Does The Song Sing The Singer Or The Singer Sing The Song?

Interesting thing about learning how to sing and making it big and loud and round and warm and high and low and gorgeous and all…is, once we finally acheive that vocal apex, we have a tendency to forget what thrilled us about singing in the first place which, uh, “used to be” that direct, electrical and emotional connection between ourselves and our audience.

It was almost better when we didn’t know what we were doing, right?

Now we’re so good, we thrill ourselves every time we open our collective mouth.

We basically sing love songs to ourselves.

After all of our vocal working out, we now believe that a perfect voice is the perfect choice.

It’s not.

Someone may have a chiseled body defined by years of lifting weights and exercise, but if all they ever do is just stand there pointing out how great their lats, pecs, quads, etc. are, it gets pretty damn dull pretty quick, doesn’t it?

So why do we do that same thing as singers?

How many cabarets do we have to sit through with singers affecting emotion through vocal hi-jinks?

How about those musical theatre “actors” who stomp and knit their brow or scrunch up their face to show emotion?


We are singers. We sing the songs.

We can’t let the songs sing us.

If we “fake it,” all of us end up in Performance Hell where it’s more important to remember all the words and hit all the high notes. Fun, huh? The real drama on stage ends up being the game of catch-up we play with ourselves.

Not fun. Not dangerous enough.

Definitely not an artistic experience.

A live performance has to be electric.

Every time.

A live performer has to be present.


And a song is an ongoing journey that a singer takes the audience on.

Step by step by step.

Otherwise, the song sings the singer.

And we can’t have that, can we?

So what should we do?

1) Have fundamental, great technique;

2) Know our material upside down, inside out, backwards and forwards, fast, slow and in a foreign language if need be;

3) Get on stage, forget about 1 and 2 and focus on who you’re singing to and why you need to sing to them. Create the question, create the debate, make it a conversation and let it fly.