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Typically, you’re at your vocal in your late 20’s or during your 30’s. Your chance of getting to this point is increased with vocal lessons. I saw an award show last night where one act should have been a prime example of this, but it was clear that wasn’t the case. Many of you want to be on stage constantly in front of your fans until you’re old and gray. That’s definitely possible, but you’ve got to take the proper steps. Barbara Streisand, Patti Labelle, and others are still doing what they love because they have vocal coaches helping to keep their voice in tip top shape. At this point, I urge you to make a decision about your vocal career. Where has it been? Where is it now? Where do you want it to go? If you’re serious about singing, stop making excuses and get vocal lessons. They’re affordable and necessary. Remember, this is your life. You are responsible for your success. Since this is supposed to be your passion, go all out. Do everything in your power to be at your vocal best to get the vocal results you desire!
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Singers around the world idolize American pop music and American pop artists. So much so that they will often model their music after theirs and sing half (often the hook/ chorus) of their song in English and half (the verses) in their home language. There is a unique challenge for non- American pop singers.
1. English is not their native language
2. Their dominant language is often full of sounds that do not translate well into singing as well as the home language is often does not 'sing' well.
English is an easier language for them to sing in which is why international pop singers choose to sing their hooks or choruses in English.. it just 'sounds' better. Often times the home language,however, carries with it habits that are contrary to good singing and are hard to overcome. Take for example, Asian languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, or Indonesian, these languages produce tight, throaty vowels. It is hard and awkward to sing on these vowels but broadening the vowel may make the word sung sound awkward. Also, when these singers sing in English, they 'sound' un-American because they carry over the 'tight, throaty' sound of their home language.
Additionally, there is a cultural phenomenon occuring with non -American pop singers. In Japan, for example, it is considered rude and uncouth for a woman to have a full rich voice. Women are then forced (for lack of a bettter word) to speak with a soft, throaty, small, whispery voice so as not to offend those around them. These women grow up to never know the true sound of their voice and when they wish to sing they only know the true sound of their voice and when they wish to sing they only know how to produce a tight small sound, however undesireable. This is a huge task for a vocal coach to
1. allow the woman to be comfortable enough producing a huge sound
2. get her accustomed to the sound of her own voice
3. make the 'big' sound become a habit, because without it she'll never be a successful pop singer.
Let me know your thoughts!!
I found a very helpful blog on how to find your own singing voice. Look for NancyE’s commentary. http://askville.amazon.com/singing-voice/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=6659379
If you are a beginner singer, here is a great 9- step way to finding your singing voice. http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Own-Singing-Voice
It can be fine line between mastering a singer’s technique, sound, and approach and becoming a copycat of a famous singer. We’ve all heard them, the mini- Beyonces, mini- John Legends, etc. When studying people’s voices, know that its ok to learn their approach, but bear in mind that everything they do is not law. What you hear is their interpretation and/ or quite possibly the best they could do. Don’t limit yourself to someone else’s voice.
I remember when Rihanna first came out how everyone compared her to Beyonce and many thought she was a horrible singer because their vibrato’s were similar but Rihanna’s voice was less developed. I love how her producers and label changed their approach with Rihanna’s voice and now we will never confuse a Rihanna song with a Beyonce song. That brings me to my next point. If you sound like a famous singer naturally and effortlessly, challenge yourself to learn and master more than just their music. This way, even though the timbers may be similar, the ‘sound’ will be different because you will have learned a different approach.
I find that working with singers in foreign lands such as Asia, Europe, etc often have 'built in ' issues with projection, vibrato, and nasality due to their home language or culture. for ex: Indonesian is a naturally 'tight' language, Japanese women are taught to practically whisper and make their voice light so as to not offend people, French is a naturally nasal language, etc
I just wanted to give encouragement and let you know that with hard work you can work though your cultural 'isms'.
1. You need to decide how Standard American you want to sound and then focus heavily on diction. That may mean taking every word and phrase much slower than the actual speed.
2. Put aside culture and style and simply strive to find your own powerful, unique voice.
3. Be honest with yourself and accept your current singing ability. If you are over zealous and choose a wordy, powerful song you may just exhaust and frustrate yourself. So, don't be afraid to take it slow.
I've noticed that there are some misconceptions about how a voice is supposed to age and mature so I wanted to clear them up. Because of the music industry, one would think that a singer is in their prime between ages 15-21 since that is the age that many singers get signed at start their careers. The truth is, a woman's voice does not reach its prime until she is 30-35. By this time, many teen star's careers are long over. Of those who still have careers, many of their voices are in decline due to busy touring schedules or bad lifestyle choices.
As a voice matures, it becomes fuller, warmer, richer sounding. There is more control over the diaphragm and tone. Many older singers have an air and confidence about them that says their know and are in tune with their voices. This is something most younger singers lack. A wobbly vibrato can be avoided as you age depending on the technique you use to sing. If you take care of your voice, it will take care of you . :0)
This is incredibly unscientific, but take a stab at it anyway....
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.