Bring Out The Emotion In Your Songs

Emotional feeling songs have always been in great demand. Ballads are especially lyric-driven and must be clear and honest, yet visual and compelling. Ballads convey a strong sense of the emotions the singer of the song is feeling.

Try to think of singing as speaking on organized, rather than random, pitches. Instead of slinging a bunch of loud notes at your audience, speak to them. Make your vocal technique word-based rather than tone-based. If your audience didn’t value the lyrics, they’d be listening to symphonies or instrumental jazz.

It’s easy to build a successful career around an artist who can tell a story in song that listeners can relate to. Artists like Celine, Garth or Michael Jackson, who are known for feeling songs deeply, are always in great demand.

Drawing on your personal life situations will help you understand how the subject could be feeling. Songs can also help you heal your heart, release pent up anger, or simply make you smile. And it’s funny how just thinking about what the words mean will actually help make you sing better.

Whether you are singing your own material or cover songs, you must live your songs and know what you are singing about and why. This is not as obvious as it sounds.

I suggest you create a three minute mini-movie for every song, complete with cast, setting, and dramatic background. Write out a short subtext for each song as you learn it. Try to be as specific as possible. It does not matter what you are personally feeling, songs should not be allowed to wither and die on the vine, it’s up to you to make them come alive.

To create a subtext, write down answers to these four questions:

  1. Who is singing the song?

Is it you, or are you imagining a situation that happened to someone you know?

  1. What does the singer of the song hope to accomplish or change?

Tell a lover good-bye? Stop a lover from leaving? Start fresh after a broken heart?

  1. Who else is present?

Is the loved one actually in the room or are you leaving the message on voice mail?

  1. When and where is the song being sung?

What time of the day is it and where are you? Emotions run hotter at night when you’re in a bar than during the day when you’re at the mall..

Here’s a sample of subtext to help you get started:

“Joe and I are breaking up for the third and final time. It’s 3 am and he just came home covered with lipstick smudges — again! This time we’re really through and I want him to know just how badly he’s blown it. I’m angry and I want him to know exactly how I’m feeling.” Songs must convey emotion to the listener in order to be believable.

There is no rule; there is no right or wrong. It’s up to you to decide what the scenario for your song will be. Songs can have an endless variety of scenarios, make yours unique to you. The audience doesn’t have to know exactly what your subtext is, but if you have one, they will know that something is happening inside you instead of nothing.

If you want help “Choosing The Right Songs To Sing” this blog article may help.

I would love to know your thoughts on this article. Please leave a comment below.

2018-03-13T17:09:44+00:00 August 14th, 2017|

2 Comments

  1. Jonathan Stars August 17, 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    What you say about emotional singing is to true. It’s taken me many years to get the technique out of the way so I can sing from the heart. I took lessons from you in the mid-1990s, and now, at age 67, I finally consider myself free to sing with joy and any other emotion I choose. (I’ve actually been free for a few years, but …) It takes as long as it takes.

    I took lessons from an opera singer back in the 1970s. He said our voice declines starting at the age of 40, so I expected to be done by now. Well, that might be true for opera singers, I don’t really know. But I can tell you I sing far better now than I did in my 40s. I suppose if I were to really blow it out on a long gig, it might take longer to come back, but even with long rock jams, I’m still back to normal very quickly—no more than 24 hours. Technique people. Learn it!

    Thank you for having been patient with me.

    • Renee Grant-Williams August 17, 2017 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Jonathan,
      Thank you so much for your comment. New singers need to learn good basic technique like breath control and support. But, singing is connecting with your listener and you do that with emotion. I teach my singers to sing on the vowels to help them with that emotional connection. But, at some point you must get to a point that technique is natural then reach out emotionally with your singing. I’m thrilled that your voice is still strong and that you are actively singing and enjoying it.
      Renee

      What you say about emotional singing is to true. It’s taken me many years to get the technique out of the way so I can sing from the heart. I took lessons from you in the mid-1990s, and now, at age 67, I finally consider myself free to sing with joy and any other emotion I choose. (I’ve actually been free for a few years, but …) It takes as long as it takes.

      I took lessons from an opera singer back in the 1970s. He said our voice declines starting at the age of 40, so I expected to be done by now. Well, that might be true for opera singers, I don’t really know. But I can tell you I sing far better now than I did in my 40s. I suppose if I were to really blow it out on a long gig, it might take longer to come back, but even with long rock jams, I’m still back to normal very quickly—no more than 24 hours. Technique people. Learn it!

      Thank you for having been patient with me.

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