Without a doubt, my three favourite singers are Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Chris Cornell. The common denominator is that they can really sing! What draws one’s ear to a particular tone and timbre is so personal to the listener. For me, these three singers just have that vocal quality that makes me want to listen to them all the time.
What’s more, I strongly feel that because these three singers are authentically express themselves, people are drawn to them. They aren’t, weren’t (in the case of Amy Winehouse), contrived. I think people are attracted to artists who are real because it’s honest. Amy Winehouse’s lyrics were so raw and brutally honest with no apologies. She sung about things no one would dare admit. “The only time I hold your hand, is to get the angle right.” She was 18 when she wrote that.
Everyone can relate to Adele’s heartbreak album, 21. Although, most artists sing about their heart being broken, when Adele sings about it, you can feel it. It’s like she’s singing about all our heartbreaks. She is so captivating in her simplicity. There’s no theatrics. She doesn’t need them. Adele and a piano is just riveting. That’s a true singer.
Chris Cornell is another singer whose voice expresses his lyrics. His huge range and the emotion in his voice make me feel his lyrics. His voice can send shivers through me. I especially it love when his voice is harmonized with his velvety low range and his powerful upper register.
In essence, Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Chris Cornell are authentic artists with incredible voices who don’t (didn’t – Amy Winehouse) need flash to attract an audience.
We all know that these days, it is easy for singers not to practice thinking that auto tune and melodyne is enough. For me, I don’t like relying on melodyne or autotune. I feel that I should try my best to sing naturally. Autotune and melodyne kill the natural dynamics and reverberation in your voice and I find that melodyne gives a “tinny” quality to the sound and autoune gives a robotic quality to the notes . I am not suggesting that I am an autotune/melodyne virgin. I have used it in the past, but through my diligent practice, I strive to not use it.
So what is a good practice regime for a vocalist? For me, it is a combination of ear training, vocal exercises and working on tone and dynamics. I also hold most of my tension in my jaw, so I have to massage my jaw and tongue muscles diligently.
Autotune and Melodyne are personal preferences. I much prefer the natural timbre of the real human voice.