I Help people sing and speak expressively and powerfully no matter the level of experience :)
HI, I'M JORGELINA
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Have you ever wondered what makes a singer great? One of the things I like to do in my free time is to answer singing related quora questions. This week I have been amazed at how many people asked for clarification on one topic: “Why are some average singers famous while great ones are not,” and also “why X singer is famous if they don’t have a huge vocal range.” It seems like for some people, the goal of singing should be singing high notes to become famous.
In life there are many things we know for a fact, and many others that depend solely on our point of view. When it comes to singing, you can tell that it is a fact when a singer can reach high notes, low notes, if they can sing in many languages, etc. But what makes a singer good? That is entirely up to you to decide!
Personally, I do get impressed when a singer has a huge vocal range, but that is not the reason I choose to listen again and again to the same singer. My favorite singer is Dave Gaham. From memory I don’t think he is rewarded as a singer with lots of octaves of range, and if he were, I would probably not even notice it, or at least that is not what I would remember about him, because I don’t pay attention to that too much.
The reason why I choose him as my favorite singer is simple: it is because of how I feel when I listen to him. I can’t even explain the sensation with words adequately. I feel empowered, happy, powerful, genuine, and it gives me the impression that everything is in the right place. When I listen to his voice I feel that I can see both sides of the moon. Weird explanation but is hard to translate with words. If I had to use one word, I would say “truth.”
When he sings live you can see him deeply feeling every word he says, with no shame, no guilt, without asking permission. Raw.
And that is my personal preference. Perhaps what makes a great singer in your opinion is the number of notes they can sing, the softness of their voice, the particular tone of their voice, how clean is their technique, how raspy is their voice, how great they are as entertainers, the mastery of a specific style, etc. That is up to you, and whatever you decide is valid and is right. At the end of the day, we all choose to listen to a particular singer for how good they make us feel, and that again will be different for everybody — the same reason why we enjoy the company of some people and not others. There is nothing wrong with the people we don’t choose, they just don’t resonate with us particularly that much, and that is OK.
I personally think it is silly to compare singers and decide which one is better. There is no neutral answer to that because we all have different standards for what makes a singer great. There is no need to fight and debate with one another about whose singer is the best!
Nowadays, it seems that singing is linked to a desire for fame. And this is a belief that comes mostly from non-singers!
When people choose to be a singer, they rarely select the path of fame. Of course, we all like to be liked and respected, but choosing singing as a career with the focus of fame is not for everybody.
It is just one pathway of the many possibles when you decide to become a musician.
I always like to ask my students when they first start, what are their goals in singing. Of course, goals change over time, but interestingly enough, only a tiny fraction of them mention “fame” as their goal. Most of them come for one of the following reasons:
And of course, from time to time, I get students that are focused on being the next youtube star. All these reasons are entirely valid, including fame. But most definitely, fame is not the number one priority for most of them.
At the end of the day, we all choose to learn to sing because it makes us feel good. That’s the main reason, the particular excuse or pathway is just a detail. Perhaps expressing makes you feel good, or being well known, or the applause from people, or just making music, or feeling better about your voice for yourself, or yes, the idea of singing for tons of people, etc… Whatever it is, it is right. I am a firm believer that we should do what makes us feel good as long as it doesn’t harm or limit others.
Being a famous singer requires much more than having a great voice. It requires having the right personality, being in the right place at the right time, lots (and LOTS) of marketing, good connections, creating the right image, giving up private life, dealing with tons of criticism, being exposed to tons of people, singing things and styles you do not necessarily like, giving up lots of other activities you might want to pursue, touring around the world for months at a time… the list goes on.
Obviously, it is a valid pathway, and I admire people that go through that, that’s why we can enjoy so many famous singers out there that dedicate their lives to that. But it is not the right path for everybody, and I doubt most people would enjoy that life. For some people, however, that is the right path, and I’m so grateful for that! We get to enjoy Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Justin Timberlake, the Backstreet Boys, etc. We need them in our lives!
And of course, singing for thousands of people is not the only way of enjoying your voice. However, I have noticed along the way that singing tends to be much more enjoyable when you share it with others, whether it is as a solo singer with an audience (big or small or tiny), or in a group situation. And of course, there are many ways you can get those benefits without being famous.
From my experience teaching, I have to say that when I see my students singing together in a group they enjoy it the most. There is a magic which is hard to deny. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t feel empowered after their choir session or after they play some music together with their friends or family.
So, to summarize. What makes a singer great? Whatever you decide. Why are some “average” talented singers, famous and great singers are not? Because they choose that path. Why do people sing? Because it makes them feel good.
Auckland Singing School is the way to go if you want to learn to sing from a holistic and integral approach in Auckland. A great way to truly free your voice!
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