Adele’s new voice – Skyfall

If you are working on your chest voice so you can sing more Adele songs, you may be able to access your mix more easily in her latest song Skyfall.

Most of this song is under the first bridge (as are the others). But most importantly, there is no chorus repeatedly using thick folds through the first bridge, like she did in Rolling In the Deep, and others.

Instead, Adele is playing it safe (and so she should so soon after surgery).

The word “tall” in the chorus of Skyfall is a very light mix….she’s definitely holding back here. This part of the chorus could have been bigger. Instead she is using thinner cords with no pushing whatsoever. A beautiful blend.

The first time we hear any belting whatsoever is at the word “heart” at 2:29.

Listen to the “cry” in her voice at 3:43 on the word “stand”. Note her head register in the mix at 4:13 on “let the sky fall”.

The build does start to happen at 4:24 to 4:30. She has saved her chest voice for 4:24 to 4:30. This is the only part in the song where she carries her chest voice up through the bridge with very thick folds and a lot of air pressure. At 4:436 she releases into her head voice for a beautiful exit to her phrase.

Singers, lots to learn here from Adele’s singing……….listen to it again…….and notice.

Comments? Questions? Please leave them here.

Taylor Swift’s voice gets in the mix

If you have been paying attention to Taylor Swift’s range and voice, you will notice some changes happening in her mix. Her first two albums were “strained” in the mix, as she “pulled” her chest voice to manage notes of A, B flat and B above middle C on songs like “Teardrops on My Guitar” and “Stay Beautiful”.

Brett Manning has done some fine work mastering her mix. She is now sailing smoothly through her middle voice with ease. If you listen to “Safe and Sound” you will see she is reaching E flat at her second bridge in the lines “just close your eyes,” and “come morning light” in a nice light mix.

If she continues to train the middle area of her voice (which is the where you find your most commercial sound), we are sure to be delighted with a stronger and more powerful mix on the next album. Can’t wait to check that out!

Ladies, this one’s for you

The female voice has so much potential. Typically our range extends much farther than the male voice, and because of this fact, the first passagio (or your break) can really feel like it divides your voice in two.

Men don’t have to deal with the same sensations at the first bridge. As the male voice drops after puberty, it is usually clear to them what their “chest voice” is. Then the challenge is usually how to negotiate their register shift so they can sing higher. Without the ability to thin out their vocal cords (mix) as they ascend, they may feel strain,  or they may “flip” into falcetto. There are many great exercises available to singers who want to increase their range from their chest voice up.

However, ladies…..your scenerio can be much different.

Quite often vocal training for ladies starts with focus above the first bridge (rather than in the chest voice which is below the first bridge). In other words, from about E above middle C to F or G above high C.  This is  a common range when working with female voices in a choir. Your first bridge is around A or B above middle C and your second bridge starts around E flat. Notice that this range of pitch encompasses TWO passagios. Included with this traditional approach  is the purity of Italian-formed vowels and a low tongue (open throat).

What you might notice is songs requiring you to sing below middle C are breathy or light. Or, you might notice that some songs have the sensation of singing from the bottom and going up……..while other songs have you feeling like you are singing from the top and going down… you the impression of two different voices; a low voice for low songs, and a high voice for higher-pitched songs. Does this ring true for any of you?

I draw attention to this because knowing how to negotiate the first passagio from the bottom up is important when singing certain styles of music including pop, musical theatre, gospel and R&B. Working from the bottom up will usually have you using less air, and work muscles that require the larynx to tilt as you sing higher, which in turns will let you move through your passagio without flipping into your “other” voice.

Do you experience this? If so, please leave a comment. Tell me what it feels like and how you handle this break in your voice. Susan