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1ns and 2s with DJ-Sticha - Owning your song - the difference between good and great

by DJ-Sticha
15 Jun 2016 at 11:51hrs | Views
As a music producer and Dj in Hillbrow, I get to hear a lot of singers sing songs that another artist has made popular. In my experience, most people attempt to sing the song exactly the same way as the artist does on the recording.

Now I grew up listening to songs and trying to sing exactly like what I was hearing too, so no judgement there! That's how you learn and it's definitely an important and indispensable part of the artistic process for many of us.

But here's the thing. It's not enough. It's not enough to listen to the recording hundreds of times and sing along. For one thing, most singers get lost if they ever sing that song with a live musician who plays it even slightly differently than the professional recorded version. If you ever actually perform the song, I can practically guarantee that you won't be performing it to that recording and singing along with the singer, so you must wean yourself off singing to it exclusively. That's the only way to find out how well you really know the song! I can't tell you how many singers are shocked to discover that they don't actually know the song that well if they are not singing along with the artist.

The first thing I tell abaculi is to get away from the recording-just stop listening to it. That is the first step to start hearing what you might have to say through the song and to making it authentically yours.

Here's the thing most singers come to realize-even if you can sing along and even sound really good doing it and it can even pass in some situations, it will never feel great to you or be great unless you invest yourself in it and make it truly your own. Here's what I mean:

Let's take ‘True Love' by Busi Ncube and Andy Brown for example.

I'm sorry to say this so bluntly but you know I'm saying it with love: the world doesn't need to hear another person sing that song in the exact same way with the exact same riffs. She did that already and did it beautifully, didn't she?

What the world does need to hear is your take on the song. There is only one you and no one else will ever be you or express like you. If you don't give us you, who will? If you don't give us you, even if you hit every note, you'll never sound great because YOU are not in it.

Believe it or not, singing is much less about the song and much more about the depth of the person singing the song. An amazing artist can sing the phone book and make you cry. You've got to get you in the song to make it great!

I can see you scratching you head-but how do I get me in it? Here are some tips for you:

First, when I work on a song with a client in production it's always after the vocal warm up and technique building exercises are finished so that your voice is in the best shape possible. I do that because you need the voice balanced and the technique solid so that you can use it as a launching point for your self-expression. To sound great, you need to have a great working instrument. Makes sense, right? So make sure you've warmed up before starting to work on a song.

Second, my intention is to help you find out what you have to bring to the song. The words are already there and you generally can't or shouldn't change them. So you need to make the words comfortably yours.

Here are some questions I like to ask to help get that ball rolling:

-what is this song about?
-what does it make you think about or remember in your own life? How do you relate to the words?
-why does it matter and to whom does it matter that these words come alive through you?
-what is the message the song leaves you with?

All a song is, is a story. You have stories, tons of them! And you tell them all the time. Just like you have a reason for telling your stories and you have emotions related to your stories, your song also has a reason that you need to find.

When someone tells you a story, you look for where you can relate to their story. Discover how you can relate to the story and how you want others to relate. That's all it's about. Trust the feelings the song brings up in you and go from there. Create your own personal connection to each sentence that feels real, honest, deep and true to you. And please don't worry if you're doing it ‘right'. There is no ‘right' story or ‘right' way to feel or relate to the song. There is only the way that gives you goose bumps and makes you say-'Oh! that must be it!'

Now I don't mean to be a pain here, but even ooh's and ah's need to have reasons, background, and emotional connection otherwise they end up sounding shallow and empty and can even leave a listener cold. I like to ask ‘Why are you saying that ‘ooh' at this moment in the song, what are you feeling right there?' Nothing? Well, put some feeling in. You need to have a personal stake in singing that song that goes way beyond just hitting the right notes on pitch.

Making a song your own is about caring enough to discover the story hidden inside the the words (no matter what the lyrics are) and allow it to affect you first and then express it and share it so that it can affect others. (Warning-tears might happen but they are the good kind of tears-the kind that tell you you're opening and growing and feeling and the walls around your heart are dissolving for a higher purpose)

I won't lie-it takes time and effort. It takes a willingness to look inside and to bring your own personal experiences to the forefront and let them come through the music. When you own the song, that's when the magic happens and you go from being a ‘good' singer to a truly great one. That's when you're telling a universal story with all your soul and entering into the realm of divine music making and nothing is more fulfilling than that!

The pay off for doing the emotional connection work on your song is that you will find it easier to actually sing the song. Pitch will be there because you're listening more deeply and attentively, technique will get naturally integrated because you're embodying the song, and lyrics are easier to remember because you know why you're saying them and best of all, audiences will remember you and love you because you did what they really wanted-you touched their heart.

Masicobel' ulwazi, masikhulisan' emculweni.

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Source - DJ-Sticha