If you're wondering "Why is my voice raspy?" when singing, or how to sing clearly then watch the video and read this article. Today's question comes from Mark:
Q: "Hey Phil my problem is I can go through my Bridges, but when I hit my first bridge or beginning of the mix I get a rough tone ( Vocal fry and it crackles like crazy) I don't know if it's that I might have acid reflux, thyroid issues, or maybe allergies. I have been taking meds and no luck I am guilty of pulled up chest as well, and have trouble singing quietly. I don't feel like I'm thinking out the voice in the right way. Thanks"
There are usually two reasons why your voice is raspy/crackly/distorted. It can sometimes be because of misuse/overworking the voice - I deal with this a lot in pro gigging and touring singers. However in THIS particular case today, from the singer who sent in the question, the problem is different.
The problem stems from actually approaching his F4 range with way too little volume.
You see, Mark wants to learn how to sing lighter so what he's trying to do is sing as light as he can up to his F4 range and then it becomes super crackly and raspy.
THIS IS NORMAL!!!
If you don't give your voice enough volume it won't know what to do and it will fall apart into a crackly mess. The solution? Sing louder. If you don't want to be that loud then you should be in falsetto.
There is a certain volume you need in order to sing any given pitch!
I see this problem all the time. People think they need to “sing lighter” for whatever reason. It could be that you’re straining in chest voice and so you go on YouTube looking for the solution and what you find are a million videos recommending to "not take chest too high" and to "sing lighter".
Alternatively the urge to sing lighter stems from a stylistic choice.
So the problem here is a preconceived idea of “how you should sound”. You’re forcing this preconceived idea on your voice and it’s not right.
The problem is you’re trying to approach your voice too softly too soon. Too soon in your range and too soon in your vocal journey as a whole. You're shutting down your voice before it even gets a chance to get going. If you want to sing lighter you need something to back off from. A foundation. You're not letting that happen!
The voice needs a certain amount of volume or pressure to work on a given pitch. And if you don't set this up the right way by the C4 area as a male or E4 as a female then everything above it is going to NOT WORK PROPERLY.
"But Phil my chest voice is straining shouldn’t I sing softer?”
No! While there IS a time and place for singing lighter, in THIS specific case NO! Singing lighter is you DANCING AROUND THE PROBLEM instead of addressing it. You need to learn how to fully sing into your voice with freedom! This is harder to teach and there are fewer teachers out there who who know how to teach it which is why you'll tend to get cop-out answers all the time like "sing lighter" as the default "go-to-advice" from most places.
If you can develop the ability to fully sing into your voice with freedom then backing off from that to sing lighter becomes something do-able because you now have a foundation to back off from.
What you’ve gotta do is approach your C4-F4 area differently, with more robustness and good resonance. Learning how to support your vowels and shape the vowels better is key. Get good at singing songs that live around that C4-F4 area with a full, robust tone. It should feel EASY and COMFORTABLE. If it doesn't then you still need more work around there.
Only then can you start to explore singing lighter.
If you're serious about getting this sorted I recommend either getting a one-on-one Skype lesson with me or get your hands on my program.
If you'd like to ask a question about your individual singing struggles then sign up below and email me.