Breathing heavily in and out on the mic – is this poor breath control or mic technique?
Why do female singers like Kelly Clarkson in “Mr. Know It All” (studio version) breathe heavily in and out on the mic? Katy Perry does it in “Hot and Cold” (studio version). Is this poor breath control and/or mic technique? Have you ever done this?
– LG G3
Not one single sound on a Kelly Clarkson or Katy Perry song is an accident.
Those breaths are for emotional affect. The breaths suggest a quiet intensity or determination and set us up for the big belted choruses to come.
The use of extra breath – either in the voice or before and after singing is an old pop formula.
Since pop recordings are heavily compressed (meaning the volume stays the same whether the singing is soft or loud) producers suggest singers do that to create a dynamic change between versus and choruses.
I’ve used the trick in the studio plenty of times.
The heavy breathing after concerts isn’t from singing – it’s from dancing. Song and dance artists go through an incredible workout on stage. Most will jog for miles while singing their set to get in shape for a tour – and even still they are wiped out after a show.
They make it look easy!
Mark Baxter has worked as a coach with Aerosmith, Journey, Goo Goo Dolls — and many others. He is the author of The Rock-n-Roll Singer’s Survival, creator of The Singer’s Toolbox instructional DVD, Sing Like an Idol instructional CD. Mark operates vocal studios in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and online via Skype. Visit his website: VoiceLesson
You can see more of Mark’s work here.