Extreme, "Hole Hearted" naked vocal

Been working on this song line by line this week. Using it to practice breath control, pitch, and something I stayed away from for a few weeks... distortion.

This was after an hour of exercise and a couple of hours at the karaoke bar. That alone blows my mind. Not even three months ago that much singing would have left me sounding like a lawnmower with a head cold. This program really does work :smile:

First the naked vocal I recorded when I got home:

Just for gits and shiggles, I recorded audio earlier when I sang it at karaoke. But the quality is gawful, so thought the naked vocal would be more useful for feedback


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    You're hitting it pretty hard in that intro on the naked vocal. After that, you're getting a nice, compressed sound that sounds pretty healthy, except for the few times where you hit that low distortion (2:14) and let it rasp a little too hard. Be careful of that. I'd stay away from the harder-hitting distortion, at least until you can learn to hold it back a little more.

    Nice tones.

  • TommyMTommyM Pro Posts: 270
    I'd agree with Bob re. force and distortion but your tone is really good and, even just looking at the waveforms in the audio, you can see that your volume is consistent once you've settled into the safer compression.

    Do you think the excess rasp may be down to you having done a lot of singing prior to the recording?

    Your distortion sounds really good when you're not killing it with too much pressure but it sounds like your natural voice has a nice bit of smokiness to it, so it'd be really good to hear you sing this without adding distortion. To be completely honest, I personally prefer your clean tones as it sounds much more pleasant on the ear but still has that edge to it.

    Listen to the way Gary Cherone sings it, he's only got a light distortion, even on the belted notes in the 2nd verse. He also doesn't distort the lower notes as you have, but as I suggested above this may be more related to fatigue than bad technique although it's worth watching out for.

    Do you think maybe you're distorting to maintain the volume on some of the higher notes rather than more naturally releasing into head voice? Like, maybe pulling your chest up a wee bit too high and pushing for the note rather than, as you do on lots of the other parts, just relaxing into it?

    I ask 'cause it's something I did too until fairly recently and it's been a real lifesaver to change that habit. Overall though you're sounding great, I'd love to hear a really good recording of you 'cause you've got a really good voice and I look forward to hearing more of your stuff!
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 215
    @highmtn and @TommyM thank you for your compliments and your constructive feedback! I hadn't even thought about the volume level staying consistent. Thank you for the insight!

    Could I ask you to clarify what you're saying about the distortion being too much? Are you saying too much as in "I don't like this sound"? Or are you saying "this is unhealthy"?

    A little context - I spent a few days working on the song. I spent the first two days singing it clean, then yesterday started playing around with adding distortion. I started at super low amounts of it and experimented until I said what the heck, lets dial it up to an 8. Just to say that it's deliberate on my part - but I know that doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy! When I recorded this, I sang it clean first, then recorded this version, then afterwards went back and cleaned up my voice.

    The grit on the lower notes is my favorite tone to use. Sort of circa Scott Weiland on the STP Purple album, "Interstate Love Song" and the like. But I do my best to use it as a condiment and not as the entree.

    The way Gary sang this on the record, he's not using nearly as much distortion as I did, but he's also not using much support. That's one of the things I've tried to learn from listening to his album cuts and live performances. He's a legend for a reason, but he's alllllllllways running out of air.
  • TommyMTommyM Pro Posts: 270
    It's just that the level of distortion sounds unhealthy at times. My comment on my own personal preference is purely that: My opinion, so please don't take it as a major criticism or anything. The quality of your voice is evident, it's just sorting out those wee things that can potentially mess you up in the long term that you could benefit from looking at more closely.

    Scott Weiland is another one of my vocal heroes, but if you notice he changed his approach to distorting between "Purple" and "Tiny Music..." almost as much as he changed after "Core" and brought it up much higher. To me, his singing on "Core", much as I loved it at the time, wasn't a true reflection of his voice and he only really came into his own as a vocalist after "Purple". Some of his best vocal performances, for me, are on "4", especially stuff like Sour Girl and Atlanta.
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 215
    @TommyM No worries bro. I hope I come across as appreciating your opinion and constructive feedback! And btw,

    "The quality of your voice is evident."

    Kinder words have never been spoken. Thank you!

    Grabbed a (mostly) clean tone vocal of "Hole Hearted" at the end of my workout today. Very interested to hear if you and @highmtn have different feedback about it! There's a moment towards the end where I SUPER lost all my support, but did my best to correct it and get back on track.

    Also, love that you're a fan of Weiland, too! He sure had quite a journey as a singer. I've heard plenty of stories about how much acclaim he got back when he was singing in choir in high school, and how, at least back then, he had perfect pitch.

    I think your comment about his voice on "Core" not being a true representation of his voice is accurate. He was making it WAAAAAAY dark (the story goes that the record company were visiting the studio during his vocal sessions and kept telling him, "More Vedder! We want MORE VEDDER!!!"), and they multi tracked the snot out of his voice until it barely sounds like him anymore. Have you ever heard the isolated vocal tracks from Core? That's when I realized just how much multi tracking they'd done to darken his tone. It's crazy.


    His tone on "Purple" is my favorite, though you can hear that he'd already started to lose a lot of range, and then by the time "Tiny Music" came out, he'd really blown out his voice. But that makes sense - he was always a heavy drinker and smoker, and by the time of "Tiny Music", he was deep deep DEEP in his heroin problem.

    You ever seen the interview he did in the mid 2000s on Howard Stern? At one point, Weiland is talking about how hard touring is on his voice. Howard responds something like, "Well, all the drinking and smoking can't be helping either." And Weiland says, "Yeah, but I look at the rock n roll greats and use them to set my parameters. David Bowie smoked his whole career and sounded great." And then there's this great moment where Howard just looks at him and says, "Scott, did you ever stop to think about the fact that you're not David Bowie?" LOL!
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    This newer, cleaner version sounds a lot more sustainable, vocal-health wise.

    Nice job.
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 215
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