So…how does history affect YOU? Well, if you’re a singer…in lotsa ways.

The biggest distinction in singing in terms of these changes, is the complexity of the melody. Today’s pop music—highly influenced by rap—is more rhythmic and melodically complicated. Early ‘90s hits like “What I Got” by Sublime would influence current artists like Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat, and even those more on the country spectrum like Taylor Swift. But it’s shown up in pretty much every style out there.

Most of my students struggle to sing the songs they love on the radio now for one primary reason: there are tons of lyrics and very little space to breathe.

Additionally, the rise of R&B singing’s influence on pop music means riffing is a primary aspect of the average pop tune. Complicated vocal riffs and runs are now huge parts of the melody and expected of the average pop vocalist. Whitney became Christina Aguilera (Click Button 5 for proof…) and P!nk. What most vocalists don’t know about riffing is that it relies mostly on great forward placement—propelling the sound nasally and more towards the face than what has been previously taught in a lot of private vocal studios and colleges.

In the scheme of things, singing is getting a lot more attention because of this complexity and the history that built it. I often hear guitar players whining that vocalists are getting all the limelight now. And that’s a good thing. But being a strong vocalist who is considered a worthy competitor in the vocal world has become a lot harder.


So what do you have to do? Train. Hard. Find a solid teacher who is well versed in modern styles and technique that can help you achieve great placement and solid breath support. And then.. get to work.


Because history waits for no singer.

Originally posted 2012-03-25 23:45:35.