Gwyneth Paltrow Shines as a Singer: Natural Talent or Just Good Coaching?

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"Actresses who sing often make 'small' acting choices, which unfortunately tend to get swallowed up by the music," said Love. "The result is the acting doesn't come through to the audience."

Fortunately, there's a remedy.

"Fearlessness – not the reckless kind but the sort of push that inspires – helps a lot," said Deborah Lapidus, a teacher of singing and song performance at both Juilliard and Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. "Fear impedes the ability to sing well.

"Certain actresses are so self-conscious about singing that they edit themselves even before opening their mouths, which causes their entire body to constrict," said Lapidus, who also coaches privately and has worked with Sigourney Weaver, Claire Danes and Debra Messing.

"When an actress's body is relaxed and well-supported by proper breathing, it allows her to be more expressive and melodic in speaking and in singing, which you can hear in actresses, such as Meryl Streep," she said. "The goal is for the acting and singing to become one experience."

And the actress-singers who manage that are the ones who get the most kudos.

"It's about expectations," said Lapidus. "If a performer is primarily a singer, like Beyonce, we have high expectations. But if we see an actress – that we never thought of as a chanteuse – sing well, we're pleasantly surprised because our expectations weren't high to begin with."

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