Finding Your Voice in Your Music – Music Connection Magazine

How do you make your art connect with others? What is your unique artistic perspective and how do you find your voice? Think about your favorite artist, whether they are musicians, painters, writers, etc… Was the subject of the art they created a completely new concept to you? Probably not. They just took something familiar and maybe helped you see it from a different perspective. The driving force behind their art is their voice, and it takes practice and honesty to get there. Once you begin to develop your unique perspective, it’s important to recognize it and lean into it. But how do you get there? The simple answer for me is practice and honesty. Below are some tips from me to you.

Cover songs – When you start writing your own songs, don’t be afraid to cover your favorite songs. When doing this, you should also analyze the lyrics, melody, and chord structures. Covering songs you’re not that familiar with is also great exercise. Since you don’t know them as well as the songs you perform from your characters, there is more room for interpretation.

Find your vocal range – If you’re trying to cover a song but it’s not in your range, practice transposing songs to where you can sing them in a range that’s comfortable for your voice. Alternatively, you can mess around with keeping the songs in the same key but changing the tune to fit your range. A big part of your voice is YOUR VOICE, and interpreting other people’s songs with that voice is great practice. See artists who have interpreted foreign songs in their own way. I will always love you, by Dolly Parton, sung by Whitney Houston is a good example, or “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails; sung by Johnny Cash.

Write to the changes – If you come across a series of chords that really stand out to you, write a song on those chords. You can always rearrange the chords or change the harmonic beat, which means where the chords are placed in relation to the beat.

Write on texts – As a songwriting exercise, I wrote solely to the lyrics of a Bonnie Raitt song, guilty writing new chords and melody without having heard the song before. When I finally listened to her original version and compared it to my version, I saw that mine was clear in my voice and approach.

This exercise can show you a lot about your musical style. Since you don’t have a starting point for what the original song sounds like, you’re completely free to invent your own sound based on the lyrics, and you might come up with an interesting result.

Don’t put your songs on a pedestal – Write a LOT of songs and don’t get too stuck in the weeds when working on them. Of course… If you have a solid idea to work on, by all means take the time to flesh it out. But don’t keep changing the same group of songs over and over again, because you’ll have written ten more songs by this time, and there will most likely be parts of those other songs that you changed in the new one – they just work better now.

Stand Your Ground – When collaborating with an engineer, producer or musicians you need to be flexible, but there’s a difference between being flexible and sacrificing your idea. This can be difficult at first because you might be working in the studio with someone who has more experience than you, but remember to talk about what you want because at the end of the day it’s your song and you have to live with it .

Be honest – say what you feel in your lyrics. You can always edit later, but don’t edit yourself in the songwriting process. Also, be honest with yourself. What are you good at? Don’t shy away from something that is unique to your personality. Remember that the way artists see the world is what makes them unique. Find out what makes you you and trust it!

Your music may not sound like the music you listen to and that’s okay – I’ve heard some people at my gigs say that my sound reminds them of Radiohead and after all… they are my favorite band but I think I was trying to copy their sound a bit too much in the beginning and now despite that maybe I could still hear the influence, I let go of hearing Thom York in my head when I write songs and leaned into my own voice and vocal range that I’m comfortable with. I also love Mac Miller, Idles, Nirvana and Audioslave, but I don’t sound like them. What comes out of you is what comes out, and be careful not to shy away from it because you don’t sound like a genre like your idols.

live your life – I saw Johnny Cash say in an interview that he had to “fill up before he pours out.” Even when you’re not feeling inspired, you’re always gathering experiences and ideas, and they’re uniquely yours. You need to collect these ideas and live a life outside of music to “fill” yourself with life experiences so you have something to talk about. And make sure that when a little idea pops up, whether it’s a lyric, a melody, or a song title, you write it down or write it down.

Keep studying – I don’t believe that one day you will find your voice, you just understand what you want to say and how you want to say it, but you should always strive to “find your voice”. Always be curious and playful because that’s when the best music is made.


Listen to CHNNLL’s lead single “Kick It” at: ffm.to/a4anqrm.OPR

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