Actually, I had a hard time breathing for nearly a year and couldn’t sing at all. For several years after that I just resigned myself to the fact that I could no longer sing the way I used to. Some of my voice repaired once I was off all drugs but much of my high end was lost.”

She was devastated but determined to discover whether or not her voice could be repaired and fully recovered. “I wanted to know if the damage in my voice was permanent,” she said. “I was also teaching beginning piano and voice lessons to local school children and wanted to make sure I wasn’t damaging their pre adolescent vocal cords.”

SSO Increases Range

She learned about Singing Success by doing a web search of vocal coaches roughly two years ago. She stumbled upon one of Brett’s students on YouTube. The student was demonstrating some vocal techniques and tips that Zuke’s instincts told her were not of his own design.

“I knew he learned it from someone and found that person to be Brett Manning,” she said. “I subscribed to his Singing Success Online videos and started doing the exercises that were demonstrated. Within one week I added and extra half octave to my range. Within a few months I was singing higher and stronger than I had before cancer. I found my vocal geek and wanted more.”

Student Becomes Teacher

She noticed a small blurb on the SSO site about becoming an Associate of Brett’s to teach his method. She knew of no one in the New York City area that was a seasoned SSO associate and she wanted to be among the first to share his expertise so that others could experience the same life changing results that she knew would come. “In the summer of 2008 I contacted Heather at the office and shared correspondence with her for a couple months before I felt confident that they were the real deal,” she said.

“I set up my first week of lessons to test the waters in November of 2008.” Zuke readily admits she was skeptical going in, and was blown away when she discovered the pervasive kindness and creative energy that flowed from everyone in she met at Singing Success in Nashville. “I thought I entered an alternate reality,” she said, quickly becoming a believer. “The guidance and instruction I am receiving from Brett and all of the Associates in Nashville is an overwhelmingly beautiful gift.”

The Healing Continues

Her reputation as a vocal coach with a reputation for healing, encouraging, and generating positive results has begun to attract a formidable following. Zuke is encouraged by the lives she is toughing through Singing Success and the voices that are fully coming to life. Kelly Slagter is one of her recent success stories. “Kelly was recommended to me by a pop rock producer friend, Andy Snitzer,” she said.

“She didn’t have much studio experience and had been coached for many years by a Broadway vocal coach so she didn’t quite know how to sing in the rock style.” Zuke worked with Kelly for several months, co-wrote a rock song that Snitzer produced, and discussed what style she really wanted to be.

“I didn’t hear rock in her voice,” Zuke said. “She finally admitted that she was crazy about country pop but didn’t think a girl from New Jersey could do that.” Zuke told her in that was nonsense and set out to prove it. “A few months ago I invited her to come with me to Nashville and take a few lessons with the crew,” she said. “She had a blast! So much so, that she is relocating to Nashville in June. How cool is that?”

Deborah “Zuke” Smith has already begun to woo more singers away from established Broadway vocal coaches as she continues to help her students find the voice they always dreamed of but never thought possible. That’s what Brett Manning’s Singing Success is all about, getting to the heart of the singer and giving the voice its wings to fly.

To learn more about Zuke visit

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Randy Moomaw

Author Randy Moomaw

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