Singing Forum by Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy
Hey Dudes and Divas!

Welcome to Singer Forum by Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy. Enrolled KTVA vocalists have access to the full singer forums, self-registered members have access to limited areas of the KTVA singing forum. Register to learn more.

To enroll in Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy Singing Lessons click here.

Alone Again (Naturally) - Connecting, Closure & Breathiness?

Evenin' all,

This is less of a demonstration and more of a request for some feedback. Apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong section...

To cut a long story short, I ended up screwing my voice up through oversinging and have been gradually trying to rebuild it from the ground up. Rather than going right back to belting and wailing again, I've pulled it right back and dropped my volume levels massively, which has actually shown me that I've been oversinging for years without ever realising it. Anyhow, I'm digressing...

I recorded myself on my phone singing a verse and chorus from "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan but on listening back, I find myself questioning whether I'm too breathy and whether I'm connecting chest and head correctly. Due to being used to singing at high volumes by default, shifting to singing more lightly is like a whole new world for me and I want to make sure I'm still applying the techniques correctly.

The breathiness is something I think I may just be getting paranoid about due to an underlying fear of having something like nodules, but I thought it'd be worth asking for some other opinions in case I'm just getting complacent and ignoring something I should be working on. Does my voice sound breathy in an uncontrolled or unnatural way? Can a better, more learned pair of ears hear anything in my voice that would suggest poor closure?

As for connecting: Moving through the passaggio seems almost too effortless at this volume, but I still have the hangover of bad technique and a nagging feeling that I'm maybe missing something.

I think I'm still using chest when I'm singing this 'cause I can still feel that resonance and it clearly shifts into my head when I go higher, but I don't know whether I'm completely wrong and I'm actually just in more of a mixed voice without realizing it. Is that even important? Should I just continue to view the voice as one long note?

Something else I'd like some feedback on is the actual sound of my voice when singing in a gentler style. I used to think that power and volume were the hallmarks of a great singer, so I sang heavy and really went for it but, and maybe it's just an age thing, I'm finding it more and more rewarding to sing more lightly and save the belting for effect rather than my default voice.

All comments are welcomed and appreciated, please feel free to be as harsh as you like; it's the only way I'll learn...hahahaha!

Comments

  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Your phrasing is just killer. One of the final moments, when you sing "Decided on my own", gave me chills.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,407Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Well, it does sound breathy. But that kind of sound will blend in with other vocals and instruments well. It can also dry out your cords pretty quickly.

    As you said, having a belting voice as your default is also going to give your voice a beating, unless you sufficiently cut back the air and support well.

    Your notes are accurate. Your support is good. This has a nice melody and takes some skill to do well.

    I think songs like this are good to keep us from being a one-dimensional singer.

    You could experiment with this song and see what you can do at a lower volume still, but with more cord closure, just as a way of challenging yourself. And perhaps a version with even more breathy-tones. Just for perspective's sake.
  • Thanks for checking it out, Bob! I think I'll try what you've suggested with doing different versions and see how it sounds. I hadn't thought about exploring even lower volumes but that'd be a great challenge!

    I have quite a naturally low, breathy speaking voice so I think I'll need to work more on cord closure so that I can avoid bringing too much of that across in my singing.
  • I think it's important to learn how to sing softly. Being able to sound good on a loud stage is important, but having the ability to not melt your friends' ears while they're sitting nearby is also handy. This is something I'm working with right now.

    I'm not any more qualified than any of the other commenters on your thread, but since you asked for advice I will offer some. It did seem a tad too breathy for me. Experiment with this: be light on the sound but not breathy and also not nasally. Imagine there's someone sitting 3-5 feet from you. Would the volume bother them? If not, is the tone breaking down too much? Try to find a balance between these two extremes. Remember the age-old concept of resonance > volume. Resonance is almost never unpleasant while loudness can be. These are some ideas that have helped me.

    Your track sounds good, though; don't get me wrong. It's great if you want to start incorporating that airiness. However, if your goal is just being lighter and quieter, then airiness isn't necessarily a requirement, despite common belief. It depends what you want to do. To answer your question: no, your tone doesn't sound breathy in an out-of-control manner. There were some notes I thought were questionable, but sometimes I hear things.
  • Thank you @blondiewales, that's really helpful. I think I really need to zone in on closure and work at it as it's not something I've ever consciously done. At the moment, I'm just trying to work on support and control but given that both you and Bob note the breathiness, it suggests that I should really focus on this too.

    I would agree with you on the questionable notes; there's a few in there that I'm not entirely happy with, so it's very helpful to know that it's not just me either. My onsets tend to be really breathy and can be quite shaky pitch-wise sometimes, so it seems I'm definitely overlooking an important aspect of my practice.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your honesty and advice.
Sign In or Register to comment.