It goes with out saying that the Searcy family is just a little geeked over Season 7 of The Voice. We are a clan of musicians who make our living, performing, coaching, writing and recording music. Even so, this particular season has held our interest like no other since our one and only eldest son Jordy Searcy made it to the battle rounds for Team Pharrell.
The singers are so incredibly talented that it is easy to watch and cheer them on and oh so sad to see them go. I have picked up a couple of insights from the coaches choices and comments this week and thought I would share.
You can’t play it safe and expect to “turn the chairs” or get the gig. It’s usually the high note or money note that is the big moment in the song and that is often the very note that will give you so much trouble. Often the tricky high note is smack dab in the “break area” or the place where you feel that shift or change registers.
So how do you sing those notes without getting tight, straining or flipping over to your head voice?
You Have to Find that Marvelous Middle
The middle or mixed voice is truly a blend of the head and chest registers. Singers often shy away from using the mix or middle voice because it can lack the power of their chest voice. The problem is no amount of squeezing, straining or lowering the jaw can coax the chest into hitting notes that are clearly out if its jurisdiction. You can take the easy route and flip to head or you can settle for a pushed, strained chest voice that almost hits the mark. I suggest you give in and face the fact that you need that coordination that is literally between the head and chest. Most of the time singers try to completely avoid this area. In college, my commercial voice teachers told me to just lower the key. Sure that works sometimes but not for every song! No one in my commercial voice program knew how to help me gain this coordination. I left feeling like there were notes that I just didn’t get to sing. Thankfully I found the mix and learned a new way.
More Reflections from a Vocal Coach on The Voice Blind Auditions
There is no way around it. Great tone and cool licks with no confidence won’t make the chairs turn. You must sing with confidence, have something to say and like the way you say it. If you don’t like your singing, then no one else will either. Pharrell said Monday night, “Sing for yourself first.” It does not mean you must be perfect. You don’t have to sing every style well or be the best. But there are a few things you need to turn those chairs.
Vocal Coaching Thoughts on The Voice Premiere
My friend Kirk sent me some observations about The Voice and what the judges were looking for. He said,
1. Use All of Your Registers
2. Love Your Voice
3. Make the Song Your Own
I totally agree. His text inspired me to expand on those points. So, here’s my take on how to make the chairs turn.
We have had a secret for so long. Our son, Jordy Searcy, auditioned for The Voice! The “Blinds” premiere on Monday, September 22, 2014. We hope you will tune in to see Jordy’s audition. We are so proud of him and all the work he has done. Jordy is a tremendous songwriter (Can I say that? I am his mom.) His lyrics are inspiring and often filled with wisdom beyond his years. He’s been into music as long as he has been alive. I think he has known since elementary school that this is what he was born to do. He sounds a little like John Mayer meets Jon Foreman, with some Ed Sheeran and Mat Kearney. It’s kind of a bluesy, folky, pop sound. He has been singing around our town for years. We are so happy that now you guys will get to hear him too!