I was watching the BET awards and Alicia Keys came on. She looked beautiful and sand with Bruno Mars, She also passionately sang a song called ‘Typewriter’, which is a bit of a departure from her soulful offerings. This article will discuss the technique Alicia Keys uses to sing this song.
1. Nasality- Alicia Keys sings with a clear nasal quality. It is common to hear people who sing mostly using their chest voice using this technique. Singing with nasality makes it easier to sing through breaks and to sing loud and powerful notes. Also, singers who use nasality often do not have a strong mixed or head voice because they are constantly in a high chest voice so it really becomes their only option to get certain notes out with good degree of clarity.
2. Throaty slides- In this song, Alicia keys is less interested in singing with precision. She tends to start phrases with a slight groan and then a slide , or glissando to the desired note. Also in places where she could easily perform clear, concise runs, she chooses to do downward slides through two or three notes , giving the song a very laid- back feel.
Classical choir sounds: the bridge of ‘Typewriter’ is a clear deviation from what has occurred prior to that point in the song. It goes from a laid- back ‘lazy’ croon to a purposeful, harmony- rich ‘choral’ feel. It is set to the tune of the old Christmas hymn ‘God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen’. She uses darker vowels produced by rounded lips and stronger breath support to produce a more resonant sound.
Alicia Keys is a singer with a powerful, distinctive voice. She is also an artist with great, timeless music. It is good to learn her techniques to master singing in chest voice and have greater endurance and musicality in a song.
I did a blog on imitating singers recently and felt the need to expound on the topic of 'matching a singer's intensity'. So here goes:
A singer must learn how to match another singer's intensity regardless of how different the voices are. For example, People withricher voices may automatically switch to a strong head voice when singing a song by a singer with a lighter higher voice. In reality, the original singer is in a chest voice. The singer with the heavier voice, if they sing in a strong head voice as opposed to a chest voice may be unsatisfied because they sound weak in comparison to the person with the lighter voice. The problem will be resolved if the person with the heavier voice sings in the full chest voice as well. On a scale of 1 to 10, everyone has their own level 10 and if the original singer is singing at his level 10, you should do the same, regardless of how different the voices are.
It may be weird at first because you may feel like you are screaming at the top of your lungs but keep in mind that
1. the original singer probably sounded the same way before the magic of studio 'softened' the sound
2. Their voice transition are alot more subtle because they have less voice.
3. You can always lower the key to acheive the same intensity at a more comfortable range. :)
I hope that help! Please comment and share this article!!
This week I've been dealing with the BET Awards' performers and their singing technique. Here is a quick blog about how to imitate singers. I just wanted to note that we're not trying to imitate in order to become caricatures of our favorite artists, its more so to learn how they do what they do so well and be able to add it to our own singing. this is how we become more and more diverse as singer.
1. Placements- Imitating performers can teach a singer a lot about placements. Some singers place their voices very forward and have a very strong mixed voice with a clear, resonant belting voice. Other singers have very non- resonant voices and sing mostly with nasality and chest voice. If a singer learns to differentiate between a resonant voice that’s loud and a non -resonant voice that’s loud they will be much better at executing songs.
2. Intensity- Imitating other recording artists teaches a great lesson on how to sing with intensity and how to match a person’s vocal intensity regardless of how different two voices may be. If one notices that a singer is in a strong chest voice, he must do the same thing in order to imitate correctly and give the same ‘feel’.
3. Breathing and Phrasing- Another great reason to imitate professional singers is to learn advanced breathing and phrasing techniques. Many times the way a singer pronounces their works or moves there mouth serves a purpose musically, as opposed to it being for dramatic effect. Their mouth movements may serve to help them produce the very vocal skills you hear on their recordings. Its wise to take note and experiment to find out.
Please share and feel free to comment if you found this blog helpful!
Okay, so here’s a biggie. Lots of singers want to know how to use vibrato to sing better. Here’s a tip. If you sing with a little bit of nasality, you’’re vibrato will become faster and it will then be a matter just practice to master a specific run. The trick to this is to keep your voice feeling ‘light’. This is not to say that you should be under singing, but more so by making it float more in the mask. You should feel like a bird chirping when its done right. You will master runs in record time with this vibrato technique.
Even the most versatile singers cant sing EVERYTHING! Here are a few tips to help you choose the right songs for your voice.
1. A singer should first consider their connection to a song. You must determine whether or not the song and the message appeals to you and speaks to you in a way that you can express musically. Part of a singer finding his voice is figuring out what he as to say musically, and discovering the topics and vocal stylings that appeal to him most and that he can sing competently.
2. The second to consider is the vocal styling’s and range of a song. The range of a song deals with how high or low the notes in a song go. When choosing music it is good to always consider the highest and lowest note of a song to determine whether or not you can sing them well. If not, consider adjusting the key. Sometimes a song needs to be lowered or raised by a key or two in order to fit another singer’s voice perfectly. If the range is so wide that a changing the key will not help, consider changing the highest or lowest note in the song to something that fits your voice more without making the song sound awkward. You want to be sure that you are singing a song that you can sing regardless of any performance anxiety or nervousness that you may have. Simply adjust the song appropriately and be sure that you can sing through the song perfectly several times before performing it.
I hope these tips help.. let me know what you think!
I'm excited to continue this conversation on finding your voice! I can't wait to see you there! ustream.tv/channel/singing-lessons.
There are a lot of talented singers in this world. Every year there is a new generation of singers graduating from performing arts high schools and pursuing a music degree or jumping into a music career. Moreover, it’s easier now than ever before to record, package and sell music, but the question remains, how can you make yourself stand out as a singer? How can you find your own voice? One major way to find your own voice is to develop good listening skills. This includes:
1. Listening to the skeleton of a song. Listen to a song for its sequences. and try to imagine a song without the original artists’ vocals on it. Explore ways to play with the melody and phrasing. Does the song sing itself , is the melody stuck or are there things that may be more natural for you that the artist doesn’t do?
2. Learn to play with different keys when singing. Song keys are not set in stone. If there is a song you like and you feel it would fit your voice perfectly except for it feeling a bit high or low, don’t be afraid to change it. Adjusting a song up or down by a half or whole step is not a negative reflection on your vocal skills.
3. Examine vocal affectations that are authentic to your voice. Vocal affectations, such as a unique way to attack a note (think Christina Aguilera) or a vibrato or run ( think Luther Vandross) or a ‘lick’ as I call it ( think Michael Jackson’s ‘hee hee’) sound good on some people’s voices but sound out of place in others. With the help of listening to diverse musicians, learn and develop the ones that are authentic to you and your voice.
While you do these exercises, don’t be surprised if you begin to see flaws in your favorite artist’s singing. Remember that they are limited to only do what is in their skill set as well. If you find yourself thinking ‘geez, that was ugly’, or ‘why did he/ she do that? Then you are learning to find your voice. If you follow these steps to find your voice you will find that it will become more than you had imagined. You will develop a gift for interpretation which will make you unique amongst the crowds of singers out there.
This class will meet on oovoo as of right now. However if I find an interface I enjoy working with better it is subject to change. There will be up to 4 other singers on the group with you. This class has a major focus in technique. Classes will have people of similar skill level, but every voice is so different so you can learn from one another. I allow 90 minutes so that I can work with each individual. The last portion of the class will involve learning to put technique into song. Students choose to bring music and sing it and I work with them to make their song better. The others will benefit from hearing things reiterated and listening for how vocal technique really does transform a voice! I will work with whoever presents a song that day.