What are we saying with our singing? Are we communicating anything beyond simply reciting the words of the song?
Many singers unfortunately end up saying nothing much at all. That’s because we too often get caught in one of two traps: either stage fright and the subsequent struggle to simply get through the song, or over-focusing on technique and how the voice sounds. Of course, good technique and how your voice sounds are vital, but they are not the whole story. Far from it!
Think about your favorite musical artists. What do you feel when you watch them perform? Can you sense that they are deeply connected to the music, the lyrics, or the mood of the music? How can you tell? Can you see it in their body language, their facial expressions, or the way that their voice shapes each phrase?
Singing, at the core of it, is about communicating an idea, a story, or a feeling to our listeners. That’s what’s going to move an audience, make them feel something, and ultimately make your performance memorable. We as performers are there to give something to the audience. It’s about them, not us!
In order to communicate well with our listeners, we need to dig deep into the song and figure out what story is being told and what thoughts, feelings, and objectives connect with that story. We then need to learn the skill of communicating that story so the audience can experience something powerful. Performance and acting skills are just as important as vocal technique, if not more important.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only singing a neutral syllable or nonsense words like “ah” or “oo” – you can still emote with no actual lyrics.
So let’s ditch singing as a mechanical act and dive into the beautiful and exciting world of actually connecting to story, to emotion, and ultimately to other people. <3