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Vocal Identity

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I can see from the reaction to some of my post a few people think I'm crazy.. absolutely Thank God! I can also see my post are being misunderstood. I certainly do not mean to insult or offend anyone, nor diminish in anyway their work. I want to clarify a few things, then hit this topic.


I in no way mean to suggest, nor imply you need to sing or learn opera to be a good singer. I in no way deem any other vocal style less nor inferior, each has it own skill set, each it own difficulties. When you love many different styles it can be hard to choose what is in your best interests. I have performed everything from thrash to corny little love songs. In retrospect it was a great for learning as a teacher, however I also could have had 2 full careers as a Dramatic Tenor had I not wasted my time learning to sing like the vocalist from AC/DC lol.


I think after all is said and done Vocal Identity is the most important thing, people with no skills can still deliver and capture an audience with that. If you have all the skills in the world and don't know yourself and the identity of your voice, there is no way in hell your going anywhere. Non of my posts/ replies were in anyway, shape or form intended to be bashing on anyone, merely trying to find out who you are as a vocalist to give appropriate advice. The how to sing like Steve Perry video was excellent, if that is who you are ,it will work wonders for you, but if your a Layne Staley personality, singing that way will make you sound like an artificial robot. The voice is a tool of expression.


You will notice when any great accomplished singer does a cover they still sound like themselves. I have looked over some of Roberts video's and other vocal courses, his is really great , some of the others are great ( Seth Riggs etc.) however it is my professional opinion if you want to be a truly great one of a kind individual artist you have to beyond to some degree and specialize. There is ONE Steve Perry, many clones and many with influence there from that go on to be there own thing. like and the same One Geoff Tate, One Mariah Carey, One Whitney Houston. In all honesty I most likely see greater potential in many of you than you (yourselves ) yet recognize. I've also seen many people throw potential in the thrash. because we get miss informed or try to do to many things impressing friends instead of being true to ourselves.


All exercise is good for you health, but if your going to be a sprinter you train for sprinting, if your going to run marathons you train for marathons. You can do both if you know how, but you wouldn't be training for both at the same time, they defeat each other. one is for pace and endurance, the other is for maximum short distance speed ( you'd burn your energy maximally for the burst of speed) A powerlifter doesn't do 4000 reps with a 10 lb barbell it would just waste energy. Someone getting in shape to be a model wouldn't deadlift 800 lbs. daily, they would become too bulky.


This was by far the hardest thing for me to learn as an artist, vocalist. IT IS OK NOT to be good at everything and every style.. learn to be great at what your good at and always be who you are and make them eat it! don't become what others want, don't try to impress, nor seek validation. DO IT EXCELLENT, WITH YOUR OWN INDENTITY and it will always kick ass.


Amen.. I'll shut the hell up now lol



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Bro dont shut the hell up. You came back to TMV like a few days ago and i learned so much from you. And i completely agree. Vocal identity is what makes a Singer AN ARTIST...technique is just a mean to an end.


Very good post

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   Another great post.

   I think most beginners are trying to find their voice to begin with, and that takes exploring different sounds and styles.

I am used to singing folk songs, John Prine, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Elton John ....Lower range ballads......My heart is into higher energy songs of different styles....REO Speedwagon, Air Supply, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, Allman Brothers, Bad Company...............

   Singing those folk songs does not quite lead to a voice that is geared up for the other high intensity songs. Plus the fact that I would also try to match the timbre of those folk singers. For me to sing like Elton John I cannot sound like Elton John. For me to Sound like Elton John I would be creating an imbalance and that is what I have done. A habit that needs to be broken. To do that I must find out what My balanced voice sounds like and go from there.

    (only using my own problems as an example)

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Yes, an Excellent post Darius. And by no means should you "shut the hell up" !!!


Just a brief note : I've known Darius for nearly eight years and NO WAY is he brutalizing or insulting ANYONE !!! As he has mentioned >>> "....trying to point out different prospective and possibilities for people."

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That's a good post Darius. I am not an expert but I agree with what you say. Find the thing you want to do and train for it. I liked former member Tommy's phrase. One of his jobs in real life is being a martial arts instructor. "Train how you will fight."


Personally, I get a lot from classical singing methods. Though I don't plan to sing opera.


Some of your advice posts to others ring strongly with me.


I also agree that a person should find what voice he has and make that work. For example, let's say a guy is a baritone. Or even a bass, like bene. That doesn't mean that he can't sing high. He certainly can. It doesn't mean he has become a tenor. It means he is a bass who can sing high. And I say, be that. Be whatever voice type you are, and sing what you want to sing.


And from what I have learned, fach is more about the role to be sung than the actual singer. For example, a tenor is a guy who can sing a "tenor" role with endurance and grace for however many shows are in the engagement for which he has been retained. And most importantly, has the tone the casting director was looking for. 5 guys can audition, 1 gets the lead.


When I say my voice is goosenfrabe, I am not rejecting or dismissing fachs or the study of opera. I am admitting that I am not a voice type, though, from the judgement of a few others, I am a light tenor. But that would only be applicable if I were in opera.


I can sing "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" in the original key. And also, "Silent Lucidity." Though I did eat the mic for that one. Volume boosted that in the mix, which is totally fair in pop and rock.


Keep on doing what you do.

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I think it's useful to try on different masks for training purposes, but ultimately picking things that suit you best physiologically and psychologically is your best bet.


Part of my identity is to be heavily dependent on emotion for timbre. I don't have 'go to polished idea of what singing' should be' but rather it's a dynamic concept depending on emotions being expressed.


I'd say the closest comparison is Nina Simone or David Bowie, in that their timbre changes frequently in their interpretations and never in a static and calculated way. Section A should be sung in a quiet and controlled way, section B should be sung with constant belting, etc but in a highly dynamic and fluid way, where you hang on every word and wring the meaning and feeling out of it.. 


It doesn't mean I sound like either singer, but the philosophy of allowing interpretation to transgress genre and breaking boundaries like that is probably my defining feature as a singer. There are still singing timbres, or masks I've put on that don't appear to work so well for my voice thus far. I've still never gotten a heavy metal kind of timbre to ring true in my voice, and have had little success getting more operatic than Elvis.


But some things have worked with my voice and can be part of telling a story. Whatever genre Nina Simone and David Bowie are in, that's the one I train for. To me it sounds like vocal painting. Where there are lights and darks (highs and lows), and various textures (timbres) applied to the canvas where it feels most meaningful to the artist. Paintings are fluid. It's not like, I want the top left corner of the painting to be gray. I want the bottom right to be brown and the middle to be green. It's like every single inch of a painting has meaning and is shaded accordingly. Color is everywhere and it is subtle based on what a painting means. That's the style I want. I want to be able to convey:





























Free spirited




















Into musical and lyrical situations into my singing voice. Being able to sing with each emotion audibly in timbre in a way that is musically viable is most important for me. When taken on average my timbre is kind of soulful rock n roll, but I don't want to sing soul or rock n roll.


Hearing how other singers can get this stuff to a sustained pitch and trying to figure out a way to do it myself has been very helpful for my development. At this point singers influence me a lot more in how they are able to express such things than trying to imitate their timbre as is. When someone else successfully expresses something, I can study it, and see if can work out something that works for my voice. It may not even be the same technique, (someone else might scream bitterness, I might whisper it caustically) but it motivates exploration.


When I can 'bridge' such things into my, I can call upon it in the future when meaningful situations occur in songs. It's really hard to express an emotion and sing at a sustained pitch at the same time close enough to a desirable pitch, cause each one requires singing differently. With a guitar, the process and timbre are always identical. With voice, the process actually changes for every single emotion. If you want to be in tune, you've got to train.

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I agree very much with what you said, especially about what kind of way you need to train for a certain desired outcome.


Also, you have to become very accepting (and believe me it's not easy) of just sucking at times, meaning you can be sidelined with a cold, or friggin' allergies, or you unbalance your voice, or you strain, it's all part of the game.


I'm battling back from the flu, and man am I having a tough time sounding clear and open. It's a setback, and you just have to deal with it.


It sucks, LOL!!!  

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Darius.. Totally agree to what you have said.. I raised the same topic earlier and there are some interesting thoughts on that thread as well... Since the discussion is related, I am copy pasting the link below. 


I think it takes several years of singing and understanding before a singer can find his identity...


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