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What makes a good singer?
What makes a good singer?
Member Name: GentleGenius
What makes a good singer?
Advantages: A good one can take us to parts of our inner selves that most other things can't
Disadvantages: The not so good ones
Music is my lifeblood, my passion and my world. Of course, my appreciation of a well-written song holds no bounds, as does supreme mastery regarding playing any musical instrument, but for me the whole show can fall totally flat on its face when an otherwise superb piece of music is totally ruined by a sub-standard singer.
So, what do I personally believe constitutes a good singer?
It is my feeling that a singer doesn't necessarily have to be in possession of a trained voice, nor sing in a conventionally accepted way - nor do they have to be pitch-perfect. Somebody with a voice from heaven can make a song totally uninteresting if they just sing it flatly, with no soul, feeling or emotion. It is very important to me that a singer FEELS what they are singing, and projects it via their voice. I can't quite put into words exactly what I mean, other than to say a song can be given a whole new makeover if it's performed by a good singer who gives it their all.
I'll talk (hopefully briefly) here about a few of my favourite singers, and try to elaborate on why I personally feel they are so good.
His voice has mellowed and matured with age, but it's always appealed to me. I think Van's singing is a bit like Marmite - you love it or hate it, and I love it (even though I'm indifferent to Marmite!!!). For me, Van has an incredible range in his voice - not so much up and down the musical scale, but along the range of soul and subtle feeling he is able to inject into his singing. He to me is incredibly skilful at changing the inflexion in his voice with ease, to suit the mood of any particular line in any song. Van sings great ballads, great rock & roll, great jazz and has true depth and character in his voice and delivery.
Despite the pained facial expressions she sometimes pulled whilst singing, Eva's voice has never ceased to amaze me. She had an incredible range and effortlessly changes the pitch of her voice from quiet to a harsher sound, without becoming grating. One thing which really impresses me about the late Eva Cassidy's singing is that her voice was completely devoid of irritating vibrato, that can often ruin a perfectly good song and bring a singer down many notches in my estimation - even though a handful of singers have managed to get away with it.
What an amazing voice this lady had! I never stop marvelling at the ease with which she took on a song with enormous scale range, and effortlessly turned it into a masterpiece. Ella wasn't what I'd call an impassioned singer, as most of the material she produced didn't require a heart-rendingly emotive input, but she managed to always, without fail, easily mould her voice to hit the right "feelings" spot with each note she sung.
As a singer, John was by no means what anybody would think of as bringing the house down solely with his vocals, nor was he a male "songbird", but for me he injected true passion - albeit sometimes gently - into everything that he sung. His voice to me has always sounded so very sincere and honest, with a hint of vulnerability that was special only to him. He also sang great rock & roll, and I love that gruffness he put into his voice during the Beatles' rendition of "Twist and Shout".
I can't say that I am overly keen on the actual tone of Billie Holliday's voice, but the feeling she injected into her singing holds no bounds. This lady certainly knew how to put across a song, and deserves her "Queen Of The Blues" posthumous title.
This lady's voice was rattly, gravelly and base - yet, I'd even go as far as to suggest that she poured even more feeling into her singing than Billie Holliday (who I believe was her major influence). Janis' astonishing rock/blues style is riddled with gritty overtones, and I'd even go so far as to say that the "edge" she managed to put into her voice is very similar to how Van Morrison does it.
This young lady just has an incredible, astonishing voice with an almost alarming range. She appears to take the stage and sing with perfect ease, injecting the right amount of feeling and passion into her work, without overdoing it and sounding mawkish. To me, like the others above, Leona seems to be able to feel any song she is singing, and her personal interpretations show me that she is actually part of what she sings, and isn't just opening her mouth and letting the words tumble out.
Wow! This man could sing! For me, the very definite King of Soul - who could convey a whole range of emotions with just one word, using heartfelt and skilful feeling. Why is it that most of the very best singers had their lives cut short so tragically?
I am not a fan of the type of music Barbra Streisand performs, but to me she has an exquisite way of crafting her voice around a song, injecting just the right amount of feeling, and transmitting appropriate emotion into her voice with each line she sings. She has an incredible range, and can run from one end of the musical scale to the other with ease.
Well those above are at the top of my brilliant singers' brigade - there are more, but those for me are the cream.
There are some singers which other people feel are good, but for me they just don't have what it takes to convey a song in that very special and intimate way, even though I may like their music. Some of the people who for me don't make the singer grade and don't hit my personal spot, are:-
He just sounds to me as if he is straining, and though he can carry a song, he doesn't put any feeling into it at all - just hits some very high notes, rather awkwardly.
I might lose some friends for saying this, but I feel Frank is one of the most over-rated singers to have lived. He can sing a song in tune and make it sound OK, but there's no depth of feeling or appropriate voice inflexion......yes there is voice inflexion, but it's inappropriate. He just sings......that's all!
I have always found Freddie's voice grating and unpleasant - a harsh and strident shout rather than a range of different vocal tones. Also, he for me is another who always came across as just opening his mouth and letting a song fall out, with no personal input, feelings-wise. Any rock singer with a big voice can mesmerise a stadium audience with sheer power and loudness, but it takes a special person to interpret a song in a way that it drives a nail into the emotions.
To close, I'm of the opinion that for somebody to project a song in a way that touches the soul, they have to have a deep and unique bond with not only the music they are singing at any particular point, but with the whole concept of music in general, plus a deep and powerful sense of the essence of life!
That's all folks.....thanks for reading!
Summary: Singing is more than just opening your mouth and letting the notes come out in the right order