By Katelyn Gavagan Piano/Vocal Coach
As a teacher and performer, I have learned the hard way that I am not a super hero if I can sing in every genre of music. If you think of famous artists of today, such as Taylor Swift, you define her genre as ‘pop’. Maybe she could effectively sing a classical aria, but people expect from her music that comes from a pop style. This is a good thing, not a weakness! Sure, if you are asked to sing a classical song but you mostly perform as a jazz artist, I would say it is worth the experience and to go for it. But classical voice and pop voice, although the same instrument, will require very different uses of mix. I felt frustration with this because I have recently joined a funk band as lead singer, while in the month of December I am preparing to sing Handel’s Messiah at a church in my home town. (If you are unfamiliar with the Messiah, it is a classical oratorio, and you have probably heard the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ played during winter or during excitement/relief in television moments.) Every winter I have the opportunity to sing several soprano solos and be a member of this choir. However, while training for the performance, I am finding it difficult to sing classical comfortably, as I have been working on my hard mix for my funk band. But singing is a discovery process, and I am discovering that my ‘true’ voice is in singing funk. Funk music is a jazz/ rock/blues infused genre, and my voice lends itself well to this style. When I sing classical, I must remember to incorporate what is called a ‘light’ mix. I am excited to have found my ‘true’ voice, while being ok with singing in other genres from time to time.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Sing on!