Jump to content

Why are gospel singers especially talented, vocally?

Rate this topic


bmezy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Is it it me or does it seem like gospel singers are "special" when it comes to vocal ability! Their full chesty belts, their range, their agility, musicianship, sense of rhythm. It's crazy the things they can do with their voice and most of them are either untrained or novices?? You literally have entire families that can BLOW away 90% of pop stars with just their voices alone..I see this most from black "church" families. Is it genetics or a cultural thing..It's an observation, but quite fascinating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i would say one thing is their environment and state of mind...

they are surrounded by love for one another, strong religious beliefs and adoration for god.

this fuels their voice with power and emotion from a mental perspective from a very early age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

its because they start at such a young age I have alot of friends who have been singing in the church since they were like 2-3 years old. no lie. so by the time they are 20 they have already been singing 17 years and have been hearing great singers around them consistently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Passion. Emotional release.

Not necessarily for the individual songs or for singing but from having experienced it when swept up in a religious

moment.

Some of you who are really into Sports or another spectator activity may experience something similer. Your team is behind and suddenly someone hits a home run with bases loaded you explode with a high pitch WOOP or "Yell" some words of encouragement or whatever. But you are not thinking about it. It comes out naturally the way the body needs coordinate to make that sound.

People in general are more passionate about their worship than even the most diehard sports fans.

You often hear teachers or coaches say something along the lines of put a little cry in the voice or sob to help keep the cords stay together. How about that inward knowing smile they talk about for keeping the soft palate lifted? Support?

Letting the sound come from deep in the body unhindered? Think about it. Watch one of those sunday morning gospel shows and see how much of all of that is going on in the croud let alone from the preacher.

The singers learn to use all of that stuff to their advantage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yet, can I offer a contrasting view?

The ones I've heard locally have been very very good, but at only one thing. Well, maybe a couple. They can belt, they can sing high notes, they can do weird things with melisma. There is a sameness to their technique. They have specialized in one fairly limited style, and that's all they use, so they're very good at that. And, in my experience, only that.

Not trying to disrespect the style at all, if that's what you're into.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yet, can I offer a contrasting view?

The ones I've heard locally have been very very good, but at only one thing. Well, maybe a couple. They can belt, they can sing high notes, they can do weird things with melisma. There is a sameness to their technique. They have specialized in one fairly limited style, and that's all they use, so they're very good at that. And, in my experience, only that.

Not trying to disrespect the style at all, if that's what you're into.

well this was Donny Hathaway. He was famous as a child preacher a prodigy. listen to him he doesnt do weird melisma or sound the same as the others . Also in my top 5 favorite singers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously I have only a limited exposure to the best of gospel choirs.

And one should not judge traditional church choir singers by mine either, because we're a very small congregation and have a limited pool of singers to draw from.

However. I've heard several local gospel choirs lately, ones that were either asked or paid to perform at professional functions and were acclaimed as being good ones. They sang enthusiastically and passionately, they sang loudly, their diction was good. They were well received. And yet, to my ears they were mostly shouting in unison. There were no harmonies, there were no variations in dynamics. They sang loudly into loud sound systems. Their intonation was marginal, their vowels became strained in places. It ceased being interesting very very quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that sometimes vocal technique can "overcome" a singer in training. Like when you start to over think about what you're doing while you're doing it. It's just controlled breath flow in the end. When your breathing is "correct" it feels like alot of the other stuff just happens (even support). When you think about it more straightforward (like I guess many of these guys just think of it as a "gift") you just end up doing it right while not thinking about it and trying to force anything to happen. :P I'm just a newbie singer though so what do I know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that sometimes vocal technique can "overcome" a singer in training. Like when you start to over think about what you're doing while you're doing it. It's just controlled breath flow in the end. When your breathing is "correct" it feels like alot of the other stuff just happens (even support). When you think about it more straightforward (like I guess many of these guys just think of it as a "gift") you just end up doing it right while not thinking about it and trying to force anything to happen. :P I'm just a newbie singer though so what do I know.

You're absolutely right though!

As long as you back this up with training on the side. As long you have a foundation laid, certainly when you go to perform, the less you can think the better.

It's not that you should think about nothing, or that you won't have to concentrate harder sometimes - you just want to put as much of that down into muscle memory through incessant rehearsal as much as you can, and then if you do have to stay mentally active to control the remaining details, you want to keep your thoughts streamlined. Certain more complex ways of thinking (especially fancy terminology) will never respond to your commands in the moment, whereas thinking of broad concepts/feelings and muscle memory that has already been rehearsed will carry you through a performance fine.

At least this is my personal experience, but it seems to line up with the vast majority of the successful singers I know, so I would bet that it is a bit more universal than one might be willing to admit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that sometimes vocal technique can "overcome" a singer in training. Like when you start to over think about what you're doing while you're doing it. It's just controlled breath flow in the end. When your breathing is "correct" it feels like alot of the other stuff just happens (even support). When you think about it more straightforward (like I guess many of these guys just think of it as a "gift") you just end up doing it right while not thinking about it and trying to force anything to happen. :P I'm just a newbie singer though so what do I know.

it's not the vocal technique that overcomes the singer, it is the value you place on the technique.

in other words, when you're on stage performing one of the last things you should be doing is worrying about technique. in fact, if you try to do a technically correct performance, you might end up emptying out some seats...lol!!!

like a bodybuilder that hits the stage to pose, he's not thinking about those grueling workouts he had to do to get himself to look the way he does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Is it it me or does it seem like gospel singers are "special" when it comes to vocal ability! Their full chesty belts, their range, their agility, musicianship, sense of rhythm. It's crazy the things they can do with their voice and most of them are either untrained or novices?? You literally have entire families that can BLOW away 90% of pop stars with just their voices alone..I see this most from black "church" families. Is it genetics or a cultural thing..It's an observation, but quite fascinating.

This is what really attracted me to this style compared to anything else. Everything that goes into it. They use their complete voices to make a very wide variety of sounds. Nothing limited about it at all. It fascinates me too. To add a little insight, in that first video you posted, the guy on the piano is Brian McKnight; one of the most well known R&B singers. I find many of the singers of the R&B genre started singing gospel in church, and then grew up to sing R&B. A lot of them grew up to sing Pop as well, but moreso in the past rather that now. I believe the guy singing in that video is his cousin. You can find a performance of both of them singing together with their uncles when they were in their twenties. The guy who you hear behind the camera is one of Brian McKnight's sons, who also is an R&B artist. It seems that the whole family just gets involved with it and some just get more into it than others.

I had a voice instructor for 2 years, who was in his eighties, and he began singing in church when he was 4. He pursued music when he grew up. His son did the same. His nephew did the same. I guess it seems natural for somebody, who spent their entire life singing, to want to pursue it professionally after growing up and realizing they have a skill. I actually do believe it is a cultural thing though.

Amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...