Sign in to follow this  

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

So now that I am in full swing back to singing professionally between my cover band and getting back to session singing and staff writing the demands on my voice are heavier then they have been in 20 years. Especially in the band where we are doing a lot of R&B, Top 40, dance and disco. A couple of things I have realized for myself living now on the frontline of the reality of singing is that training my voice as a rock singer for all these years did some great stuff but I feel I neglected a lower bridge and lower falsetto, 2 things that are absolutely paramount with that style that aren't really that important when you're a slammin rock singer and can actually be a detriment because it can make you sound 'unauthentic'. But for all this Pharrell, Kool and the Gang, Cupid, Bruno Mars etc.. it is absolutely critical to have, not only for stylish reason but so that you can sing 50 songs every night while dancing. It all came to a head about a week and half ago, my voice felt exhausted. I was getting gassed just talking. Took a few days off, also went to the ENT to get scoped and everything is perfect looking so it's just muscular. So I started to really dig into what was going on with me and where I could improve. I started reading, watching videos, pulled out all my old workout CDs etc.. Also started back training with a few different coaches and have really learned a lot about myself and my voice the past week or so. Voice is feeling and sounding way better. So here are some of my epiphanies: 

 

1. I need to put time in everyday working my lower blend, head voice, falsetto and lower falsetto. Both with the feeling higher in the head and more in the mask. I've been studying with Johanna Boberg who is one of the absolute most incredible R&B singers and sings full-time in a working band. She has really helped me to start to identify what's going on. She's also really boosted my confidence by appreciating my voice.

 

2. I need to stay diligent everyday with the right life habits; eating a healthy non-acid reflux causing diet, not eating 2 hours before bed, using  humidifier at night, not drinking cold water, long hot showers, doing vitamins & throat gargle, throat coat tea. I also ordered a oil diffuser humidifier for my studio. 

 

3. Exercise and stretching; My buddy Jaime ran through all his vocal enhancing stretches with me this week and I have been doing them along with a little passive yoga and working out. Huge difference.

 

Anyway, these are some of what I am doing if anyone has some cool tricks they want to ad that be great. I am more into singing now then ever in my life and I am actually enjoying being serious about singing again. That was one of the things that kept me from wanting to sing in a band again because I just wasn't willing to do the right thing, I always knew what it took to sing full-time and just didn't want to do it but now I do and I am enjoying it. No more slacker s**t. A few companies that I have publishing deals with have been asking for me to release something new for the past few years and I just balked, I felt I didn't have anything new to say. That's gonna change after this transformation. I will definitely do a new video/audio. Probably not a book though. 

 

Here are a couple of videos I have been enjoying to watch and are resonating with me.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey James. I love your post... its really genuine and I particularly like the way you are willing to humble yourself a little bit and in a round about way... remind us ALL... that we are all students of singing and technique, etc... You should be commended on your ability to just reach out to your colleagues and get some ideas and help. I do the same thing sometimes... I have "coaches"... people I rely on to listen objectively to what Im doing when I sing, you are one of them as a matter of fact, Daniel, Kevin, others... We can't all be doing everything perfectly or getting every detail, its just impossible. Remaining open is not only courageous and righteous, it is the shortest path to getting to where you want and need to go.

 

I hope the "Pillars" content is continuing to help you... I consider it an honor to have you train the TVS content along side these other great programs.  On a personal note, we need to catch up for our "project"... Respect to you old friend!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, it's a matter of lighter attack and relaxation. I want to pm you some links to explain what I am talking about. Some songs I have been working on where I use a lighter approach, even my light voice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys for all the help. I had a Skype lesson last night with Dena Murray. It was a really good experience, super knowledgable person and very perceptive to the human voice. Got up early did my routine and heading out to train my voice with Boberg. I have a show tomorrow night, then I'm gonna take a couple of days off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Dena has good ears... and is a very good friend of mine... 

 

It was refreshing. I told her that that was the main reason that I start coaching singers, not because I knew everything about the voice but that I had a strange God given knack for knowing what people needed in their voices and how to achieve it. She has it, she sussed me out straight away and made some small tweaks that really made sense. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a personal note, we need to catch up for our "project"... Respect to you old friend!

 

For sure, you are on my mind. Just getting my s**t together. Miraculous things are happening man. I am feeling way better, voice is moving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For sure, you are on my mind. Just getting my s**t together. Miraculous things are happening man. I am feeling way better, voice is moving.

 

Yes,... Im getting my **** together as well... or wrapping up those other tunes... getting closer to a space where I can focus on operation Lugo/Lunte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James,

 

I thought you were the kind of guy to strictly follow all the rules.

 

That's how you were in your DVD. You were so passionate about the voice.

 

Thanks for sharing.  I can tell you the falsetto training I got from the few lessons I had with Anthony Frisell and reading his book, was one of the best things I could have done. He taught me how to stay with a falsetto set up swooping down from the top and holding on to it all the way to the bottom and overlapping the chest voice notes.

 

Still have a way to go, but this helped me develop the ability to maintain the openness and depth I needed to tackle that early Motown stuff.

 

You can't do enough falsetto work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James,

I thought you were the kind of guy to strictly follow all the rules.

I am for the most part but I am human. I've also been blessed or cursed, depending on how you view it, with a pretty massive and nasty voice. So it's very easy for me to go to far with it. And I like to push it beyond what's the daily recommended allowance, if you know what I mean. So as always I need to check myself and be honest. If any singer worth their weight in salt says they've never taken it to far chances are they are lying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not familiar wuth Dena Murray, but I've heard her name quite a few times. Glad she's helping.

 

If Daniel can teach like he sings, I'd go to him for falsetto in a heartbeat and for lighter head voice. :D He's had to work with busy touring schedules too.

 

I also agree with Bob, that sliding the falsetto down was amazing for me. It's literally how I learned to bridged pretty much.  

 

I think as a professional singer with a heavy schedule, survival is what you need. And I know as a singer, some people are just explosive and singing is an emotional outlet. I know I am. When I'm not singing it feels like something is pent up inside me. Singing is like a release. 

 

Sometimes we just gotta dial things in, cause if you take that to the extreme, it can go too far. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read Dena's stuff and I think this is what she is going to do. It's not about avoiding risk or not taking chances. 

 

The best example I can think of is a kid who is running. As a kid, you ever run or try to run so fast that you essentially throw yourself to the ground?

 

Same thing. Going all out on the voice to the very edge of its limit. And you will fall and sprawl. I am not saying that is bad or forbidding a person to do it. I am just saying to expect it.

 

Someone like Dena or Robert will teach you how to do it like an olympic athlete, who does not fall while, on the average, being a superman compared to others.

 

You make your voice run fast and safe, with a few safeguards. And if those safeguards feel like limits or a person doesn't like them, well, then, you go right ahead and not like them all you want. Go ahead and get really twisted about those "limitations." I mean, work up a grandiose and medication requiring ulcer. Just eat yourself from the inside with acid over the hating of "limitations."

 

This may cause you to expire prematurely, leaving room for the mediocre guys like me.

(insert evil grinning smiley here.)

 

Or learn to live with a few safeguards and sing for decades. Each of us has the choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I’ve got a nice falsetto workout that is working now. Funny thing is I used to work my falsetto a lot back in the day and I work my student’s falsettos but I personally got away from it for whatever reason. I think when you’ve been teaching for a long time you need something to kind of shake things up. I started training my voice in ’87 with Buddy Mix in LA and I have rekindled my friendship with him and have been working out with the original stuff he taught me nearly 30 years ago and it still resonates with me. Much of it is permanently ingrained in my DNA and I wouldn't say I use it, I would say it uses me. Meaning it's fundamentals that are part of everything I am now but I had veered away from some of it, probably because I wasn’t singing full-time anymore and it just didn’t seem to matter to me or I could let some stuff slide because I didn’t have to be in good voice all the time. Well that train has left the station. Now I am in the zone. Got up this morning, drank some water, did a neti pot and steamed with eucalyptus. I feel like Mariah Carey...lol I have a very important show tonight, many regional booking agents are coming to see me sing and want me to slay them. Time to deliver. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I’ve got a nice falsetto workout that is working now. Funny thing is I used to work my falsetto a lot back in the day and I work my student’s falsettos but I personally got away from it for whatever reason. I think when you’ve been teaching for a long time you need something to kind of shake things up. I started training my voice in ’87 with Buddy Mix in LA and I have rekindled my friendship with him and have been working out with the original stuff he taught me nearly 30 years ago and it still resonates with me. Much of it is permanently ingrained in my DNA and I wouldn't say I use it, I would say it uses me. Meaning it's fundamentals that are part of everything I am now but I had veered away from some of it, probably because I wasn’t singing full-time anymore and it just didn’t seem to matter to me or I could let some stuff slide because I didn’t have to be in good voice all the time. Well that train has left the station. Now I am in the zone. Got up this morning, drank some water, did a neti pot and steamed with eucalyptus. I feel like Mariah Carey...lol I have a very important show tonight, many regional booking agents are coming to see me sing and want me to slay them. Time to deliver.

Bro i wish you the best of luck. Indeed SLAY them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally relate to what you said.

 

I'm a self-confessed pusher, presser, heavy compressor, all of it. 

But I've been dialing back too, which is really hard to do psychologically.

 

It's very hard to do when that is how you like to sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally relate to what you said.

 

I'm a self-confessed pusher, presser, heavy compressor, all of it. 

But I've been dialing back too, which is really hard to do psychologically.

 

It's very hard to do when that is how you like to sound.

 

My goal is to make it seamless. Most people when they go for a lighter blend or blend earlier in the register and I hear them sing it just doesn't usually sound like something that would be my thing. Though I have been really digging Pharrell and the way he blends light and mixes it with falsetto, like in Happy and Get Lucky. Also been working on Cupid Shuffle, that's really coming along, that's a challenging little sucker, I love that guy's voice. This Is How We Do It and What's Going On have also been on my daily work regiment. Those F4's in the verse in This Is How We Do It have really helped me to connect earlier (actually at the right spot, which is sometimes early for me personally) and really feel it. Montell Jordan has such a great voice too. He slips in and out of chest/head/falsetto so smooth. That's my goal, to sing like that!!!

 

p.s. I'm really trying to fit in around here I called it an F4 and not F above middle C. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My goal is to make it seamless. Most people when they go for a lighter blend or blend earlier in the register and I hear them sing it just doesn't usually sound like something that would be my thing. Though I have been really digging Pharrell and the way he blends light and mixes it with falsetto, like in Happy and Get Lucky. Also been working on Cupid Shuffle, that's really coming along, that's a challenging little sucker, I love that guy's voice. This Is How We Do It and What's Going On have also been on my daily work regiment. Those F4's in the verse in This Is How We Do It have really helped me to connect earlier (actually at the right spot, which is sometimes early for me personally) and really feel it. Montell Jordan has such a great voice too. He slips in and out of chest/head/falsetto so smooth. That's my goal, to sing like that!!!

 

p.s. I'm really trying to fit in around here I called it an F4 and not F above middle C. :)

And I think we all could use a dose of Brian McKnight, now and then, regardless of our favorite genres.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is insane:

 

That is such a light connection. I'd like to work on both lighter and heavier connections. I think light is as hard as heavy to do right. It's not as simple as a mushy falsetto.

 

For a light piercing timbre with body Michael Jackson feels unobtainable. For a light breathy timbre with body, Brian Mcknight feels the same way.

 

Neither are primary influences for me, but some of those qualities are really useful to express musically and emotionally. Sometimes raw power isn't what you want to express.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

love singing that song james except the jungle boogie/jericurl track that you have is pitched down. I never liked it that way it feels  easier in the original key.

 

@ Killer i wouldn't call that a light connection its just michaels sound. you have to sing it very connected or you will lose the solidity. it will get breathy and you will have a hard time if you go lightly.

 

is a trumpet lighter than a trombone? no just a different tone. Thats the same with brian mcknight and the ruffin discussion they are both singing yet they have tonality differences, they are both just singing. Ruffin got the gig cause he was different sounding than the other guys and thats what the Temps were about 5 different voices. 

 

Some artists have a signature sound(they only have to be the sound they wish to create) others like myself and james have to sound similar to the 100 different singers we are doing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

love singing that song james except the jungle boogie/jericurl track that you have is pitched down. I never liked it that way it feels  easier in the original key.

 

Cover time, Dan. I follow your soundcloud, and it has been very inactive. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@killer thats crazy i have made my living covering these guys the last thing i want to do is get in the studio and record me doing them .. :)  the sound cloud was stuff i always wanted to sing live but never got the chance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@killer thats crazy i have made my living covering these guys the last thing i want to do is get in the studio and record me doing them .. :)  the sound cloud was stuff i always wanted to sing live but never got the chance

 

You don't need a studio. Just a mic and some duct tape recording stuff at home. Your voice is too good. You could have a recorded legacy of originals, covers, whatever. 

 

Live is good and all, but once you're gone you're gone. You're the one that told me you're getting old.  Why not try originals again? Lennon didn't like his voice either, but it didn't stop him. Get you some slap back reverb. Worked for him. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James, my "lofty" goal songs...some day:

 

Jackie Wilson, Baby Workout

Micheal Bolton, When I'm back on my feet again

Journey, Mother Father

Kansas, Journey From MariaBronn

 

Man, if I could sing these....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok so I have been hacking up massive stuff the past few days, most of you know I got very sick in October and ended up with pneumonia, as weird as this sounds it feels like the last of it's residue is leaving the building. It feels like it's finally out of me. Lots of hot showers, neti pots, Xclear, throat coat tea, probiotics and vitamins, humidifier at night and stretching.

 

So a thing I have been feeling for a long time is that it's either my breathing is slightly labored or there's a slight disconnect between when I start exhaling and cord approximation. This is something that always came very easy but the past few years it feels like I am jammed up somehow. I have been having neck and back issues for years, years of touring as a kid and banging my head I think is one the main culprits. So I went to a very highly regarded chiropractor in the area. After a lengthy exam and kind of a rundown of how the body, mind and spirit work he gave me a full adjustment. He started with my upper back, after his second adjustment it felt like someone took earplugs out of my ears. It was euphoric. I could f'n  hear and breathe.  He then hit my lower back and up to the area where the cranium meets the spine. He then had me sit up. When I sat up I literally felt like another person, it was astounding. I immediately stood up and started singing, the sound coming out of my mouth made me nearly cry, it was me again. That distinct upper mid quack, airy top and gutturally low end. I was overwhelmed with emotion. To finally hear my voice was as beautiful a sound I've ever heard. He then adjusted my neck and hips. When he hit my neck on the second go round my breathing improved again and so did my voice, now it was like a perfect flow of diaphragm, air and cord resistance. I was singing! What happened to me feels like a miracle. I have been through so much the past six months with work issues, money issues, health issues, family issues that to have a moment of relief was an oasis. Now I want more and want it all the time. The gauntlet has been set. Time to get serious about myself, my health, my emotions and my voice and let go of the past and the pain. I don't want it anymore. I want to sing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this