Using Twang in Your Singing

Using Twang in Your Singing
Adding a vocal “edge” to your voice can be exciting – and taking this into your higher range can be dramatic – says David Combes.

When Janice in the TV show Friends says “Oh My Gawd…” – that is twang at its limit. Singers like Anastacia, use this same effect to add drama and a laser-beam focus to their vocals.

So, what is it? It’s a natural effect – just think of a baby crying or children taunting each other in a playground (nah-nah, n-nah-nah!). I’ll demonstrate twang in this video.

Axl Rose uses it – but, remember, twang does not have to be done at 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Singers like Chaka Kahn, Stevie Wonder and many others use it without turning it up to “10” – to give some “cut” or “edge” to higher notes. .

Twang adds a bright, edgy, metallic tone to your voice. It can be a radical departure for some singers – but it is a great way to get brightness and edge to the top of your voice.

My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Cinya Khan Cinya Khan - All In My Head

Hi Cinya, thanks for sending this in, what a great choice. Your voice has great agility and the fluidity of your phrasing, plus the accuracy of your riffs, is really impressive; vocal agility is something many singers don’t put high enough up on their practice list! I really like the way you add lots of light and shade into the different sections of the song, and the way you support through your entire range. There are just a couple of ideas I want to throw at you. Every now and then you get a little too relaxed with your diction and placement and the sound becomes more nasal which doesn’t work quite as well for me. It feels weird but try singing through the song while gently pinching your nose, certain sounds like ‘n’ and ‘ng’ will buzz under your fingers as they have to come down the nose but most of the time your should be aiming for the sound and the air to be completely directed out of your mouth. You also spend quite a lot of the song with your eyes closed, particularly the opening section; I don’t think you should force yourself to have your eyes open the whole time, that would be really unnatural, but from about 1m 30s onwards you get the balance better for me and that drew me in even more.

Why I chose Cinya Khan as a Finalist

The singer I would like to recommend to move forward as a finalist in the Voice Council competition is Cinya Khan, this is due to her combination of technical excellence and artistry – Good Luck!

David Combes

David Combes has backed Beyoncé Knowles, Chaka Khan, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Lionel Richie and many more. He’s sung on several series of “The X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent”. His vocals have been in films such as “The Corpse Bride”, “Transformers”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Nine”, and “Pan” (end of 2015). He is also a solo performer and a tutor on the vocal faculty for The University of West London and for The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.