Ever find your voice has run its course before you’ve finished the gig? Jeannie Deva provides solutions.
Here’s a question I hear often: “I sing most of the lead vocals and background vocals when not singing lead. Our style of music ranges from rock to alternative to grunge, to jazz and acoustic folk-rock. Usually I’m vocally exhausted after just the first set.”
In the absence of knowing more detail, here’s a list of the possibilities I want vocally exhausted singers to check out:
1. Check out Your Mic.
The microphone you’re using is not reflecting the personality of your voice, causing you to muscularly compensate.
Solution: Test out mics at a reputable music store: Get a mic that’s compatible with your voice and gig venues.
2. Watch Your Compression
You are pushing in an attempt to give your voice head-room (space), causing the compression to kick in and squeeze your voice. This can cause you to instinctively push against the compression resulting in vocal blow-out.
Solution: Use minimal compression if any. Good mic and vocal technique will often handle what people try to accomplish with compression.
3. Hear Your Monitors.
You either have no monitors or the ones you have are altering your voice causing you to compensate muscularly. Or, you have other instruments coming through your monitors making it difficult for you to hear yourself adequately. Either can cause you to push hear yourself.
Solution: Get your monitor mix more suitable for your voice: Take the other instruments out of the monitor mix, or buy a monitor with better sound quality.
Your voice is severely dehydrated due to drinking alcohol, too much caffeine, not drinking enough water or smoking cigarettes or marijuana.
Solution: No alcohol at least 24 hours prior to singing, one cup of coffee a day, drink at least 8 ounces of water a day, knock off the cigs and pot and give yourself steam treatments before bed for three days to four days.
5. Lower the Stage Volume.
Your band is over-playing volume-wise, not permitting you to use dynamics and forcing you to have to shout to be heard above them.
Solution: Help them become conscious of band dynamics and lower stage volume. (Your sound man will also thank you for this!)
6. Warm Up.
You are experiencing the results of a lack of adequate and correct vocal warm-up and cool-down.
Solution: Spend at least 20-minutes warming up with actual vocal warm-ups, NOT songs.
7. Try Coaching.
You lack adequate vocal muscle stamina to support the demands of the musical styles and length of time you sing.
Solution: Take voice lessons from a reputable vocal coach with a good track record.
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Al Andrew – “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 (Cover)
Really nice vocal quality and great song choice for you! To capture your treble vocal quality, your mic choice is perfect as is its placement and angle. Your rendition is a record copy, rather than attempting any kind of personalized version – which was done well. Being picky, in the first pre chorus, the two flips to the higher note can be achieved with more control by zeroing into the vowel sound of the words (door) and (more) and the same for the second pre with the words “along” and “want.” But, pickiness aside, you did a really great job!
Dave Reardon – “By the Glow of the Kerosene Light” (Cover)
Dave, your straight forward and direct approach is an asset. This traditional Newfoundland song by Wince Coles needs no frills and you sang it as it should be sung – a simple story. Your full, not forced mid-toned voice was lovely to hear and you kept your guitar accompaniment just that: an accompaniment to the song – it supported and did not overshadow the song and story. My only points of critique are that I would have liked to have seen your face and admittedly, for better sound quality, I prefer recordings that are not from a live show. But the sound quality was pretty good and it was cool to see you in an interactive setting. Thanks for the song and submission!
Bruziaux Florent – “Let it Go” from the movie ‘Frozen’ (Cover)
Bon jour Bruziaux – This was a surprise! You have charisma and I love how emotionally involved you are with this song. I LOVED the times you looked directly at the camera – you looked right at me and this was so engaging. (smile) The opening verse had some notes that were too low for your range at this time so caused you to lose the end of several phrases. It’s important to have a strong opening with any song as this is your “hello” to your audience. So these notes and how you sing the vowels of those words should be developed. But, once you got past that, the range was fine for the rest of the song. You have a beautiful low-end tonality and expressive singing voice. A bit more technique will help you gain complete control of your wonderful instrument – your joy of singing is fantastic.
Jeannie Deva is an International Vocalist, Grammy member, Celebrity Voice and Performance Coach, Author of voice enhancement books and CDs, and a Recording Studio Vocal Specialist endorsed by Producers and Engineers for Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones. Originator of The Deva Method®, Complete Technique for Stage and Studio™ her unique method is used by singers and teachers worldwide.