If you hire a freelancer to do a project, always give them a deadline, even if it’s completely arbitrary. Something as simple as asking, So, when do you think you might be finished? is probably enough to make sure they keep their eye on the ball.
But if you hand over a project with no deadline whatsoever, chances are, instead of giving said project their undivided attention, they might decide to waste time recording a schmaltzy version of the Bee Gee’s How Deep Is Your Love in their living room.
Ok, so most people probably wouldn’t do this but I would, as in I did it yesterday.
Here are the results:
Besides getting me out of work I wasn’t in the mood to do, with no pressure demanding that I finish, I also had a lot of fun playing around with my voice on the track. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m a trained opera singer, but have since moved in more of a jazz/blues direction, but not a purist one by any means.
In the song, I showed just about everything my voice can do, from crooning chest voice to growling chest voice to whispery head voice. Vibrato fit with the schmaltzy-ness, so I cut it loose. Heck, I even belted in a few places.
(For those of you who might not know, belting is when you bring up your chest voice above it’s natural passagio (break) at a loud volume (thanks, Wikipedia). Since that probably still doesn’t make much sense, think musical theatre and just about every modern pop star. I grew up on musicals and loved them—My Fair Lady, Bye Bye Birdie, Gigi, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.—but the singing style was different then. In modern musical theatre, singers belt constantly in that annoying nasal tone and, I’m sorry, but I just can’t stand it. Belting is fine and good to bring some power into a piece, but if you do it all the time, it just sounds like you’re yelling at people.)
In the song, as is always the case, I overdo it at times, (less is more, Rebeccah, less is more); I also need to still work on “singing” less and “speaking” more. But I like some of the sounds I created. And, I’m happy to say, I was more chilled out about the “mistakes” I made. At one point, my intonation got off and my rhythm was extra weird. In the past, I would have taken this part out and replaced it with a better take, but this time I decided to have fun with it by singing, “let’s try that again” and singing something better.
I am only recording this in my living room afterall, and probably a total of about ten people will ever listen to it.
When my daughters were in bed, I continued on with this recording of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.
For the song, I stuck with growly chest voice and played around with a few effects, some working better than others. I don’t like my attack in the first verse at all. Should have started the song more mellow. But I won’t bother to redo it because of that “only ten people” thing.
(I also left on the “Ok, but that’s the last one” I say at the end of the song. I said this because it was already almost eleven at night and I didn’t want to bother my neighbors anymore, although I’m pretty sure most of them already hate me. 😉 )
If you go to my SoundCloud page, you might notice some of my songs have hearts, but don’t be fooled: the hearts are nearly all from bots or my mom. (Hi mom!) I know the bot ones are bots because I klicked on the profiles and they always show a slutty blonde making a duck face with a user name like MeSoHorny8495 or a logo promising: Thousands of new SoundCloud listeners! Message me to find out how! Every once in a while one of these accounts gets deleted, which means a heart disappears.
Sigh. Another of my bot fans bites the dust. Bye-bye, bot-y, bye-bye….
A few weeks ago, I sang two classical songs at a wedding. The first was Offenbach’s Barcarolle.
I also sang this duet twenty years ago with my sister in recital, but I fucked up one part and my voice teacher was pissed. She blamed the mistake on my boyfriend, who was in town, busy distracting me.
The second song I sang was Zärtliche Liebe by Beethoven (gotta love Dietrich Fischer Dieskau…)
Anyway, it was fun to sing classical again, which I hadn’t done in years. Two friends accompanied me, one on cello and the other on saxophone, which was cool. We might do a Schumann song cycle together just for fun. The pieces were composed for genteel amateurs to sing in parlor soirees, so why not?
Art songs and lieder are waaayy harder to sing than your average opera aria. And, apropos, opera arias, faster ones are (usually) much easier to sing than slow ones, which require incredible breath control, although the audience almost always thinks it’s the other way around.
A few nights ago I said to my husband, My technique’s really not what it once was, or probably should be, or, I don’t know….Did you notice?
Husband: Oh yeah, that’s what we all were doing at the wedding, sitting there thinking, God, her technique!
If you would like to become a neurotic perfectionist—neither of which are my tics except when it comes to singing—then study to be and/or become a professional classical musician. Believe me, these folks have spent plenty a sleepless night obsessing over missed grace notes and fucked up trills.
Don’t be one of those opera greenhorns who ask a trained classical singer, So, can you sing that song from Queen of the Night?
Unless the singer you’re talking to is a well-trained coloratura soprano, she’ll roll her eyes and say, Fuck, no.