This is something that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to perfect, and practice on my own as a musician, and a singer. What can we do as artists to have our own unique stamp on what it is we do whether it’s being a guitarist, singer, bassist or any of the multi instruments that are available to us. I can bet you that those artists out there that are identifiable just after a couple of notes woodshed in their rooms, rehearsal spaces etc.,for years to get to where they were.
For instance, I read that John Fogerty spent a great amount of time getting his voice to sound the way it does. He recorded himself, tweaked it, mixed it up and out came one of the greatest rock voices of our time. Those are a few things I’d like to talk about here, and how to get to that point in your search. I’m a singer so will discuss what I’ve done, and honestly it’s just trying to emulate my favorite vocalist, but still having my own voice shine thru in the process.
I think most of us are born, with clean, angelic sounding vocals like what you would hear choir singers doing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in my opinion it doesn’t work well most of the time in Rock N Roll. There’s no edge to what it is they’re doing, so you have to mix it up, throw kinks in the chain, blend it, disguise it do what you can to get that certain mojo that make the greats just that!
For whatever reason I have gravitated towards singers that have raspy voices whether it’s Robert Plant, Chris Cornell, Axl Rose, or Rod Stewart. So when I was starting out I would sing along to let’s say a Led Zeppelin song, and while doing so I’d start to blend in a little grit in my voice to match Roberts. I started learning how to sing with a little head voice when singing higher just like him, but never completely copying him note for note.
I did the same thing with Chris Cornell, Axl Rose, David Coverdale, and a few other idols that I’ve looked up to along the way. I sort of think of it as putting 3-4 things in a blender, turning it on, mixing it up, and seeing what comes out. Usually it’s something cool, because you’ll have elements on the people you admire, but You’ll have your own voice most importantly. When I sing now, it’s completely natural, and I don’t even think about it anymore.
A few other examples of this are Steve Perry idolized Sam Cooke growing up. If you listen to Steve you can hear a little Cooke in his voice. I once read that David Lee Roth said he was trying to copy Rod Stewart on an earlier Van Halen song, and it was very apparent to him, but it still sounded like Roth to us.
With a little bit from this singer to that singer to your own voice you can hopefully create something that nobody has ever really heard before, and that’s what I strive for.
Like I said earlier it applies to all musical instruments. Eric Johnson who plays on my recent single “Gypsy Woman’s Got the Groove” has said it many times in interviews that
he copies his heroes like Eric Clapton, Hendrix, Chet Atkins, and Wes Montgomery, but what I hear most of the time is Eric just sounding like himself.
In conclusion it’s probably a never ending search, but as they say the journey is what it’s all about sometimes. Good luck on your journey, and let me know what you find.
P.S My next single “The Universe Gives Me What I Want” Feat. Monte Montgomery will be available on iTunes soon so be looking for it.
Reagan Browne official site : http://www.reaganbrowne.com