Developing Your Style - by Chrys Page
May 8, 2011

It says this on my business card: "Discover the Voice Inside You."
Over the weekend, I gave it someone and she asked me what that phrase meant.

I thought about it for a sec and told her this.

“Well, when we’re learning how to sing, it’s not unusual to try and sound like someone else, usually some singer who we admire and have listened to often. As we grow in technique and confidence, we start to trust our own interpretations of the songs we’re singing and rely less on our ability to simply imitate artists.”

She replied:
“So once I develop my own sound, I shouldn’t imitate anyone else?

“Well”, I continued, “Yes and No. Actually its not just developing your sound, it’s your personal STYLE that you’re developing and it goes even further than that. Your own personal style will certainly be your own and no one else’s, but you must realize that you’ll never sing every song the same way with the same style, so while you’re developing your own voice and style, you are also learning to respect the music you sing by singing to each different song as IT dictates”

My companion seemed totally confused by this so I went on to explain further:

There are 3 levels of artistry a singer develops.

The first level is singing to him/herself.
This is learned in bedrooms across the globe in front of one’s mirror with a hairbrush as the microphone. Many singers never get past this level and fall in love with the sound of their own voices. It doesn’t matter what song they sing, they always sound the same on every single song, and they like it, even if no one else does.

The second level is singing to an audience.
This is a dangerous level as it is often dictated by the listeners rather than the singer, and therefore may contain all the right notes and words but absent of personal expression which is the true measure of an Artist! It’s also where the temptation to start sounding like someone is most insistent. And we’re all subjects of this temptation because we want to meet with approval from our audience…it’s totally natural to want to please them. And it’s also okay to…AS LONG AS we remain true to our own personal style while doing so. If you’re singing a Celine Dion song that the audience has heard a thousand times, you can still sing it as YOUR personal expression, even if there’s a pull to hit all of Celine’s notes and imitate her mannerisms. There’s only one of Celine Dion, but there is only ONE of YOU TOO. Remember that! Performing is about expression and not impression!

Which brings us to 3rd level of artistry. Singing to the SONG!
When we sing to the song, we are confident enough to allow the song itself to dictate our style. It’s not possible to sing every song exactly the same way, which is why I always admonish my students to choose the right songs if they want to showcase their true talent.

Singing to the song means that the words, and the notes and the accents of the song must conform with the inclinations of the performer.

And basically what that means is that if someone wants to hear “Crazy”, when I’m performing somewhere, I don’t have to sing it like Patsy Cline, BUT, I shouldn’t sing it with a Jazz inflection either simply because the song dictates a certain style and vocal turns that are the opposite of the way Jazz does. So what do I do? I sing the song as my own personal expression of the words, remembering that performing is all about the CONVERSATION and not so much about each individual note. So it ain’t Patsy Cline, but its pleasing to the crowd, and I kept my own artistic integrity, see that?

If I sing a song in Portuguese, the song is going to dictate where to put the accents, so I am careful to choose foreign language songs will compliment my own style without making me sound false or forced.

I have become quite impressed with this young Country artist on this season’s American Idol. He’s definitely a Country singer, but his willingness to explore what’s beyond his natural roots in that music and reveal something else lurking in his soul, demonstrates exactly what I mean when I say, “Discover the Voice Inside You”

You are invited to read all my archived blogs and articles on singing and performing by visiting my Singers Social Network!!

And here are additional websites where you will find my bloggings. We are very busy putting together a compilation of all of my meanderings for the last 10 years. Please come back and stay tuned for when that eBook will become available!!

http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/chrys_page.html

http://www.singyourlife.spruz.com/blog.htm

http://www.singyourlife.com/blog

http://www.mysingersblog.blogspot.com

And thanks for stopping by to read.

Sin[g]cerely, - Chrys

Author's Bio: 

Chrys Page is 71 years old and is performing and teaching music with renewed energy every day, fueled by her students, who can be 18 or 80 and every age in between.
My purpose here is to motivate those who love to sing to do so no matter how old they are and to not just sing notes but to connect with the lyrics and expression of each song and in doing so, touch and heal a part of themselves and others as well.
As Director of Sing Your Life Enterprises, Chrys has taught over 500 students and sung in countless establishments from coast to coast.
Visit her YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/Sing4aLifetime09
or join her Singers' Social Network at
http://singyourlife.spruz.com/