Hey, Squigg! Ive been a fan of the uniqueness and edge of your voice for a while and I gotta ask; do you have any tips for expanding vocal range? I'm assuming you're self taught, but man, you really sound like you know what you're doing vocally.
Oh, wow! Gosh, thank you!
I am indeed self taught for the most part – I’ve had exactly one music lesson, and it was wayyy back in Middle School… though what I learned from it certainly stuck with me. Let’s see what advice I can give you.
Number one, when singing, stand up (or sit up) straight – shoulders relaxed and back, feet apart (about shoulder width), and head forward and eeeeeever so slightly tilted up. Think of yourself as a pipe through which the sound flows – starting at your toes, and resonating aaall the way up and out through your mouth.
Obviously, the sound isn’t ACTUALLY coming from your toes. It’s coming from your lungs… or rather, your diaphragm. When you’re singing, use your belly. Don’t breathe in and feel your shoulders move up – you should feel your gut expand as you breathe in, to give you as much power and control as possible as your voice leaves your throat. This can be a bit embarrassing the first time you do it, so find a time when you can practice bellowing like this and just try to hit a note as loudly as you can without resorting to shouting or screaming. You’d be surprised how much power you can get in your voice like this.
Another thing – no matter how high or low the note you’re trying to hit is, NEVER tilt your head to try and reach it. That’s not gonna help; in fact it’ll make it harder to hit that note. Instead, focus on keeping your head forward and your throat open – that’ll give the difficult note the most room to resonate in your body before making it to the air.
Don’t sing through your nose. Unless you’re trying to sound nasally, it’s not gonna sound right, and it’ll cut off a lot of your power and range. Sing from your gut.
RELAAAAX when singing. If you tense yourself up too much, you won’t have as much control! Try to let yourself relax a little when singing, and let the note ring out on its own rather than trying to squeeze it out.
ENUNCIATE. This is so, so important – I know a lot of singers who have lovely voices, but they don’t enunciate, so you can’t tell what the devil they’re saying. Bite your consonants and put the notes you’re singing on your vowels – unless the line in the song specifically says otherwise, don’t linger on your N’s and M’s and S’s – the melody is on the vowels.
Practice stretching your range. Do your scales, sing difficult songs frequently to force yourself to practice controlling your voice on them, so on and so forth.
No matter what, though, it’s your voice – if you practice good posture and technique while singing, eventually you’ll find little nuances that help you embrace what’s most comfortable for you. Your voice doesn’t sound quite like anyone else’s, so don’t fight what you sound like! Embrace it and train it!