Rock Singers Raw!

This video is for educational purposes. I find that young singers often attempt to sound like the recording, which is usually the reason they get hurt. Young singers need to realize that recordings and live performances are processed. All artists use compression, reverb, delay, and equalization. Many artists use Auto-Tune in the studio to fix small mistakes that would cost too much money to fix by re-recording. And unfortunately, many artists DO use Auto-Tune live. Why? Because the modern microphones and the clarity of digital sound make every little imperfection of the NATURAL voice pop right out at you. In order to help smooth things out, sound engineers use these tools. What you hear on the recording or in a live performance where they are able to use their own sound team, is often not what the singers would actually sound like if they were singing in a practice room or voice lesson. Most of the time, they are actually singing much quieter than the volume level we listen at when hearing a song through a stereo and especially through headphones.

iPods can easily reach 110 dB. Most studies suggest that 62-96 dB is the average volume level of singers in non-classical singing styles (also excluding musical theatre). Since every 3-5dB equals a doubling of sound, you are listening to these singers at around 3-7 times the volume they are actually singing. You also do not naturally sing with reverb, compression, equalization, and delay coming directly out of your mouth, so you CANNOT duplicate the recorded sound in person without equipment.

This does not mean these singers are not talented. In fact, its quite the opposite. I think all of these performers are incredibly talented. These singers tell a story. They sing from the heart. They are raw, real, and truthful – and that is why they get hired! There is nothing more beautiful than watching a real human being standing on the stage and letting their soul out through their acoustic voice – What I am calling “off-mic.” I LOVE that kind of singing and so do the producers who warn them not to get voice lessons because they could loose that. BUT there is an epidemic spreading like wild fire among high school students and undergrads. Its the epidemic of louder is better. ITS NOT! Student singers believe louder is better because that is what they hear in their ears through their headphones. Then when they sing, if they don’t hear themselves in their own heads in the same way they hear the recordings, they are disappointed. Then when they go to a voice teacher, the voice teacher has to try to convince them to not push. Then the student goes back home to practice and will start singing loud again because they have been conditioned by the recordings to do so. There ARE contemporary voice teachers out there who understand all of these elements and help students sing the way they are supposed to sound – raw, committed, and HEALTHY. It can be done without loosing your unique sound. So if you think you may fall under the category of “over-singing” please seek out a qualified teacher.

My goal is to stop the unnecessary screaming and instead encourage young people to do what THEY are capable of doing and most of all focus on being who THEY are, speaking from THEIR soul and opening it to the world. If a singer has a naturally loud voice, awesome! However, if they do not have a naturally huge voice, they can still work professionally, but they need to let the equipment help them and just do what they do naturally.



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