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who said you can't sound any way you want?

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Healthy people take influences that are comfortable and usually have some intuitive value for themselves, that isn't at odds with themselves either physically or emotionally. A bass trying to sing in tenor range in the 'same way' as a tenor, will likely face injury and disappointment. It's a physiologically idiotic concept because the physical reality is completely different. Vocal imitation is dangerous in this way.

People are not amalgams of their influences either, they are a combination of the innate (biological, neurological disposition) and influence. For example, siblings growing up in the same family listening to similar music speak and sing with different speech habits, different tonal colors, or even vocal modes. People growing up in the same family actually use different vocal technique with the same influences! Someone who knows the exact same music theory, who plays the same instruments, same upbringing, hears the same songs will improvise different melodies and if you give children instruments in ignorance, they will play different things from each other. Creatively people are unique in many ways, if they allow themselves to be, but intuitive creation does require stepping back from imitation long enough to find something that resonates uniquely from yourself.

Those that desire to explore their own limits safely, slowly, and carefully, are likely going to be healthier than those who aspire towards the limits of another, mainly because you are approaching this from your own identity (strengths and weaknesses included). I also think it's a better route for artistic creation, as people are not remembered for failing to be someone else, they are usually remembered more so because of what they offered as an individual.

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Famous singers often say that they learned how to sing by imitate/copy others way of singing.

But they copy what is intuitively and biologically close enough to execute healthily and they don't always end up with the same technique or sounds in the end. It's partial at best.

I learned much from imitating David Bowie because his voice was perhaps most similar to mine of all of my heroes, but I still didn't have his technique or sounds. Maybe something closer, but not exact, I had my own technique partially inspired by his. John Lennon was hugely inspired by Elvis, and would imitate him, but his technique wasn't even close. Not even in the same ballpark.

If I had tried to copy Michael Jackson, I'd probably have gotten injured a lot sooner as he's definitely got a voice type that I find much different than my own. Bowie had a voice that was intuitively closer to my own, so it was much easier to blend my natural voice with his singing as inspiration. That's why I gravitated more to his songs as he was a hero with a similar voice. Does that make more sense?

Some singers are closer to each other, intuitively, or physiologically, and this is a huge part of why imitating can be so successful when learning the ropes.

If I started off singing Ronnie James, or Brad Delp, something that wasn't an intuitive sound without lessons, or guidance, or biological disposition? Total failure and even dangerous.

A singer kind of has some choices, either sing what is comfortable and what can come intuitively through practice, or get lessons and/or instructions in how to rebuild their voices to adapt to something it's not acclimated to. The final choice, attempting to imitate something with no roadmap that is not intuitive 'at all', is by far the most dangerous.

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Those are good points, Raphaels. The reason bent notes have the same potential destinations, is largely because of the way pitch waves match certain intervals. When harmonic intervals are at certain distances from each other, it causes less dissonance in sound wave.

But how 'fast' you bend a note, with what vibrato, at the precise timing you bend a note, even which note you bend to, these are all colored by personal preference and identity.

Another thing about dissonance in general is there is a wide range of appreciation if taken in a generalized way, but not everyone agrees. At one extreme, you might find fans of microtonal music, on the other there are people who hear anything other than a perfectly tuned major chord and say 'that's too sad.' True story.

I have a theory that people prone to melancholy or increased musical education might have more tolerance for dissonance than your average person. How much of this someone wants to communicate, varies a lot on the individual once again, and artists who are exploring different emotions, can match the dissonance to reflect their own emotional interpretation of the sound, unique to them.

So again, while scientifically speaking there is likely universal preference for somewhat matching wave forms, how much each person prefers the sound to match, it's quite individual. I find autotune extremely annoying and unappealing because it's 'too' matched and looses the subtlety of the performance. I like more dissonance than this.

As a singer, you gain control over these things when expressing your individual artistic vision, not to mention tonal variation, lyrical interpretation (with enormous amounts of vowel possibilities), rhythmic variation, and overall you have tremendous potential to create a unique sound that resonates a message you personally believe in.

This is ultimately why I consider the voice the best instrument. Because it can do all the above, and has endless possibilities for unique expression. If I wanted Slash's guitar tone, I'd just play his guitar and his amp, close enough, but voice is the most unique instrument known to man, and I definitely miss mine for this reason more than any other. I can't say I regret so much potentially never being able to sing 'more like someone else' again. What I truly regret is losing that unique form of expression that only I could offer.

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i feel you on these issues too killer. but i hear your regret and sadness about your "temporary" setback. i want to help you get back to that pre-injury place and once again sing your guts out like you used to.

i empathize with you big time.

singers (or everyone for that matter) gravitate to certain singers for specific reasons, some they are completely aware of and some i believe are subconscious.

some inner something drives someone to like a john denver voice over a paul rodgers voice. one genre over another. a singer, i feel, should have a palette of vocal colors in their posession.

as an analogy, most pro bowlers and pro pool players travel with multiple balls and cue sticks.

as a singer, i want to be able to sing a wide variety of genre and styles, which i have integrated some consciously and some unconsciously into my "storytelling."

i really think some degree of emulation is inescapable..will some of it be "dangerous" so as to cause injury?..that is a very difficult question to answer.

even though i was fortunate enough to have gotten beyond my polyp and have returned to singing i really don't actually know the real reason or reasons that caused it in the first place.

but if you told me from now on i have to sing carefully and guarded, i can assure you i'm gonna blow that discipline.

you have to work though your injury and get on the other side of it. you control your outcome. don't let your outcome control you.

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killer, how's this for a coincidence...

i guy i know sent this to me from youtube, and when i got it i said to myself this is exactly a singer i need to demonstate my feeling about sounding any way you desire to.

this is what i mean by diversity and adjustability. if you close your eyes you'd never know that this was the same singer:

this to me is a important singer attribute to have as much as a connected voice.

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Scott Weiland is pretty David Bowie inspired in his school of thinking, in that he has a lot of intuitive sounds, but he knows his limits and respects them. That's the school of thought I came from, and given the similarities in our voices, I likely could have done similar things as Weiland had I not gotten injured and continued to practice in that way.

That's the whole point. Finding intuitive, good sounds that are healthy for you to express your own artistic vision! But why do you think for all of Weiland's different ways of using his voice, he still sounds nothing like Lou Gramm, Michael Jackson, Brad Delp, or Dio?

The answer is, he either can't or doesn't know how to do that intuitively. That's what I'm getting at. If Weiland tries to be Lou Gramm, as the baritone that he is, he'd have to do things much differently and would sound nothing like him. He'd have to retrain his voice completely from the ground up to get comfortable singing what Gramm does, and by the time he got there, he would sound nothing like him (probably wouldn't even sound like the Scott Weiland we know now either).

I could probably sound more like Scott Weiland than he can sound like Lou Gramm because we have more similar voice types.

Bottom line, explore all you want, but respect your unique limitations. If you pick sounds that aren't intuitive or completely foreign for you to emulate in complete ignorance, it's dangerous. If something is completely foreign or out of your reach for whatever reason, trying to blindly force your voice to work in a way it just doesn't want to work is dangerous.

It's the same advice I gave that guy who wanted to sound like Dave Mustaine. If it's not intuitive at all, if it hurts, if it feels completely opposite from your natural voice to do this sound, either get lessons or instruction in how rebuild the voice to get this sound, or focus on what is comfortable and possible for you. Focus more on what you can make your voice do, not on what it can't do.

People can healthily create a lot of sounds, but not all sounds and eventually even the most technically skilled singers will hit limits in what they can do and there is always going to be someone you can't replicate. The most successful singers, are the ones that actually 'use' what they currently have to maximum artistic effect, rather than those who spend their entire lives chasing what they don't have to any end of the earth.

Think about it, when John Lennon realized his attempt to sound like Elvis was a complete and utter failure (and I bet he was smart enough to know this), did he spend the rest of his life trying to fix this? Nope, he just used his failed attempt as another unique way of expressing his voice and rather than trying to fix it used the failure to sell a lot of albums:


The partial influences are actually more important than the complete ones in art. If he sounded too much like Elvis it would suck. He sounds like John Lennon failing to impersonate Elvis (and Roy Orbison), writing a fantastic song instead. That's why the song is so good. That's exactly what smart singers who want to do anything other than a cover tribute band will eventually have to accept.

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I have always thought of Scott Weiland as a "grunge" or hard rock version of David Bowie. Both in vocal timbre

and even some of his stage presence. Which, in my mind, made him the wrong singer for Velvet Revolver. I think, with that band's ressurected GnR sound, they should have had a tenor. But, hey, whatever...

As for the different sounds, to me, his Christmas album is simply a cleaner version of what he does on, say, "Plush." It's also recorded and mixed differently, and that makes a huge difference.

I think we can all make different sounds. But I will never sound like Steven Tyler, for example. I don't have the double aperture in the folds that he has.

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