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You are the sunshine of my life by Stevie Wonder

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Nicogratouille
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I was digging that. Love this song. I liked the breathier sections where you softened, it gave it a unique vibe from Stevie Wonder.

I think your voice could be a bit more commercial if the nasality could be reduced slightly. If your voice is comfortable in this style and isn't fatiguing or having problems, a slight EQ tweak might do the job. I'm not really familiar how to vocally precisely change this with a simple tweak, or a bit more reverb as you already have something kind of going on here and a totally dry vocal, sometimes comes across a certain way. I will usually reverb, sometimes compress, but don't EQ.

A slightly more covered tone might be interesting, but it's style man and I personally don't know how to in words achieve a covered tone. There are darker and brighter tones. Darker feels more 'open' to me. Brighter is like twanging and higher larynx. Voice feels placed higher. Can't explain it well, there are resonating cavities that are more or less open.

I'd keep working on the vocal runs too. I hear them coming along. I like loose, emotional runs but a few of them were a little wild. If you would pick something more precise, slow it down, and keep speeding it up you'd probably get a bit closer. That said I've actually heard Stevie do some sloppier ones live. It's the passion man and sometimes you've gotta improvise. It sounds like you're feeling it and you have a bit of his spirit. I liked the scat section too.

Keep going man. Keep recording. Take care and glad to listen to it.

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Thanks for listening!

The nasality is something i'd like to get rid of. As I understand, it pops up mostly in my midrange on certain words like "around", "heart"... and I think it sounds horrible :(

I don't think it's horrific man and I'm serious in that I was getting some spirited vibe. Your phrasing and timing, and you seem very musical to me.

I think aesthetically if you could work on it, it would probably make it more palatable. The way I see the voice, it can do loads of sounds, and some are more 'mainstream' than others. You ever hear that Puddle of Mudd guy, he makes your nasality sound like childs play. He's like a walking nose, but somehow he sold a lot of records.

Thing is, me I'm just a guy with a really unique history associated with singing. I was a singer for a few years, got a spastic throat problem either via sheer accident or via ignorant self injury that took me out of the game, right? I've got a lot of random singing knowledge that I can apply only to an extent, cause well, no matter what technique I've ever tried my throat is spastic now.

At some point, going to an expert is wise. In the mean time, give yawning a try. I find it damned near impossible to make a really nasal yawn. Try to feel the way it opens up. Try to sing not anything too high or serious in that posture. And don't sing on a full yawn (that's actually constriction if taken that far), it would just be more open, relaxed open. It's kind of amount, I think.

I think there is also a 'nasal' port. That when open and closed changes nasal resonance, where it can sound quite a bit different (stuffy, or pinched). Seems to be related to the soft palate, which raises when yawning. Now this website could be total BS and be pseudoscientific but it touches on the issue:

http://www.vocalprocess.co.uk/nasalityandthesoftpalate.htm

I'm kind of bringing that up, not cause I can tell you in words how to 'open and close your nasal port' with precision. But someone, an expert really might be able to get right down to business and might have a really cool exercise you could do off the bat. They might have to be there in person to make sure you do it right.

Someone like me, I can try to help a bit, but it's always with a grain of salt. That's probably the biggest lesson I ever learned from having a voice problem. At the end of the day, it's your voice. It's internal mostly. Most of what we feel are sensations. You can give something a try. But if it's not really working. Or if it doesn't feel right. Or if people tell you to do really weird stuff. Toss it or get help.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_resonation

Quick note. Using/opening up more resonators in the voice. Or even being able to control the amount a bit of each. A lot of people kind of stumble onto it. I can kind of intuitively change things. I can imitate different styles of singers? Get things thicker, thinner. But I don't think I could fully explain how and just sit you down, explain each one and how to access it and change it.

But... Someone probably can. I've got vague sensations at best.

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I've been taking voice lesson and I plan on doing that again pretty soon. Just don't have a lot of money right now ;)

What's a spastic throat problem? did you get that from singing incorrectly? can't you do anything about it?

Glad to hear you've been getting some lessons. I understand they are expensive and not everyone can afford it at all times. You shouldn't stop singing just cause you don't have lessons.

As for my problem, it's basically a malfunctioning relationship between the nervous system and the muscles in my throat (tongue/hyoid region) that isn't something I can consciously control.

Think of if you get leg cramps? Like I'll just be laying in bed, and suddenly have it go off. Now imagine them lasting for hours, and coming back for days at a time in your throat. Having untreated spastic muscles can result in muscle contracture (permanent shortening of muscles). If you've ever known anyone with like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, there is a complicated relationship between the nervous system and muscle spindles (which have both sensory and motor nerves), where malfunctions can occur.

As to how I got it, I spent years asking that question and I don't think it's really answerable. There was a month stretch prior to developing it, where it could have been any number of things: overuse, bad/ignorant vocal exercises including a tongue stretch, unfamiliar SLS exercises, laryngitis, reflux, or it could have simply been random. I sang fine for 3 years prior with no problems, but during the course of a month my voice was lost incredibly quickly.

Successful treatment options thus far have been muscle relaxers. I was given a high dose of muscle relaxers during one of the worst spasms I've ever had that stopped it in it's tracks. Taking more muscle relaxers gave me back more of my voice immediately than I had in years and reduced pain in speaking and singing, while gaining function.

Other options are botox (if they can find the defective muscle they can paralyze it, but I'll lose any functionality) and physical therapy/training which can't really fix a spastic muscle or a contracture, but can supposedly help 'manage' them to prevent further contracture. Final option would be surgery to simply cut the spastic muscle and lose it forever.

But I'm in between doctors at the moment. I am going to see a neurologist next as I've been barking up the wrong tree, seeing laryngologists who specialize in laryngeal function and visibly physically damaging things like 'reflux', when the problem isn't really my larynx per say and it's not something you're going to find with a scope looking at the vocal cords. It's the feedback loop between my muscles and central nervous system which is causing particular muscles to malfunction.

My vocal cords, or my 'larynx' itself can actually function pretty well if I can reduce the malfunction of supporting muscles.

Off them, there are times I can't even talk. So yeah, long story short, it 'could' have been technique. So that's why I tell people to be careful. People can help, people can hurt. Always stay in charge of your voice. Right?

________________________________

Edit, I'm going to take off again, get focused on my health problems, so I'm taking my singing clip links down. Thanks to all who listened. I appreciate listening to your music here on the critique section as well.

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