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Grenade - chorus. Am I hurting myself?

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ronnis
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Hi,

first post here, so maybe I should start off with an introduction?

I've been singing to the wall in my apartment for quite some time now, but never dared to tell anyone I like to sing... until two months ago, when I started taking lessons (four so far). She tells me I'm a tenor. Which was great news, because the songs I like to listen to are wohoo-up-there-in-the-range... and I may be able to sing some of them with proper technique.

Anyway, during the summer there are no lessons so I decided to work on my upper range which was G below high C. I found a G# for The music of the night, and the A I needed for a dream theater song (Solitary Shell).

Today I was singing along to Grenade in my car and when I came home I found out it had even higher notes (I was obviously straining but I occasionally hit some of them).

So, here is the clip of me singing the chorus of Grenade by Bruno Mars:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/06gf9q16f6cz9yn/Grenade%20-%20chorus.mp3

...aaaand the questions:

1. Am I hurting myself? Or can I safely continue practicing the song like this?

2. The top notes (>A) are breathy and thin, and without compressing like hell (think food coming back from stomach) I cannot reach them at all. Should I approach them differently all together?

3. Oh, and is the voice "connected" or some kind of falsetto thingy? Or head voice? I think there is a nasal quality to the tone but I have never ventured this high before so I don't really know :)

So the perfectionist inside says it sucks, and the funny guy inside says it's a lot of fun and I'm asking you whether the technique is a dead end or if I will eventually get there if I continue doing the same thing.

// Ronnie

Ps. I forgot the lyrics but instead I managed to laugh in tune with some compression. Just saying ;)

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Hey Ronnie. Actually, I think it sounds really cool! You rocked it out!

As for how healthy it is...probably not very healthy. Then again, lots of pop/rock singing isn't, so it's all kind of a balancing act. You need healthy habits (most importantly, rest, water, and a good warmup/cooldown) to go along with the unhealthy ones.

Your voice is the best barometer of how damaging your style actually is. How long can you go on singing like that? Are you tiring out very quickly? Do you feel any discomfort or tickling in your throat? Are you hoarse after you sing?

To my ears, it does sound a bit strained. (Not saying it sounds bad - rock will sound strained sometimes. That's the nature of the beast.) It sounds like chest voice to me, that you're pulling up and you're letting air leak out through your cords, creating that breathiness. I would recommend finding some vocal exercises that emphasize support and cord closure. Those two things will allow you to stretch the range with much less effort.

You have a great voice and it seems like you care about keeping it that way, so props to you.

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Thank you for your kind feedback!

I spent maybe 30-45 minutes learning how to play & sing it before recording it, but even then... yes I felt a bit hoarse afterwards. Not while singing though.

It sounds strained, because... I strain a lot :)

I'm 4 halftones above any note I've ever sang before.

What kind of exercises are you thinking of?

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I think it sounds pretty cool. Nice distortion up there. And you are hitting all the notes and adding some stylistic phrasing so you are demonstrating some agility up in that range. That agility is a good sign. I think you are in head. Thing is, that if it feels strained, it is strained and that's not good. If you feel or become hoarse, that is not good. If it tickles at all, that is not good. Those are the main things to watch for - if you experience any of these you should not keep practicing that over and over or it can lead to damage. If I were you I'd check out Tony O'Hora videos - he's got some great introductory videos that will get you into head voice safely. Your voice can definitely do it, but you need to be able to do this song with less strain.

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Sounded pretty good to me. See if you can sing it with a clean tone. Notice whether it hurts or not. If not practice by using the clean tones and add the distortion later when your voice feels stronger in that area.

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I tried to sing it with a clean tone. I can manage to sing up to the A and sometimes the Bb (I think) with a softer voice, but the C I cannot reach without flipping into falsetto. If I fight against the falsetto with pure force it sounds like the clip I recorded.

Also I think the compression happens in my throat, which I think is not a good thing, and this might be the source of the distortion as well.

ronws: I'd be happy to try sirens if I could find a good video/audio clip explaining how to do it. People on this forum seem to be quite fond of this particular excercise :)

Geno & MDEW: Funny you should mention distortion because I cannot sing this particular part without the distortion, and outside the world of Grenade chorus I'm simply not able to produce a distorted tone at all :)

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Hi folks!

Here is another attempt where I try to use as little "force" as possible. And no distortion.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/26li3j5c3d4dgn0/Grenade%20-%20Chorus%202.mp3

I'm positive I'm flipping into falsetto on "bullet". For the other parts I'm not sure where the tone is coming from :)

Same question: Can I safely practise the part like this or is the technique a dead end?

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