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Critique My Singing Pretty Please : )

TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled

I’m still on volume 1 so I def have a llooonnggg way to go, but I need your help to make sure I’m on the right track with applying all of this great information that I’ve learned to my actual singing. I don’t think anyone has ever heard me sing except for Ken when I sent him my vocal sample…I'm extremely self conscience when it comes to singing so I’m trying to break out of my tacky little shell by posting this. I’m just trying to take a few baby steps to try to get out of my own way, you know? I really want to improve so please help a sista out and critique, critique, critique…oh and critique some more lol. Please be as honest as possible. No need to sugar coat anything. I want you to tell me like it is so that I can take it and improve…I’m seriously trying to be the best singer I can be.

I apologize for them both being short.

Adele - First Love: http://soundcloud.com/trentawilson/video0125

Billie Holiday - God Bless The Child: http://soundcloud.com/trentawilson/video0143

Thanks again for listening! : )

Comments

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,514Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Trent,

    First let me say I like the quality of your voice.  I think I hear a lot of Billie Holiday influence, and I mean that as a compliment.  You seem to have gotten the vocal breath support down pretty well, and your voice does sound bright.  Both of these items most students are struggling with, but I think you're doing well in those areas. 

    I'm more concerned with your pitch.  I've heard several demos recently that were acapella or sung along with a small cell-phone backing track, and most of those seem to have problems of being on concert pitch.  So I would like to hear you try again with maybe the music playing on a stereo or something where you will hear the pitch of the music tracks and we (the listeners) will hear you "in the mix" of the music.  That way we can tell (and you can tell) if everything is right with regard to pitch.  With your bright vocal sound, you should be able to zero in with the pitch of the backing tracks and synchronize your voice to the key of the song.

    Without a good relationship between your voice and the key of the backing tracks, our voices can gradually drift away from the original key of the song, and before you know it, you're not in the same key as the song started.

    Way to go for putting your stuff up on the forum for feedback.  It's a great way to move forward with your vocal progress.  If you don't identify your areas of weakness, you won't be able to transform them into your greatest strengths! The first step to solving any problem is to identify it, and then to decide to conquer it!

    Like I said, you have a good sounding voice, but staying on pitch and in key is an essential skill to either master or keep in check. 

    Can you try again with some backing tracks at a proper level?  I'd like to hear you do that!

    Thanks.

    Bob 

    P.S., come on, everybody, and follow Trent's lead.  Put up your demos and let's start advancing our progress together!!

  • TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled

    Thanks @highmtn! Ken said the same thing about my pitch when I sent him my vocal sample. I'm going to continue work at it until I perfect it. Thanks for the encouragement and advice and I will def give it another go tonight! 

    And thanks for the Billie Holiday compliment, that seriously made my day. I absolutely love her! : )

  • GuevaraGuevara Posts: 140Enrolled
    Hi Trent,

    Thanks for posting your sample; I like the tone of your voice, it sounds very modern (Adele/Duffy/Amy Whinehouse etc.) although I realise it's from an older tradition (Billie Holiday).

    The sections that are good in your demo are where you need to bring everything up to so it is consistently good throughout. Bob has pinpointed the weaker areas to work on.

    The only thing I would add is to sing with more conviction, like you really mean and believe every single word of it. Other than that I agree with Bob, that you have set a great example by posting your demo that others (including myself) need to follow.

    Keep singing every day Trent!!, Gary


  • GuevaraGuevara Posts: 140Enrolled
    One more thing Trent; You say that Ken is the only person until now that has heard you sing. If you have the courage to let one of the best singers (if not the best) in the world hear you sing, then you can sing in front of anyone.... no problem:-)
  • TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled

    @guevara Thank you so much! I will most def work on my conviction. I couldn't agree with you more about that. I feel like when I sing I get so focused on trying to be perfect that I actually forget the message of the song. That's crazy right?? I haven't gotten around to it, but I'm going to post a re-do with all of the suggestions given to me soon.

    Thanks again!

  • GuevaraGuevara Posts: 140Enrolled
    Hi again Trent,

    It is really good that you  focus on trying to get everything as perfect as you can, so keep on doing that. 

    You have a really beautiful, natural vulnerability in your voice, which I think is a very strong point and something you don't want to lose because that's exactly the kind of thing that will make your voice stand out from the crowd and move people.

    I'm looking forward to hearing your next demo.  
  • TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled
    Hey y'all! I finally got a chance to record another demo! I just want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to listen to me and for giving me such awesome advice. It really means a lot. So I tried my best to take all the advice I was given and sing with more emotion and with the background music louder to try to help out with my pitch. Now let me tell you that this song is totally out of my element. I usually steer clear of singing loud/belty songs because I always feel like I'm yelling lol (so please tell me if I am) but since I'm trying to push myself I decided to be brave and do one.

    Note: Turn your volume down if you like hearing : ). The sound quality on all of these songs I've been posting might suck a little bit because I've been recording all of them in my car....with my cell phone...on my lunch break : / lol...but I don't have any recording equipment or places to really sing freely so this is the only way I'm able to record my singing. Thanks for baring with me.


    Please give me ALL of your suggestions!

    Thanks again



  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,514Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Hey, Trent!!

    Now we're starting to get somewhere!  I do have some changes to suggest for your "recording studio".

    First let me say the music is recorded at about the right level and is sounding good for a demo.  Now let's get to the recording of your voice...  First of all, the pitch is sounding much better.  But the recording of your voice is distorted, and is almost painful to listen to, due to the distortion.  SO, I'm not sure what you did to get the music sounding like it does, but let's keep that. Maybe the cell phone is near the radio speaker?  Anyway, let's get the microphone on your cell phone farther away from your voice, so it won't go into distortion.  Do a sound check and move the phone around while in record mode, and let's find a place where it records and sounds as good as the music playback does on this demo.  Maybe you'll have to sit in the back seat and have the cell phone in the front seat or on the front floorboard.  Maybe you can park in a big parking garage and have a great reverb/echo chamber sound on your voice... ? Let's try to get your voice sounding as good as the playback.  You have to be your own recording engineer.  You're the Producer.  Make your voice sound as good as you can when you record.  That means good note placement, good acoustics, and a recording that does not go into distortion.  You may just need to sing a little more quietly to avoid the distortion, but if that's not going to work for you, then let's try mic placement by varying the distance of your voice from the cell phone's mic. 

    I like your energy.  Like I said, your pitch is WAY better this time, probably because you can hear the playback better, AND you are probably learning to LISTEN to YOURSELF WHILE YOU ARE RECORDING better!  This is a skill and can be learned and honed to perfection. 

    Good work, Trent, and keep up the progress!

    Bob

  • TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled
    Ok thanks @highmtn ! I definitely think it's time to invest in a microphone that I can possibly hook up into my computer lol. Do you think that would work? If so, do you have any suggestions on a type of microphone I should buy?
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,514Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Trent,

    Google "USB Microphone" and several choices will come up.  Then it's a matter of affordability.  Any USB mic should plug directly into your computer. 

    Perhaps some others on this forum have found a USB mic they like.

    When you do have a mic, you will still have to position things in order to create a "mix" of your own voice relative to the volume of the playback music.  In the olden days of early rock and r and b recording, the "mix" was created by having the singers close to the mic, other musicians farther away, and the drummer across the room or in a booth with walls around the drum set, and the drummer would have to play very quietly.  Some variation of this may be how you create your "mix".  It doesn't have to be exact, but we're trying to get your voice recorded in a way that emphasizes all of your good vocal qualities, have your voice and the backing tracks sounding on pitch together, and still have the music sound full and clear.  It's a balancing act, literally.  AND we have to keep in mind all of the vocal balancing acts we are combining to avoid the vocal moving targets.

    The beauty of all of this is that, once mastered, we have the ability to showcase the hard work we have done on our voice and present it in the best possible light.  This is a key to having demos that will help us to get bookings or possible auditions by making our voices sound as appealing and professional as we can. 

    Congratulations on the progress you have made so far, Trent!

    Bob

     

  • GuevaraGuevara Posts: 140Enrolled
    Hi Trent,

    The link won't work for me for some reason:-(
    Maybe it's this computer I am using.
    Did you take the demo down? I was looking forward to hearing you sing Mercy by Duffy:-(
  • sspatricksspatrick Posts: 1,278Moderator, Enrolled
    Hey Trenta I just bought the Samson Meteor USB mic. It's affordable sounds great and is very portable. It's basically plug n play. If you are looking for a decent mic, check it out.
  • TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled

    @Guevara lol yea I took it down. I was in a rush and I didn't listen to it before posting, but my voice was totally distorted. But no worries! I'm going to check out this fab mic @sspatrick suggested and I'll be back next week with it again : )).

    @sspatrick Thanks for the suggestion!! That mic has really great reviews and its right in my budget. Woop Woop! I'm getting it next weekend.

  • GuevaraGuevara Posts: 140Enrolled
  • TrentawilsonTrentawilson Posts: 13Enrolled
    Hey y'all! 

    I finally got my usb microphone. Woop woop!  While I'm really excited, I have to say it's really odd to hear how I really sound lol. Big difference hearing yourself record on an actual mic rather than a cell phone. Anyway, please give me as much criticism as possible! I know I need a lot of improvement and I really want to get better so please don't hold anything back.  Thanks again guys! : )

    Duffy - Mercy: 
    Adele - Someone Like You: 
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,514Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Trent,

    Good job.  You are really improving!   This sounds a lot better than your previous demos.  There are places where your pitch drifts, but not nearly as much as your previous demos, and when you're  on pitch it sounds very, very good!

    You need to keep working at this and really learn to hear the backing music while you are singing so you can lock in to the key and pitch of the song.  Your tone is nice and bright. 

    The more you record and the more you listen with an honest, critical ear to the pitch, you can really get your sound dialed-in.  I especially like the Mercy track.  It sounds sassy and has a lot of style.  You are getting the hang of recording and getting the music and voice at a good balance. 

    Record more.  Listen to the playback, and make corrections as you go.  You will learn and improve the more you do this. 

    Bob

  • GuevaraGuevara Posts: 140Enrolled
    Hi Trent,

    Wow you've really stepped things up here! and your song choices are perfect for your voice.

    First up:  Mercy. You have really pulled this one off to a level where you should be up in front of a live audience performing it. Real passion and conviction in your delivery and fantastic tone. Great stuff Trent.

    Next up: Someone Like You. This is a real tough one too get bang on, but I think you are 95% there. You've got the tone, emotion and raw passion and feeling in your vocal performance. 

    As Bob says there are just a couple of small moments where the pitch drifts just a tiny bit. This might be down to not taking in enough air to fully support the entire phrase to the end; or using up the air too quickly by not managing your outward breath by holding back how much you are allowing over the vocal cords. This only seemed to effect the section about two thirds in on Someone Like You.

    Having said all that your voice and delivery had the hairs on my arms standing up on end so you are definitely making great progress in the right direction!! Keep at it as you are starting to sound really professional. 

    All the best Trent, I'm looking forward to hearing more of your singing in the future!

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