When you want to add depth or a richer texture to your song set, one of the most obvious solutions is to widen the variety of the material. This might be a mix of tempos, styles, and genres. But you can also mix things up with variations on a theme or by looking at an issue from several emotional perspectives.
For example, the overriding theme of your song set might simply be falling in and out of love. You can sing a piece about love lifting you higher or taking you places you’ve never been before. One can be a giddy, upbeat, head-over-heels number that the audience can relate to, the thought of losing yourself in somebody else or seeing the world differently because that someone has opened up your world, freed up your senses, helped you lose your inhibitions. You could do two or three numbers that create that crazy, sometimes too good to be true world of being in love.
Set The Mood + Then Break It
Then, you can introduce a song that breaks the mood you’ve set stylistically, thematically, or a combination of both. It could be a cheating song or a song or coming to your senses. It could be a song about the fear of being hurt or about something that’s too good to be true. It might even be a song about a relationship that is starting to be too clingy, stifling, or too demanding. The piece shifts the perspective on love, and it darkens or shakes up the mood or feel of your set. It gets your audience to wonder what’s going on, to want to know what will happen next.
Your choice of material can take your listener on a journey of the heart that reflects the highs and lows, the stumbling and bouncing back, the push and pull that is all a part of one of the silliest and most serious states we as human beings fear and crave – love.
Bring Dynamic Tension To Just One Song
But let’s say you simply want just one song that will give you something deep and textured to kick around and play with. One of the key elements to think of is something that engages opposites or polarities that will create some sort of dynamic tension. This may be a case of the choice of material or your interpretive skills or both.
For example if you sing a song that is a bitter tirade about never falling in love again or never trusting someone, you can give the piece more depth, flavor, and color by playing against the darker tone. You might lighten up sections where your voice softens or backs off a bit. Your facial expressions may convey a sense of hope, or even regret over being bitter, even though the lyric may be harsh, edgy, and biting.
Be Vulnerable And Tough
What can make you more dynamic, appealing, human, and mesmerizing as a performer, singer, or songwriter is this unity of opposites; the tension created by internal struggle. Think of coming off as being vulnerable yet also tough enough to be able to take care of yourself.
The space you have to play with that runs between tenderness and toughness is both engaging and endearing to an audience. The vulnerability draws the listener in while the toughness lets the listener know you’re going to be ok.
Let Opposites Simply Attract
So, the bottom line is to think in terms of opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the emotional chords you want to strike with your song set, the demeanor in your performance, and even in the colors you wish to bring to light in each song.
The trick is to blend these opposites subtly, simply, and to juxtapose them as necessary. You want to finish your performance with the audience loving your voice for its strength and vulnerability and relating to you because you’re both tough and tender.