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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Singer Searching for the Sweet Spot

Hi there,

I did a recording session for a Grammy Award winning producer recently. He'd heard my voice before hiring me so while I was nervous, I was reasonably confident it would go OK. 

He played me a few songs he'd written and after a while we got to work. The first one was a rocky number and I did my best to give it some. But I could see on his face and hear in my own head that it just sounded...blah. There were no notes I couldn't hit and I was doing my best to channel Joan Jett but it just wasn't happening. Beyonce was looking down at me disapprovingly from the personally signed photo on the wall. No pressure then.

Now sometimes the problem with songs written by one sex for the other is, no matter how much the writers know about music and songwriting, they just don't quite fit the voice for which they're intended. How often have you heard great singers do mediocre performances because the song just doesn't suit them? That's why song choice and key choice is make or break on TV talent shows like The Voice and when you putting that decision in someone else's hands, well, good luck!

We come to grips with the scope of our own ranges as singers but within that cluster of notes I've realised there are those that make my voice soar and others that are just a bit...blah! In other words, there is definitely a sweet spot and if the song doesn't enter into that neighbourhood then maybe that tune's not for me, not in that key at least. So when a band says: 'Well, we do this song in this key,' I think you have the right as a singer to say: 'Do you mind if we do it in my key?' After all, they don't yet make capos for voices. 

Anyway, the second song we recorded at this session went much better. I could see the producer's face relax and could swear I saw Beyonce winking at me. Bet she knows all about the sweet spot.

See you next time.

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