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Luther Vandross vocal technique on high notes

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Mawnzie
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Hi guys! :)

I'm new on this forum, read many great posts but this is my first thread.

I love Luther Vandross and I've been trying to copy/learn his vocal style. Now on some high notes I get the feeling that he's doing something specific, it's like the tone quality is changing a little (not falsetto). I maybe wrong, but I wonder if someone could help me in identifying what he's doing.

You can hear what I'm talking about in this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImwNld7r0eQ

Around 2.45 there's a part where he's singing a lot of high notes.

In this song around he's hitting a high d really smooth around 4.28:

Is he just belting really high or is he doing something else?

Thanks in advance! :)

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Oh, Luther, He was one of my first rnb/soul loves. What the great singer he was. Pure perfection.

2.45, 4.28 full voice high notes, am I right?. Have you heard others vocalists singing this way, e.x. Brian McKnight?

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Oh, Luther, He was one of my first rnb/soul loves. What the great singer he was. Pure perfection.

Yeah, he was :)

2.45, 4.28 full voice high notes, am I right?.

Alright, you think so? I was suspecting (or rather hoping) it was some kind of special trick. I'm a low baritone so I can't really hit those high notes in full chest (at least not yet)

Have you heard others vocalists singing this way, e.x. Brian McKnight?

I haven't listened that much to him though the stuff I've heard has been really good ... George Benson and Peabo Bryson are also great :)

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Personally I think he is just singing/belting in his head register like everyone has to on those notes, and that is just his natural tone when he does it.

Thanks! Head register, that's like reinforced falsetto right?

In my own experience its actually best not to try to copy other singers too much while you are developing your own voice, it can throw you off big time.

In what way could it be bad to copy other singers? I don't mean copy in purpose of being a copycat artist, more copy to learn.

I spent months trying to pull chest to tenor c to copy steven tyler :) till I realized he was singing in his head voice and adding distortion.

Do you have any tip of a song where I can hear him doing it? It sounds intressting!

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Personally I think he is just singing/belting in his head register like everyone has to on those notes, and that is just his natural tone when he does it.

In my own experience its actually best not to try to copy other singers too much while you are developing your own voice, it can throw you off big time. I spent months trying to pull chest to tenor c to copy steven tyler :) till I realized he was singing in his head voice and adding distortion.

Yes, Tyler sings in his head voice but he doesn't do anything to add rasp. He has a naturally raspy voice due to a genetic anomaly that affects the function of his vocal folds. (People hate when I say that.) According to his own words in his memoirs "Does the noise in my head bother you?", is to start on one pitch, sing all the vowels, then move to the next pitch, sing all the vowels, a lot like the Great Scale that was practice by Lilli Lehmann, the premiere soprano coloratura of her time, who later retired and then taught singing.

When Tyler sings the Ab5 in "Dream On," his throat is completely open. No false fold "engagement." And you can clearly see the two apertures in his folds (the genetic thingy I was talking about.) So, trying to sing exactly like Steven Tyler is not going to be fruitful unless one has the exact same structure, feeling, emotional intent, singing skills, etc. As in, one can really sound like Tyler by actually being Tyler and that job is taken, for now.

So, I agree with your point about not trying to sound just like other singers, I just differ on whether or not he adds "distortion" up top. I would rather copy his sweet emotion, if you will pardon the use of another song title, to sing any of their songs.

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