5 Tips to Develop Vocal Textures

5 Tips to Develop Vocal Textures
Discovering diverse ways to deliver a lyric is like opening up your own galaxy to navigate –says Janine Le Clair

Have you ever stopped to think how often you actually listen to an ENTIRE album of one artist? Or how few artists we enjoy enough to listen to ALL of their twelve songs in a row?

The average listener may not know why they’ve become bored, but it’s easily done – even if you are a great vocalist singing your best.

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How often do you actually listen to an ENTIRE album of one artist?

Too Much Sameness

Too much of the same can be the very reason they didn’t line up to buy your album.

Of course, continuity in vocal resonance is an important indication of expertise and ease on the listener, but I think of Stanlislavski’s remark: “Generality is the enemy of all art.”

Within each verse, sentence, thought, moment, word, lyric, there are opportunities for what I call “texturizing”.

Create Textures

If you truly want to captivate and mesmerize, lend different descriptions to the thought, deliver varied resonance and chose a myriad of colors in your vocals.

There are dozens of ways we could say a sentence to a friend, foe or family member; each of those revealing more information about the situation, the mood, the opinion, the desire, the intent or the essence of your motivation.

Adding texture is a way to stay true to the truth in a delivery.

Furthermore, figuring out which choice of textures is your favorite, or the one that ideally resonates with you, is the key to a seasoned vocalist.

Adding texture is a way to stay true to the truth in a delivery

At the end of the day, believability cannot be faked.

Tips for Acquiring Textures

There are many ways you can diversify your texture. It can come out through consonants, breath, tone choice, dynamics and many other techniques.

One of my favorite moments is when an artist makes this particular discovery during our lessons because it’s like opening up their own galaxy to navigate.

Their options become endless.

Here are some of my favorite beginning tips on how to acquire a variety of textures:

Experiment as if you were a cartoon character.

1) Experiment as if you were a cartoon character. Think about voices like Homer Simpson, Daffy Duck, The Muppets etc…those actors are using different resonant pockets to get their voice to diversify like that, which proves there are many extremes of tones. Push your tone into your nose then pull it way back into your throat and repeat that sentence, while finding one or two in between choices of resonance placement as well.

Practice with the same note.

2) Practice with the same note. Sing the exact same note on one vowel at a time, four times in a row with three objectives; a full chest voice, a lightened chest voice (adding falsetto texture), a head voice, and a lightened head voice (adding falsetto breathy texture). This will work best in your mid range, in a spot where you’re able to sing the same note in either head or chest easily.

Repeat this exercise

3) Repeat this exercise on vowels such as ah, oo, ee, eh, oh. Repeat again with consonants in front starting with b, m, v and then d, l, n and move to k and g. Then repeat using two or more vowel combinations in the one breath.

Tape Yourself.

4) Tape Yourself. Repeat this exercise on an entire sentence in a song you are working on. Tape yourself as you do this. You’ll be amazed how much more you pick up on after you listen back to a recording, rather than just in the moment.

Listen closely to great “texture singers”.

5) Listen closely to great “texture singers”. Some of my favorite examples are Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, John Farnham, Vanessa Amorosi, Tina Arena, Carrie Underwood and the late, great, Michael Jackson.

Janine Le Clair Bio

Janine Le Clair is a soulful Country recording artist, an international award winning vocalist and renowned vocal coach. A published writer with SSM Nashville since 2009, she has had many cuts with American Country Artists and several Top 15 hits in Australia including Natalie Howard’s ‘The Girlfriend’, 3rd Wheel’s ‘Gettin’ Hitched’ and her own single, ‘Bulletproof’. Le Clair is a dual citizen of Canada and Australia.

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