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Help with style and technique - 17 female

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Hey! I'm a newbie here and have absolutely no idea what my voice "really" sounds like. I've never had had proper vocal lessons, though I have been in choirs and occasionally managed to coerce my music teachers into one-on-one tutoring. I know I'm decent, but what worries me is that I've never heard anyone with a similar voice (which might mean that I'm actually not that good?) and I can't get a handle on my style. I tend towards jazz/blues, but maybe I'm forcing my voice into a style without proper technique? Or maybe I'm using vocal manipulation to cover up or compensate for a not-so-good voice?

I've attatched a couple of short clips of me singing in slightly different styles and if you could steer me in the right direction (both style and technique wise) or give a general opinion of my voice that would be wonderful!

Dark Doo Wop (MSMR): http://vocaroo.com/i/s1chapjzdhxQ

Cold Shoulder (Adele): http://vocaroo.com/i/s1FzIxaXwu1d

I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (Sarah Vaughan): http://vocaroo.com/i/s0XWYbGHxIil

With My Hands (Kimbra): http://vocaroo.com/i/s1vefhUWT61G

Two Way Street (Kimbra): http://vocaroo.com/i/s15Qh7sLY0NK

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First, most importantly, you have a great voice! More on that in a moment.

Aside, let me say that it's pretty crappy that someone spammed your post with stuff about pet insurance. That's lame.

Now, back to your voice.

I'm not familiar with any of the songs, so I don't really know their genres. I wouldn't be able to guide you at this point on your style because the style of the songs kind of sound the same to me. It's probably because you are incorporating your style into the songs.

I'm curious about the types of songs and singers that you're used to dealing with in your choirs. The style that you sing with, in my opinion, is similar to styles that I hear my own students sing. Who are your favorite artists? You have kind of a Norah Jones thing in an Ingrid Michaelson kind of range. If I were you, I wouldn't worry so much about getting a handle on your style just yet. That emerges with practice and with time.

Speaking of, what kind of time and practice do you put into your singing? The recordings that you posted are relatively short clips, so it's difficult to truly assess your ability. Most everybody can sing short bursts and sound good. The more complete picture of what you need to work on is only evident when we get a solid sample. Instead of five short clips, I suggest that you post one or (at the most) two complete songs. The reason why I asked about your time and practice is because it takes more time and practice to get a full song worked up enough for a good critique.

You have a great foundation. Tone quality is beautiful. Stylization is quite nice. But good tone and nice style is only part of the picture. For you (whom I consider to be more advanced), you need to work on more advanced concepts. These are the types of advanced concepts I'm taking about:

1. Can you make musical phrases that make sense in the context of a whole piece of music?

2. Do you have the physical technique and stamina to make it through a whole song and be consistent in your technique throughout the whole song?

3. Can you add interest and variation throughout different verses and repetitions of the chorus?

4. Can you take us on the complete emotional journey of the song? Do you know the shades of emotion that are portrayed?

I would encourage you to post a complete song for a better evaluation. And I would also encourage you to use a background track or someone playing accompaniment behind you so that we can get a better understanding of the whole piece.

I look forward to hearing more of your stuff! I'll look out for you. :)

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I listened to your sound files. And probably because I have old blues and jazz in my collection is going to influence my perception of what you do.

The closest match of song and voice is the Kimbra stuff, it sounds like you wrote it.

I have a few old Sarah Vaughan phonographs (vinyl re-issues.) I even have an initial first ceramic LP of Billie Holiday. I have not played in a few decades. Better to buy a cd which can be replaced than an historical item like that. Sarah had a more metallic sound in her voice. Though it would certainly be a matter of the variations of individual voices, just as Billie had a smidge more rasp.

You do not sound like Adele, though you sing her stuff well enough. In playing guitar, I have read any number of interviews about influences. It's okay to be inspired and influenced and yet sound different. Eddie Van Halen said he was most trying to match the "brown sound" of Eric Clapton. Do you hear that in the music of Van Halen? I sure don't and I have been listening to them since they started.

I also liked your doo wop, mainly because of the laconic feel you have in it, which may contrapuntal.

Don't worry right now about mimicking what are vocal defects in others.

Also, and I just said this in another thread, by all means, "fake" it. I will likely get disagreement on this and that is okay because I am not a recognized or self-defined expert on singing. I have just been singing for a really long time. And just because I don't get paid professionally for singing doesn't mean my experience is any less valid. Nor does that mean I am a better singer than other people. I just have some insights, now and then.

The effect of the sound that you produce is paramount and more important than how you make the sound, with the only requirement being that if you can do it and it does not hurt or damage your voice, then it is okay. And how does one decide that? Easy, can you sing the way that you do, providing you have endurance, for a few hours, 3 or 4 times a week for 40 years? That is the expected endurance of a professional singer.

For example, using a tongue trill and and whatever gravel sound I can make with my voice, I can sound like Chewbacca, from Star Wars. Is that how they originally made the sound? Who cares? As long as I can make the sound and not hurt myself.

So, if you find way to sound more metallic like Sarah and it seems "fake" but it doesn't hurt, by all means, fake it, for that is how you make it.

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Hey :)

I am only familiar with Two Way Street, so I'll write based on that one.

The only thing I hear when you sing Two Way Street is that your volume does not change very much throughout the excerpt, pitch and vibrato is ok :B What I find awesome about her is that she goes back and forth between low whispered stuff, to belt, then back to a low volume intimate tone and then a twangy middle register thing for the groovy feel.

Try to watch her live videos and see what she is doing with her mouth, and what relation does that have with the sound. Pay attention to the dynamics she uses in her songs.

A very good one to study is Withdraw. :P

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