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contemporary singers - good examples?

GUEST,leeneia 14 Nov 05 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Nov 05 - 11:14 AM
GUEST 15 Nov 05 - 11:18 AM
Strollin' Johnny 15 Nov 05 - 12:18 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 05 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Nov 05 - 10:29 PM
freightdawg 15 Nov 05 - 11:31 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Nov 05 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Nov 05 - 11:54 AM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 05 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,maryrrf at work 16 Nov 05 - 01:35 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 05 - 01:55 PM
Genie 16 Nov 05 - 03:22 PM
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Subject: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 11:44 AM

Because I sing in the church choir, people sometimes ask me how they can sing better. Often these are people who were told in childhood that their voices are ugly, and now they are beginning to wonder if they couldn't possibly sing someday.

I want to encourage them, and what I like to do is suggest that they buy recordings by modern singers who would be good examples to follow, and that they put on the recordings and sing along, listening carefully to for mismatches. I usually suggest they do this while cleaning up the kitchen. (Nobody will tell them to pipe down while they are cleaning up the kitchen.)

The trouble is, I quit listening to the radio in 1980, and I didn't listen to it very much before that. So I need the names of singers who would be good role models, and they have to be available on CD. The singers have to sing in tune (that lets Bing Crosby out) and they can't be powerful opera singers with huge ranges, because the learners aren't ready for that. What we are after is the gentle, controlled, accurate voice of someone that could be a welcome member in a choral group.

So, can anyone suggest a bass, baritone, tenor, alto or soprano who fit the bill?

I have a few thoughts

   Harry Belafonte (is he a bass?)
   Johnny Mathis (but he had such a high voice)
   Judy Collins (alto)
   Perry Como (tenor?)

As you can see, I am out of touch with current-day music.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 11:14 AM

There must be some! Who was that guy named Harry Something? Not Belafonte.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 11:18 AM

Connick? Secombe? Worth? Hill?


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 12:18 PM

Krishna?


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 02:23 PM

Harry Harry.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 10:29 PM

So, not one catter or catfriend can think of a decent bass or soprano? I believe it, but how sad.

There's Anne Murray. She sings in tune, though I do think she could sound less nasal if she worked at it. However I suspect she's an alto.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: freightdawg
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 11:31 PM

Tenor: John Denver. Plenty of good material with a wide range to choose from.

?: Randy Travis. I'm not sure where you would classify his voice (he has quite a range) but he is easy to sing along with - very simple orchestrations. He has some quality country cds out, and at least a couple of good gospel cds out (since your folks seem to be gospel related singers)

Bass: Charlie Pride. Again, pretty wide range, but he can really growl on some songs. I love the purity of the tone of his voice. Soft as silk.

I agree with the choice of Anne Murray - very little vibrato which some female singers seem to think is mandatory on every pause in every verse of every song.

They're not today's biggest stars, but do you want quality or today's big names? (ouch, ok - I'll go stick my nose in the corner).

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 01:17 AM

Speaking as someone who was banned from the junior school choir for singing, not out of tune, but an octave lower than all the other 9-year-olds, I can well understand why a lot of people who have been told they shouldn't sing think that meant they couldn't sing.

Nobody told me what an octave was, so I assumed it was something bad; though I couldn't see how. I was taught, so far as music was concerned, by idiots. Nevertheless I was determined to learn all the songs that the choir was being taught. A few minutes outside the room they rehearsed in was enough to learn each song. They could never work out how I'd done it. It took them hours to learn the stuff.

My mother, too, wasn't allowed to sing at school. They called her a "growler", which she and I assume meant that she, too, had a deeper singing voice than they wanted from a small child.

It is incompetent teachers who create these problems. You have raised a very important question, Leeneia. Very few people can't sing (unfortunately, the few who really can't, think they can). Those who think they can't just aren't able to produce a sound that they like. If they can tell it sounds wrong, they can learn to make it sound right with the right encouragement.

Harry Belafonte would be a very good model, I'd think (always loved his singing); but for baritone -perhaps bass-baritone- rather than bass. For serious bass, I'd suggest Paul Robeson; though most people won't be able to manage the very lowest notes (I can't either, but if I practiced ... well, just maybe).

Anyway, I do wish you well with this. Almost everyone can sing if properly encouraged, and the world would be a better place if everyone got that chance.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 11:54 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Malcolm.

Re John Denver: Don't tell the media, but I think he was an alto.

I've thought of a grand soprano. Margaret Nelson! Pure but not cold, accurate but not egoistical. Thank you, leeneia, for that suggestion.

Freightdawg: I'm with you when you ask do we want quality or today's big names. Now, the only place I hear pop music is in retail stores. (I suspect that even there the selections there are pretty old.) Anyhow, the vocals are uniformly awful. The women whine and the men growl, and in-between there are epicene voices whose main accomplishment is being irritating. I can't recommend any of them to budding singers.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 12:51 PM

I'd agree with all of Freightdawg's choices - all four singers have an easy, storytelling style of singing (one might disagree on that point about John Denver, but not if you'd heard him in person). I'm especially fond of Randy Travis and Charley Pride, who have similar voices and styles. I'd call them baritones, I think. They choose songs that have a more traditional "country" style, and they sing them well. Anne Murray is a female counterpart to Travis and Pride - Kathy Mattea is another one of that ilk. None of them seem to work too hard at their singing - they don't push their voices beyond reasonable limits, so the tone and quality of their singing stays true.

In choir singing, I've learned to sing so my voice blends in a way that it can't be distinguished from other voices in the choir. I have a strong voice, but rarely sing at full power. If I sing so I don't strain my voice, I sound better.

So, I guess my advice would be: Sing easy, and you'll sing true.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST,maryrrf at work
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 01:35 PM

For a soprano, how about Joan Baez?


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 01:55 PM

Joss Stone or Amy Winehouse? Both fine exponents of the voice in a contemporary fashion.


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Subject: RE: contemporary singers - good examples?
From: Genie
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 03:22 PM

You guys forgot DEBBIE Harry. ;-D

Other relatively contemporary singers who stay in tune and generally don't do all the vocal gymnastics stuff (à la Mariah Carey):

Michael Bublé (debut album)
Clay Aiken (especially his Christmas album) - wonderful resonance and "ring tones"
Josh Groban (maybe a bit too 'poperatic', though)
Chris Isaak (very versatile in both style and range)
Harry Connick, Jr. (same)
Kathy Mattea (I second that nomination)
Faith Hill (her voice and style remind me a lot of Petula Clark, despite the "country" label)
Linda Ronstadt (for rock, country, pop, and trad. jazz)
George Strait (great baritone voice)
Alan Jackson
*Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole) - Wonderful high tenor voice
*Eva Cassidy - Listening to one of her albums you'll get great illustrations of several different vocal styles
Martina McBride

*Yeah, I know these two are dead, but they're still pretty popular.   So is Elvis, for that matter, and I'd recommend him too.


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