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View Full Version : How Did You Find Your Sound?



CoLmes
07-16-2009, 11:23 AM
I'm not talking about being a good singer, I'm talking about finding your own sound, what makes you different from others.

The best examples I can think of on here are Seeso and Schuermurrman(possibly the hardest name to spell even if i'm looking at it on youtube)

Both can sing well, but what makes them so fun to listen to is their sound. You can't put another person by them that sounds like them, that's what I am looking for... To be unique :D

I'm not sure if I'll ever be a good singer, I don't know if I can make my voice do that kind of stuff.. I hope to someday, but what I want to know is the stories everyone went through before they kinda got an idea of what they were trying to sound like.

I'm trying to get an idea basically so I can figure out what I need to do, so I don't sound like a craphole. I wouldn't mind singing with Brit in a few songs, I think it would sound cool.. Just wanna make sure I sound like I know somewhat of what I'm doing. :)

Stories, adventures, tips, anything.. please everyone share! I think this thread can help me and any other person in my shoes trying to figure out this same problem.

b_rit
07-16-2009, 11:35 AM
Probably singing to songs on the radio and listening to other singers is how I found mine. Seeing what I can do with my voice high and low, all came from playing instruments too. The piano had an important role in my singing too. Even though I started singing when I was young, my voice got stronger from trying new things and testing my voice with people like Mariah Carey or Kelly Clarkson, to see if I could hit the high notes with my own voice.

Although, I'm still learning too. There are some things I cannot do yet that I hope to be able to.

seeso
07-16-2009, 12:30 PM
The most important thing when singing a song is to tell the story. Thinking about this frees you from thinking about other things. Concentrate on why you're singing the song more than how you're singing the song.

Other than that, it's a lot of trial and error, but one of the best things you can do is record yourself. A lot. And listen back.

Listen to yourself and ask yourself if what you hear sounds like you. Does it sound fake at all? Do you sound like you're trying to sing like someone else?

Of course, you're always going to have influences in your sound, but your goal should be to sound like "you." When someone hears your voice, you want them to know who you are right away.

Pay attention to how you pronounce words when you're singing. Are you one of those guys who pronounces their "R's" like an American, or like a Brit? What about your vowel sounds? Do you sound like where you come from?

snowcooley
07-16-2009, 04:52 PM
I am certainly still a big n00b in terms of having a sound or style, or even being able to sing... BUT, one thing I've found really interesting in trying to develop a sound is to try to write original songs (... regardless of whether or not you let anyone else hear). :P It's made me more aware of my range, motivated me to sing more musically, and (this is my favourite part) made me more conscious of the musical decisions I do and don't make.

When I attempt to write a song, I realize how I choose to resolve melody lines, become more aware of my phrasing, think more clearly about how to balance singing and playing, and I start to figure out who or what I sound like stylistically (of course, then I have to figure out how to complicate it a bit so I don't sound like I'm just another indie kid). If you don't have an original to compare your cover to, there's less imitation involved and your own style does start to come out. AND you start to realize what kind of sound you gravitate towards semi-intuitively.

This is probably more airy-fairy and less singing tips than you were searching for, but it is something that's made me think more seriously about the way I sing/play, so... there's my two cents!

RevWill
07-16-2009, 05:03 PM
Listen to singers who own their voices, flaws and all. Lucinda Williams, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Gram Parsons, Roger McGuinn, everyone in The Band (except Levon Helm who could and still can sing) and so on. None are technically any good, but their uniqueness is their strength.

Then listen to someone like Lowell George. Some say he taught a generation of white kids how to sing with soul, and there really is something to that. He managed to sound soulful and wonderful without trying to be Sam & Dave or Wilson Pickett.

daveschaub
07-17-2009, 07:44 PM
I'm a music lover and if I heard something new,
I rush to the internet and take a research about it though,
I have no idea about the title and the artist. I won't stop until I got it.

mrUKETOBER
07-19-2009, 08:40 PM
i sound like craphole but i try anyway lol .. oh well practice makes you better i guess.. im still waiting on that to happen

Bratset
07-21-2009, 01:35 AM
i sound like craphole but i try anyway lol .. oh well practice makes you better i guess.. im still waiting on that to happen

Same :)
Whish I'd improve soon... :anyone:

seeso
07-21-2009, 04:19 AM
I am certainly still a big n00b in terms of having a sound or style, or even being able to sing... BUT, one thing I've found really interesting in trying to develop a sound is to try to write original songs (... regardless of whether or not you let anyone else hear). :P It's made me more aware of my range, motivated me to sing more musically, and (this is my favourite part) made me more conscious of the musical decisions I do and don't make.

When I attempt to write a song, I realize how I choose to resolve melody lines, become more aware of my phrasing, think more clearly about how to balance singing and playing, and I start to figure out who or what I sound like stylistically (of course, then I have to figure out how to complicate it a bit so I don't sound like I'm just another indie kid). If you don't have an original to compare your cover to, there's less imitation involved and your own style does start to come out. AND you start to realize what kind of sound you gravitate towards semi-intuitively.

This is probably more airy-fairy and less singing tips than you were searching for, but it is something that's made me think more seriously about the way I sing/play, so... there's my two cents!

I forgot this piece of valuable advice, which is better than anything I had to say in my original post.

adellethegreat
07-21-2009, 04:46 AM
I think more people have found their sound than realize. They haven't done the second thing yet, which I believe is the most difficult... accepting their sound.

It's hard to get preconceived notions out of your head. You wanna sound like this or that person- wanna be able to sing a certain genre of music... but maybe you can't. Maybe you love pop music but your voice is meant for the blues.

Deach is a great example. We've all watched his singing voice grow & change via youtube. If you watch his Love You to Death vid ... you may not give him the best review for singing. He liked the song, wanted to cover it, and he did. But... it wasn't within his sound. Now if you watch him at the open mic he did recently... he freaking rocked it. Did a blues number (It Hurts Me Too) & it was right up his alley.

Also... sometimes the thing that you hate most about your voice is what makes it unique & interesting to other people. As Seeso mentioned, the way you pronounce particular vowels/words can set you apart. You may think to yourself "Why do I always say _____ ?!" (For me it's 'girl'... always comes out like 'guuuhl') but until you accept that, you'll never find your sound. In fact, that probably was your sound... but trying to fit your voice into the mainstream has made you unable to accept it.

Or maybe none of that made sense ;p

UkuEroll
07-22-2009, 12:31 AM
Over the years people have told me I can sing well, but when I listen to myself it sound horrendous. As stated above some songs are easier for me, but my main problem is pitching myself at the start of the song, it all goes well to start with then along comes a part that just goes beyound my range.
One thing I would say is try to make sure you know the lyrics off by heart then that way you can just concentrate on your tuning.

Pippin
07-24-2009, 11:08 AM
Imitation is a great way to get started and learn all about techniques. When I was growing up I was surrounded by professional singers and recording artists. I sang with my family members and learned how to harmonize, not by being taught, but by imitation. By the time I was twenty years old, I already had over fifteen years experience singing in harmony.

When you listen to music you really like, sing along. Try to match the range of the artist and see if you can sing harmonies to him/her.

I had a lot of comments about my cover I posted of "Desperado", not because the ukulele playing, but the harmonies. I sang the lead, then a high backup vocal and a low backup vocal. When you try to sing, though, remember a few important ideas.

Dynamics make a song interesting. When you sing, don't just belt out a song. One of the greatest female vocalists of all time, a one-in-a-million voice, was Karen Carpenter. When you listened to her, she took you on a rollar-coaster ride. The music would ebb and flow. She could sing whisper soft or crescendo with amazing soul-ful power.

One problem with female vocalists today is that they are just loud. Mariah Carey... loud. Whitney Huston... loud. So many of them just push their lungs to the brink and I end up tuning them out. They are not dynamic.

Listen to Nora Jones... now, SHE is dynamic.

In male singers... John Denver had great range and was dynamic. There are lots of great male artists that sang in the past. Today, there are nowhere near as many. Listen to Extreme and you will find a versatile band, but listen to Queen and you will hear unsurpassed vocals. Freddy Mercury was simply amazing.

It's all about dynamics.

schuermurrman
08-04-2009, 06:29 AM
My family has always been musical. I started to do floor shows when I was about 3 or 4 doing traditional Samoan dancing (in Idaho I know....go ahead laugh it up...hehehehehe) and my family would be the live band for that...and us kids would do all the dancing and stuff. And I would sing at each one too. So I started young with music and stuff.

And I went to a hymn singing church. No instruments were allowed buttt the cool thing about that...is you had to sing or you would get bopped in the back of the head...but you learned harmonies real quick like.

So there is that...but I second addelle's post in that you have to give in to your self's weird quirkinesses cause that's you. I freaking sing out the side of my mouth like Elvis and I am pretty sure my sister does something weird like that too. I also was in choirs and stuff likes that and we did a lot of recording and listening back to ourselves there....which is what I do now...and was why I started to record myself in the first place was to hear myself.

Ummm...I am pretty sure I am babbling...which I do a lot....

Everyone said some awesome things though in here. Hope this all helps Colmes...:shaka:

CoLmes
08-05-2009, 06:33 AM
this thread has helped a lot, all of your posts are great. I love learning things like this from other people who I watch through youtube daily. One day I hope to bring it like you guys do.

I'm starting to accept my own voice so I think it is starting to happen for me. Hopefully one day I shall sound like the true me and blow some speakers off somewhere.

:-D

shanifawni
08-05-2009, 10:57 AM
i really agree with what everyones already said, especially adelle!

but also, and this is just a weird little thing i think about, you don't have to feel like you're always singing. like, think about how the words would sound if you're just speaking them, and what kind of inflections you'd have if you were just straight up talking.

i mean, i alot of people have told me i have a beautiful voice and such, and i kind of believe them, but honestly, my voice like, borderline cracks ALL of the time, and sometimes it just does weird stuff, and its because i'm not really trained, but some people appreciate it!

so i guess like what seeso said, think about what your singing and how you're feeling and how you wanna say things more than any worries.

and singing along to your favorite vocalist will also improve you tonnns i think, in my experience.

ihavenotea
08-05-2009, 12:12 PM
It's hard to get preconceived notions out of your head. You wanna sound like this or that person- wanna be able to sing a certain genre of music... but maybe you can't. Maybe you love pop music but your voice is meant for the blues.


This is the hardest thing of all.

I have a decent amount of formal vocal training in my distant past. I have spent years singing along with all manner of vocalists; I can imitate pretty well, as I can usually work out how a singer is producing their tone.

However, there are many vocal styles that as well as I can imitate them, I just don't sound good singing. For one thing, I cannot sing Pop. At all.

My heart longs to sing Jazz. But it is touch and go. And even when I am spot on, I don't like the way my voice sounds.

I have had the best luck with Folk.

Anyway, I am still searching. Still trying to accept my limitations. Still trying to accept those innate things in my timbre that I can't change.

One thing that has forced me to grow is singing with others playing the accompaniment. If you have friends or family who can play an instrument (if you don't , teach them the ukulele), ask them to play while you sing. It will stretch you and you will learn new things about your voice.

Pippin
08-10-2009, 09:22 PM
This is the hardest thing of all.

I have a decent amount of formal vocal training in my distant past. I have spent years singing along with all manner of vocalists; I can imitate pretty well, as I can usually work out how a singer is producing their tone.

However, there are many vocal styles that as well as I can imitate them, I just don't sound good singing. For one thing, I cannot sing Pop. At all.

My heart longs to sing Jazz. But it is touch and go. And even when I am spot on, I don't like the way my voice sounds.

I have had the best luck with Folk.

Anyway, I am still searching. Still trying to accept my limitations. Still trying to accept those innate things in my timbre that I can't change.

One thing that has forced me to grow is singing with others playing the accompaniment. If you have friends or family who can play an instrument (if you don't , teach them the ukulele), ask them to play while you sing. It will stretch you and you will learn new things about your voice.

I can appreciate these thoughts. Having mostly a baritone range, I can hit tenor notes, but I stay in the baritone registers to prevent over-doing it. I look at that as a limitation and also a blessing. Since you said that you want to sing jazz but have the best luck with folk, it might just be a "range" thing. The other thought about playing with other musicians and stretching you... that is a great point. Recording is a way of accomplishing that. Sing and play the lead vocal and rhythm. Then turn around and sing a backup vocal and play accents or rhythm higher up the neck of your uke, or add a guitar if you play one. That will be somewhat like playing with other musicians.

For Colmes... playing multiple tracks along with yourself will make you a better musician and also help you find your sound.

ihavenotea
08-11-2009, 07:55 AM
I can appreciate these thoughts. Having mostly a baritone range, I can hit tenor notes, but I stay in the baritone registers to prevent over-doing it. I look at that as a limitation and also a blessing. Since you said that you want to sing jazz but have the best luck with folk, it might just be a "range" thing. The other thought about playing with other musicians and stretching you... that is a great point. Recording is a way of accomplishing that. Sing and play the lead vocal and rhythm. Then turn around and sing a backup vocal and play accents or rhythm higher up the neck of your uke, or add a guitar if you play one. That will be somewhat like playing with other musicians.


I love being a baritone. It means you can sing the low notes and the bass lines when you need to and you can sing the high notes and tenor lines when you need to. Tenors and Basses can't usually do that. So I really am thankful for my range. But I know what you mean when it comes to finding the right key. My full range may be fairly broad, but my solo range is much smaller. It is easy for me to fall into the trap of just singing in the original key because I can.

I am working on a Jazz piece for the CoffeeMate and CoffeeJunkie's Coffee Coffee Coffee Contest. I had to transpose it to get a nice tone vocally. It is coming along though!

I am also learning that it is really easy to accumulate errors when putting together multi-track recordings.

Thanks for the encouragement, Pippin.

veep
08-11-2009, 08:18 AM
I am still working on it .

GrumpyCoyote
08-12-2009, 01:13 PM
I stopped giving a crap.

That's not as rude as it sounds. The less I care about how my voice sounds, the more I improve and (so I'm told) the better I sound.

Like others have said, it's about the emotion and action in the song... I just try to sing it like I mean it, and outcome be dammned. Passion and practice can take you very far.

Worrying about technique or trying to achive a specific sound makes me sound worse - and no one wants that.

That said, I could most def benifit from vocal lessons - there are pros out there who can help you find your sound without so much pesky trial and error...

Otherwise - just sing it like you stole it...:cheers:

uke5417
08-12-2009, 03:18 PM
I never think in terms of a "sound."

I doubt I'll ever make it into a music store, so aiming for a particular bin seems a stultifying proposition. I figure I'm a free agent.

Also, I figure I've a life of learning ahead of me and know that I won't (and shouldn't) sound next month the way I sound today. That's the beauty of this whole proposition: an endless opportunity to learn.

When it comes to singing, Grumpy is my inspiration. He just lets rip, putting as much feeling as he's got into it I love that and try to do it as best I can. When I do, my songs always come out better.

Carbon Kiwi
08-29-2009, 09:36 PM
I'm just a goof, so I found most of my styles by goofing around. Unfortunately I haven't had the courage to record anything more unique yet, but I've got some if on the way, and I'll always be nervous until I see how it's received. Which is silly, because the waiting and wondering is always ten times worse than even getting bad response!

So I'd say just take the time to experiment with yourself. Wow, I phrased that super well, didn't I? Hang around with friends and goof around to the radio or to your Shuffle or whatever. See what makes them laugh, what makes them look at you with the 'wow, this is good singing,' what makes them smile in the 'this is unique and fun!' And ask them about it! I found my friends to be a great sounding board for my various styles.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll do fantastic. :)

Skrik
08-30-2009, 07:54 AM
If anyone sees my sound running around, smack its bum and send it home.