Home GENERAL SINGING - Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy Forum

Are John Fogerty and Paul Rodgers what you would call naturals?

I remember reading that John Fogerty basically tape-recorded himself singing until he got the vocal sound he desired. It struck me as interesting and inspiring that he could "create" a voice like that which is distorted yet so powerful. Then I was listening to a vid of him singing and noticed he used some silent h's to get past the bridge and wondered if maybe he had a teacher or coach suggest that. Amazing singer. It's even more amazing that he can still sing, albeit with noticeably less distortion than he used to. Paul Rodgers is the same way but he sounds just as distorted and open-throated as ever. I guess in singing you have the "naturals" just like basketball has Michael Jordan and track has "Usain Bolt."
But I'd rather be an awesome trained singer with a healthy technique than a natural who doesn't know what he is doing or how to fix his voice when he has a problem.


  • Options
    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359


    I think that probably the "naturals" are just using good technique, but somehow that good technique was something they just were gifted with.  Part of it could be physiology, just well-constructed to make those sounds, but you can't use bad technique and not pay the price, even if you ARE gifted.

    Paul Rodgers sounds Totally Awesome these days, and he's no spring chicken!

    Tape-recording (or digital for that matter) yourself CONSTANTLY is a GREAT habit to get into.  After a while, it becomes so natural for you, that the red light never bothers you anymore, unless it's off.  You yourself are your best, your greates, and your worst own critic.  You can quickly move on from self-loathing to paying attention to the nooks and crannies of your voice and really get a lot worked out.  You can even catch yourself hearing something played back and LIKING how it sounds, especially when you initially hear it and don't realize it's YOU at first.


  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Lol I know exactly what you mean, Bob. When I had my iPod I would make recordings of my voice ALOT. It really helped me figure out what to do better and what didn't sound too great. Nowadays, I practice alot in my basement with a microphone with backing tracks or when the band comes over to jam. It really helps hearing my voice amplified so I know how much I am off pitch and what not.
    At any rate, John Fogerty is a great singer. Kind of like a low tenor/high baritone like Ken. He has inspired me to "create" my own voice, with of course, the solid technical basis that KTVA has provided for me.
  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ matt53: A very good singer-songwriter friend of mine, Bob Malone, just happens to be John Fogerty's keyboard player.  Bob is an amazing singer and performer in his own right.  Anyway, Ill be seeing him when he's back off the road, and since your question is one I would like some insight to, I'll get his take on this.

    And I used to live about 5 miles from Paul Rodgers when I lived in Surrey, England, back in the mid 80's, through the early 90's.  Another musician friend of mine, Duncan Mackay, also a keyboard player, with whom I was working with during that period, called me one day to tell me he was invited to jam with Paul and the nucleus of his new band at the time, The Law, at Paul's house.  Duncan was somewhat nervous about the session, so he went on to ask me if I he drove over to my house, could he follow me to Paul's.  Knowing how close it was, I willingly agreed to lead the way.  We pulled into Paul's driveway and from there he was on his own.  Sad to say, he didn't land the gig.
    Some years later, here in LA, I got to meet Paul backstage after a Bad Company show.  
    We chatted about singing and music, of course, then the subject turned to our old stomping grounds in Surrey, both of us having left many years ago.  He'd moved to Vancouver, BC, and these days, as our Bob mentioned, is singing better than ever.  Awesome, for sure!  
    That gig was certainly star-studded, as I also got to chat with Neil Schon backstage, also ran across Mick Jones and Glen Hughes, both of whom were hanging out post show.

    Not sure whether or not Paul is a natural born singer, but I once heard him relate a story in an interview that he was playing bass in a band, and since they didn't have a singer as such, he became the guy.  From what he described, he made it appear as if he didn't have much of a clue whether or not he could sing, up until that point, so I don't know if that really was the case, or if it was just a cool story.  Either way, he's incredible.

    All the best, guys'


  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Hey JohnJohn that's incredible you got to meet all those cool performers. Glenn Hughes is quite the singer too, and I think I heard him once refer to himself as a natural in an interview or something. Too bad about your keyboard friend not getting the gig though. I'm a keyboard player myself and I can imagine that maybe his style or personality wasn't what they wanted :(
  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    Yes, I've had the honor and pleasure of meeting quite a lot of my idols during my checkered career in the music industry.  As for Glen, he really is amazing, all those C6's he hits time after time.
    It would make sense that he may well be one of those born with natural ability.  Certainly wouldn't surprise me.

    As for Duncan not getting the gig, I think he was just psyched that he got the opportunity, so not terribly disappointed.  So what style of music do like to play?
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Yeah it's funny you mention those C6's. I saw an interview Glenn did for a Japanese show where he shows off his range for the interviewer. He starts going "hoo! hoo!" and glides into some note like B6. Pretty awesome but funny too xD
    I have a party cover band that's mostly for fun but I trust that someday we'll be good enough to play weddings and private gigs.
    I also write and produce retro 80's/70's prog rock type concept albums and songs in my spare time.
  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ matt53: I always forget about that extra letter 'n' on his first name!
    I haven't watched any of his YouTube clips for quite sometime, so I should revisit them.
    Anyway, I don't know how he does it.  I did hear that he says he needs to practice regularly, so I guess that gives us all hope!  ;-)

    These days, I honestly think having a cover band is a very good route to go in what remains of the traditional business.  That's how I began my career, but being a songwriter, I couldn't keep on doing that in good conscience, even though I made decent money, so I quit, and the rest, as the saying goes ...  

    And it sounds like you have another outlet for your talents, which is also a plus.  

    I hope everything goes well for you, going forward.  :-).
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Lol thanks. My cover band and I are doing a concert in November so maybe I'll post a vid or too. At our first (and only so far) performance we did pretty well but I had to replace my bassist with a more competent one. However, people really liked my vocals and our performance in general.
    My friend's friend saw us perform It's Not Unusual, and being a Tom Jones fan, said I sounded just like Jones does on that track; he really liked my performance. Because of the way that one spans from C3-C5 and sails through the registers, it's one of the more difficult ones I have to sing, but it's so much fun!
    At the moment I am not trying to break into the music industry; I am studying to be a music copyright lawyer so I can protect the rights of songwriters who get so little thanks to piracy and what not. However, if my material is strong enough, it would be fun to tour as a band playing it.
    You seem to be a pretty experienced and successful songwriter yourself so you would know better than I am how the music environment is today.
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Btw here's the clip of Glenn on that show. Look for it after 0:52 into the video haha
  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    edited October 2014
    @ matt53: Very cool, thanks for posting.
    I look forward to seeing a clip or two from your next performance.  And by what you describe, the Tom Jones thing sounds like you've got it going on.  :-)
    Your decision to study to become a music copyright lawyer is a good one, I feel, especially in these times where music is being used in so many diverse areas, yet the actual writers are getting very little for their creations, which is something Paul Williams of ASCAP is currently trying to address.
    As for the whole business, it's a strange landscape by way of comparison to how it was back when I started out, it's most certainly changed a great deal in a relatively short time period.  
    Hard to predict how things are going to play out, long term, as things continue to evolve.
    It'll be very different, that's for sure.  Maybe I'll be one of your clients someday.  Who knows?! Haha!
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Lol yeah thanks @johnjohn, will do.
    Music is basically what I live for, both the performing and writing aspects, but as much as I would love to be a musician, I do want to be able to pay my bills reliably.
    My dream is to be "that rich, successful lawyer who has the secret life as a lead singer and player in an amazing party band/who also has a cool solo project going on." xD
    As much as cover bands are maligned and denigrated as "cheesy," I think that it is a fantastic way to get exposure to all kinds of music. (Which is great for the writing btw; learning all these radio-friendly chord progressions in case you ever need them).
    In addition, I believe that if you can equal the performance standards of other great artists and learn to sing and perform difficult, popular repertoire, it can give you the skills and confidence to be able to surpass them in your own projects.
    After all, if I couldn't sing all the great standards of today and ages past, what is going to give me the confidence to be able to think that I could sing my own material just as well someday?
    Look at Ken; he has mastered the Masters of Singing and their repertoire. In terms of technique, it can be argued that he has surpassed most of them.
    No small feat.

  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ matt53:
    You make spot-on points.  From the being able to pay the bills, part, all the way through to the valuable learning process one gets from singing/performing, other artists' material.  The latter is something I still do to this day, although mainly at home as part of my vocal practice and also for enjoyment.  The other side of the coin is U2, who - so the story goes - apparently developed their sound because they weren't able to play other artists' songs all that well.  Speaking personally, my decision to sing/play songs by other artists' has been of immense help as far as my songwriting is concerned, and continues to be so.  It's also helped me better define and refine my own style, so I've never become strictly a copyist.
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    That's cool you have your own style. What songs do you like to sing and practice btw? I've been sick this whole week and can't sing at all :/ Then I thought of the people on the forum and guess I'd pop in. And how is your vocal progress? I want to hear you perform.
  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ matt53: It varies from day to day, but just recently, (having regained my vocal strength after prostate surgery, which unfortunately didn't make it any easier to sing higher!  LOL!) I got into the habit of singing along with CD's, on mic, with 8 Journey songs, back to back.  I tend to get into a routine, where I sing the same songs daily, until after a while I get a little bored singing the same ones, so I switch to other songs, but usually the more challenging material.  So, a selection of songs - in no particular order - by the likes of The Outfield, Cheap Trick, Sting/Police, Kansas, Foreigner, Toto, Survivor, Winger, Jefferson Starship's song, Jane, Don Henley's, The Boys of Summer, Glen Frey's Part of Me, Part of You, Dig, by Incubus, Hoobastank's, Crawling In The Dark, Bon Scott era, AC/DC, and anything else that I feel the need to try out. 
    Then when a show is coming up, (my next one is on Nov. 23rd) I switch gears and get back to practicing my songs, which present different challenges to the preceding material, plus I actually have to play guitar as well as sing, which makes it more tricky than just singing without playing an instrument as I'm sure you're all too aware!  
    Sorry to hear you've been sick, that's something I'm really paranoid about as of right now, with a show on the horizon.  Actually 2, since another one is planned in December.  So, my days are taken up with hours of practice at this stage, beginning with at least a 45 minute vocal warm-up, each and every time.  And on the morning of show day, I have a radio interview to do on KLOS 95.5 Los Angeles, where I'll be singing and playing 2 Beatles' songs live on air, together with Debbi Peterson, so I need to be up real early that day in order to get properly warmed-up and primed.  Then back home to get spruced up and re- warmed-up in time for the evening show.
    So whereabouts are you based?
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Wow cool good luck playing on the radio! I hope there's some way you can show me your performance.
    I've been sick for a couple of weeks and I feel bad about not replying sooner.
    Anyway, I'm based in Amityville, Long Island. Those are alot of cool songs you sing there. For my band's next concert, we will be playing:
    Happy by Pharrell Williams
    Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People
    Someday We'll Know by The New Radicals
    Just What I Needed by The Cars
    Never Let You Go by Third Eye Blind
    I Wish by Stevie Wonder
    Tighten Up by the Black Keys
    Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli
    Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
    All Right Now by Free
    Twist and Shout by the "Fab Four"
    Let it Be by the "Fab Four"
    Human by The Killers
    Baba O'Riley by THE WHO!!!
    It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones
    You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban
    Don't Stop Believing by Journey
    September by Earth Wind and Fire.
    and a few others I can't think off the top of my head.
    Anyway, we plan to learn even more songs but I feel like this is a good repertoire to start off with for a party/wedding band.
    I have seen about 99.9% of these songs on wedding/party band websites, so I don't think there is anything that most people will find too obscure.
    There is a chance that we could play at a prom in January, so we might add a few more danceable and current songs that "young people" will want to listen to.
  • Options
    johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ matt53:
    Thanks!  Very cool.  :-)
  • Options
    matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    Thanks we have another show in a couple of weeks. Btw, how did your radio appearance go?
Sign In or Register to comment.