It's been awhile since I wrote a dedicated post for singers. Lately I've been focusing on issues related to public speaking, like self-care, breath support, and eliminating extra tension. These same elements apply to your singing voice, as we use exactly the same anatomy for both speaking and singing. But singing involves an extra dimension that is downright mysterious, even magical.
For most of us, to sing with technique and skill requires hours of practice. We dedicate this time to getting in touch with the physicality of our voice: our respiratory system, vocal cords, and postural alignment are all strengthened and made to work efficiently together. Improvement comes naturally from these efforts, as long as we are listening and feeling as much as we're producing sound. Eventually we start to come into the full power of our voice, which means we can begin to apply our own artistic interpretation and aesthetic values to whatever we're singing. This is, in fact, the ultimate goal of "studying" singing.
Yet there is something else, a kind of secret energy, that rises up in a singer when they are practicing (or performing) their craft. It is something related to human emotions, and the ways in which we experience the world through them. When a singer is in touch with this energy, it almost doesn't matter if they have good vocal technique. We can feel that person's connection to their own emotional intelligence, and we respect, admire, and cherish it. We can hear this kind of energy across the board in every genre of music, in punk, funk, jazz, blues, country, folk and opera. We know it when we hear it, and we always want more.
I believe this extra element of energy is also connected to something deeply spiritual, and fundamental to the human experience. In my best moments as a singer, I feel transported to a place where time stops. There is no past or future, no striving or struggle, only a simple yet extraordinary feeling of being completely present. This is a state of being that can transform us, as a species, in profound ways. It makes me feel hopeful for humanity, and I try to bring this hope into everything I do. For me singing is a kind of prayer, and I take it seriously, with much love.