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Pikopoku

Could you spare 4 minutes to listen to my voice and perhaps give me some tips on it?

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If you are not interested in my boring premise skip to #2 to listen to me singing Jason Isbell’s Cover me up

1)
Premise.

I always loved to sing but was always very bad at it. I mean, I could never hit high notes and, even the lower pitched songs I though I could sing, when I asked people what they thought, they didn’t think I was as good as I thought I was. They were nice in telling me but I could tell they were being nice. So, I never delved into it. 

Now I am 40 years old and about two months ago I started singing in my car during my lunch break. I downloaded 2 apps, Erol Singer Studio and Pitch Perfect. I started doing exercises in ESS and noticed my high pitched notes were awful. I kept working at it until, according to the app, I had a little over 2.6 octaves of vocal range. I still struggled with the higher notes but now, making sounds, I had been able hit notes from E2 to C5. Making noise, not singing. Like saying ahhh or eeee etc..not lyrics. 
I then got bored with ESS and started just singing songs and focusing more on reaching higher pitches and checking with the Pitch Perfect app to work at the limits of my range to get more used to it.
At first I used a set of headphones with a little mic boom attached to them I bout on amazon for $20. Then I noticed that when I was singing  high notes the mic would just not register them. So I bought a Blue Yeti...3 days ago. 
I set up the Blue Yeti clamped to my steering wheel and sing in my car during lunch. I know I should be standing but between singing in my car and not singing at all I figure it’d have been better singing in my car. 


2)
Now, a month ago I was not able to sing the higher part of this song if not in falsetto. Then I watched a few videos on youtube and practiced: this is what the result was. I recorded this using the vocalive app with de-esser (Don’t know if it works) and about 5% reverb and 10% size of room in the background a Smules app without filters for the background track.

Jason Isbell: Cover me up

https://www.smule.com/p/270407024_3425196961

When I listen to it, it does not sound right, but I cant tell why. Am I off pitch? Am I off tempo? What do you think I should work on?

Now, I know I don’t have a good voice and even if I could sing with perfect pitch, I still wouldn’t have an interesting voice: I know that. But I am not trying to become a successful or professional singer. I am just trying to be the best version of myself...as far as I can. 

Any feedback and tips on what to focus on or tips on equipment and practices I would truly appreciate.  As of now I can’t afford/justify voice lessons but if I can get to a decent level working by myself I would consider the investment and make it happen.

Thank you so much for your time and priceless tips.

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    I have never heard the song before, and that is good because I do not have to compare you to the original singer. 

The songs sounds good to me and I like the tone of your voice. I did not hear any pitch problems.

3 hours ago, Pikopoku said:

Now, I know I don’t have a good voice and even if I could sing with perfect pitch, I still wouldn’t have an interesting voice: I know that. But I am not trying to become a successful or professional singer. I am just trying to be the best version of myself...as far as I can. 

Your voice sounds good and it does have an interesting sound.  What makes a voice interesting is how a song is presented and the feeling expressed in it.

Sing the songs the way you feel them or hear them. You do not have to sound like the original singer to be "Good"".  Willy Nelson and Elvis Presley sang some of the same songs....Willy did not try to sound like Elvis and Elvis did not try to sound like Willy. You do not need to sound like anyone else either.

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Sup, I like the intensity, that's on the right track!

So here is what I heard right on the start "A heart on the run" it does not sound very secure, you are sliding to the pitch of the first note, and it is sounding a bit nasal. I would try to make it more clear, articulate the words a bit better, and on the first vowel on heart, try to round it a bit more, a small bit of a yawn might get it darkened and more full sounding.

The next point that is rather important is on "raged", it sounds like you were trying to go powerful there, but it didn't quite happen as you intended, try playing with the vowels in there, I would start with eh ", sing it more like rEHgd, and avoid the diphthong (don't focus on the i on *reijd*), after it is more free, you can tune it to your liking (closer to normal pronunciation or super open).

This happens through the song, a bit of work on these will improve the quality a lot.

Cheers!

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Thank you so much MDEW, you make a good point there. I guess I am trying to sound like the original singer to make sure I can sing the song instead of going around my limits and adapt it to my voice. I am taking it as an opportunity to measure myself and gauge the improvement if any. But I do agree that I should eventually sing it with my own style. I really appreciate your answer, your support and your tips. thank you!

 

Thank you so much Felipe! Ironically, I focus so much on the higher part if the songs I sing that I tend to haphazardly sing the lower parts just as a filler for the higher parts I am trying to practice. I noticed that I don’t even remember the words of the lower parts because I focus too much on the higher ones. I do need to change that. 
i have also noticed I do that ‘sliding to pitch” thing a lot. I can’t surely and confidently hit the Correct pitch at the beginning of sentences. It’s almost like I have to hear myself for a split second and adjust it as I go. I thought it would get better with experience but I guess I need to actively work on it. Thank you for pointing it out!

i loved what you said about the vowels, I read about that before but, english being my second language, I realize I default to singing the words as I would speak them rather than what they should sound like. I shall work on it more. Thank you for making me notice that.

Thank you both for your time and suggestions; I really appreciate it!

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     One thing that slips the mind these days is that people expect or want instant satisfaction. Record one or two takes of a song and manipulate the bad parts with electronics. In the old days of recording on two tracks, the band would play along with the vocalist and background singers and there would be a marathon recording of one song with 60 to 80 different recordings. Throughout the recording process they would keep what sounded good and discard what sounded bad refining the song as you recorded. Sometimes in the final product they would splice pieces of several recordings into one master. Today we can do this with "copy and Paste" through the computers. The point is that the more times you record or play the same song, "and pay attention to it", the more opportunities you have to improve it, find out what works and what does not.

    It seemed to me that the biggest question you had was whether your voice had a good or interesting sound to it. It does. The other things like sliding into a note or nailing the note at the start or maintaining the original melody comes from getting familiar with the song....Singing it so much that it drives your family crazy. But you will know the song and people who are not around you everyday will hear a strong and interesting performance from you.

    

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Wow MDEW, I had no idea that’s how they did it back then. Sounds grueling. Nowadays things seem different and, with softwares like Melodyne, i recently realized all the songs out there are corrected to perfection before making the final version so it can be daunting to match the voice I hear in a song without using softwares.
I really dislike using any sort of filters but I also noticed that without reverb I sound really very bad and it makes me not want to sing. So I add just enough to make my own voice it tolerable to my ears and everything else has to be improved by technique  

Thank you for your comment about my voice: it is very hard to be objective for me when it comes to it. 

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2 hours ago, Pikopoku said:

can’t surely and confidently hit the Correct pitch at the beginning of sentences. It’s almost like I have to hear myself for a split second and adjust it as I go. I thought it would get better with experience but I guess I need to actively work on it. Thank you for pointing it out!

i loved what you said about the vowels, I read about that before but, english being my second language, I realize I default to singing the words as I would speak them rather than what they should sound like. I shall work on it more. Thank you for making me notice that.

Yeah this is all normal, we really do that, you fine tune your voice as you hear it back when you sing. So one thing you can do is to *imagine* the note before you begin it, hear it in your mind a few moments before singing it, even if you slide to it in your imagination, it will give you the correct "setting" to start singing. As you repeat this, it becomes second nature. :)

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34 minutes ago, Pikopoku said:

Wow MDEW, I had no idea that’s how they did it back then. Sounds grueling. Nowadays things seem different and, with softwares like Melodyne, i recently realized all the songs out there are corrected to perfection before making the final version so it can be daunting to match the voice I hear in a song without using softwares.

    I think Melodyne is the worst thing that could happen to singers. Sure it makes it so you can dial in a pitch that may be a little off but people are using it as a crutch or even the focus of the sound of the recording. 

   I even hear singers who are not using melodyne make that little warble you hear from melodyne while singing live. Kind of a jump from one pitch to another. 

   I also understand that using electronics to change the sound of instruments including the voice can be and is part of the "Art" of creating songs but it also takes away the want and need of "Practice".

   I play guitar and the use of Reverb, Echo, Overdrive and Phase shifting is essential to get the proper sound and feel for any particular song. An electric guitar with a "Clean" sound only works in certain situations. But still your guitar needs to be  "in Tune" and you need to  be playing the proper notes and chords in the proper order.

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