The human voice is both unique and personal. Each singer lends something to the ear that can release tears, induce a smile, summon up gasps, console, comfort, tempt, tease, arouse, or inspire.
Each Is Unique
But each song is every bit as personal as the breath, tone, pitch and texture of each voice. Singing Success vocal coach Dave Brooks says that a song tells you what it needs. But it is up to your voice to convey those needs to the listener. The best singers transcend the message of a song. They do that by communicating a relationship that’s established between the uniqueness of a song and their own unique voice and understanding of the song’s message.
Then there is the third element of that relationship, the listener, the receiver, the audience.
Classical singing, and most of pop music vocals prior to the 1950’s, were more technically focused. In other words singing the notes and precisely articulating the lyrics are what mattered most.
Diversity Feeds The Need To Communicate
But the envelope has been pushed over the last few decades as cultures have shared and blended styles of singing. So that need to focus on precision with hitting the notes has taken a back seat to the need to communicate, to interpret, to persuade and to infuse.
The 1960’s were revolutionary in many ways because radio was becoming so much more diverse and people were hearing a greater variety of musical styles in a matter of four or five songs. For example the same stations would play cuts from genres such as folk, beach music, acid rock and Motown. Pop music was not only becoming more inclusive, but singers and songwriters were beginning to experiment with and incorporate other styles into their artistry.
As our culture became more inclusive, clashes became more frequent but so did the needs to be heard, to be understood. So it makes sense that with music what was being said became as important if not more important than how it was being said. So, singing the words, not just the notes, helped to define the greatness or success of a singer. That still holds true today.
The singer-songwriter and troubadour movement began to surge as the need for self-expression, coming together, or reacting to it became vital.
Experience Is Deepened
But what happens to relating to the audience as those relationships between singer and song become more diverse? Is the message lost or less likely to resonate? Not at all.
In fact, the potential to resonate is deepened. An audience member feels more satisfied because a personal connection is formed. The singer invests in a song personally and delivers the message true to their voice and style. When a singer does that a personal truth is more likely to strike a chord of familiarity in the listener.
Find Your Song
In your search for material find pieces you can relate to personally. Maybe a song speaks to you because it’s something a friend or neighbor or coworker is going through. A song might carry a message that is a personal revelation for you, something it’s taught you about life or love or justice that you want to share. Your excitement about discovering that message can help you deliver the song more effectively.
Be passionate about your pursuit of songs to sing. Take it personally. Understand what the song is saying and surrender to letting the listener what you’ve discovered as you sing.
Honing your technical skills will help you sing the notes, but communicating your understanding of the song will give you an edge that comes with true artistry. Your interpretive skills and artistry will help you deliver a song not just voice to ear but heart to heart.