Here’s something interesting I’ve noticed over years of coaching.
People put themselves in boxes.
What do I mean by this? Well, in the main, people tend to classify themselves as one kind of singer (e.g. “I’m a soft singer-songwriter”, “I’m a hard rock shouty/screamy singer”, etc). And VERY often they are making this decision as an ill-informed choice based on their current limitations rather than what they are actually suited to… and when we remove those limitations, their TRUE preferences reveal themselves.
Let me explain with some based-on-true-singers examples…
Let’s say I get a classical singer (not trained) called “Anna”. She sings the highest soprano part in her local choir and NEVER sings the lowest notes. She says she loves singing in that part of her range and it’s where she sounds best.
OK, we’ll accept that for now and more onto our next example.
Let’s say I get a singer in called “Bob”. Bob has a soft voice, so he sings soft singer-songwriter songs, often very lilt-y and very breathy. He says he sings them because he likes that material.
Now it’s not that Bob is being untruthful, but it’s impossible to say whether he TRULY loves that genre of music because he loves it, or because that is ALL he can sing because of his current vocal limitations.
Let’s say we’ve got another singer, “Carrie”. Carrie has a loud and full voice, so she tends to sing belting musical theatre with a narrow range because she finds she sounds best on the lower notes. Again, it’s not that Carrie is lying, but her current limitations prevent her from utilising her upper range, so she categorises herself as a particular type of singer to side-step that her vocal limitations have literally put her in a box.
Let’s say we’ve got another singer “Dana”. Dana wants to do riffs at every possible moment in every song, even when it’s not always appropriate. When we ask her to hold a note, she finds she struggles to do so, sustaining and vibrato is not present (some limitations there).
In Dana’s case, we’ve got someone who wants to riff all the time – but why? It’s the only thing she can run to in order to disguise her lacking vibrato and the ability to sustain notes.
In all of the above cases…
…these singers have categorised their musical output based on vocal limitations… which are not absolute, but merely their current vocal stage of development.
What tends to happen with these singers with training
Now I have had SCORES of people within each category, and there’s still more categories I could describe, but here’s what happens as we train their voice
As we fix the underlying technical issues, their REAL voice appears, and their REAL preferences start to emerge. The “classical” warbly singer suddenly discovers low notes are possible and they acknowledge they’ve always secretly wanted to sing gospel but never thought they could. The soft singer songwriter admits they always wanted to sing some belting pop. The musical theatre belter realises they want to still sing musical theatre, but they’ve always loved the extended range melodies that they thought were out of reach. The riffing wannabe superstar suddenly realises the power of simple ballads sung with quality and they realise they find the riffing far too fatiguing for the output they get.
Conclusion & Your Challenge
If we could erase your vocal limitations, what would you CHOOSE to sing?
Not because it’s the “in-thing”, not because you think other people want to hear it, but because YOU would love to sing it.
Just take 5 minutes (or maybe longer) to be honest with yourself, and really ask what you want to sing if you didn’t have the limitations you currently had. Seriously, be honest with yourself, and you may just surprise yourself.