I personally miss smooth singers. Today it seems that anyone with even a tiny voice can add reverb,delay and effects such as a harmonizer to fatten up thier vocals and in a studio even fix bad notes at least in the recording. But the downside is...
When you so to see them live in concert you leave feeling very let down because it was so obvious it was all studio created. Am I alone or does anyone else feel this way?
Have we lost something? Does this proliferation of new technology actually help or hender those with real talent?
So I put it to you is this helping or hindering those who who really can sing and deserve a break?
And also has anyone else noticed that most of the female top 40 singers sound exactly the same .. like clones out of a factory.
The next paragraph is ( my opinion only ) ( not to be taken as Set in Stone ) The only really fresh voice I have heard in a long time comes from a voice belonging to Milinda Doolittle of American Idol who in my estimation is beyond outstanding and blows the doors off the competition without the help of gadgets. If you have not heard her she's a cross between Natalie Cole and Areatha Franklin
Anyway I tossed a new question onto the arena.. bring on the lions!
I also LOVE Doolittle...she's humble and so far unaffected by all the hype...and she sings like an angel with GUTS....and yes, I don't know any new singers that I love either...maybe, she's not really new but young...Christina Aguilera
Hi Larry Spot on. I agree with your comments there are to many singers performing weak, reedy, nasally vocal gymnastics with hyped up vocal fx. Dont get me started on A.I. MOST OF THEM CANT EVEN HOLD DOWN A SIMPLE KARAOKE SONG. However give a good vocalist extra tools and he/she can work miracles. I would like to think that truly great singers use these gismos rather than hide behind them. No singer sounds really good dry (without any fx) but some can sound terrible even with them.
I agree that vocals nowadays are overprocessed. No wonder there's a lot of lip synching and back-up singer-doubling going on.
In my view technology is used to make-up for the fact that the vast majority of singers have no training and therefore have no craft in terms of understanding their instrument and using it to paint a song. AI is a perfect example of what happens to good voices when untrained and when the pressure to have the 'big voice' causes bad performances.
Far too much emphasis on looks means little personality and even less artistry. It wasn't so long ago when they put together 4 models and pitched them to the world as a 'band'.
The best way to test a singer is to hear them unplugged & solo. If they have heart, if they are sincere, they will hold your attention.
Hi Larry, I think you have to get out of the top 40 to find what you're looking for. There are a few. Corinne Bailey Rea, Joss Stone. These are two British girl singers. Maybe it's time for another "Invasion" Rick
Thats been my experience with effects and vocal processors, people overuse them. Then they have the onus to replicate that sound live. I, personally, try to record exactly the way I sound, warts and all. Then again, I'm not trying to be anyone's idol. Its that top 40 issue for me. Its all the clone stuff, they want the new talent to sound like the last talent because the last talent made lots of money. Everyone insists that you tell them who you sound like, thats so they can backfill you where they're lacking. My opinion is they are the ones lacking in creativity and vision.
If you spend enough time around the studio and know what to listen for, you can tell what kind of processing is used on the singers. Everyone uses a bit of compression and eq and the occasional help on a note...but what frustrates me most is hearing the autotune triggering through almost all of the track.
Being a session singer with a naturally big voice, who's usually spot on with pitch and can one-take jake more often than not... it makes me mad to hear the crap that's out there. If I ever delivered tracks like most of these girls do, I'd be mortified.
But what happens in real life? They're given millions and called "artists"... bull puckey!!!
(I guess I'm in a bit of a mood this morning...lol!!... I'm going to go make some coffee)
Lets face AI and its like should be renamed "send in the clones" You cannot blame the contestants who just want their 15 minutes of fame/exposure and a bit of cash. The blame rests with the hugely untalented producers and so called entrepenuers/agents. They lack any vision, creativity, originallity, foresight etc and are unwilling to take any risk whatsoever. They just want a production line of wannabes singing very poor cover versions. They would not know real original talent if it jumped up and bit them on the ass. They would also baulk at the idea of someone else actually having any imput of their own. The puppet masters rule in this game. The only way to beat them is to stop watching and voting for or buying this crap.
WITH and I quote://////////////////////////////////////////////// they want the new talent to sound like the last talent because the last talent made lots of money. Everyone insists that you tell them who you sound like END QUOTE... /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Amem Brother Richard!
This alone drives me nuts!!! I keep getting asked who I sound like... ARGHHHHH!! I sound like me.. Of course thay do not want to hear that! I actaully have had material turned down because I refused to answer that question. Some of the submission areas of certain companys ask that question and if you do not answer it your dis qualified and of course this brings up the question of what of there is no one who sounds like you? Your screwed..
Over the years as a performer / Strolling Toubador I have for many years sang cover tunes. Sometimes duplicating the voice of the artist. I have been blessed with the abilty to sound like many different artists.. however when I sing original material I revert to my own voice. You would think that thats what these supposed A&R guys would want originality
Case in point.. I just had another song turned down at TAXI because in the A&R guys ears.. I sound dated.. not like the current hot artist he's comparing me to. Funny my fans don't feel that way.. it's one of my most requested songs. Oh well I am not going to worry about it. It takes all kinds..I have found what one person likes another person does not.
and you can re submit songs and each time get a totally different review depending on who the reviewer is.. I know I have 4 totally diffrent reviews on one song.. and all of them have completly different reasons as to why I was not forwarded.
So why can't we just sound like us and be accepted? I really do not know that answer.. any ideas why we must all be clones?
seems to me: The music business is being run by a bunch of used car salesmen who have not a clue as to whats good and waht is bad. Only as Richard stated what made them money last time
Naw dont agree that used car salesmen run the music business. Like lawyers car salesmen are an honorable intelligent breed honest as the day is long they always smile and wont give you bad advice or sell you a duffer. These sort of folk are much more preferable than the kind of scummy people who actually run the music business.
I get TAXI's tip sheets, though I've never joined the outfit, and never sent them any stuff. They're always asking for "ah-las"--and most of the folks they want you to "a la" I've never heard of and don't particularly want to listen to. I hopefully sound like whomever I'm trying to emulate at the time, and that may be different for every song. As I've played around more, I've had people occasionally tell me they heard something on the radio "and it sounded just like you"--and I can usually tell 'em, "Naw, man, that was Bob Dylan (or whomever)."
I agree with Vikki about modern singers. Not only have they not had any training, they've never been told they *needed* any. Nor, I think, do the people who are marketing them really care. They're after "eye candy" for the MTV (&c.) crowd, and expect technological magic to compensate for any shortcomings (like absence of talent) the artist might have.
The people I like to listen to are the old-time ones, from the 1920s through (maybe) the 1950s. Those guys and gals *didn't* have technology to help them. They had to *work* at sounding good. And you can learn (my opinion) a lot from 'em.
I cannot tolerate American Idol or any of its clones. It has nothing to do with talent, or its discovery; it's (they're) a cheap form of reality show intended to make money off humiliating innocent people. The one time I heard Lakishia's voice on A.I. (I didn't watch--I'm not interested in eye candy), I felt sorry for her--those guys will probably destroy her sense of self-worth, and may discourage her from pursuing a career in music. I hope they do not. But A.I. is a symptom (if an unconnected one) of an industry that appears deliberately uninterested in talent, and particularly in new people breaking in.
Frankly, Lakisha's voice is not that bad. She has a small lisp, but she has a strong voice with a good range. I thought Jordin Sparks blew Melinda Dolittle away Tuesday night. Melinda hit a couple of flat spots. But, every since the start the judges seem to see nothing wrong with her. Just like Chris Richardson. They compared him to Justim Timberlake earlier. Apparently, they can't hear nasal.
"Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It" George Santayana
These wannabes should serve an apprenticeship before getting TV exposure like we had to in the "bad old days". I creased myself seeing a bimbo burst into tears because she had to sing three two minute songs during a show and did not know if her voice would hold up. She did not have a voice in the first place. When you have to sing for two hours solid, song after song, then get a half hour break, and then have to do it all over again, and there is an angry mob of bikers baying for trouble, if you screw up, start worrying about your voice holding out.
Although I appreciate a good singer whose voice doesn't need processing, I wonder how important that is to today's younger generation? Recently my daughter (20) was laughing at an "in concert" recording of one of her favorite artists. He sounded terrible live. He even apologized for his voice. That didn't affect how she felt about the processed recordings however. Perhaps we are at the point where the end justifies the means.
In concert situations, processing can even be done live, correct? Unless something goes wrong technologically, the audience doesn't even know. The vocal quality of the singing, since it can be processed, becomes less important than the song writing, the visual quality of the entertainment and the personality of the singer.
I don't think that is a good thing from my point of view because I tend to be somewhat of a purist but from the point of view from someone who wants to hear what they enjoy and don't care how it is done, it's OK.
I have to respectfully disagree with Big Jim regarding this statement:
No singer sounds really good dry (without any fx) …
A good singer is a good singer - with or without processing. I have heard plenty of good singers even on homemade tapes (without processing) and they sounded fine.
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I agree with most of what you say but you perhaps missed my true meaning of the statement "No singer sounds REALLY GOOD dry". I probably put in down in a confusing way. The accent should have been on the REALLY GOOD PART. Perhaps put slightly differently to clarify my point A good singer will sound EVEN better with FX than dry. That is what I meant to say.
Finally a page where folks will speak their minds and be honest.......... now the question is will any of you look at my page to give me honest feed back. if you have the time please do so. these songs were record in a local studio using a Karoke Tape as the background as a gift to my husband. I decide to try it on this site just to see what i would get from it. thanks to all that take the time. www.jamwave.com/PattyHammett or www.showcaseyourmusic.com/pattyhammett it is the same songs at both sites. thanks
The vocals are hard to hear over the music, so it's not well-mixed. The karoke track isn't very good quality. The vocals in both songs are a little pitchy in spots. As a voice teacher I can hear potential in the voice, but you need to learn how to effectively produce the voice, and that means understanding how diction affects the quality of the tone you sing, as well as learning how to support the voice on the breath, etc. In addition, it's not that easy to sing a song cleanly on the melody just from hearing someone else singing it on a CD or on the radio. It's good if you can get the sheet music and play through it so you can be sure you are singing what is written. I'd like to hear you sing something with a guitar or piano where the instrument is working with you and not against you. The background in these tracks overshadows you.
I just went back and listened to my first demo recording - which was made over karoke tracks. The producer in that case kept the volume down on the background so my voice could be up front, however the sonic quality of the music is not that great on it either. I can't post it anywhere for you to listen to as it's of course copyrighted material.
I agree with Vikki If I went to a studio and got a recording like that I would ask for it to be redone or for my money back. The same results could be got using your own PC. and a freebie editing program.
thanks guys..... i just love honest folks! this was my very first time in a studio and it was a gift for my hubby while he was out'a town. So i honestly didn't know what to listen for there. Thanks to you , now i do! thanks again!
Remeber one thing.....and I dont think anyone would disagree. The music industry as a whole is not about art. It is about MONEY. The reason they go after vocalists now is because they sound like other vocalist who have had tremendous success even to triple platinum status i.e. Ashley Simpson, Brittney Spears, Hillary Duff, etc. etc. etc. I have done alot of work in the industry and I can tell you THATS what the big labels are looking for. Also remember, more often than not again....its not WHAT ya know, its WHO you know. If all your after is the glitz and glam then just find a popular group or soloist and build your music to sound just like em.
Keep the ART in music and to hell with them. One day people will grow tired of the repetitiveness, and actually are doing it slowly but surely.
I sometimes would have liked to get on American Idol just to hear Simon Cowell insult me. He's quite imaginative with those insults. Though I don't watch American Idol too much, I watch it to hear him.
Out of all of the singers, I would have to say that Neil Diamond is the most unique singer I have heard. Oddly tons of musicians from all different genres have covered his songs.
Some don't have great voices, but they still want to sing. So all that can be done is to imitate to try and make the voice passable. I wonder if there was a genuine, talented, unique vocalist, that that singer would'nt be laughed at with all the imitation singers.
Smooth singers are few and far between. Two current singers that I like a lot who are pretty smooth are Steve Tyrell and Diana Krall. Of course, they're not mainstream, by common definition. They are primarily smooth jazz and adult contemporary with a jazzy touch.
As far as studio enhancements for vocals...used sparingly and with care, I think they are great additions. However, overprocessed vocals suggest two things to me...the person is a mediocre singer, at best; or the engineer and producer really stink. I don't have a particularly good singing voice, so I need all the help I can get. I add a slight touch of reverb (about 3 -3 1/2 on a scale of 10), and a little bit of compression...that's it. The reverb makes my voice sound warmer and gives it a little "air". The compression makes it sound s little fuller.
Yes, there are some natural voices that sound really good without any studio enhancements. But, it is my opinion that they sound slightly better with a minimal amount of enhancement, if it is done properly. I guess it all depends upon what each set of ears finds pleasing. Best to all of you.
As stated earlier a good singer will sound good dry. But in my opinion will sound even better with the right amount of fx. Try this experiment. Record yourself dry then gradually add fx and stop adding when it sounds best. Remember the settings.
I agree that the voice is better dry. Too much reverb is more irritating than poor singing even. There are some obscure eighties acts I remember to where there is the exception with reverb. But in that case the reverb almost serves as another instrument. Like a voice box would. Reverb can also be neat on the guitar. But I like enough verb just to the amount to where the recording does'nt lay down too flat. Maybe not even reverb but just a pinch of echo. Not to where it sabatages the vocals with either.
Hi Matt there is more to fx than just reverb and echo. Just look at the presets on a decent fx unit and experiment. Skilfully used they can add warmth and depth to a bland voice. Even a great voice in my opinion will sound better.
I hav'nt tried much fx yet the way I would like to because of my crude recording setup. Though I have flailingly attempted to. Before the net, I had an old stereo delay pedal and an electronic reverb unit that also included delay. I still have the reverb unit, but I use it sparringly.
But more in the mix is what I have been seeking.
Recently I purchased a Tascam US-122L audio interface. The left to right channels sound like actual left to right in the speakers. I would try to do that before with my equipment and it would sound like just one sound blasting through a vaccum.
This particuilar Tascam is a starters unit and also a 2 channel, but it's pretty grand to me. I remember recordings in loud rock groups playing in a basement through a boombox. Part of me loves it. It's not too friendly to the ears. I could still hear the definition in the playing. I could'nt agree more about everything getting mixed dry first. I became so use to the effects so much at one time when I started playing synth, hearing it dry, I could hardly cut through the merk and noticed it immediately when I got over my high with it and went back to my original way of thinking. Flaws in the singing are hidden just the same. I did'nt know how bad that was until I recorded dry. I forgot that every instrument should have the detail in it even with a flat sound. And the voice is an instrument to, and no effects was vital in discovering my limitations. It was especially crucial with the voice due to limitations in singing. Anyone that sings or plays any instrument should start their recordings dry.