Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Emotional Feeling Songs: Compose a Subtext

Emotional feeling songs have always been in great demand. Ballads are especially lyric-driven and must be clear and honest, yet visual and compelling. Ballads convey a strong sense of the emotions the singer of the song is feeling.

Try to think of singing as speaking on organized, rather than random, pitches. Instead of slinging a bunch of loud notes at your audience, speak to them. Make your vocal technique word-based rather than tone-based. If your audience didn’t value the lyrics, they’d be listening to symphonies or instrumental jazz.

It's easy to build a successful career around an artist who can tell a story in song that listeners can relate to. Artists like Celine, Garth or Michael Jackson, who are known for feeling songs deeply, are always in great demand.

Drawing on your personal life situations will help you understand how the subject could be feeling. Songs can also help you heal your heart, release pent up anger, or simply make you smile. And it's funny how just thinking about what the words mean will actually help make you sing better.

Whether you are singing your own material or cover songs, you must live your songs and know what you are singing about and why. This is not as obvious as it sounds.

I suggest you create a three minute mini-movie for every song, complete with cast, setting, and dramatic background. Write out a short subtext for each song as you learn it. Try to be as specific as possible. It does not matter what you are personally feeling, songs should not be allowed to wither and die on the vine, it’s up to you to make them come alive.

To create a subtext, write down answers to these four questions:

1. Who is singing the song?
Is it you, or are you imagining a situation that happened to someone you know?

2. What does the singer of the song hope to accomplish or change?
Tell a lover good-bye? Stop a lover from leaving? Start fresh after a broken heart?

3. Who else is present?
Is the loved one actually in the room or are you leaving the message on voice mail?

4. When and where is the song being sung?
What time of the day is it and where are you? Emotions run hotter at night when you're in a bar than during the day when you're at the mall..

Here’s a sample of subtext to help you get started:
“Joe and I are breaking up for the third and final time. It’s 3 am and he just came home covered with lipstick smudges -- again! This time we’re really through and I want him to know just how badly he’s blown it. I’m angry and I want him to know exactly how I’m feeling." Songs must convey emotion to the listener in order to be believable.

There is no rule; there is no right or wrong. It’s up to you to decide what the scenario for your song will be. Songs can have an endless variety of scenarios, make yours unique to you. The audience doesn't have to know exactly what your subtext is, but if you have one, they will know that something is happening inside you instead of nothing.

Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams reveals the trade secrets that have already helped hundreds of aspiring singers become celebrities: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera...

Like me on Facebook at or follow me on Twitter @MyVoiceCoach. My blog can be found at MyVoiceCoachBlog.com.

Go to CyberVoiceStudio.com and sign up to receive my free weekly Video Voice Lessons.

For more information go to MyVoiceCoach.com or call 615.244.3280 to schedule a private voice session in person, by telephone or by Skype.

No comments:

Post a Comment