Really, I don’t know how to sing.
Well, kind of. I mean, I know how to sing, in a standard definition of the word, but my formal training is restricted to a few impromptu vocal lessons in high school and my parents loving choral music. So far, that’s served me just fine.
The problem is I tend to sing with a “head voice.” It’s been great at giving me a vocal quality that one reviewer compared to “Neil Tennant’s husky-voiced younger brother”, a voice quality that’s worked pretty well with electronic music.
I’m starting to encounter limitations, though. As my recording and mixing technique improves, and as my recording gear gets better, I’m starting to find it harder and harder to hide the spots where my voice is lacking. For a good portion of my life I’ve been plagued with chronic sinus issues, and while for the most part I’ve been able to record around them, it’s getting to the point where I can’t drown out adenoidal consonants with reverb, and no amount of Flonase or Claritin seems to clear it up. I’ve seen a few doctors about it, and there’s only been so much they can do before they get to the cure-worse-than-the-symptoms issues.
I’ve been experimenting with singing with a more chest-voice style, and while I can get quite good results from the recording chain, a timbre I’m quite pleased with, and a fairly decent “punch” in the actual output, there’s a maddening loss of nuance and a persistant problem of me ending up sounding like I should be fronting a band called “Marv and the Mel-Tones” (playing the Holiday Inn every night from 10-1, two-drink minimum!).
I have no doubt that I can eventually puzzle this out. I figure if I can go from my never-singing, angry growling industrial days to a Chris Isaak cover literally overnight, I can probably figure out how to succesfully sing without sounding like either a Pet Shop Boy with a headcold or some guy wearing a green velvet tuxedo. And it’s not like I’m trying to perform Lohengrin (or, god help me, Wozzek) – the stuff I write for myself doesn’t require any special vocal acrobatics or a deep understanding of vocal technique. I need to learn just enough to get by.
It’s just incredibly frustrating to have to do midway through our fourth full-length album.