A couple months ago I wrote an article on how to hold a difficult emotion while performing -- without breaking down or losing it.
But because it's a complex subject, I wanted to follow up with a video explaining exactly how to do this.
Today's video tackles the "acting" side of performing a song. How do you embody real emotion while you sing -- without buckling under the weight of that emotion?
In the video below, you'll learn:
If this sounds weird, don't worry -- I'll walk you through each step!
Was this video helpful? Will you use these techniques when you perform? Are you ready to take your performing to the next level?
Let me know what you think!
**Editors Note: As of August...
What do a park-dwelling Birdman, an old hunchback, and a golden-kneed soccer player have in common?
Watch my latest singing tips video to find out!
In this video, you'll learn how my performing onstage with my musical improv group gave me insight into a new strategy for relieving vocal tension. Specifically: that my playing *old, male characters with hip-loaded posture* helped me to bust singing tension!
Here's my conclusion: loading your hips, tucking your pelvis under, and bending slightly at the waist can help to un-tense your neck, shoulders, and throat. (This is similar to the "butt clench" technique I often advocate for belt singing -- thrusting your energy DOWN into your lower body can help to free up your upper body.)
Yup, I know it sounds crazy. And no, I'm not kidding about this!
(NOTE: In the video, when I play my weird old man characters, I stick my neck out a bit, kind of like a "chicken-neck." Resist the urge to do this. The most important...
In today's video we'll explore the question:
What separates a good singer from a GREAT singer?
The answer, in my opinion, is musical phrasing.
If you've ever written to me and said:
Fel, when I sing a song I become very overcome with feeling and want to cry, and then I lose my technique.
Fel, how do I show real emotion when I sing?
-- then the following process will serve you incredibly well.
But first, a quick story . . .
This past Friday I attended a business conference, and in one of our small group exercises, I started crying.
My attempt at a "business suit"
If that sounds weird, it's because it kind of is. But this was no ordinary business conference. The goal of our group exercise was to relive a past memory and to hold the feeling of that memory in our bodies.
(Among other things, one greater goal of the conference was to expand our consciousness, to learn to hold feelings, and to use these skills in the service of creating...
“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” --Archilochos
Last month I began performing onstage with my musical improv group Thank You, Places: An Improvised Musical at the Philly Improv Theater. Every other Friday we make up a one-hour musical, on the spot!
If you're thinking: That sounds hard, Fel is so BRAVE! -- well, I have news for you:
It freaking ter-ri-fies me.
Seriously. I think I was more nervous on February 17, 2017, our opening night, than I was when I first went on for Elphaba in Wicked (and that's not a joke).
The face of a woman doing everything she can not to freak out
Why was performing made-up songs so psychologically stressful for me? You already know the answer, I'm sure:
No preparation means you have nothing to hold onto, no rules to follow, and no way to anticipate the challenging parts of a song.
In contrast, if you want me to do "regular"...
You know what bugs me most? When singers don't realize their full potential -- not because they're incapable, but because they don't have the right tools.
In our online singing community there are over 90,000 singers who tweet me, email me, leave awesome comments -- you name it! And I can sense the love-hate relationships they have with their voices.
They have spent years (decades, even!) spinning their wheels and not making lasting progress.
Maybe you can relate. You're a singer with boatloads of potential, trying to piece together the "clues" of how singing should feel. But you feel way more frustrated than triumphant.
You see progress, then setbacks. You learn tips and tricks (possibly from me, on YouTube :-) ), but nothing truly STICKS.
You don't know how to put it together in the right order.
Your voice comes and goes, never seeming predictable.
You start to worry: "Am I just not cut out for this?"
"Do I have to be blessed with that elusive 'it' factor that makes singing...
Time for a ridiculous, holiday-themed video that explores the differences between pop singing and musical theater singing!
More specifically, I will sing "Silent Night" two different ways, all while wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.
The gist of the two approaches is:
This isn't a detailed musical theater or pop singing tutorial per se, but it's a fun 'n' silly video that contrasts some key approaches that can help make your singing sound more pop-py.
(Because I personally am a beginner pop singer, I would consider this pop singing for beginners. :) )
Hey, great idea! Here are the instructions.
This video is about my favorite singing "hack" - modified lyrics! This easy singing tip will give you the most bang for your buck, even (especially) if you're a beginner.
If you've watched my "How to Sing Chandelier by Sia" video, or any others in my pop song series, you know that I like to take regular English words and translate lyrics into singer-friendly vowels. Why? It can do WONDERS for your singing.
When you rewrite singing lyrics with more "open" vowels, which are easier and more resonant to sing, they become a million times easier for singers to tackle.
What's more, it makes your singing tone less closed or pinched, and more open, rich, and resonant.
I get tons of requests to translate specific songs, which I will keep doing in future, but I also wanted to give you my guidelines so that you can do it for any song that you like to sing!
Be sure to download my .PDF summary so you can check out the best singer vowel translations and start singing in with a more open,...
Here's a thought... What if the qualities you believe make your voice less than, actually make it cool and interesting?
I've contemplated this question a ton as I venture into writing my own music. So far I'd describe my strange songs as a cross between: Grimes, Lana Del Rey, and Every Broadway Show Ever.
ANYWAY. My vocal background and training is musical theater singing, which means I'm hardwired to think: "These notes (high, low, whatever) need to come out cleanly, perfectly, and without any noticeable variation, damnit!"
And while I still love that I'm able to unify my chest, mix, and head voice cleanly (for the most part) -- and I believe it is important for singers not to be held back by any technical "holes" in their voices --
The truth is: for many genres of music, embracing our imperfections, or the reasons our voices are unique, can unlock a whole world of interpretation, variation, color, emotion, and interesting style choices.
Take it from the...