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Honest Feedback Needed Please ...

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MichelleMelonie
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Hi everyone!

I am a singer/songwriter preparing to perform cover songs at various venues (restaurants, hotels, etc.) in my hometown and I would like to get some REAL HARDCORE feedback on my vocals from this forum. Please give the most detailed critiques, where possible. This is the only way I can learn and improve! :)

Please do not hold back on your thoughts/reactions! You can choose to give general feedback with overall statements or critique each song individually on things like vocal range & quality, intonation, articulation, etc. It's entirely up to you. Each song is about 20-30 seconds long.

I have included the names of the cover songs and the singers below:

1. Como La Flor - Selena

2. No Me Queda Mas - Selena

3. I Can't Tell You Why - The Eagles

4. Ribbon In The Sky - Stevie Wonder

5. Superstar - The Carpenters

6. ExFactor - Lauryn Hill

7. Kiss Me - Sixpence None The Richer

8. Make You Feel My Love - Adele

9. Is This Love - Bob Marley

10. Turn Your Lights Down Low - Bob Marley & Lauryn Hill

Thanking you all in advance.

MichelleMelonie

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I'm not pro. Just consider me the average audience member in the restaurant or bar and grill that you would be performing in. Well, not exactly average. I know something about singing, so I am likely to applaud more because I do know what it takes, rather than the average person who can only offer pass/fail response.

Anyway, you have such an easy delivery on your voice. And that is most easily matched the reggae stuff. Actually, most of your set list there is perfect for your voice, your vocal delivery. The only thing I could offer is to up the energy just a little on "Kiss Me." And that's only because I am used to the original on the radio. My advice would not make your performance better, just different. Your performance can be just as easily appreciated by a crowd that is in the right mood.

You definitely have the right style for love songs, of which your entire set list consists.

Well done on the spanish songs. I would keep those, whether audience members understand Spanish or not. They are romantic songs and I could see you with a gig on a cruise ship doing this stuff.

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Thank you so very much for your feedback, ronws. I really appreciate it. About the set list, I love the Oldies! Most of my covers are oldies but I've been told that it's best to mix it up so that's why you see some other ones on there.

Please if you have any other tips or advice, feel free to share with me. :)

Thanks again.

MichelleMelonie

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Yes, I am really a singer/songwriter and I accompany myself with the guitar. I am doing the gigs for two things: 1. To gain more performing experience: I've had some already as I have performed live on TV, concerts, competitions and as part of a caravan, singing in different communities. I prefer to sing my own songs though and 2. I'm using the gigs to pay for studio time to record my songs. If you would like to hear a sample of my original work, you can click on the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9KgFRopn7o

Feel free to share your stuff with me as well. I would like to hear :)

MichelleMelonie

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Well, good luck to you. You have the look, the voice, the style to make it. And you will. Just remember us small people when you are famous all over the world. You could be the next Jewel or Colby Calais.

Although, I think, with a clear voice like yours, a better comparison would be a love song driven Sheryl Crow.

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Thank you very much ronws. I really appreciate it. I just need to get out there first. Hopefully, I can sing some more and get the experience. Thanks again for your feedback. Be sure to send me your work, I like sharing with other artistes especially the ones who play the guitar. ;)

MichelleMelonie

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I have one song that I wrote and played guitar on. I originally wrote in 1990. Then another, where another member had brought in a mixed backing track and I wrote lyrics and vocal melody over that. Maybe I can send it in an email to you, as long as your email button is working.

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I thought all the songs were good. No real critique for any of them. If I had to really dig deep and was forced to find something I'd say this. In Superstar (The carpenters) the first "baby" may have been a little too much ee sounding. Babee as compared to the next ones. But like I said....that's nit picking. And "This is Love." Great song and you did a great job. But it may have been too good of a job :D Maybe this is personal taste. I really like that song and the backing music was good. Your singing was good too but a bit too nice. Like your other songs. I (again...just personal taste) felt the vocal lost some of the "reggea" feel.

Good stuff.

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Thank you for the feedback Tommy. I appreciate your comments. Please, nitpick! :) Everything comes together to make or break a performance, especially the live ones I hope to start soon. The comments help me focus on things that I may miss in my own personal review of audio and video recordings of myself.

I did pick up on the "babee" :) though. Thanks. I realized it while singing too but I said to myself, "Oh well!" :) But made a note to keep it consistent with the others in the future.

And I agree with you about the "reggae" feel for the Bob Marley's and I will work on it. Thanks again.

By the way, I listened to some of your work and you have a great style for singing. You sound like you have a lot of experience, the way you sing, your delivery. I like how you make the song your own, I want to learn to do that. Any tips you can share on how you are able to do that (other than naturally ;) ), I will appreciate it. For me, my style lacks the "ownership" that I would hear more on my original work and I want to be able to transfer it.

Thanks again for the feedback. I appreciate your comments.

MichelleMelonie

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By the way, I listened to some of your work and you have a great style for singing. You sound like you have a lot of experience, the way you sing, your delivery. I like how you make the song your own, I want to learn to do that. Any tips you can share on how you are able to do that (other than naturally ;) ), I will appreciate it. For me, my style lacks the "ownership" that I would hear more on my original work and I want to be able to transfer it.

MichelleMelonie

Well I really appreciate your comments Michelle :) A lot of experience? lol...it depends on what defines experience. Maybe you have more than me because you are closer to actually doing something with your singing or maybe I have more than you only because I'm much older!! I have been singing and practicing for many years but only to myself...I never sang out anywhere until the last year or so. I'm flattered that you like my songs. I am always a bit shy about them because they are what I call practice songs. I don't know how to record well so they don't ever come out all that well. Plus they aren't perfect recordings. There isn't any mixing, just a bare recording. I record myself practicing for my live singing, then save it to that list. By live I only mean karaoke :D

Anyway, back to you! As far as how I make a song my own. Well I can't say I have any real tips. I don't like to sound like the original although that is what seems popular among many singers. To me it is amateurish. I call "that" karaoke. I don't want to sound like someone else. I want to sound like me....but "influenced" by whomever. But for me it is usually a problem because I am singing to karaoke tracks which then locks me into the musical arrangement of the track. I am forced to sing to an original arrangement so I don't have much play in any direction. So I do the best I can....actually I am glad you hear it :) Now you on the other hand have a good advantage. You play your own music. That is a good start. Alter the rhythm, tempo and phrasing. Also alter the phrasing on your vocals. Shorten a note or word and lengthen others. Find an emotion that you want to express and add a little added feel to a line. Also figure out the musical lines of the song and try to repeat them to get a feel for it, then play with the lines.

Breath support helps me here also. It helps me get stronger emphasis on some words that I may sing as a triplet to alter phrasing. You know like change the line "all that I need" to "all that I neeEEEED." (I listen to allot of Ray Charles :D But this takes support to push that last EE. I try to also add more flow at times and use legato. You have to practice taking liberties with the phrasing. Find the note progression and play with it.

Play and learn the Blues. Twelve bar blues progression. That helps you (imo) learn to build and resolve tension and play with phrasing. Start a progression, build tension.....go away ....go farther away and play around....then return home.. Ahhhhh yes!

Oh and listen to other versions of songs you want to sing. Versions by other artists. Listen to their interpretations to get ideas. Also listen to the live versions. Artists sometimes play around with the arrangements.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Any more questions ask. :)

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I know exactly what you mean by "not wanting to sound like the original". Everything you said about not wanted to be "locked" in, I understand completely. The only thing is, I realize that I DO get locked in and I feel myself singing exactly what I heard.

Your advice is noteworthy. I will definitely follow up on the suggestions you listed because I can see the result of what you say in how you sing and that is the feel that I would like to have. As for creating my own music, you gave me an idea. I only played guitar for my original compositions but when you mentioned that I can play music to do my own arrangement on the songs I choose to sing, it just occurred to me that ... I CAN! :) Didn't think about it that way, I was only going to attempt to play the guitar for songs that I couldnt find an instrumental track.

Thanking you again so much for your invaluable comments. I greatly appreciate it.

P.s. The nerves never go away! Even though I have performed in front of people many times (original songs), I still get nervous. And I AM shy about my work as well. That never goes away but it helped me when a group of young people in my church kept urging me to sing for them. That helped me alot with my confidence TO sing, not so much ABOUT singing (just yet :) ). So Tommy, KEEP ON SINGING! You are doing very well. :)

MichelleMelonie

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Hey, Michelle, you want to hear a Tommy cover that sounds like an original, thanks to a slippery guitarist providing the backing? Look for hs thread "Life by the Drop." The original artist was Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Edited to add:

Update - Tommy got rid of it. I went back to the thread and clicked on the link and it's gone. If I had any feelings left, they would be hurting.

:lol:

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Hey, Michelle, you want to hear a Tommy cover that sounds like an original, thanks to a slippery guitarist providing the backing? Look for hs thread "Life by the Drop." The original artist was Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Edited to add:

Update - Tommy got rid of it. I went back to the thread and clicked on the link and it's gone. If I had any feelings left, they would be hurting.

:lol:

That must be a mistake Ron. It's still in my song list on the clickable link in my signature. I'll have to take a look see what the problem is.

Edit:

Link fixed

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That must be a mistake Ron. It's still in my song list on the clickable link in my signature. I'll have to take a look see what the problem is.

Edit:

Link fixed

Thank, Tommy but it's too late, the golden moment has passed.

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Thank, Tommy but it's too late, the golden moment has passed.

Whatever that means :D

Maybe at some point I edited the post and accidentally changed the link by a character or something? No matter. Any song I have posted here is in my song list in my signature. That's where the link takes you anyway. It is easier to just click that link and look through the list than to search the forum. So the song was there...the link got screwed somehow.

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Hi Michelle. Its sounding pleasant to listen to, I liked it.

There are a few issues that you can fix right away and that will improve it overall, on some songs, I heard the melody going kinda "random", its not a pitch problem, to me it sounds like a place where you dont know the melody exactly and you kinda "invent" something to fill in on the fly. Try defining everything better.

Also the interpreation line could use more variation, you are doing almost everything low, and its not contrasting as much as it can.

There is one more urgent technical issue that would be great if you could find a teacher and work it, the emission is at all times airy, this can lead to problems on the future. Ajusting it will make your life much easier, and will improve the perceived quality of your voice, will bring more of your tone out.

GL!

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Thank you very much FelipeCarvalho. I agree with you and I see where I can apply what you have said.

The randome melody is an attempt to make the song my "own". I try to deviate from the original melody by adding my own "flair" :) but I am going to pay more attention to how it comes across as I don't want it to be perceived as random. Thank you.

I definitely agree with you about the contrast. I have been listening to it and for me, after a while, I zone out because of how almost "monotone" is sounds :D, not much variation in the delivery. I realized that I need to connect more with the songs so I can express it emotionally and it will come out in my singing.

I wish I could find a vocal coach :) There are techniques that I would like to learn and for overall supervision. But your feedback on the emission is on point. Should I emphasize in different places (sing loud and soft)? Would that cover the airy-ness?

Thanking you again so much for your invaluable comments. I greatly appreciate it. :D

MichelleMelonie

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Michelle no problems. About the melody, try defining better the ideas so that they fit better in the harmony. Also do consider well how you will do the alterations, you have a great number of choices to do alterations. Lyrics and the melody line are the more evident ones, the audience will notice it counciously, although it is cool, it is wise to not overdo it.

The next is the dynamics line and the vowels. Small changes on how some phrases resolve may give a "personality" for the song without having to change the lyrics. I find it usually do the job better than the more evident changes.

About the dynamics and the airy emission. Maybe yes, maybe not... If you are doing as a choice, then yes, of course going a bit stronger will fix it. But I suspect its not the case from what Ive heard, as you went a bit stronger on the songs, the emission did not ajust properly so it suggests that a small ajustment on this fundament is desirable.

But for this, a teacher is mandatory, a poorly done ajustment is worse than no ajustment at all. So try working the dynamics a bit, try sitting the middle of the vocal line you are deliverying a bit stronger, on a middle level, and use air as a detail, it surely will help.

To address everything together, try picking one of the songs, map everything the original artist did, regarding lyrics, melody, timmings and dynamics, and then replicate it, but thinking just of these aspects, dont try to mimic the original "voice", just the musical content. Afterwards, replace on a few spots how the dynamics are used, on the second verse, try reverting it for example.

Boring work, but will reflect on all the other songs, and will give you more tools to deliver your own interpretations.

Hope it helps Michelle :) But I repeat that it is sounding nice, so work from what you've got in slow steps.

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Thank you so much Felipe. I believe I understand your suggestions and will do my best to engage it where possible. I will contact you should I need additional help on some of the items you noted in your response above.

Once again, thank for you for the feedback. :)

MichelleMelonie

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