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The Soul of An Artist

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Hey vocalists, I was browsing through some old school stufff and I found this....

"If you are an artist, or have the soul of one, you can sing without my teaching you; if you have no soul it is useless for me to teach you." - Manual Garcia

Now I'm not discouraging anyone from getting a vocal teacher but it took me a while to figure out what this quote means to me. As an artist all one wants to do is paint (figuratively), similarly as a singer we just want to sing even if it means hurting our progress. A true artist only needs a paint brush and a range of colors and he will give you art.

Our paint brush is our voice... our COLORS are the different registers (M1/M2)... imagine if you were painting and you did not have a certain color... would your soul not long for that color? That's the missing piece, in order to fill that gap in your soul you must find and develop that missing color.

If you possess the soul of an artist you will constantly explore and search for "freedom". Now when I do boring head tone exercises....in my mind I'm thinking "woah new colors!" How can you express yourself if you are missing colors? ;)

Hope this inspires someone! Do you have the soul of an artist? ;)

- JayMC

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I have the soul of an artist. I dare to create art, new art. New sound. I am not interested in recreating De Vinci, Monet, Manet, Mondrian. I am into creating Ron, whether that flies, or not. What if I could re-create Mona Lisa? Nice copy. It's just not the original and nothing every will be. And that's about it.

A voice is a brush, Your voice is your brush stroke. The absolute hardest thing you will ever do is accept the beauty that is inherent in your own brush stroke. For that is mental. And maybe you are missing on some technique. But that technique, should you be able to learn is to augment your art, not make you a carbon copy of Raphael.

As an artist, it is great to be inspired by the greats, in whatever field. Let their passion and emotion empower you. That is what you should absorb, not the exact sound of their voice.

It has been pointed out to me half a dozen times, including people who barely know me and have no reason to placate me, that I sound like Glenn Hughes. A monstrous compliment for me. And I covered one of his songs (actually, the music was written by Tony Iommi.) And I posted the effort and received good reviews. Not because I sound like him, which is an accident of genetics, something beyond my control. Try as hard as I can, I cannot control genetics, especially while I was in the womb. The compliments were that it was one of the most stirring songs I had performed. Because I did, in fact, sing with the same emotional intent that he did. And that's not copying, that's inspiration. If I had a totally dissimilar voice, I could still get good reviews if I sang it with the desired intention of the song. Shorthand - sing it like you mean it.

Are their colors or lengths of brush stroke that you can learn that you did not have before? Certainly. And like any skill to learn, it goes faster if you have a live teacher, as opposed to self-teaching from materials. The latter is not impossible, though it may take longer and is sometimes seen as the route of people who are not serious.

Ronnie James Dio said he never had voice lessons. And I believe him, I take him at his word. What if he had been able to afford lessons as a child or young adult? He didn't start out as a singer. But bands at the time were not looking for horn players and the guitar players of the day were better than he was on any instrument. So, he kind of wandered into singing. What would have happened if he had lessons? Would it change what he eventually created? For what he did was art. And the distortion sounds he could make were definitely to be avoided, considering singing instruction at the time. A legit classical coach might have convinced him to never make "that ugly noise" that is so beautiful us who thrilled to the sound.

On the other hand, it might have done some good. Is it possible for Dio to have been any better than he was? Would people feel less envious if he had taken lessons? Then they could reason amongst themselves that they could also sound like him if they just had the right lessons or teacher.

And how does an artist express? And what emotion do they need to invest? Brian Johnson loves singing for AC/DC and it has been a blessing to him for which he is always humbly grateful. But he is an unrepentant car nut. That is, off the road, he is thinking about the next race, not the next song. But he is still an artist. An artist with a racing team and a license to drive F-1 cars.

How do artists interact? I can be hot-headed and full of emotion. Is that a sign of being an artist? Or, just an artist who is also a hot-head?

And irreverence. I break rules. Except for my own rules. Sing in your own voice, sing with your heart.

Granted, that doesn't say a lot about technique. And I do not mean to lower the importance of technique or technical instruction. Those are important.

And have patience. Art is a never-ending journey. Look at the vital artists we have known. They have never "made it." That is, they never perceived themselves as reaching the stage of "finished." Always something new, something on the horizon. I am not lying or exaggerating. I have been singing a really long time. And my voice is still new, to me, every day. And I think it always will be.

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Souls... Well, you can always collect one if you dont have some at hand hehehe.

lol I dont understand of souls and all this mystical stuff.

The one thing that I understand from this is: Technique serves art, technique can not make it. Still singing is art and the technique to use the voice is the media.

So, if you cant do what you are trying to express, it will fail, since expressing requires someone else to understand or be touched by it. No one will know what you mean.

While art is not something that can be measured or brought into a more concrete light, technique is, and was developed. Technique is not art, its knowledge. Knowledge that is very, very developed at this point and that is expected to an extent by the common listenner nowdays.

So above everything else, souls, art, technique, know the task, and know yourself and understand that it will envolve other humans. Your art belongs to all those who were exposed to it. You cant give it away and keep it to yourself, and exposing it WILL expose a part of yourself in the process.

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Felipe raised a good point in his flippant way. Is there a soul?

We shall find as many definitions as there are respondents. I enjoy science. And when it comes to electrical theory and application, I promise each and every one of you, I will whip your butt. That's not bragging, just a fact. But, is there a soul?

I think so, totally from personal experience but with as much objectivity as I can still muster. Also, I lack the arrogance needed to think that I know everything. When I was younger, I knew everything. Now, I am an old, ignorant anomaly.

So, does Joe Cocker have soul? Is he accomplished in technique? As I have said before, I prefer his version of "Help from my Friends" over that from the Beatles, even though McCartney is a better, more technical, and prettier sounding singer.

I was debating a friend, one time. We were having dinner at a place called Joey Tomato's in Dallas, a fine italian restaurant with stinky, greasy garlic bread. It was perfect. She believed there is no soul. You are just a bag of chemicals bouncing around and when the chemicals quit cooperating, it's all over. I disagreed. We survive the death of the body, we have a soul. But, I told her, "For a woman who, by her own definition, does not exist, you sure know where the good restaurants are." I guess you had to be there.

So, yes, technique does not make art, but it does serve in the expression of it, I think. And it does involve soul, even for those who do not believe in soul because it does not fall into their ability to measure or quantify it. If it were all just technique, then everyone could learn to manufacture the same "feel."

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There are some who are technically brilliant but do not have the finess of emotional expression. They too have a soul. In my opinion.

BTW, Enery cannot be distroyed only transformed. We have a soul or some kind of energy that gets transformed.

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It's funny that you should bring up the metaphor. I dabble in some art myself

I haven't drawn in a few years, but the thing is this:

If an artist is inspired and CANNOT afford paint, or has no paint around, no pencils, no crayons.... They'll paint with mud, blood, or what ever may be available. Truly creativity does NOT take a linear path, and you can sing, paint or whatever in sooo many different ways that will express the same level of creativity, the same emotions, the same inspiration.

I once sculpted a skull from a pumpkin using a multi-tool blade... Inspiration finds a way.

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't know the image would be so big.

Also, I agree that there's no such thing as souls or magic, but that's irrelevant to my point.

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I also am self taught. But I have studied the masters to see how they dealt with certain problem areas.

This also goes to show... With proper shading one color can be an infinate palet.

Cool Picture by the way. :D

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There are some who are technically brilliant but do not have the finess of emotional expression. They too have a soul. In my opinion.

BTW, Enery cannot be distroyed only transformed. We have a soul or some kind of energy that gets transformed.

In physics, it's called the law of conservation of mass and energy. Matter and energy are never created or destroyed, they change forms.

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I've been dead a couple of times and it was nothingness. Maybe I have no soul :D But as a vocalist and hopefully an artist I try to have soul. which is not the same as having "a" soul. But as is everything else it is always a work in progress.

BTW, Enery cannot be distroyed only transformed.

I transform my energy but I'm not sure if it makes a difference. I used to pass gas and that never went over well. Especially in restaurants or meetings, in cars etc. So I switched my energy source and now pass wind. However it hasn't helped.

:lol:

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I've been close to death a few times and I had angels (though they could have been well-dressed demons) showing me things to come. I have seen my own death. So, I know, generally, my expiration date.

My first wife visited me once, about 4 months, after she passed away. It was just the one time but it was informative. I couldn't find a way to describe it until I saw the movie "What Things May Come" with Robin Williams.

Others' milage may vary.

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My brother knew his own expiration date. Unfortunately he helped it along. I believe he wanted to be too drunk to know how it would end..... He drank himself to death. He was born with a hole in his heart and had a pacemaker from the time he was twelve. wrote his first song at Nine.

He was my musical inspiration.

http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=3980797&q=hi&newref=1

He wrote this. This is him singing. Someday I hope to make him proud. Check out his page you may like it.

Edit: Ron. If you know your own expiration date please do not help it along...

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Edit: Ron. If you know your own expiration date please do not help it along...

Not only do I know my expiration date, I know my destination. I even have a parking space with my name on it.

In fact, there's a song about it.

http://www.box.com/s/88511bca8f194ade81aa

Funny thing is, most people may think I am just being dramatic for artistic purposes. Heh, heh, yeah, okay ...

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I'm hoping for a different destination. :cool: Weather we have a soul or not I think I will try to keep control of the Deed. I do not plan on trading it for a better voice or skill. I will work for it. :D

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I feel like the closest thing to soul in a sense is allowing the voice to be colored by emotion rather than rigidly following a specific technique mechanically as in 'to achieve a goal.'

It could be sometimes unintentional fluctuations in the vocal apparatus, artifacts, inconsistencies. It could simply be an untrained singer who is just singing from the heart. Or it could be a trained singer, that has a toolbox of techniques that can be dabbled into subconsciously so the voice isn't rigidly trapped and can be colored a bit more.

I guess the tight rope is keeping soul on rails enough that any fluctuations don't damage the voice.

For the opposite of soul is autotune. It's robot voice. It's mechanical.

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