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singing with emotion/soul?

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Benns
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hi guys,

a few people have told me sometime ago that, i need to sing with more emotion. See, i sometimes do that thing where you imagine the person your singing about or the theme of the song etc, before i sing and it works for like the first line or 2. Using that technique, i can manage to get the emotion down for the first 2 lines of the song but then before i manage to finish the verse off, the emotion is all gone and my singing sounds plain. I was wondering how do singers manage to keep emotion present throughout the whole song? Like with majority of artists when they are singing, it always sounds like they are talking to you, the listener..if you get what i mean lol..

Not sure, if i manage to explain myself clearly haha.

Thanks

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Some ways I might try to keep that emotion the whole way through is

-know the general overarching theme of the song and have that direct the behavior of your performance...get into that vibe

-also interpret the song lyric by lyric (find a balance between this and the above)

-specifically plan technical/textural/stylistic vocal adjustments (e.g. breathiness, grit, dynamic changes, etc. whatever seems appropriate) in the right places to create emotional effect

-practice each phrase of the song individually and work on the subtleties created by all of the above until you've figured out the best sounding way and can repeat it every time

-sing the song as if it is the last time you will ever sing to an audience in your life. pretend this is your last chance to deliver a powerful message to your audience and you want to bring your 100% through the whole song and ESPECIALLY toward the end.

Those are the main things that have worked for me I think.

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One more thing PRACTICE the song WITH the feeling. So that part of your performance will be second nature also.

Yes.

That doesn't necessarily mean you will repeat it 100% exactly on the actual performance. But practice it as if that was the goal, to have all the emotion worked out before hand and then you're just singing the song with that emotion another time.

BUT. When you finally hit the stage, feel free to just be in the moment and do little things you didn't do in practice if it feels right. So it's more like 90-95% a repeat performance and 5-10% spontaneity to keep the performance fresh, vulnerable, exciting for the audience. I find those slight, subtle changes tend to happen naturally when I can channel and feed off the added energy of a fresh audience and venue.

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Excellent responses, guys, especially Phil, describing it best, for that is what happens for me. When I sing, I bring people into my world. My world of pain. They are helpless captives, mwa-ha-ha-hah .....

I somehow feel that Benns question was slighty different in intention. Kind of like "Rockstar." At the beginning of his tenure with Steel Dragon, he is excited to be singing for the band and he can hardly breathe correctly. Some months later into the tour, it has become a "job." How do you maintain that "I'm so excited I can hardly breathe" thing?

Chemical enhancement, I tell you, chemicals. Just kidding, IDK it's something that you express or don't.

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hi guys,

a few people have told me sometime ago that, i need to sing with more emotion. See, i sometimes do that thing where you imagine the person your singing about or the theme of the song etc, before i sing and it works for like the first line or 2. Using that technique, i can manage to get the emotion down for the first 2 lines of the song but then before i manage to finish the verse off, the emotion is all gone and my singing sounds plain. I was wondering how do singers manage to keep emotion present throughout the whole song? Like with majority of artists when they are singing, it always sounds like they are talking to you, the listener..if you get what i mean lol..

Not sure, if i manage to explain myself clearly haha.

Thanks

There is a cadence or emphasis on certain words or phrases that enhance a group of words to produce/present emotional content. Martin called it Prosody when I had my own thread about it. I see it as emotional punctuation.

I do not know how your voice or personality would represent a certain emotion but think back to a time when you actually felt the emotion. How did you speak the line(or something close) in the song when you were in that emotional state? Or listen closely to one of the greats singing that song. Listen to whether certain words are punctuated by being louder or softer or faster or slower than the rest of the words. Certain phrases may even be OFF the Beat, come in a little quicker than the rest. Maybe even in the middle of a word one section of the word may be longer or shorter than usual to represent the emotion. Dynamics.

The emotion being Gone, usually means all the words sound with the same intensity and beat,

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Another thing to mention that in my opinion is vital to bringing the most "feel" and "emotion" out of your singing is the key of the song.

Sometimes if a you don't feel like your fully connected to a song and you're just singing it, but can't bring yourself to connect and "feel" it, bump up the key as much as needed til it hits that place where it brings out the best in you, you'll know where it is when you find it.

Same the other way around if a song is too high and you're straining and your putting in too much effort to connect with the lyric, then lower the key 'till you find the right place to connect with the song.

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I wrote an article on this. I think it will help you. There is a lot more to it than just "putting feel into it" as so many people say in an almost brush off manner.

http://www.grow-the-voice.com/music-and-emotions.html

Another thing that I didn't have room to write in that article (because i have to keep them short for google) is this:

BRING PEOPLE INTO YOUR WORLD. This is a mindset thing. Most people are nervous before they get on stage and are trying to *ask* the audience to be *let in*. it's almost like "hey can i come in and show you my song?"

This is not how our favourite singers do it!!! notice when you go to a concert you feel like you are being let in to their world even though they are often times foreigners in a foreign country coming into technically your area? yet you feel like you're in their world right?

You must do the same and BRING THE AUDIENCE INTO YOUR WORLD. when you're driving to the venue say to yourself I WILL BRING THEM INTO MY WORLD. I WILL REVEAL MY BEAUTIFUL SOUL. I WILL LET THEM SEE AN AMAZING PERFORMANCE (key is that you are ALLOWING them to see it, not trying to present it to them)

THis is YOUR FILM. YOUR MOVIE. You're the main character, you are bringing them INTO YOUR WORLD.

a great singer looks like they are letting you in to see something, not that they are chasing you to show you something

You have to get into this frame of mind BEFORE you get up on stage. You should be in this mind when you rock up to the venue. The mind of letting people IN. It's more like "this is my thing, i'll let you have a glimpse into it"

it's a type of confidence. Getting into this mode will change how you walk, talk, move etc. you will develop more of that swagger. that cool confidence. it works in all areas in life not just music. it's the "millionaires mindset".

When you are singing you are LETTING THEM INTO YOUR WORLD. Nothing you do can be wrong because it's YOUR WORLD. thats hjow you have to view it. WHatever you do is RIGHT.

wow, never thought of it that way. That is the exact vibe i get from artists on stage. I feel like i am in their world and that they are singing to me (in a conversational way). Spot, on man! Thanks for that

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Excellent responses, guys, especially Phil, describing it best, for that is what happens for me. When I sing, I bring people into my world. My world of pain. They are helpless captives, mwa-ha-ha-hah .....

I somehow feel that Benns question was slighty different in intention. Kind of like "Rockstar." At the beginning of his tenure with Steel Dragon, he is excited to be singing for the band and he can hardly breathe correctly. Some months later into the tour, it has become a "job." How do you maintain that "I'm so excited I can hardly breathe" thing?

Chemical enhancement, I tell you, chemicals. Just kidding, IDK it's something that you express or don't.

haha chemical enhancement. Nah, phill actually really got it spot on. I was referring to that whole vibe when a singer is singing and yet it almost seems to have that one to one conversational vibe going on with the listener. Not sure, if i managed to explain myself correctly. Also, i wanted to know how to maintain and show emotion though a whole song

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if i can add to all these great replies...allow yourself to be vulnerable (easier said than done).

the last thing to concern yourself with when you're on stage is technique. now the mind and mental intention drives the voice.

your voice is saying to you..."okay, we worked on this together. i know what you need me to do. now you go ahead and tell them the story, and leave the rest to me."

you will find some of your best vocals come when you are the least worried about "sounding good."

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I was wondering how do singers manage to keep emotion present throughout the whole song? Like with majority of artists when they are singing, it always sounds like they are talking to you, the listener..if you get what i mean lol..

It's important to realize that it's an act. It's an illusion. And the better the performer uses his "tricks" the more you believe it as being real.

Emotions are not reliable but craft is. :)

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When I tell people to think back to a time when they actually felt the emotion that is needed in the song it is so they can remember HOW they expressed that emotion. Where the accent or cadence lies.

WHY, are you here? Why ARE you here? Why are YOU here? Why are you HERE? Same sentence different meaning.

Same with emotion and intensity. You can say any one of those sentences Whiney and you have a whole new meaning. It is not only WHAT you say but HOW you say it. There is a specific Rhythm and inflection that implies emotions. Acting.

Get in touch with that emotion to better teach yourself HOW to express it, even if the emotion is not TRUELY there, or maybe somewhat jaded because you sang the same song 5 times in the same day to different people.

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Ah, keeping the connection with the audience, then. More chemicals, usually 'X', for the audience. Kidding of course. "Vitamin K" is what you really need.

To me, that would be harder to discuss than all the technical terminology for what the folds or elevator muscles are doing. You could sing technically perfectly and not connect with the audience the way someone else does. And I don't know that there is a technique to bring forth more emotion, more soul. If it was there at the beginning of the song, then you lost it, well that is your problem. Find another song. Or find another avocation.

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ah, and it sure helps if you're very attractive......example: shania twain.....nothing special in the vocal department.

mutt lange (who also produced foreigner 4) set her up with some killer-catchy hit tunes...

they did a big promo on her about her hardships and all (whether true or not) which endeared the public to her.

my cousin works sound with all the biggies in nashville. he said shania was a very moody, very picky artist. had to have a certain water....and all this diva stuff.

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And I see different actors, while we were slightly on the subject, approaching from different perspectives. One of my favorites is Ewan MacGregor. He completely immerses into the role, not just relying on a memory or swinging from the hip and whatever mood state. He becomes the person and you forget it's Ewan. John Malkovich is priceless. He revealed his secret in an interview. He isn't acting. He approaches each role, whether an disgruntled ex-CIA assassin or an escaping convict or a courtesan to a queen the same way, as John Malkovich. That's what gives his lines such an eery quality.

Robert DeNiro presents the same tough yet sensitive NYC guy to everything but it works, in the same working man ethic of Malkovich.

And each is able to bring emotion to the role. Can we do the same with singing? Or, at the very least, sing what the song means to us rather than what we think it should mean to someone else?

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When I cover "Brown eyed Girl" from Van Morrison I actually remember "Laughin' and a runnin' down by the waterfall" with my Brown eyed girl. I relay that story to the audience and in my mind I am singing to my brown eyed girl. "Take it Easy" by Eagles I may not have been "Standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona", It was North Carolina. It was not a Flatbed Ford. I believe it was a PunchBuggy (VW Bug) But hey, whatever works. :)

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Exactly, MDEW, I sing what it means to me.

When I sing "Highway to Hell," I'm not actually singing about the club circuit in Outback of Australia. I'm talking about the actual journey to Hell. Context can be important but it need not be different from the original intention.

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