I really like your personality as it comes across in your videos. You really want this.
You picked a hard song. It has some good and some not so good moments. I think I've figured out something that you're doing in this video that we talked about the last time you posted one.
Before, I mentioned that your pitch drifted and I suggested that maybe it was a monitoring issue, as you seemed to drift at times away from the key of the backing tracks. That happens here in this tune a few times also.
What I noticed is that often the pitch problems happen after you do a vocal run on a single syllable.
You are singing in a mellismatic style, where single syllables are embellished with long, complex runs of several notes and bends. I'm noticing that most of the times I hear you as off-pitch are right after one of those runs.
Don't get me wrong. I've heard you do some very nice runs that I couldn't even come close to pulling off. But those runs sometimes have you coming out on a note that isn't quite the note that you should be on, and your point of intonational reference is, consequently, off.
It's almost like when you're a kid and they put a blindfold on you and spin you around. You lose your sense of where exactly you are. Your notes sometimes spin off so fast that when you need to land spot-on, you're a semitone off. You keep going, in tune with your off-pitch reference.
I think that the cure for that is to rehearse the runs, in slow motion, and ensure that melodically you are as accurate as a brain surgeon when you do every note in your run and that when you finish it you are right on the tonal money for your next melodic line.
As an example, you do a number of riffs into the word "life" at 1:58, and end up on a wrong note. You recover and NAIL IT on "Live" at 2:04.
You sing with conviction and feeling. I think you need to fix your tonal radar and tune it up. Part of this is really, really paying attention to your intonation AS you GO. Compare to the backing tracks and make corrections. Learn to track in pitch, all the time.
That precision may take some of the fun and spontaneity out of it for you at first, but it's a MUST to have the intonation accuracy when singing in the mellismatic style.
You have a nice voice, and great stage presence. I really want to be a help to you, and I feel that if you figure this out, and fix it, you will really, really be able to take your voice where you want to be with it. If I just told you it sounds great, you would not correct this issue.
Please spend a little time recording and listening to the playback of these runs, slowed way, way down, and ensure that melodically you are not jumping the track anywhere. Once you learn to nail the pitch, without fail and without so much as a semitone of disorientation, you will be right where you want to be.
You are so close. You need to take it this one step closer!
Please forgive me if I'm being too direct.
All the best!
The runs can sometimes be in different modal keys than the standard major/minor or blues runs. That means sometimes mellismatics use semitones that are in-between the standard naturals, flats, and sharps that appear on a standard keyboard.
If you come out of a run and are anywhere too high or too low for the concert pitch of the note you need to be on, then you're in trouble pitch-wise.
So, to get a handle on this, you are probably going to need to rehearse your runs, ensuring that they 1) Start on a valid note, and 2) end on a valid target note, so that the intervals you hit when you return to the standard melody are spot-on.
If it were me figuring this out, I would do the runs in slow-motion, at a piano keyboard, and map out the runs, playing them on the piano. That way, I could see exactly what the ending target note of my mellismatic run is, and how it relates to the next set of the standard melody notes.
I would just be rehearsing and checking to be sure that all of my entrances and exits for my runs are right on key, and that I also know some anchoring points in my main melody that keep me in check regarding pitch and key.
Stevie Wonder is known as a great mellismatic singer, and I'm just wowed when I listen to some of his runs. He is so skillful, and so accurate with his pitch and tone. The runs give a lot of style and help to convey feeling.
Runs can go just about anywhere in the middle, but we need to know how to get into them and out of them while returning to the same dimension we were in before we left.
I'm not hearing strain, and I'm not hearing it sound covered. That said, brightness is always better for intonation, and mask is also a good tool. The agility is probably what is causing you to slip a bit off the track of the song. Again, if you slow it down, parse it out, and perfect it, you will probably get it right when you speed it back up.
Good luck, Chris.
Keep up the good work!