We are the Champions - Queen Cover

Hi Everyone - 

Hope you had a good Christmas and a great New Year!

Have a listen to my new cover and let me know what you think, some of my most adventurous singing to date!

Cool song, lots of places to enjoy the notes and resonate big and then also grit up a bit!




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


    You keep on improving as time goes on!  Great job!


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    rcrosierrcrosier Pro Posts: 275
    Love it!  Great job Phil!
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    Ken TamplinKen Tamplin Administrator, Moderator Posts: 446
    edited December 2014
    awesome job Phil!

    I am going to post this on our outlets to get some hits :-)
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    philmaherphilmaher Pro Posts: 48
    edited December 2014
    Thanks @highmtn Yea I can absolutely hear the difference from videos from even 6 months ago. 

    @rcrsoer Thanks!

    @KenTamplin Thanks so much! Had some really good feedback!

    Really want to tear this apart a bit and see what you think, for me

    as a point to start, this cover as with nearly all my covers, are learnt literally as I record the takes on the day, so theres plenty of bits i look back on and go agh, could've done that better! but time is always against us!

    0:30 - When i sing and "bad mistakes" almost sounds like a different voice, I should've eased in a bit more with the more rounded tone from the start but is this the "Ping" brightness we're always taking about? Theres a lil bit too much nasalness in there for me as i listen back, (i blame listening to to much Bon Jovi! haha) But then leads to me thinking should my opening sentences be a bit brighter? And is the tone i am using for those opening sentences "masked"? I like the tone of both parts, i could've just blended them better.

    1:13 -  Was happy with this bit, bridging from falsetto back to chest but to do it I sacrificed diction on the words ( don't sing the "ions" of champions). Im sure I probably could've got it if i'd spent more time.

    2:00 -  "I aint gonna lose", The big vocal..I can sing that a bit rounder and fuller now, that was just the best take on the day, not totally happy with it but, is what it is. Its the same D that I hit with ease in at 2:26, i think its a combination of trying to grit up the lyrics to give them urgency but then still slip happily into head voice. Just starting on the sliders etc in Vol 2 though so I'm sure they will help with this!

    2:26 -  "We are the champions" really happy with the high D, prob my favourite thing i've recorded!

    Any thoughts?!
    Thanks everyone!

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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    edited January 2015


    Hi, Phil.

    I hear all of the things you are talking about.  I still like the recording.  There are a lot of really good things in it.

    I've done what you are talking about before, where you learn a song for the first time by recording it.  There are some great things about that and some other things that will  make you always want to go back and redo it.

    By recording a new piece, you learn it, line-by-line, in great detail, in such a way that normal listening and then performing cannot duplicate.  You can really catch a lot of nuances, and work them out, and consequently be able to perform the song live better for having learned it first from recording it.

    On the other hand, because the song is new to you, and you haven't yet taken the time to digest and scrutinize the entirety of the song, some subtleties in some of the nooks and crannies of the tune will fly past you, because you are trying to do so much, usually all in one day.  I don't know how long you worked on this, but Freddie may have worked on it for weeks.  I know the Beatles and Led Zeppelin often worked on their rhythm tracks for thirty or more takes and then worked the vocal tracks, lead guitar solos, and other additions just as long or even longer.  That's why albums can take months or years to produce, with bandmates, engineers, and producers listening in critically the entire time, giving feedback and direction.  If you've read very much about how Queen produced their albums, especially the vocals, it was very intensive overdubbing.  Roger, Brian, and Freddie all did multiple parts on most of the songs.  They spared no effort or expense to get their vocals up to the maximum quality they could possibly assemble, no matter how long it took.  Pink Floyd is another example of extreme studio pioneering.

    Things like tonal changes in different takes and different sections of the song can be apparent when the entire song is composited and listened to on a later date.  Then it's time to go in and repair or modify those sections to get more cohesiveness to the song as an entire composition.  That is needed for the sake of continuity.  Motion picture production has to overcome this same requirement.  People scrutinize the composition to ensure that it flows naturally from part-to-part.

    When you come back later, with your revisions in mind, be prepared to have to do the entire song again, because no matter how much you think all of the controls are set exactly the same, it will be a different day, atmospheric pressure will be different, your voice may be slightly different, and the different takes may not work together well unless they are all recorded in the same setting/session.

    At the transition at 0:30, you brighten up your placement.  It sounds good there, and the sound before also sounds good, but there is a lot of tonal contrast there that probably should be more balanced to make it more seamless.  You could start out the opening with a little more brightness, or use a little more roundedness or chesty sound still at 0:30.  It's kind of up to you, but until you listen to the contrast on playback, when you're learning it for the first time, you kind of have to go back and put it back together as more of a whole based on how you have to place your voice for the various notes and timbres, and how you want to transition from one to the other in the various sections of the song. 

    That means you probably will have to spend more than a day recording a song like this with so many different dynamic levels and so much vocal range requirement.  You have high places that need to shed weight, and some high areas where you hear that you would like a little more chest mixed in.  You won't know that until you hear the whole piece put together, and by then, you may be spent for the day, or your ears and discernment are worn out.  You may simply be tired of hearing the same song over and over.  You have to listen to the whole, make notes about adjustments, and carry those out through the next passes on the recorder.

    The great thing about working a song up that way is that you will learn so much detail from that experience, that when you go to sing it live, you will remember tons of details on how to execute each portion, and every note of the song, especially when you go back and adjust all of the parts that you later noticed needed more polish and finesse.  You work all of that into your live rendition as well.

    At 1:13 your "ions" on Champions is a little rushed, even clipped.  There is no "s" or "z" sound at the end of champions, partly because it's crowded out by "we got" that is right after "ions".   You have the complete consonant sound the next time at 1:23 where you do include the "z" of champ-yunz.

    The "I ain't gonna lose" at 2:00 could have had a bit more chesty mix if you want that there.  Again, like at 0:30, is the tone flowing from one part of the song to the next in a seamless way?  That's what you want.  So you may need to adjust both sides of the transition, to reduce contrast at the juncture of the two contrasting parts.  Slightly brighten the darker part and slightly darken the brighter part to form a more cohesive whole, taking into account the need to shed weight for the approaching high notes.  That usually means to lighten up the heavy parts, so you won't be too heavy when the lighter parts arrive.  It's easier to pre-shed weight than it is to do it on the fly, especially in a song that goes back and forth between high and low parts.

    Yes, nice D5 at 2:26.

    So, in order to have a finished masterpiece with nearly zero flaws, you are going to have to work through a new song many times and listen back to it, with time to rest and time to reflect, and time to review, and then time to re-record anything that doesn't measure up to your vision that you have for a finished product.  Then you have to listen and give that a little time to sink-in and decide if it's really up to your standards.

    That is also the way to road-test and prove out how you want to be able to execute the song in a live environment.  If you can't do it that flawlessly in a studio setting, you won't be able to do it to that degree of near-perfection live, either.  It's a great way to get down into the grooves of the recording and work out every breath and every tone of every line of the song.

    All the Best.


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    wabba_treadswabba_treads Pro Posts: 40
    Awesome rendition Phil! What a great way to end/start the New Year. Not an easy song to take on and you added even more of those money notes! 

    @Highmtn wow what a critique! There's nothing I can add after that :D

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    philmaherphilmaher Pro Posts: 48
    @highmtn  Absolutely, i wish i had time to record all the songs I perform, it's such a good learning tool. They certainly spent a lot of time back then getting things perfect! 

    Some of these sections mentioned I did notice back after recording but you're working your way through the song, so I think, i'l come back to it, see if it still bothers me later. And then it gets to later and you think, agh its not a deal breaker I 'l leave it. However some of these bits I did want to retrack, but I caught a cold over the holidays so trying to hit the big ad-lib before the last chorus ( i aint gonna loose), when not on form, I just had to leave it.

    I'm am a bit of a perfectionist, I always want everything i do to be the best it can be, and I'm always trying to achieve that in the time provided, but its not always possible!

    @wabba_treads - Thanks! Got lots more planned this year!
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