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for singing development i nominate "urgent"

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well folks,

after a lot of practice and research, diagramming the song, tranposing the key, vowel analysis, breath point marking, you name it (and singing it a half step lower) i officially nominate foreigner's "urgent" for the official tmv "that's a royal bitch to sing" award in the rock category.

i truly have never been so challenged by a rock vocal not just to sing it, but to sing it consistently and with that intensity and punchiness... i'm not giving up, still not where i need it to be, but now i thought i'd reach out to you guys...

does anyone do it? can you share your experiences with it? maybe it's a piece of cake for you? a couple of guys sent me their covers but they weren't capturing the intensity and punch. is there a vocal coach who might want to "spot train" me on this song?

i really want to nail this song, and i know i can, but maybe i'll get by with a little help from my friends? i'm okay to email

videohere@earthlink.net

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I was just listening and thinking: This doesn't seem so tricky. Four minutes later my throat would be bleeding if I tried myself. I imagine it a pain to sing just because it's not "clean", but yet "clear". His voice is quite something..

Rather bland input but I just had to comment.

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I was just listening and thinking: This doesn't seem so tricky. Four minutes later my throat would be bleeding if I tried myself. I imagine it a pain to sing just because it's not "clean", but yet "clear". His voice is quite something..

Rather bland input but I just had to comment.

appreciated freddie,

that's one of the challenges..

it's got to be a controlled punch...which is kind of an oxymoron....lol!!!

he's quote un-quote, screaming, yet it's got a "classical-ness" tonality (new word) to it.

from "got fire" on you have to punch at it, yet remain relaxed or your dead in the water. my stomach area where i believe most of the punch has to come from, can get some workout.

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Ha! VH- you are SUCH a Gramm Groupie!

;)

I've done it before in cover bands. The hardest part was the "So urgent!" at the end of the tune and also the "Urgent! [urgent Urgent Urgent] Emergency" part. I remember struggling with that.

Just curious- did he do those things live as well, or was it a studio thing? Sometimes, in the studio, you can nail stuff in 10 takes that you only get 1 take to do live (I'm sure you know this!) ;)

There are a ton of hard songs to sing. The end of Sweet Child of Mine's tough for me as is some of the stuff in Don't Stop Believing- for the same reason- the stomach just can't keep up. Same with Shook Me All Night Long. Over and over and over, I just can't get my stomach to work like that.

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Ha! VH- you are SUCH a Gramm Groupie!

;)

I've done it before in cover bands. The hardest part was the "So urgent!" at the end of the tune and also the "Urgent! [urgent Urgent Urgent] Emergency" part. I remember struggling with that.

There are a ton of hard songs to sing. The end of Sweet Child of Mine's tough for me as is some of the stuff in Don't Stop Believing- for the same reason- the stomach just can't keep up. Same with Shook Me All Night Long. Over and over and over, I just can't get my stomach to work like that.

yeah, i am hooked on the challenge..i admit it...not many guys can touch his stuff (well).

i guess it's what we percieve as hard or what skills we lack that are magnified by the song. you see, if it's a question of just "it's a high note" i can't hit (like journey) it's out of my current range that's one level of difficulty..but with a song like this it's a bitch regardless of the key.

like i said, it's a controlled intensity. but i figure if i learn that song well, i'll have the added benefit of learning this skill to go on to stuff like jackie wilson's "higher and higher"....example....thanks billy

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It's funny VH, I also get songs that I get obsessed over. "I MUST be able to do this, I MUST!" sometimes, it can last years.

billy, i totally relate...that's why this forum is so good. it lets me know i'm not the only one who's screwed up....just kidding...lol!!

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If it's an obsession, at least it's a safe one. You could have been like this character in a show last night who obsessed over people's eyes and would kill them just to have the eyes for his taxidermy projects. That's a problematic obsession, right there.

Anyway, I swear to God and on the Holy Bible, or whatever scripture one holds with reverence, That you, Bob, will never completely sound like Lou Gramm. You might get close or in the same neighborhood and I think you are already there in ability and your own tonality. But you're locked on to this thing as tightly as my dog locks onto squirrel scent on concrete, in the rain (I have watched him do it.) But it is a worthy goal to have. Even as you have different genetics and physical structures, you won't be able to sound like him now, either. Unless you go through a traumatic brain surgery, too. Each thing affects a person in their life.

But notice I said you already a good singer and anyone who would think you are not is greatly mistaken.

And there are songs, of late, that I have worked on and changed, partially in response to others comments, and I have worn myself out doing. I have this obsession that others are smarter than I am, so I try to learn as much as I can and in any case, assume that I am the one who is wrong. I can get advice or give credence to the opinion of someone who was in diapers the first time I hit a solid high C (i.e., I'm old enough to be their dad) because I, like anyone here, want applause. That, and my upbringing. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. That and I was not all that and a bag of chips. As a child, nothing I did was good enough. Ever. And so it ingrained the need to excel past what I need or is viable. In such upringing, some become hypercritical of others and can't just say a job well done and leave it at that. They have to nitpick or find something to improve upon, since "no one is perfect." Where as mine is turned inward.

My other obsession is trying to figure who it is that I sound like. I've heard different comparisons. That one is even harder to let go of than the perfection thingy.

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I don't think Bob wants to have the same voice as Lou Gramm. In fact, it would be a bad thing because I think he'd rather want to sound original. If I understand Bob correctly, he wants to have the same (or similar) power, control and endurance in his high notes as Lou had. That's something a lot of us here want, including me and I'm very certain that it CAN be achieved with proper vocal training. You just have to train the right stuff, otherwise you won't get there :)

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I don't think Bob wants to have the same voice as Lou Gramm. In fact, it would be a bad thing because I think he'd rather want to sound original. If I understand Bob correctly, he wants to have the same (or similar) power, control and endurance in his high notes as Lou had. That's something a lot of us here want, including me and I'm very certain that it CAN be achieved with proper vocal training. You just have to train the right stuff, otherwise you won't get there :)

exactly.

ron, i appreciate all you wrote, but bear in mind i'm not even that in love with the song. it's what singing that song well puts you through to sing it. the requisite skill list is up there. i'm gonna tell ya, i.m.o., a lot harder than "sweet child of mine" and i know that's a bitch too.

"urgent" intrigued me when i was a non-trained singer first listening to it. that whole cd "foreigner 4" is a vocal masterpiece/masterclass i.m.o. and i remember my very first time i tried it, it made me instantly realize i lacked the abilty. but something inside me said, i really think i can do it...i just gotta figure out how....so that's one of the songs where i said to myself i'm going to take my singing to the next level, and sought out really learning about the voice. i guess you could call it an inspirational song/singer.

try it one night, drop it a half if you need to...that god damn song will call into play every aspect of trained rock singing to the tenth power if you intend to sing it like he does...

but here's the cool part by singing gramm's stuff, i'm finding i can resonate where i feel like my stomach to my mouth is one hollow pipe and i can make this pipe vibrate...

i really hope i'm not getting too much or boring you guys on the gramm stuff. i can back off it if you want.

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Don't back off it. I've come to really like Lou Gramm because of your posts here. I didn't really listen to Foreigner before.

oh, that great to hear jonpall! i didn't want to become a nuisance.

did you listen to "i'm gonna win" off that album? he achieves a tone in his high notes that are so intense that the music can't keep up with his intensity level. youtube rejects the post on that one for some reason.

just about every god damn song of his is a challenge. not just to sing them, but to last....like you said the endurance.

urgent is the stepping stone to "juke box hero" before my 60th birthday, three years away....lol!!!

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nah, don't back off. That way, I'll have an excuse when I start the "I want to sing like Steve Perry" posts.

;)

billy, start up a steve perry post right now!! ya hear me buddy...let's hear what you have to say..that's another vocal phenomenon.

that's that sweet, light singing, flawless blending of chest and head.....god, he is great. can't wait for his new cd.

i'd like to discuss his technique too....big time!!

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My post would be:

I love his voice and range.

I can't do it.

The end.

Ha. About sums it up for me too. Steve is actually what I've been working on lately in my lessons and IMO... is a motherf'er to mimic correctly. He's not as light as some would have you believe. Every time someone says they are singing light "like Steve," it's way too light(again IMO.)

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that's that sweet, light singing, flawless blending of chest and head.....god, he is great. can't wait for his new cd.

I hope I live to see the day of its release. It's been in the works for ages now, it seems. I had heard years back he was working with Nuno Bettencourt, but who knows. Steve has been a bit of an enigma since the last time he was with Journey.

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Ha. About sums it up for me too. Steve is actually what I've been working on lately in my lessons and IMO... is a motherf'er to mimic correctly. He's not as light as some would have you believe. Every time someone says they are singing light "like Steve," it's way too light(again IMO.)

Yeah, listen to "Open Arms" from Escape, not the live versions. He sings it SO soft.

Same with "Don't Stop Believing". Practically sounds like he's just saying the words.

ehhh, after 30 years, I've given up trying on these.

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Bob, let's see if we (your forum buddies who are actually on a very similar quest as yourself), can help you a bit with your goal...

To start off, do you think you can get a somewhat similar tone as Lou in the high notes (C4 and higher)?

If not, I think it's a very good chance that you're using too thick vocal folds. Basically, you think you're not shouting, but you're still shouting a bit and maybe even using too much air and straining. I could be wrong, though.

Ok, here's what I personally think is the basis for a tone similar to Lou Gramm. You can then modify this basic sound to get close to just about any rock tenor that ever was:

1. Above C4 or so, absolutely no pushing or shouting. You should know this but hey, I knew this, but then I found that my "curbing" was still too loud to be centered and relaxed, while still sounding powerful. It should really be medium volume. This means reducing your vocal fold thickness which may lead to sounding very soft, even falsetto-ish and not much like a powerful rock tenor. This will be fixed by the following things:

2. Have a constant twang without any constrictor muscles in your throat involved. Use a lot of it, but don't strain while doing it. There are "twang" muscles in your throat so use only those muscles and see if you can't release the other ones. Btw. you can have twang and a very slight yawn sensation (and also follow my points below) which means that your tone will have a nice ring to it (high frequencies) and probably a sensation that your tone is produced in your soft palate, and does not sound quacky like a duck (i.e. there will also be low frequencies heard). Also, raising your larynx a bit as you go up in pitch - not too much and not too little, can help you produce twang easier. If you feel like you've swallowed something after singing a line, your larynx may have been too high so it's almost like you're choking on your own larynx. In that case, let it be lower next time and you'll feel a world of difference. The same thing can happen if you larynx is too low, f.ex. if you're going for a too dopy sound. Play with just the right larynx height and remember that it should go a bit up with an increase in pitch.

3. Around your passagio (ca. in your C4-C5 range) have a cry/sob/moan/hold/whiny sound. It's important to realize that if you didn't have this type of sound in the C4-C5 range, your volume would be low but this sound pulls it up to medium without any pushing or shouting. Many people constrict and really overdo this sound so it's important that you try not to. Above C5 you can start to let go of this sound and just use twang as your means to get some volume (that now starts to get a bit above medium).

4. Use the vowels with the most resonance as Steven has said many times. In the C4-C5 range, use mostly the vowels Uh (as in hungry), I (as in sit) and O (as in woman). Above C5, just use the vowels that feel the best for you - that high up, they all start to merge into each other anyway.

5. Learn the proper way to support. Personally, I suggest the method of letting your solar plexus move gradually outwards and your abs gradually inwards. If you do all the things in this post, your support effort will be greatly reduced. It doesn't take nearly as much effort to produce those type of sounds as I originally thought.

6. (bonus point) To put a slight rasp on top of this - if/when you want to, which could be topic onto itself, get your false folds to vibrate slightly, by having lots of twang and playing with lightening your sound colour slightly by lowering your soft palate and perhaps raise your larynx slightly and even move the back of your tongue upwards and back. This should NOT take too much effort in your throat (although your support will increase slightly). If it does, you're probably doing it incorrectly, even as a beginner. It also should not hurt. What works for me is to have lots of twang, helped by a fairly high larynx (but full, resonant vowels so my sound is still thick) and then slowly and carefully lower my soft palate until the rasp comes out. I don't get extremely loud for this, and not shouty at all.

Please note that this is just my current opinion on this matter.

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Ha. About sums it up for me too. Steve is actually what I've been working on lately in my lessons and IMO... is a motherf'er to mimic correctly. He's not as light as some would have you believe. Every time someone says they are singing light "like Steve," it's way too light(again IMO.)

analog, think you're slightly wrong. I think Steve Perry got his additional power on top of his light basic sound was a product of my points in my previous posts, in particular the use of exactly the most resonance vowels. Well, basically, all of those points. He just did everything correct. Perhaps he started to shout slightly more and more live later on in his career, I don't know. I don't really listen much to Journey and never did. But didn't he eventually get some vocal problems? Perhaps he went to a local classical coach who to told him he was doing everything wrong and wanted him to lower his larynx and to all sort of stuff which meant he couldn't get his sound back, although he may have got better at opera. But I really know very little about Steve Perry's career, so I'm only guessing. Cheers!

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I hope I live to see the day of its release. It's been in the works for ages now, it seems. I had heard years back he was working with Nuno Bettencourt, but who knows. Steve has been a bit of an enigma since the last time he was with Journey.

Correct, he was working with Nuno. Now he seems to be happy just going to ball games and playing with his cats. Too bad.

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Bob, let's see if we (your forum buddies who are actually on a very similar quest as yourself), can help you a bit with your goal...

To start off, do you think you can get a somewhat similar tone as Lou in the high notes (C4 and higher)?

If not, I think it's a very good chance that you're using too thick vocal folds. Basically, you think you're not shouting, but you're still shouting a bit and maybe even using too much air and straining. I could be wrong, though.

Ok, here's what I personally think is the basis for a tone similar to Lou Gramm. You can then modify this basic sound to get close to just about any rock tenor that ever was:

1. Above C4 or so, absolutely no pushing or shouting. You should know this but hey, I knew this, but then I found that my "curbing" was still too loud to be centered and relaxed, while still sounding powerful. It should really be medium volume. This means reducing your vocal fold thickness which may lead to sounding very soft, even falsetto-ish and not much like a powerful rock tenor. This will be fixed by the following things:

2. Have a constant twang without any constrictor muscles in your throat involved. Use a lot of it, but don't strain while doing it. There are "twang" muscles in your throat so use only those muscles and see if you can't release the other ones. Btw. you can have twang and a very slight yawn sensation (and also follow my points below) which means that your tone will have a nice ring to it (high frequencies) and probably a sensation that your tone is produced in your soft palate, and does not sound quacky like a duck (i.e. there will also be low frequencies heard).

3. Around your passagio (ca. in your C4-C5 range) have a cry/sob/moan/hold/whiny sound. It's important to realize that if you didn't have this type of sound in the C4-C5 range, your volume would be low but this sound pulls it up to medium without any pushing or shouting. Many people constrict and really overdo this sound so it's important that you try not to. Above C5 you can start to let go of this sound and just use twang as your means to get some volume (that now starts to get a bit above medium).

4. Use the vowels with the most resonance as Steven has said many times. In the C4-C5 range, use mostly the vowels Uh (as in hungry), I (as in sit) and O (as in woman). Above C5, just use the vowels that feel the best for you - that high up, they all start to merge into each other anyway.

5. Learn the proper way to support. Personally, I suggest the method of letting your solar plexus move gradually outwards and your abs gradually inwards.

6. (bonus point) To put a slight rasp on top of this - if/when you want to, which could be topic onto itself, get your false folds to vibrate slightly, by having lots of twang and playing with lightening your sound colour slightly by lowering your soft palate and perhaps raise your larynx slightly and even move the back of your tongue upwards and back. This should NOT take too much effort in your throat (although your support will increase slightly). If it does, you're probably doing it incorrectly, even as a beginner. It also should not hurt.

Please note that this is just my current opinion on this matter.

jonpall, i appreciate all your suggestions..please send any recording you may try on this.....even if it's partial.

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Ha. About sums it up for me too. Steve is actually what I've been working on lately in my lessons and IMO... is a motherf'er to mimic correctly. He's not as light as some would have you believe. Every time someone says they are singing light "like Steve," it's way too light(again IMO.)

let me jump in and join this guys...

i've wondered about him for years!

regarding steve perry, i personally believe you need to possess a specific innate physicality or physiology to sing like that because you cannot hear much chest voice in perry. it seems like he's predominately singing in head or falsetto or he's forever configured to heady placements naturally....i read somewhere that he is a countertenor, and countertenors are rare. he absolutely is one to "diagnose and pull apart."...lol

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