Home The Singer's Lobby

I hate my own voice--even though I KNOW it's Vastly Improved

Scott.CScott.C Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 10
I've been doing the KTVA discs for about a year now, and the improvement is remarkable...same old story, i know... but after just being an (A BAD) open mic'er with everyone telling me they loved my songWRITING but not my singing... I have become a hired/paid singer as a solo act and with my band at 4-8 times a month.

I am aware that part of this is my songs (people tend to love them) and my stage presence, but i have to believe I'm at least NOW singing well enough to "deliver the message/song" without making people cringe and leave the room.

The problem:
We (my band) just started in the studio to record our first album, and as I'm listening to the playback of the vocals--I HATE it so much that I want to quit playing and singing altogether... Of course I'm not going to do this, but listening to myself on tape makes me feel so bad about myself that I cannot possibly believe anyone when they tell me they actually enjoy my music/singing...

I can tell while i'm singing if i'm nailing the pitch and staying in the pocket, but when I hear my tone on playback, i want to quit life.

Does anyone else struggle with this and what do you do to get over it?

Scott C.
"Local Bar Singer"


  • A tip is to find the things you do like about your voice and work on those. You can never hate your voice completely there is always something you sing that makes you feel good. Steve vai said he never worked on his weakness only on his strengths, he embraced what he had and didn't think too much about what he didn't have.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Are you using the tone that Ken recommends? I was a little reluctant to do so at first, but I found that it brought out the best in my own voice. The bright tone of "It's the LAH!!!! AHH!!!" with full support can really bring out the best of what is your own natural voice.

    Also, you need to record yourself as much as possible and listen to the playback often. That will desensitize you from the self-loathing that is so common when we hear the sound of our own voice. It's natural to feel that way, because the way we sound to others is so different from the way we hear it from within our own heads. Also, by listening to the playback frequently, we will begin to get past the cringing and proceed into fine listening that helps us to hear what we like about in our voice so that we can emphasize it more, and what we would like to change about it, so that we can actively work to morph that more into what we would like it to be like. The worst possible thing to do is to have to go through all of that in a recording studio. It's much better to do that with a cheap cassette recorder through headphones in your practice room. Less pressure to perform in front of people and much more time and cost-effective.

    Recording yourself and listening back for self-critique is the FASTEST way to improving all aspects of your voice, from singing on-pitch to the very fibre of your vocal tone. Be easy on yourself. No need to be a harsh critic. Just be kind and honest with yourself and help yourself to make good, uplifting decisions about where you would like to go with your voice.

    All the Best!

  • TommyMTommyM Pro Posts: 270
    edited January 2017
    Hey Scott,

    Apologies if this is a bit of a late reply, but I hate to see other singers go through the same doubts that I and countless others have, especially when there's no evidence to support it beyond your own lack of confidence and the projections you create through that.

    Look at the facts: You've been HIRED to play as a solo act and with a group, so people seem to appreciate what you do vocally. Clearly that's something which is objectively verifiable and requires no internal confirmation from that nagging voice of self-doubt. You're also recording an album! People who have a voice as unpleasant as you believe yours to be are unlikely to be asked to contribute to a project like that without the other contributors agreeing on your suitability.

    In other words, the facts suggest that you're much better than you believe yourself to be.

    As far as dealing with it goes: Mentally, it's what I'd call a 'sleight of mind' that's required to sorta 'trip the circuit' of that internal narrative.

    The way I go about it - and this is kinda hard to describe ' cause it's kinda like mental gymnastics - is to take that feeling of self-doubt and bring up an image in mind of a time when you know that you totally nailed it vocally. It's a bit like smashing the two ideas together and allowing the more positive one to override the negative. Over time, the negative narrative becomes 'reprogrammed' until it's just second nature to accept that you're a good singer. I know that's all easier said than done, but that's what's worked for me before.

    As uncomfortable as it might be, Bob's advice on recording and playing back your voice is the best way to improve (combined with your lessons, obviously); you'll hear the ways you're using your voice incorrectly and find it much easier to adjust it when you're practicing. It's something that's been hugely beneficial to me over the last year or so, but try to face the cringe and learn to listen to where your strengths lie; you'll almost certainly find that range you actually enjoy and can allow yourself to become more comfortable with your own instrument.

    To throw in another point-of-view: With regards to how other people perceive your voice, have you ever considered the fact that they might not really care about your singing since your songwriting is so strong? In my experience, and I'm a primarily a singer, people will only bother to comment on something that actually made an impact on them - in my case, my vocal ad-libs on certain songs seem to draw comment; in your case, your songs themselves are so strong that people will actively comment on them. Look at Bob Dylan, I can't stand the guys voice but he's a tremendous songsmith and that's what people know him for; his idiosyncratic voice is his signature sound.

    So you're not likely to make the Rolling Stone Top 10 Singers of 2017? Big deal, neither am I but you're doing the best you can with the tools you've got and you're working to improve things on a daily basis. It sounds like your songwriting is where your strengths truly lie, but it's great that you've working on your voice to complement your compositions. There are so many amazing musicians and songwriters out there whose voices aren't conventionally appealing, but their character and personal style makes them far more interesting than cookie-cutter singers and bands.

    Embrace what makes you different and bring that to your songs.

    Best of luck for 2017!
  • Scott.CScott.C Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 10
    Thanks to all the comments guys.. I haven't been back in the studio to have to hear my "studio" voice lately.. but the live show seems to be working...
    My band had only our 5th show at a "decent-size bar" last Saturday... 3 other bar owners went to check us out... by monday I had 24 signed contracts for summer dates...most of which they requested just me--not the band... So no matter how bad I might think my voice is sometimes, that kind of response helps to tell my "inner vampire" to shut the heck up and just keep doing the exercises because they are working.

    THANKS. I love doing this.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Yeah, you must sound terrible for everybody to be trying to get you to sign contracts to sing for them! Ha, ha!

    Stop beating yourself up, Dude! Tell that liar inside your head to shut the bleep up and start feeling good about your own voice. It's not like that liar is right and the whole world is wrong!
  • Scott.CScott.C Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 10
    i know, i know.. i'm really not being a whiny little b$%@$ here... i just want to put out a "recorded" product that doesn't make me cringe every time i hear it because it's hard to sell something if I don't believe in it myself...

    ever hear "Die Vampire Die" from the musical, TITLE OF SHOW? Perfect song for anyone with self doubt issues. Really worth a youtube look based on the message of the song.
Sign In or Register to comment.