Sign in to follow this  
charstar

The James LaBrie Approach To Singing

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Yeah, I just can't remember how I came across that but I was looking through some stuff on yt and came across that and it struck a chord with me. And it is nice to see JLB as a mere mortal, overcoming some of the same challenges as we have. He is just a "regular" guy who happens to make his living by singing for one of the most iconic prog bands I can think of. And always seeking new things. In fact, as one historian put it, it seems like they would lose fans with a new album while gaining new fans because they refused to stay in one mold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed James LaBrie is able to keep a very flat tongue no matter what he's singing. This is a good thing right? Also, he sometimes sticks it out the higher he goes. Is that for a technical purpose or more artistic? Moving your tongue forward raises the larynx, and that makes my tone sound worse (whiny & shrill), but it certainly doesn't affect his tone!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, charstar said:

I noticed James LaBrie is able to keep a very flat tongue no matter what he's singing. This is a good thing right? Also, he sometimes sticks it out the higher he goes. Is that for a technical purpose or more artistic? Moving your tongue forward raises the larynx, and that makes my tone sound worse (whiny & shrill), but it certainly doesn't affect his tone!

Well then, for you, you should not be allowed to to do that until you can do it without sounding whiny and shrill (your words and as far as I know, no one else's.) 

And who said you were whiny and shrill? A pro voice coach? An a&r guy at a record company? A recording engineer or producer? And what are their qualifications? Publishing credits? (by that I mean what successful grammy winning albums have they produced with their awesome sensibilities and judgements?) Or someone so persnickety and out of touch, they would consider Bing Crosby almost too brassy and anything past that unendurable?

The reason I ask is because such statements require assumptions of meaning when we could all mean different things.

And I edit to add:

Why is whiny and shrill bad? Who decided that? You? What are your qualifications?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On March 15, 2016 at 7:30 PM, Xamedhi said:

I'd say both. Because If Robert, for example, used the same vowels as JLB it would not sound the same. It could be a fun thing to do when imitating a singer as a "cartoon image". But it will probably not sound convincing in a song.
At least that's what I think, maybe Robert can do a spot on impersonation, lol

This may be true, because we don't sing vowels. We sing formants. So its not about a vowel, its about a formant. If me and JLB sang the same LYRIC, at the same Frequency, we would have to use different formant positions to make it sound the same, because of the differences in the anatomy. For example, when I sing a Journey song, I am not tuning to the same formats that Steve Perry is... Im tuning to the formant I have to tune to, to make the song work for my vocal physiology.

JLB... awesome. One of the greatest metal singers of all time.  Surprisingly, I have heard a lot of people say they don't like the sound of his voice... I simply don't get that.

The way that JLB is using his voice can be trained with the techniques in, "The Four Pillars of Singing". I am not claiming to be his coach, but if you want to sing like James LeBrie or any other head voice singers like this, 4Pillars will get you there.

One thing is for sure... anyone that wants to sing like JLB or similar... had better plan on making a commitment to training. You are not going to get "free tips" off the internet and learn how to sing like that. Singing like JLB is for serious commitments... its for people that are prepared to go to work and practice. Not "children" looking only for "free tips" on YouTube, with no vision for actually ever investing in a program or teacher and practicing. Forget, it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys... I realized it wold be lame to you and to my teachers below if I didn't share these videos with you! I was running out of the house this morning and forgot that we produced these.

Coincidentally, here are two of my teachers tracking "The Spirit Carries On". This TVS CI from Brazil, Fabricio Fonseca and TVS CI, Shige Morimoto from Japan. I have actually coached this song numerous times. The recording and video production was all done by me as well. 

I am also working on this song and plan to do my own version, but have not completed the project yet... ENJOY!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, aravindmadis said:

Thanks for posting the videos Rob.  Always fascinating to see how different voices work on the same song.  Both fantastic singers.  Hoping to do my version of this song soon!  

Yes, no doubt... good point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And finally, the respect due to LaBrie. Of course, Robert, I would imagine you able to cut through this more than I would be able to. But the next time I hear about how LaBrie has odd vowel choices or doesn't sound the same since his "injury," I am going to throw up and not just a little. I will then start saying things specifically designed to hurt peoples' feelings, rather than just accidently.

It is not that I am LaBrie's biggest fan and I do not own even on DT album. I am just tired of arm-chair experts talking about others who are way more experienced and skilled than the are and acting like they are all that and a bag of chips. I cannot stop it, truly, but I can continue to not like it and sincerely applaud times like this when someone with real influence in this forum steps forward to calm the seas.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amen And spot on Ron.

After all, arm chair critics are way , way abundant. It is the nature of our society. 

I'll add to it... JLB also gets "snark" remarks because he modifies vowels.

Well... Good JLB, the guy has some technique. So ridiculous. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob i agree with you about JLB, often people snark way to much at him, They should try step up to the plate and sing some DT they are crazy hard songs. However i dunno people whine at him because his vowelmodifications, i would say his vowelmods are really good but he tends to skip many and in some places all consonants. Wich is probably what ticks people off, however thats his style and what seperates him from alot of other copypaste similar rocksingers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Jens said:

Rob i agree with you about JLB, often people snark way to much at him, They should try step up to the plate and sing some DT they are crazy hard songs. However i dunno people whine at him because his vowelmodifications, i would say his vowelmods are really good but he tends to skip many and in some places all consonants. Wich is probably what ticks people off, however thats his style and what seperates him from alot of other copypaste similar rocksingers.

Precisely, "monday morning quarterbacks". Some how I think that James won't have to keep his "day job".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like his word modification a lot. In fact, when i sing along to their songs an Octave below or whatever i sing the words just like him hahaha I really feel its what makes unique the musicality of their songs and vocal parts. 

What i have always liked of James is the freedom felt from his open Way of singin, its like massive energy, a wall of sound coming right at you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Xamedhi said:

I like his word modification a lot. In fact, when i sing along to their songs an Octave below or whatever i sing the words just like him hahaha I really feel its what makes unique the musicality of their songs and vocal parts. 

What i have always liked of James is the freedom felt from his open Way of singin, its like massive energy, a wall of sound coming right at you

I have been looking for a way to describe LaBrie's voice and you just nailed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jens said:

Rob i agree with you about JLB, often people snark way to much at him, They should try step up to the plate and sing some DT they are crazy hard songs. However i dunno people whine at him because his vowelmodifications, i would say his vowelmods are really good but he tends to skip many and in some places all consonants. Wich is probably what ticks people off, however thats his style and what seperates him from alot of other copypaste similar rocksingers.

JLB's vowels are good choices...it was the articulation that threw me off. The higher you go, the vowels all start to sound the same so that's when I look to the consonants as guides. I remember trying to figure out the lyrics to Another Day and it was like:

"you won't find it here" -- "here" sounds more like "hair" but still understandable

"look another way" -- I'm hearing "luck" but I still know what he's saying

But I couldn't for the life of me figure out the high part. "Rend the heart behind the stands" ??? What does this even mean?! (for the record, the lyrics are "went to hide behind the stairs"). So that was a fun/interesting exercise

5 hours ago, Xamedhi said:

I like his word modification a lot. In fact, when i sing along to their songs an Octave below or whatever i sing the words just like him hahaha I really feel its what makes unique the musicality of their songs and vocal parts. 

What i have always liked of James is the freedom felt from his open Way of singin, its like massive energy, a wall of sound coming right at you

Yeah now all I hear are his vowel mods; they've become part of the song. 

I wonder if LaBrie has studied Italian before. The Italian "e" and "o" seem to be his favorite choices for vowels (just listen to his version of Oh Holy Night--those are everywhere). He tends not to close the diphthongs, so that may be why he sounds very open. A North American approach would probably be to use the "ay" (e + i in Italian) and "oh" (o + u in Italian) diphthongs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, charstar said:

JLB's vowels are good choices...it was the articulation that threw me off. The higher you go, the vowels all start to sound the same so that's when I look to the consonants as guides. I remember trying to figure out the lyrics to Another Day and it was like:

"you won't find it here" -- "here" sounds more like "hair" but still understandable

"look another way" -- I'm hearing "luck" but I still know what he's saying

But I couldn't for the life of me figure out the high part. "Rend the heart behind the stands" ??? What does this even mean?! (for the record, the lyrics are "went to hide behind the stairs"). So that was a fun/interesting exercise

Yeah now all I hear are his vowel mods; they've become part of the song. 

I wonder if LaBrie has studied Italian before. The Italian "e" and "o" seem to be his favorite choices for vowels (just listen to his version of Oh Holy Night--those are everywhere). He tends not to close the diphthongs, so that may be why he sounds very open. A North American approach would probably be to use the "ay" (e + i in Italian) and "oh" (o + u in Italian) diphthongs. 

 

Most people struggle to close the diphthongs in English lyrics. To be able to do so is less of a choice and more dependent upon the following:

1). The frequency the note is on.

2). Your personal strength, namely, TA/Belt strength.

3). The language vowel you are trying to tune the singing formant to. (obviously)

4). Experience articulating said lyric on the previously mentioned frequency and formant... takes practice.

5). Artistic interpretation. Sometimes vowel modifications are done not because they have to be done, but because you choose to. Lack of vowel modification in singing, can make singing have too may language vowel colors, which makes singing sound amateurish.

LeBrie has not studied Italian. He has studied a lot f belting and siren work. And years of experience singing in bands... 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2016 at 10:32 AM, Robert Lunte said:

This may be true, because we don't sing vowels. We sing formants. So its not about a vowel, its about a formant. If me and JLB sang the same LYRIC, at the same Frequency, we would have to use different formant positions to make it sound the same, because of the differences in the anatomy. For example, when I sing a Journey song, I am not tuning to the same formats that Steve Perry is... Im tuning to the formant I have to tune to, to make the song work for my vocal physiology.

JLB... awesome. One of the greatest metal singers of all time.  Surprisingly, I have heard a lot of people say they don't like the sound of his voice... I simply don't get that.

The way that JLB is using his voice can be trained with the techniques in, "The Four Pillars of Singing". I am not claiming to be his coach, but if you want to sing like James LeBrie or any other head voice singers like this, 4Pillars will get you there.

One thing is for sure... anyone that wants to sing like JLB or similar... had better plan on making a commitment to training. You are not going to get "free tips" off the internet and learn how to sing like that. Singing like JLB is for serious commitments... its for people that are prepared to go to work and practice. Not "children" looking only for "free tips" on YouTube, with no vision for actually ever investing in a program or teacher and practicing. Forget, it.

Rob,

As good a singer as he is, I'm not a fan of his voice.  Why?  I can't "feel" his voice.

It just seems very homogenous.  Again, a good singer no question.  But I'm not feeling him.

There's no soul I can feel.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a huge fan of DT and JLB.  I've seen them so many times over the years.  The last time I saw DT was a couple years ago and James sounded absolutely phenomenal - the best I ever heard him.  A DT show contains a tough set of songs for a singer.  I'm going to see them April 30th for the Astonishing concert...really looking forward to that.

Bob - I can understand what you mean.  He is not coming from R&B or Blues.  He is singing more straight progressive / classical / almost operatic - kind of like how Geoff Tate approaches it.  The DT music reminds me a lot of Kansas.  But Steve Walsh has a very soulful R&B style overlaid onto rock, a similar approach as Steve Perry.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LeBrie, without the band behind him, would be a lot less soulful. 

Ron, if you don't get the band, then you don't get the mojo from LeBrie. 

If you think about it, many of these great singers are only as good, as their band. 

Would Steve Perry be as great as he is, without those songs to sing?

How about Bono?  Without that band behind, people wouldn't even know who he is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Geno, Exactly.

The band is great, no question.  I'm just more for that "Black" sound. When I listen to JLB I just hear a bunch of high notes, I don't hear vulnerablity, angst, pain.

When these singers sing, (below) you can feel it!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I listen to JLB I just hear a bunch of high notes, I don't hear vulnerablity, angst, pain.

 

 

As much as I don't really like **how** he sings, and I am really not a fan of the tongue out/thinning he does, this is a really beautiful interpretation. Give it a shot on some of his songs when you have the opportunity, you will see that there is a lot to it and this song in particular is quite easy to just ruin it completely, as easy as it may look like at a first glance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this