The quest to find your originality should be at the top of your list –says Daniel Zangger Borch
Want to sing like Beyoncé, Bruce Dickinson or Stevie Wonder? How long will it take? Weeks? Months?
This is a common question singers of pop genres ask when coming to a coach or teacher.
The singer’s expectations of quick results are often unrealistically high; a change of focus towards originality is a better strategy.
A Strategy for Long Term Success
It takes years to develop high-level skills in singing as well as in every other physical activity.
Sometimes singers spend much time copying and reproducing their favorite artists; however, this seldom leads anyone from ending up in the history books.
So for singers aspiring to be artists, there is a better strategy to choose for long-term success: find and develop your own unique Vocal ID.
This doesn’t exclude hard work on your technique! Improvements in this area are a long-term commitment.
But, at the same time, I want you to make a commitment to find your own original voice.
You Have a Vocal Identity
All the great singers have a clear vocal Identity and so do you!
This fact is especially important in popular music, where a whole career can be built on the perfect sound for a specific song that becomes a hit – and kicks off your singing career.
Your Vocal ID is based on your individual physiology, morphology, background and ideals. One way to find this ID is to work on your vocal strengths.
Pay Attention to Your Natural Qualities
Maybe you have a natural “twanginess” in your tone, or have a great falsetto.
Perhaps vocal riffing comes easily to you, or you are a really great storyteller –
or simply just have a great overall original and characteristic sound.
Ask those you know and love for input!
Or, listen to recordings you’ve done and ask yourself, “What features are my strengths?” What are the key words that come to mind if others (or me) were to describe my voice?”
Those keywords are your strengths – commit yourself to enhancing them!
Work on those particular skills or sounds even more, refine and develop them, until a clear vocal identity is made.
Then, start searching for songs that really come alive with your particular vocal ID.
From there, you start the process of finding the right material, sound, image and strategies for your commercial branding – as an artist!
Later on in the process you can start dealing with your weaknesses, filling in the blanks.
I want to point out that this strategy is for singers aspiring to become artists.
If, however, you are going to be a singing teacher or a professional vocalist, (doing everything from backup singing to cover bands) you’ll have to start with filling in the blanks and strengthening your weaknesses as a first step.
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Rachel Greco – “He Is We” (Cover)
Cool! Try to be more exact in your vocal pitch and in your guitar timing. Also connect more with your breathing and support – that will give you a more stable overall tone.
George Martin – “Runaway” (Cover)
Nice and very distinct vocals. The guitar playing stumbles a bit in combination with the vocals, work on that and also challenge yourself vocally. Try ad-libbing and you will find even more resources in the upper part of your range.
Daniel Zangger Borch is one of Sweden’s most recognized vocal coaches, regularly appearing popular TV shows such as Idol, True Talent and X-Factor. Not only is he a professional singer and songwriter, he holds a PhD in Music performance. www.voicecentre.se