Live vocal performance is where you need your voice to perform and be at it’s very best in order to deliver the emotion and expression that will impress and inspire your audience. Whether you are preparing for a livestream, recording or performance, it’s important to reconnect with your songs on a deeper emotional and technical level. Both are avenues to improve your overall vocal performance delivery when you need it the most.
Try one of these 5 vocal recording tips at a time. Record yourself while you practice each tip. Listen back and see if you hear a difference. Practice makes perfect.
5 Vocal Performance Tips for Singers to Impress and Inspire Your Audience
1. Tune in to Your Feelings to Create an Emotional Delivery
Singers who tap into their feelings like actors do have better skills have a stronger vocal performance. Many of my students who become more successful as singers have an acting background. In acting, you learn how to use your current feelings to apply them to your performance. For example: You are singing a love song. You are not in love at the moment. How do you connect? Sing the song as a wish for the next time you fall in love. This technique was used by singer Anita Baker to help her sing “You Bring Me Joy” at the recording session for the album. Anita was not currently in a relationship and her producer recommended using that direction to improve her delivery. And what a powerful emotional delivery that song had as it moved all the way up the charts!
2. Monologue the Lyrics
This is a powerful technique that gets pretty instant results and helps you connect more deeply to your material. Often by the time you perform or record a song you have rehearsed it so many times that it can become a bit robotic. In order to keep it fresh, you can use the practice of monologuing the lyric (like an actor would) to reconnect with the emotion of the song. This immediately connects the singer with their feelings and instantly enhances the vocal performance. I used this technique for years in my performance classes. We would put the camera on the facial expression of the singer and have them speak the lyric outloud like a monologue or reciting a poem. Then, once they connected to their emotion, I would have them sing the song. The result in emotional delivery was night and day. It’s an incredible technique that gets instantaneous results.
3. Put the Emphasis on the Downbeats
One amazing technique to instantly get more emotion is to put the emphasis on the words that occur on the downbeats of the song. This immediately brings more emotion and feeling into the performance. However, avoid emphasizing generic words like: “a”, “but”, “the”, “and” that will sound unnatural being emphasized. This technique instantly brings more emotion and expression to singer’s voices.
4. Keep Your Chest Up and Chin Down
It’s important in performance to also focus on your alignment and posture. When you keep your chest up and your chin level or pointed “slightly” down, you will have more power and control over your voice which will help you get more emotion and not choke over your high notes!
5. Feel the Groove – Rhythm is the Key to More Emotion + Soul
Last but not least, rhythm is the SOUL of your vocal performance. If you want more “soul” in your voice, you’ll want to lean into the rhythm of the vocal line. Many singers think of the vocal line as mainly “melodic”, but the vocal line is also “rhythmic”. Leaning into the rhythm – emphasizing the downbeats as I mentioned earlier, as well as keeping a strong beat of the song in your body all the way through will help you connect to the soulfulness of your vocal performance. This is especially important in recording when the voice is under a microscope and every second of delivery is on the spot.
Check out my “Mastering a Song” article in my Vocal Resource Library for a step-by-step process to help you get the rhythm into your vocal performance.