It’s time to really dig into the meaning of your song –says Jenn Bostic
I used to think singing was all about the technical stuff; perfect breath support, placement, intonation, diction, the list goes on.
While all those things are extremely important, I now realize that as a listener and performer, the most captivating element for me is emotion.
As a songwriter, I write about things that make my heart beat faster, things I’m passionate about.
When I am able to perform a song from my heart, meaning every single word I sing, the listener is more likely to connect.
When I Discovered Depth
I admit that throughout my vocal training over the years, countless teachers expressed the importance of really digging into the meaning of a song.
But I always skimmed the surface of that advice, until I wrote and started performing my first single, “Jealous of the Angels.”
The song is a tribute to my father who passed away in a car accident when I was ten years old.
He was the first person to encourage me to play music, and songwriting was the therapy I used to cope with that loss.
I wrote a few songs about the accident, feeling called to a career in music, but not fully understanding my purpose.
Fourteen years after the accident, I sat down with two cowriters, Zach Runquist and Jimmy Fortune, and wrote the song.
For once I stopped thinking about what radio, the music industry, or even the listener would think of the song, and just wrote it, straight from my heart.
The Personal Performance Connection
As I began performing the song live, I struggled to get through it, but after the performances, people were compelled to tell me they’d had a personal connection to it.
I don’t think it’s necessarily the words, the melody or even the chords we chose, I think combining those things with emotion is what makes people feel.
I’ve been blessed to see this reaction on a large scale, and it has helped me tap into the emotion of every song I sing, whether it be a cover or original.
Move from “Good” to “Incredible”
Putting yourself in the shoes of the songwriter can help take your performance from good to incredible.
When you fully understand the meaning behind a song, you’re more likely to captivate your audience and make for an unforgettable performance.
If you can make someone feel what you’re singing, that’s what I consider success.
I’m really glad to be walking with you this month as your Vocal Coach in Residence – more soon!
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Mike Graham – “She Will Be Loved” (cover)
Mike, I really enjoyed your cover! You have an incredible falsetto and I love that you sang the song with passion. Your voice is so unique that I would like to hear you stray from the original melody a little more and really make it your own. There are moments that I could use a little more enunciation, but overall I love it!
Sinead Perry Devlin – Dreams (cover)
Sinead, I love the tone of your voice, it has a beautiful warm quality! You did a great job with the “Dreams” cover. In the future, I would love to see you sing with more emotion, both in your voice and in your facial expressions. Whenever I’m covering a song I sit down with the lyrics and try to relate them either to my own life, or paint the picture in my mind of what’s happening. Whenever I’m learning a cover I try to relate the lyrics to my own life or paint the picture of the story being told. It brings character into the song and helps to keep people engaged.
Oliver – “Call Me Maybe” (cover)
Oliver, you’re a great musician and I love what you did with “Call Me Maybe.” There’s a really special tone that you hit in the chorus of the song, which is related to where you’re placing the sound. I’d love to hear you incorporate that placement into the verses where it’s lower in your register. On a song like this, I’d love to see a little more personality in the verses, which I feel would really keep your listener interested throughout the entire four minutes. You’ve got the voice to adlib, so I’d also love to hear you experiment with really making the ending your own as well.
If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique Insight from Jenn Bostic for the next 4 weeks. You can sign up right here.
Jenn Bostic is an award-winning singer songwriter hitting the top of the iTunes charts. She has just completed a North American tour, with sold-out shows at the Hotel Café in L.A. and Rockwood Music Hall in N.Y. Jenn’s albums “Change” and “Keep Lookin’ for Love”, as well as single releases, are available for purchase at www.jennbostic.com