Focus Part 2
So, as discussed in part 1, the singer also has the same issues as everybody else. Let’s go into detail of how to handle them:
1) Range – if I had a dollar for every time I worried about this.. If range is what you want to improve, do your best to minimize all other thoughts. Let go of wanting to sound good. Let go of wanting to look good. Most important, perhaps, let go of wanting to control the whole process. The reason I say this is because a lot of the exercises that you’ll do to extend your range aren’t designed to produce sweet, crystal clear tones.
They do the opposite, actually. They amplify the stinky sounds that sound awful but gradually get your voice in shape. Some exercises even require you to make funny faces (which helped me a lot, believe it or not..) so just sit back, relax. Range is what you’re after. Forget everything else.
2) Tone – people have always wanted to change things. They want to change who their first girlfriend was, how the relationship ended, their boss, the government. I remember a lot of movies I went to that I wanted to change the ending. This comes from wanting to control, and that in turn comes from self-image. You only want to exert control over other stuff if you feel that you are not complete.
The same with the voice. I remember the first time listening to Ella Fitzgerald, which is, I have to say, is my favourite singer of all time. Bar none. She’s my hero. Always will be. Try listening to her if you haven’t already. Unbelievable. Believe me. I contrast that to the first time I heard Louie Armstrong’s voice. I almost cried laughing! I’ve learned to appreciate the uniqueness of his voice, but at that moment, it was just plain strange.
How about Macy Gray? LOL! I listened to the song a few times when I got bored and needed a good laugh. All of the above were successful singers. Macy Gray to a lesser degree, but Ella and Louie were both phenomenal. Ask Mr Armstrong if he would like his voice to change. Not now. But I’m sure there was a point in his life when he did. Let your voice be. Even if just for now. It was born with you, and still grows as you do. You don’t know how it will turn up in a few years. Accept it. Get out of its way. It wants to grow. Trust me.
3) Skill – “I wanna do runs like Mariah Carey!” ”I wanna do that thing Stevie Wonder does with his voice. You, know, the growling sound!” All in good time, children. What are those techniques? They are effects. They give the song drama, tension, resolution. They convey emotions. That’s the key. So if you wanna do those things, you gotta have emotions. Which means you’re done! Really!
Now all you’ve gotta do is imitate some of those sounds that the singers use and put them in your own singing. Or speech. But get the voice working first. All that stuff is useless without a healthy, agile, acrobatic voice. The licks and growls and stuff are just like what they do in acting. If you watch soap operas, they exaggerate emotions. They accentuate certain words in their sentences, they exaggerate facial expressions, and that’s what singers also do in music.
In fact, singing is a lot like acting if you think about it. You come into a song, you find in yourself the person who that song is all about. You become him/her. You feel what he/she feels, and you express his/her emotions as you feel them the way you know how. To the best of your ability. In fact, in my opinion, acting shouldn’t be called acting. Because if you know that the person is acting, it would make for a very boring movie. It should be called “being”. Because that’s what you do. You “be” the version of you that corresponds with the theme of the movie/play. Same with singing. Singing is being.
That’s all I can think of for now. You’ve got the gist of it here. You can apply this to all of life’s challenges (or games, as I prefer to view them) and I wish you success. Happy singing!