The Crossover Singer

The crossover singer is someone who is able to achieve success while melding several genres or styles of music together to inform their sound. Through working with hundreds of singers, I have heard the same resounding statement: Their desire is to be unique, and they find it hard to be pigeon holed into one particular genre or vocal style. Many times my students will say that they would like to draw from two or three different genres and use those influences to create a style all their own. So, how does one take the appropriate steps to fuse several styles of music, while turning it into a congruent sound with mass appeal? Some effective ways that I have found to do so is through self-exploration, experimentation and by taking risks. Enabling these practices may allow you to bridge the gap between your favorite styles, and it can lay the foundation for a style that is all your own.

Self-exploration entails finding out what exactly appeals to you and why. Begin to ask yourself questions about the types of music you find yourself listening to. Make a choice to move from the realm of passive listening to active and inquisitive listening. Here are some sample questions you can start to ask yourself: Do you listen to particular types of music because that’s what your parents listened to, or did your current musical preferences stem out of rebellion for what your parents didn’t want you to listen to? Do you like the vocal stylings or particular instrumentation found in certain types of music? Are you drawn to a certain musical era in time more so than others? Do the different styles of music that you like severely contrast, or do they compliment one another? What are some style traits of your favorite singers? What emotions are evoked when you listen to your favorite songs? Through answering some of these questions and coming up with some of your own, you will be able to have a better understanding of the styles that will naturally inform your singing. Remember: awareness is the key to self-discovery.

Once you have uncovered why you like different styles of music you should begin to experiment with your sound. Try singing with different components of each, in order to develop a unique blending of the different genres. For instance, if you enjoy singing country music, but you would like it to have a more rock vibe, experiment with different inflections, volumes, and your overall delivery. Also, begin to train yourself to discernibly listen to singers who have successfully mastered the art of crossover singing. What is it about their approach or delivery that has allowed them to be successful?

Lastly, learn to take risks and have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Doing something new or outside of the box is scary, but allow yourself to experience failure, along with success. If you only demand perfection out of yourself, you will miss the learning opportunities along the way. A wise man once said, “Nothing worth doing was ever easy.” If you would like a safe place to hone your skills or experiment with your sound, I suggest taking a private lesson with a Brett Manning certified coach. A coach will provide you with honest feedback and may open your eyes to possibilities of which you have never known.

To book a lesson with Chanelle Fagan, contact booking@singingsuccess.com or 615-866-1099.