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Levon - Elton John

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MDEW
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    I have always been intimidated by this song.  In the early days Elton would really get into this with added whoops and hollers. My singing is so laid back and lifeless that I thought I would never be able to capture the excitement. I have a long way to go but I hope you can give  some help and advice to reach that goal.

   Any comments welcome.

 

       

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Some good news, some of the runs have made some progress since Daniel. Elton is a really, really quirky with runs. They often jumble up into quick little sections at the end of a line.

 

I don't think I've ever sung with your style, so it's tough for me to picture exactly what it is like, but especially in the higher range there is increasing amounts of nasality that might be more than you're aiming for? I think to a lesser extent, the soft palate raising advice that was given in this thread, might help you a bit:

 

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The only other advice I have is to maybe try an alternate version (don't have to upload here if you're not comfortable with it) and try practicing your voice a bit childish or girly. Young Elton John sings really high and I can't sing him unless I lighten my timbre. I get too much weight (like old Elton John), I get scrunched up. So don't be afraid to practice some more lighter sounds. I've helped a friend find these modes, by having her imagine she is a child speaking to a kitty. "Here kitty." It wouldn't be super breathy like falsetto, but it can sound like a light timbre.

 

That's not a final sound you'd necessarily choose, but I've found shading that direction can help especially with pop, as a lot of times the heavier configurations just don't work right for me. I did enjoy it, but I know it's a tough one and there's still progress to be made. I'll help in any way I know how.

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I felt too that MDEW could do this lighter, that he is taking too much weight up there, at least for this song. The approach might work well on another song but I think this could use a lighter feel, southern accent aside. In fact, maybe it would help. I always thought it was funny how Elton, though british as the day is long, sounded like a hick when he was singing.

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     Thanks guys, I sent this recording to Ronws before posting here and he mentioned shedding the weight(something I am now working on). Good call from both of you.  It is kind of hard to shed the weight and still get the excitement in there, at least for me anyway. I don't mean hard as hurting or pushing  I just mean finding the right coordination. I know I was singing this quieter than I should have been, recording at 11pm when everyone else is sleeping is not the optimal time for an emotion filled song. 

     The nasality may also be a side effect of not wanting to be too loud. Pressed and nasal to make up for the lack of breath pressure to keep the folds vibrating.

     I chose this song because of the way Elton sings it with such seeming abandon. You would not think that he is shedding weight or holding anything back more the opposite letting loose with all he has got. But that is part of the artistry, the illusion of losing control while expressing emotional freedom. You Sound Loud, out of control and heavy when really you are light and controlled.

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Yeah, MDEW, I'm not an expert by any means on this but I made a quick example of how I approach singing Elton John when he's young:

 

https://soundcloud.com/killerku/how-i-sing-young-elton-john

 

I first showed what happens if I take a chesty voice and simply twang it. It kind of goes from like a Billy Idol progressively into a dying nasally cat. I don't know Levon well by memory so I did Goodbye Yellow Brick Road acappella, with dying nasally cat (not lightening), with the here kitty voice (very lightened to the extreme) and the final one that feels in between to me.

 

I'm willing to sound silly for you guys if it can help at all. So don't be afraid of that light one in between? If I didn't experiment with it, I couldn't get to the last one which is closer to what I'm looking for.

 

For the record, you don't need to be afraid of the dying cat one either. It's pretty funny, I might use it somewhere. It's got character.

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Yeah, MDEW, I'm not an expert by any means on this but I made a quick example of how I approach singing Elton John when he's young:

 

https://soundcloud.com/killerku/how-i-sing-young-elton-john

 

I first showed what happens if I take a chesty voice and simply twang it. It kind of goes from like a Billy Idol progressively into a dying nasally cat. I don't know Levon well by memory so I did Goodbye Yellow Brick Road acappella, with dying nasally cat (not lightening), with the here kitty voice (very lightened to the extreme) and the final one that feels in between to me.

 

I'm willing to sound silly for you guys if it can help at all. So don't be afraid of that light one in between? If I didn't experiment with it, I couldn't get to the last one which is closer to what I'm looking for.

 

For the record, you don't need to be afraid of the dying cat one either. It's pretty funny, I might use it somewhere. It's got character.

 

 

   Thanks Killer, I understand what you are saying here. I have always felt that Elton was singing Yellow Brick Road with a lighter coordination. It seems conversational to me and Levon is a more Emotion driven, at least the chorus. "He Shall be LEVON" is a declaration. Like he is something more than just a man. Kind of like when someone's' favorite sports star gets the winning goal or scores the winning point "He's THE MAN! WHOO Yeah MY MAN".  At least that is the way that I perceive it. That may even be why I attempt to sing it with a heavier weight.

   Having said that, I have never been the type of person to get carried away over anything so I would not know how to express that type of feeling in that way.

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   Thanks Killer, I understand what you are saying here. I have always felt that Elton was singing Yellow Brick Road with a lighter coordination. It seems conversational to me and Levon is a more Emotion driven, at least the chorus. "He Shall be LEVON" is a declaration. Like he is something more than just a man. Kind of like when someone's' favorite sports star gets the winning goal or scores the winning point "He's THE MAN! WHOO Yeah MY MAN".  At least that is the way that I perceive it. That may even be why I attempt to sing it with a heavier weight.

   Having said that, I have never been the type of person to get carried away over anything so I would not know how to express that type of feeling in that way.

 

I can learn Levon sometime and see what's different, I'm familiar with Amoreena, Yellow Brick Road, Your Song, but Acapallla Levon draws a blank. Elton sings quite a few styles, my favorite is Tumbleweed Connection, where he sounds like a confused British guy wandering into a Civil War and singing so passionately about what he sees. It's thrilling, I love it. Such a unique singer.

 

He might be heavier on Levon, but it could be lighter than you think. We think like 'huge huge' passion, but a lot of times that holds me down. Everyone is different and has to find their own ways of doing it, right? Elton before the surgery was never a super, super high voice type (heavier than Stevie Wonder for sure), but maybe a little lighter than I am? Hard to say. I'd never heard him get as heavy as I do conversionally, but that lightness/heaviness thing isn't on/off. It's kind of like a percentage. I had to explore the white to get to the gray shades.

 

You could probably use more weight than what I did there, but likely less than what you're doing. It's like a zone. If you're a quiet type (I am, in spite of thee Billy Idol roars), If you want to make really loud exciting exclamations, just say 'yay' really really loud (don't make it too breathy). Modifying towards the vowel can keep some of the chesty excitement, but it can get too much for pop a lot of times. It's a pretty exciteable loud sound like James Hetfield if you do it right. Frankly it gets too loud and harasses my neighbors so yeah. That's a sometimes voice. :D

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I can learn Levon sometime and see what's different, I'm familiar with Amoreena, Yellow Brick Road, Your Song, but Acapallla Levon draws a blank. Elton sings quite a few styles, my favorite is Tumbleweed Connection, where he sounds like a confused British guy wandering into a Civil War and singing so passionately about what he sees. It's thrilling, I love it. Such a unique singer.

 

He might be heavier on Levon, but it could be lighter than you think. We think like 'huge huge' passion, but a lot of times that holds me down. Everyone is different and has to find their own ways of doing it, right? Elton before the surgery was never a super, super high voice type (heavier than Stevie Wonder for sure), but maybe a little lighter than I am? Hard to say. I'd never heard him get as heavy as I do conversionally, but that lightness/heaviness thing isn't on/off. It's kind of like a percentage. I had to explore the white to get to the gray shades.

 

You could probably use more weight than what I did there, but likely less than what you're doing. It's like a zone. If you're a quiet type (I am, in spite of thee Billy Idol roars), If you want to make really loud exciting exclamations, just say 'yay' really really loud (don't make it too breathy). Modifying towards the vowel can keep some of the chesty excitement, but it can get too much for pop a lot of times. It's a pretty exciteable loud sound like James Hetfield if you do it right. Frankly it gets too loud and harasses my neighbors so yeah. That's a sometimes voice. :D

 

     I am sure you are correct that I am using too much weight. Most of Eltons' earlier songs would range from e3 to e5 easily and he would use falsetto just as much as connected sounds above g4. Songs like Benny and the Jets and Tiny Dancer are not too much trouble for me because it is clear that he is singing a falsetto or a light coordination,at least he sounds different when he is singing the higher notes. I can make those sounds.

    I may even record Tiny Dancer next just for fun.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me out.

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It would be interesting if we all tried the same Elton song to see how we each approached it. For me, Levon seems easy, right in the wheel house. And I think it's funny that elton sounds like a hick when he sings and I would like a european folk singer when I sing. Oh well, dichotomy is the spice of life.

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It would be interesting if we all tried the same Elton song to see how we each approached it. For me, Levon seems easy, right in the wheel house. And I think it's funny that elton sounds like a hick when he sings and I would like a european folk singer when I sing. Oh well, dichotomy is the spice of life.

 

     Go for it Ronws, I googled the chords and found one in the key of C for the guitar and used a capo to adjust to be playing in D. It is easier to play the key of C on the guitar and use a capo.

     It is a fun song to sing.

     I watched a video of Elton Practicing with his band. It was funny hearing his British  accent as he was telling another band member the words then he would start to sing and sound totally American. I guess America was his target audience at the time. That really drives in the concept of not singing like you speak.

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