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Rock vocals

OK in short, im in a band and i sing in what i guess you could call a gravelly way, akin to kurt cobain and dave grohl. Some of my vocals are cleaner (more incubus/lost prophets) and some are much more screamy (deftones/glassjaw).

We've now got a music video on TV through a national competition we entered (tho we are still unsigned BTW) and we are now pretty much touring to promote it.

Anyhow im worried about my voice coz im feeling the strain and have been reading up on it.

I want to preserve my voice, i've had rudimentary tuition years back so im more than aware im singing "wrong". I've also found that songs towards the top of my range now seem harder to pull off live.

So, any ideas, exercises, books people could suggest to help me out...? The key is i want my voice to sound 'rock' but not burn it out!!!!!!!!


Re: Rock vocals

Hi Gazz,

Couldnt help noticing your post,

i sing a similar type of band (sakurai) and we are up and coming so the same thing used to happen to me with my voice before i received training but it wasnt just vocal training that helped.

Maybe i can offer you some helpful tips to support your voice whilst touring. (these are not set in stone but they work for me and we are averaging about 4 to 6 gigs a month so my voice takes a bashing)

Okay, firstly ask yourself the following questions

Warm Ups

i find that if i warm up about 2 hrs before a gig with some light singing may sing a few bars of a low vocal song such as "edge of the world" by faith no more, or ill pick asong that i can lower the vocals on that i know the melody quite well of.

then 20 mins before i go on stage i warm up lightly with vocal lines low to high maybe a few more light vocal lines this usually works.

Food and drink.

before a gig i try to not eat any dairy products milk, chocolate, cheese, etc as they create a layer of film on your vocal chords, incidentally dairy foods makes your screams amazing but leaves your clear vocals flat.

if you can (i know you have heard it loads before but its works) drinks buckets of water keep your throat hydrated, its very easy to be tempted by alcohol before a gig (i know this all to well) but it doesnt do any favours for you, it may look cool, but your voice will suffer, alcohol may take about 4 to 5 hours to reach your throat but i find it makes me worry before a gig and as it is a depressant. it also makes me jump around like a fool and mess up my notes.

state of mind

If you are worrying about things like how many people will be there at the gig or will my voice be cool, will i get my notes, etc then it will affect your singing you need to keep a clear head as id say this adds up to about 40% of your stage voice. try and walk outside of the venue half an hour before your gig then come back in find a quiet place and warm up youll be surprised how much this helps.

bum notes

when your singing live if you think you cant hit a note, lower it a bit to still be in tune, if i know i cant hit a note ill change it a little, and leave rehearsals to perfect it, the chance is that most people wont actually know the exact note your singing so use that to your advantage. one of my vocal coaches once told me that the best notes are the hardest to get.

Breath easily

Youll hear this a lot but it is integral to being a singer you need to know how to breathe properly, try vocal help books such as

ISBN - 1 -86074 - 437 -0 RETAILS AT £12.99

and the
rock and roll singers survial guide by mark baxter (this explains a lot of what i have said above)

get plenty of exercise singing in a rock/metal band is strenuous and if your unfit youll run out
of breath which affects your vocals.

last but not least try and find a vocal coach this helps a lot and will boost your confidence.

any way i hope this helps email me if you need any more help.


Mark Mckay
Vocalist in Sakurai

p.s. congrats on the bands success and drop us a line if you fancy a gig in manchester.