There are are some truly remarkable singers here on the Nation, note i say remarkable not great... without mentioning any names i am truly stunned by the abilities and individuality of our performers whose voices have, through practice and experience, become their own complementary instrument which blends in nicely with their sound.
Before i joined the Nation and produced my first video i'd never sung a note apart from the bath-time or inebriated Karoake out of key drawl...i still can't sing for toffee, but i guess i'm sort of getting around that by throwing caution to the wind and adding characters, effects and double tracking to the mix, many legendary professional singers feel the same apparently! Doing it all live is the real test - something which takes a lot of practice and experience which is what i need, but will come...in time! (-;
A national weekend talent show on our UK TV screens is still getting a lot of media publicity despite dwindling viewing figures, once the initial novelty has worn off viewers realise that an hour of tuneless screeching and painful "egg laying" physical contortions by hopeful wannabe contestant clones singing cover songs way out of their range and musical styles is not ideal weekend entertainment, they'd be better off watching re-runs of "Dad's Army" or going to the local pub (if they still have one) and see a seasoned, though not very pretty, unknown performer, going through a well rehearsed routine singing well within their range, comfortable within their chosen genre and...playing an instrument at the same time...something that has become lost since the heady days of 60's pop - i blame the proggers, they spoiled it for everyone with their 40 minute solos...believe me i sat through many of them!
There is just too much media-fuelled bandwagon jumping these days, what looks good on the CD cover seems more important than the borrowed empty repetative phrases everybody uses - rich owners of 4x4's and regular Air Mile collectors singing about saving the planet, or "you better watch out he/she cheatin' on you/me"...we all use them, and why not? The difference is someone is getting paid a lot of money for this stuff...it is, after all, just stuff, it's commercial, no one will get into the top ten with a song about a Yellow Cadillac will they...but they did in the 50's with a song about a Bubble Car ! Those were the best days...any subject was up for a hit!
So to sum up my little piece, my observations for you, the aspiring vocalist, keen to add an extra dimension to your performance is to give yourself the chance to try out your voice, play it back and hear what horrors crawl out of the headphones, i guarantee you will be shocked - the creature you hear is nothing like the one in your head, but work out your range, tune your guitar accordingly and add your own character - you'll never really like it but it will be yours, people listen to you talk so they'll listen to you sing, especially if you've got something interesting or amusing to say - and write about whatever you like, as i say "it'll never sell but what the hell" ...enjoy yourself ! (-:
Funny stories about singing welcome! (-:
And Your Bird Can Sing.
Assuming she hasn't thrown you and your CBGs out of the house.
But seriously, Steve has several good points.
The first is recording yourself. Do it. Do not shrink from it. The sound in your head is truly different from that in your ears. Keep doing it, until you finally realize that your recorded singing voice is not your speaking / Sunday choir / shower voice. Realize, too, that if you think you sound bad, so does Bob Dylan. And Tom Petty. And Waylon Jennings. And I'm sure you cross-ponders can come up with any number of non-Richard Starkey examples, too. Not a damn one of them would win The Voice, The X Factor or American Idol, at least on technical singing merits. So you can sing, too. Who's stopping you? You (or maybe you really are tone deaf. But there are tests for that).
Second is, even after you record yourself, you still need to overcome your fear, and actually do It in public.Yep, in front of God and everybody. Your skin will magically thicken, you won't literally keel over and die, and if you've remembered to supply your mostly-willing crowd with enough drinks, some of them will even clap for you (you need to understand, it doesn't matter if it's out of pity or enjoyment. The point is to get them clapping. For you. It is all about you. And Them.).
Unless the pub / bar / rent party / well supplied friends are paying you to entertain, then you come to a choice: do I play what I want / know, or do I play what they wanna hear? Best is to learn a well-chosen set of songs (some personal choices, some "standards," whatever they are - what many people will have heard before or know), practice the hell out of 'em, and just like the baby bird jumping out of the nest for the first time, let 'em fly! You will break a wing occasionally.
Finally, Steve's absolutely right: find songs that fit your voice, and that your voice fits. Whole Lotta Love may be your all-time favorite song, but if you aren't actually Robert Plant or Elise Testone, and instead tend to live in the sub-Etha as far as your voice is concerned, then hte better aprt of valor will indicate that you should perhaps try Happy Birthday on for size first. UNless you're a screamer, in whcih case, The Beatles Birthday might work for you. Know your vocal limitations. WOrk within them. then try to exceed them.
Thanks for those excellent words of encouragement. I tried recording my own singing last week and, although I can sing in tune, I wasn't too impressed with the results. Also, I was attempting to sing and play at the same time. Multi-tasking isn't something that I'm good at. I have downloaded some recording software (Audacity ?) with a view to doing some multi-track recording, but that's another new trick to learn.
At present, I feel that I'm better suited to making things than to making music. I have no problems with speaking in public - I get paid to do that, but singing or performing music is a different thing altogether. However, I know that you're right. Although raw talent is something that we're born with, I'm sure that we can train ourselves to do the basics pretty well. I shall try again (and again). If I start publishing dreadful videos on the Nation, you know that it all started here !!
Thanks again for the words of wisdom.
Thnks Oily and Digly for getting the discussion off to a good start, all i'll add are a few observations on long solos, long records and juggling singing with playing...
I heard a DJ on the radio or TV the day after Donna Summer's death (who could really sing and placed herself into an entirely new genre which started a sort of revolution) commenting on those long 16 minute songs of hers, well these were favourites with live DJ's as they could go off to answer the call of nature and safely return before the record ended - the most basic of reasons, it could be true! ...that would answer the prog/rock long solo question as well - the band members would take it in turns to "do" a solo, allowing the others to "do" a pee off-stage...though as they got older shorter more frequent solos became the norm...knowhatimean... (-;
As for the singing while playing thing, make sure your singing bits run along with the simple guitar strum bits in the song, and do the fiddly guitar bits in between verses....shimples! (-;
I guess Ringo's off-key studio vocals became part of his charm, though he really rocked the band live...believe me there is some amazing live footage of the Fab Four out there with Ringo on vocals!
A simple exercise: play the major scale on your CBG and sing: Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do.
Try matching the pitches. Experiment with different keys to find what fits your voice best.
This is why the relativity of 151 (from the major scale) tuning works well.
- CGC - DAD - EBE - GDG - AEA
You certainly can do this by yourself, but having another person listen (a voice teacher would be best) may be very helpful. Remember your voice sounds different to you in your head that when it is played back on tape.
Lyrics are musical notes.
Regardless, if you desire to sing...just sing and enjoy yourself...Thank you for sharing.
Good one Sps--u must have seen lisa marie Presley tryin to sing on American idol- Elvis most likely was a spinnin- ok to sing but to get paid the big bucks when u can't really is mind boggling when there is soo much talent out there who will never catch a break- bums me out! On the other side i like the idea of people givin it a go to see how they sound i -have been buggin Jason to sing along with his music but he is horrified of the idea lol- thanks this was intresting-Mew
Great post , Slowpaw !! You certainly have found "your" voice . This speaks to so many of us still looking ! Thanks !
thanks Steve! (-: ...you're one of those that come under ..." individual performers whose voices have, through practice and experience, become their own complementary instrument which blends in nicely with their sound. "
just a note about using special effects - use them sparingly...remember if you sing your songs live you won't want to disappoint anybody...! Steve's seen me sing live so he knows i'm not laying the effects on too strongly in the studio... (-;
Well said. Especially that last paragraph. I don't really have anything I should add. But can not stop myself.
There are songs out there for pretty much all of us. Some you pretty much don't have to sing, you can talk or scream. Hank Williams' Move It On Over is a classic for that. I like to sing, but there are a lot of songs I can not sing. I just need to try the ones I can do. Probably the same for a lot of you.
Rock and blues often need some ^%$*(+ attitude more than they need to be sung pretty. Get your yeah yeahs out.
Think of all the singers people like who do not have 'traditionally pretty' voices: Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Kris Kristofferson, Louie Armstrong, and a whole lot more.
many thanks for your comments John, and James.....a cat's chorus would be better than nothing! (-;