But that’s not me!

underwater-canyonIn your journey through Voiceland, you will make many interesting discoveries if you have an open mind and a desire to improve. If you follow a functional approach, you may make sounds that work better, but are strange to you. You may say, “Well it’s good, but it doesn’t sound like me. It seems fake.” Welcome to our friend, Identity Crisis.

What do you value more – a particular sound, or ever-evolving ability and freedom? If you are very attached to a particular sound, you may reject a different sound that actually does everything better. I have seen this in the studio numerous times. It will be “weird” or “not really me” or “too small” or “too loud” or “too” something else. Such judgements may make you unwilling to adopt the new thing as your own. You may even think that an easier way of singing is ugly and undesirable. People get attached to sounds they make, good or bad. Conscious or unconscious feelings of “I’m not like that. That’s not me.” can really screw up progress.

It is especially hard for people with previously “beautiful voices” to change when their singing deteriorates. Even when their way of singing is leading to fatigue, wobbles, and intonation problems, most established artists will not retrain. In the classical world, this is often when they retire from singing and go to teach. The people who can keep singing with fresh and capable voices long past middle age often do not teach, because they are too busy performing. Isn’t this ironic?

So, if your voice is in trouble, do you want your old voice back, or are you willing to accept any voice, as long as you can sing easily?

If you are a young singer whose voice is not yet mature, do you go for a certain kind of sound, or do you learn to love your voice as you grow?

More questions:

What has caused me to believe “this is my sound”? Under what conditions would I be willing to sound like “someone else”? How much of my vocal identity is what I have emulated compared to what I have built through discovery of my unique sound? How does my “natural sound” factor into my training? How can I even know what “natural” is? Can something easier and more capable become my new “natural”?



If you enjoy this blog, consider grabbing a copy of Sane Singing: A Guide to Vocal Progress, available in print and ebook!

2 Replies to “But that’s not me!”

  1. Great essay. What is true here about singing is true about life as well. So many of us keep ourselves in restricted boxes because change does not seem like who we are.

    1. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about how this piece might be generalizable in that way, but so true, isn’t it? Thank you.

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