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Black Coffee - Peggy Lee Cover. Need some advice

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BlackieJane
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So I have two recordings of this song...the live one was record in November (my 3rd time on stage) at a gig we did at a restaurant/bar here in Toronto; the othe video was done at home about a week and a half ago.

There are at least 2 spots where my voice crackles. How do I fix this? I felt like my throat dry. Is it a dry throat issue or more of a technique thing? It doesn't happen all the time, but it's kind of embarrassing when it does happen, so I want to get rid of it. Any suggestions?

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Ok... Starting off here. I'm not pro vocal coach. And if this suggestion sucks, throw it away.

 

I'm hesitant to touch that voice that I admire in any way. Having you here is like having a classic radio station. But I have a suspicion both issues might be related to your vocal style on both parts. Breathier sounds in general dry the throat quicker by blowing more 'air' across the area. Think about other wet surfaces, how blowing air can dry them a bit. The voice is similar, breathier voices are in generally more tiring and drying.

 

A breathier vocal style can also lower the break point where you might transition to a falsetto ish (yes women have it too!) due to excess pressure from breath and not enough closure in the vocal folds. You mentioned in another thread envying another singer's high notes, and as far as I'm aware the voice will hit a wall at some point where range is limited due to breathiness for these reasons. So when we include breathy qualities, we always sacrifice some range in favor of style.

 

So my first suggestion is to please don't stop singing with the sexy, sultry, breathy tone, (pretty please?) and abandon it in favor of squealing high notes once you learn the trick. ;) I really like your voice. But maybe look into experimenting with less breathy phonations that you might be able to work into your style as well, and learn how to control the amount of air a bit in your voice? 

 

The most efficient exercise I know of for quickly finding a less breathy phonation is to say a vowel very very very very quickly. Like as briefly as you possibly can. 'O' instead of 'oh.' Turbo quick, quicker than you think you can do. Most people will automatically make a less breathy sound. The most important thing is you need to make sure the phonation still feels relaxed and comfortable as you can push the voice too far and 'press' the phonation. You want a comfortable tone that works well for you.

 

Anyway, from a really short vowel you can gradually extend that sound out. If you do that onset exercise, you might hear a little tic, (glottal action, you can hear this in like country and pop singers sometimes when they onset their vowels) which in the long term is probably not desirable for your style. So you'll likely want to include an invisible, very tiny H (so small as to be almost not there) to soften and cushion that sound.

 

Basically, that's the best I can do for you as 'random singing guy.' You should probably get a great teacher if you don't already have one since you are starting a professional journey, a professional to keep you healthy and spot check you would be really valuable. I'm not gonna be a pro and I'm fairly poor, so I'm gonna sing as an amateur as carefully as I can. I make sure I never go hoarse and my goal is to have improvement in my voice every time I sing.

 

But you're already going pro with gigs! So you need to take extra care of your pro instrument. And thanks for sharing, I love it, including the crack. They are endearing whether you like them or not. :)

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Thanks so much for explaining that in detail to me.  Someone had once mentioned vocal fold closure to me, but a lot of the technical stuff goes over my head.  I'm going to look into it more and try the exercises. 

 

I always imagined i'd sound like Bessie Smith once i learned how to access my natural voice...big, loud and all woman... and i was pretty disappointed at first once i started hearing myself.  But i've come to terms with the breathy girliness of my voice...i just need to learn to manage it better, so i don't run into the crackling.  So i'm very greatful for the advice.  You're awesome and thank you for listening and the thoughtful feedback :)

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Gorgeous voice, I agree with everything KillerKu has said, just want to add (I'm no expert though!) that one way I was shown to find good vocal fold closure was saying 'uh oh' as in an 'oh no' kind of uh oh! You can really feel the glottal kick.

When you can feel it do it again but hold the oh as a sung note. It should feel stronger, probably louder and less breathy. Like Killer Ku said, long term that can cause too much vocal fold closure, but it should help you to feel the difference.

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Thanks so much for explaining that in detail to me.  Someone had once mentioned vocal fold closure to me, but a lot of the technical stuff goes over my head.  I'm going to look into it more and try the exercises. 

 

I always imagined i'd sound like Bessie Smith once i learned how to access my natural voice...big, loud and all woman... and i was pretty disappointed at first once i started hearing myself.  But i've come to terms with the breathy girliness of my voice...i just need to learn to manage it better, so i don't run into the crackling.  So i'm very greatful for the advice.  You're awesome and thank you for listening and the thoughtful feedback :)

 

Yeah, a lot of the technical mumbo jumbo leaves me cold. When I sing most intellect goes out the window, and I run through emotions. Not everyone likes the results.  :D  You seem like a 'natural' talent more than I ever was so I wasn't sure how educated you are.

 

Still, even for a more natural talent knowledge can be can be really useful, especially in preserving the instrument, or targeting a problematic area. There are different types of teachers, some are for teaching people how to 'sing' from the ground up, and others are for 'preserving styles.' Currently successful singers often by necessity need the latter (if Bon Jovi sung like Pavarotti his record sales would dip, ha). I feel like you would benefit more from the latter as your sound is already so good already.

 

Funny you mention femininity and thinking you sounded more epic. I really love femininity in both male and female voices. A lot of my favorite singers are/were fearless people who will 'go wherever' the songs emotions take them and aren't very concerned with gender roles. Freddie Mercury didn't care at ALL if people thought he sounded feminine when recording this classic:

 

 

And I've observed gay singers often seem to be really open minded about singing sounds that aren't 'very thick and manly.' I suspect it's cause they have less of an ego to protect about their masculinity. to my ears, it benefits music. 

 

On the opposite side Nina Simone would roar in a tenor range when the song called for it her voice was up for it.

 

 

Nina came from an oppressed background, she was told she wasn't white, beautiful, or feminine enough even by her manager and record executives. She held wounds her entire life about it but when it came to performing she didn't care to sound prim and proper. She sang from the heart and didn't let anyone tell her how she was supposed to sound.

 

I think oppressed minorities have less to lose by making brave sounds. Societies already undervalue them, so what good is it to be a 'good boy or girl' and make 'prim and proper sounds?' 

 

Anyway, I wanted to tie those thoughts in, cause one of the things I admire about your voice, is a little bit of 'murky depth' even in your breathier style. So I think you have more depth than you think. A less breathy sound would allow louder, thicker sounds, sure, but even with your current style, you might not be hearing it the same way we do. You seem to be a natural talent, so follow your passions, and if I could suggest anything, just don't worry about expectations of enormous sounds or small feminine sounds. It's all beautiful, all yin to yang, white and black, all that stuff. Sing from the heart. There are a lot of sounds people can passionately believe in so you don't need to worry about having some 'role' you need to fit in anymore than Freddie or Nina. Historically folks trying to box in Freddie or Nina were wrong. :D Be you.

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Yeah, a lot of the technical mumbo jumbo leaves me cold. When I sing most intellect goes out the window, and I run through emotions. Not everyone likes the results.  :D  You seem like a 'natural' talent more than I ever was so I wasn't sure how educated you are.

 

Still, even for a more natural talent knowledge can be can be really useful, especially in preserving the instrument, or targeting a problematic area. There are different types of teachers, some are for teaching people how to 'sing' from the ground up, and others are for 'preserving styles.' Currently successful singers often by necessity need the latter (if Bon Jovi sung like Pavarotti his record sales would dip, ha). I feel like you would benefit more from the latter as your sound is already so good already.

 

Funny you mention femininity and thinking you sounded more epic. I really love femininity in both male and female voices. A lot of my favorite singers are/were fearless people who will 'go wherever' the songs emotions take them and aren't very concerned with gender roles. Freddie Mercury didn't care at ALL if people thought he sounded feminine when recording this classic:

 

 

And I've observed gay singers often seem to be really open minded about singing sounds that aren't 'very thick and manly.' I suspect it's cause they have less of an ego to protect about their masculinity. to my ears, it benefits music. 

 

On the opposite side Nina Simone would roar in a tenor range when the song called for it her voice was up for it.

 

 

Nina came from an oppressed background, she was told she wasn't white, beautiful, or feminine enough even by her manager and record executives. She held wounds her entire life about it but when it came to performing she didn't care to sound prim and proper. She sang from the heart and didn't let anyone tell her how she was supposed to sound.

 

I think oppressed minorities have less to lose by making brave sounds. Societies already undervalue them, so what good is it to be a 'good boy or girl' and make 'prim and proper sounds?' 

 

Anyway, I wanted to tie those thoughts in, cause one of the things I admire about your voice, is a little bit of 'murky depth' even in your breathier style. So I think you have more depth than you think. A less breathy sound would allow louder, thicker sounds, sure, but even with your current style, you might not be hearing it the same way we do. You seem to be a natural talent, so follow your passions, and if I could suggest anything, just don't worry about expectations of enormous sounds or small feminine sounds. It's all beautiful, all yin to yang, white and black, all that stuff. Sing from the heart. There are a lot of sounds people can passionately believe in so you don't need to worry about having some 'role' you need to fit in anymore than Freddie or Nina. Historically folks trying to box in Freddie or Nina were wrong. :D Be you.

 

 

I'm a huge fan of Nina.  She was just so...Nina.  She didn't care what anyone thought.  She was was classical and blues, feminine and strong, soft and hard, innocent and mischievious.  She fascinates me.  I try to be more like her, by being more like me.  Sometimes i doubt myself though.  I'm sure we all have our moments, but i'm happy to say those moments of doubt are fewer and further between.

 

And now that we've found ourselves an Upright Bass Player, i'm going to try to do a recording of "My Baby Just Cares For Me", as my nod to Nina :D

 

 

 

You sounds blueish, jazzy, and smooth awesome singing vocals

 

Thanks Mr. Flake!

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I'm a huge fan of Nina.  She was just so...Nina.  She didn't care what anyone thought.  She was was classical and blues, feminine and strong, soft and hard, innocent and mischievious.  She fascinates me.  I try to be more like her, by being more like me.  Sometimes i doubt myself though.  I'm sure we all have our moments, but i'm happy to say those moments of doubt are fewer and further between.

 

And now that we've found ourselves an Upright Bass Player, i'm going to try to do a recording of "My Baby Just Cares For Me", as my nod to Nina :D

 

 

 

 

Thanks Mr. Flake!

Nina was almost superhumanly human to me. She was so purely her own person as an artist and no one could shake that purity no matter how hard they tried. Whatever doubt she had never came through in her performance.

 

She could cross any barrier, genre, race, gender, anything and communicate almost anything from the heart. I can't think of an emotion I've ever felt that she couldn't find some way to channel into her singing and she found a lot I've never felt. I'm glad you can feel some of the same strength. I'd love to hear you interpret her song, exactly as you say, just like you. 

 

I sing My Baby Just Cares For Me myself. The cutest thing about the song is it is already bisexual (includes men like Liberace and women Lana Turner). :D

 

https://soundcloud.com/killerku/mybabyjustcaresformeacapella

 

'What genre is that?' Well.... It's kind of a middle finger to genre. It's what I felt for the song... I felt explosive, exhilarating emotions. I became a character in the song and those feelings were colored by tenderness, happiness of someone looking out for me. Next time I might feel fragile, delicate, or softer emotions, but still feel that security of someone who cares for me. Same song. That's Nina to me, she would channel human emotions and was so free.   

 

But you've got a more intuitive grasp on singing than I do giving us an equal amount of knowledge. You've got your health. You can take your inspiration into the pro field and use it to keep your confidence when times get rough. I'm glad the driving forces that lead Nina are still living on in performers, who have the bravery to be vulnerable, and channel 'who they are.' I hope modern audiences aren't too far gone into Disney princesses going increasingly nude to appreciate it for what it is. But it's great you're getting gigs, and you've got a band set up with an upright bass player. I hope there will always be room for 'you.'

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