Help, I'm boring - how can I improve?

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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 5096
    Without wanting to sound harsh I think it's actually the music that is making it "boring". The genre you are writing in is fairly safe and middle of the road and I think your voice sounds appropriate for the music. I personally find that style pretty uninspiring but then, I'm totally into metal, so there are bound to be others who connect to that style and I don't think they would see anything out of place about your vocal delivery.
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  • Yeah I know what you mean, I don't really listen to that to be honest either but I can't do the kind of music I like so I was (probably foolishly) hoping to do something interesting outside of what I like. I think only one of the original songs I've done is really in my kind of style ("If" on my soundcloud, plus one instrumental that was too), but generally my voice just doesn't work for what I like.

    It's silly really but I've tried to give up loads of times but I just can't find anything else to put in the gap left by giving up playing.

    But realistically, whilst I can improve within the kind of MoR stuff like that that neither I nor anybody else really likes (too MoR to be interesting but not MoR enough to appeal to MoR fans) there's ultimately very little point as neither I now people I play it to will like it.

    Not sure I've got the skillset to go all out weird/alternative etc
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • IMC1980IMC1980 Frets: 35
    I have just had a listen to your track "If"; I have heard your stuff before when you were putting your album out a while back and remember commenting on how you sounded like Damon Albarn on "Stay" (I like his stuff, so that is a positive). As for "If", I really liked it! It is a great song, there are a couple of things I would change; vocal double is nice, but your panning creates an unbalanced feeling as one track is too far to the right and the distorted guitar/solo section at the end was very jarring. I did like the solo, but it would have sat better on the original sparse arrangement. Overall though, it is a song I would listen to, as are your other tracks.

    You say you keep coming back to music, so there must be something you enjoy in all the hard work involved in creating it. I wouldn't worry about gathering a following or doing something people want to hear. Treat it as a cool hobby that is something for you and it will feel more rewarding.

    And just so you know, my family & friends also hate it when I play them one of my tracks - although my mum did raise half a smile at the "Hot Stuff" cover - I never offer to play them anything or even raise the subject when I see people, but if they are going to ask....

    Stick with what you want to do and if you don't feel what you have produced is good enough, do another version or can it and work on something else. If the song "If" is the kind if thing you want to do, I think you should go ahead and do it, trying to be something you're not will never scratch your itch.
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  • I keep coming back to it as I've invested too much time and money in it and can't sell my stuff haha 

    It is a bit saddening to think I should give it up but as I can't do the stuff I like I'll only ever be making stuff neither I nor even anybody else can enjoy so feel there's little point.

    Might see if I can be inspired by the Radiohead stuff I've been spacing out to on the train recently instead although like the lofi indie garage stuff that's only going to do me for private noodling at home and not getting out there and playing stuff
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 4709

    Might see if I can be inspired by the Radiohead stuff I've been spacing out to on the train recently instead although like the lofi indie garage stuff that's only going to do me for private noodling at home and not getting out there and playing stuff
    One of my favourite things at these open mics is to do something unexpected. Do what inspires *you*. Worry less about the audience, because if they don't like seeing someone doing music they genuinely love, they're wrong.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • Cirrus said:

    Might see if I can be inspired by the Radiohead stuff I've been spacing out to on the train recently instead although like the lofi indie garage stuff that's only going to do me for private noodling at home and not getting out there and playing stuff
    One of my favourite things at these open mics is to do something unexpected. Do what inspires *you*. Worry less about the audience, because if they don't like seeing someone doing music they genuinely love, they're wrong.
    I kind of agree but with the proviso that it should still be done well and I don't think I'd have the ability to carry it off by myself to be fair! And I'd still not be able to do what I actually love playing and listening to anyway, as the voice ain't up to it even if unaccompanied garagey chord bashing were achievable :) So at best I'd be doing music i don't mind, and at a less than competent level, so I'd not be proud of it, people who would like that style of music wouldn't like it because it wasn't very good, and people who don't like that style would never like it anyway.

    Let's hope something else presents itself as a hobby instead :)
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • What's the problem with doing music you want to do, exactly? You think you can't do it? Why not find a way to do it instead of investing all your time and energy doing music that you don't want to do purely because it's in your comfort zone?

    If it's vocals related, get some singing lessons with a good teacher who knows the genre you're roughly aiming at. If it's hard-rock, don't get classical lessons. If it's classical... don't get screaming lessons... etc.

    Even though there are biological limitations of the vocal system, the voice itself is pliable and can be made to do things you wouldn't naturally do.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Kare wa amanojaku desu
    彼は天邪鬼です
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  • Four years ago I could barely sing. Now I can barely sing but give it a go anyway. It's all about consistency and just pressing on with what you want to do. Nothing comes for free.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Kare wa amanojaku desu
    彼は天邪鬼です
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 4881
    edited August 2019
    What's the problem with doing music you want to do, exactly? You think you can't do it? Why not find a way to do it instead of investing all your time and energy doing music that you don't want to do purely because it's in your comfort zone?

    If it's vocals related, get some singing lessons with a good teacher who knows the genre you're roughly aiming at. If it's hard-rock, don't get classical lessons. If it's classical... don't get screaming lessons... etc.

    Even though there are biological limitations of the vocal system, the voice itself is pliable and can be made to do things you wouldn't naturally do.
    I agree to an extent but lessons and practice will not get me there with the voice, I've an introverted voice for which the inherent tone does not work and the frequencies of it do not mix well with the frequencies of the guitars for the range of notes/keys most of the songs I like are in, and they just sound silly transposed up even through an octave down pedal.

    I can get higher and lower now than I've ever been able to before (Bflat above middle C and down to A the octave below middle C) but the general tone just doesn't work. I can't shout and "speak in tune" like the styles I enjoy and even if I did learn to it wouldn't sound like my voice.

    (Edit: Reference point being the earlier White Stripes albums, first Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, Velvet Underground. I can do Strokes ok but that won't work with unaccompanied set up)

    There's also the unaccompanied element of it - that style doesn't work by itself for very long without hurting everybody (myself included), but I don't have the personality or reliability to work with anybody else (probably the biggest problem because if I could, I'd just get somebody else to sing instead and sack off singing completely)
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 5096
    Cirrus said:

    Might see if I can be inspired by the Radiohead stuff I've been spacing out to on the train recently instead although like the lofi indie garage stuff that's only going to do me for private noodling at home and not getting out there and playing stuff
    One of my favourite things at these open mics is to do something unexpected. Do what inspires *you*. Worry less about the audience, because if they don't like seeing someone doing music they genuinely love, they're wrong.


    Let's hope something else presents itself as a hobby instead :)
    I hope that you don't take that route. I think your musical competence is hindering you to an extent because you are finding it easy to flesh out a piece that doesn't have the initial emotional connection into something that objectively sounds sonicallly and musically good but is just lacking the all important artistic direction.
     
    I would try making something more raw, get a single hook riff that even if its gnarly as fuck makes you feel something then put the bare minimum instrumentation around it to make it a song. Spend the time on the initial inspiration first and get that right before polishing and see if you end up with something that resonates better with you artistically. 
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  • LastMantraLastMantra Frets: 798
    I think you're being a bit negative tbh. Unnecessarily. 

    I'm pretty socially awkward but even I have collaborated with guy's online and got a big buzz out of it. Never even talked to the people! Including a cool drummer from American. In the end life took over and I had to pack it in. Might try again in the future. 

    Point being if you want to do something enough you'll find a way.
    MYMUSIC

    I wanna be a door
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 4881
    edited August 2019
    I am a negative person it's true but not just for the sake of it, there is method to the madness

    I've discussed with some people away from tFB too and the main suggestion is to give up on the performing aim completely and focus instead on playing and singing technique privately (ie seek literally no feedback whatsoever to learn to trust my own noise), in order to do arranging instead of existing songs, and sack off trying to do my own as it's a waste of time that is causing frustration. Rearranging songs (albeit without the vocals) might then find me a common style or a bit of crossover that works so that if it suddenly clicks like that, I'll have the ability technique-wise to act on it then if I want to. But even if not, it'll pass the time a bit at least until something else comes along

    Cheers for the input here guys, think as a thread it's possibly best to bring it to a close but your advice and opinions have helped a lot. Genuinely, thank you
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • @thecolourbox ;

    There are things you can do with your voice. If you're struggling to get the brash abrasive sound you want (I'm extrapolating a bit there) then you need to tweak what you're doing. Here are some ideas:

    - Spread your lips a bit more. Smile.
    This encourages you to change the shape of your
     embouchure.

    - Lift the back of your tongue.
    This encourages more nasal resonance, which is where the harsh and abrasive sounds come from.

    - Change your vowels.
    Certain vowel shapes encourage brighter sounds. Take the word "mask" - you could sing it "marrsk" or "maesk" and get completely different sounds from it.

    - Learn to belt.
    What you're after can be found by combining belting with some gritty distortion. This is a skill and does not come naturally. People have to learn how to do this.

    Finally... get rid of the notion that "it wont sound like my voice" because what you hear on a record or in a live performance is very rarely someone's natural voice.

    Different genre but take Maynard from Tool, back in the Aenima days. When he'd do those really loud belts like at the end of Eulogy ("good byyyyeeeeeeeeeeee!") - that is completely and utterly not his natural voice.

    Same with Bruce Dickinson or any of those metal screamer guys.

    Nature is not your friend in this situation. Don't embrace it. Fight it.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Kare wa amanojaku desu
    彼は天邪鬼です
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  • Revolting1Revolting1 Frets: 158
    It strikes me that you have enough skill but lack confidence.
     Particularly with your voice-you mixed it down so far in your song it amost dissappeared in places.
       Your voice is a lot better than Bob Dylan's.
     Reminded me a bit of early Neil Young.
      Try doing plenty of open mics.
     You may have to search a bit because some are run to make the people running them look good at the expense of visiting players.
       Happily a lot make an effort to get everyone to sound good.

     Pm me if you want help with confidence..
    When logic and proportion
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  • It strikes me that you have enough skill but lack confidence.
    Precisely this. 

    I shall write nothing more at this moment for fear of frankness looking like a personal attack.

    Revolting1 said:
    PM me if you want help with confidence. 
    Looks like a good offer. Be bold, TCB. Seize the opportunity.

    Be seeing you.
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  • It strikes me that you have enough skill but lack confidence.
    Precisely this. 

    I shall write nothing more at this moment for fear of frankness looking like a personal attack.

    Revolting1 said:
    PM me if you want help with confidence. 
    Looks like a good offer. Be bold, TCB. Seize the opportunity.

    Thank you for the kindness, both from you and others offered here.

    Unfortunately my confidence is going to have to wait a bit to be peaked as a work qualification assessment (or at least the preparation for it) is taking my time and energy of late.

    Thanks again though to all who commented above, cheers
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • If you are short on confidence, try substituting arrogance. Worked for Sting! ;)
    Be seeing you.
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  • If you are short on confidence, try substituting arrogance. Worked for Sting! ;)
    Ha I'm not in short supply of that :)
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • "Even with a turkey that you know will fold.
    You may be stranded out in the cold.
    Still, you wouldn't change it for a sack of gold.
    Let's go on with the show."
    Be seeing you.
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  • Ryan adams cover is brave these days. I like the original and your original. Just go with your instincts. Don't over think it 

    Instagram is Rocknrollismyescape -

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  • Ryan adams cover is brave these days. I like the original and your original. Just go with your instincts. Don't over think it 
    Had forgotten about this thread. Yes the Ryan Adams one possibly isn't very good PR for me now but at the time I recorded that, there wasn't any such association!

    By way of update, I have actually done a public performance in the inbetween-time. Somebody I half know had a 60th birthday party and wanted a sort of Open Mic Night type theme to it. I did about 25 minutes, with acoustic guitar and my whining voice. I worked on some of the suggestions from this very thread with fairly mixed results, but nobody died and nobody complained. 

    Thoughts on it were as follows:
    - I got my voice to go fairly high, by what felt like an unusual "breathing in and singing out" technique. I did I Shall Be Released and that version goes up to the C# the octave above Middle C and I didn't die, even considering I had tonsilitis.
    - I don't like acoustic accompaniment, i'm doing electric if I do it again
    - I need a monitor speaker or IEMS, I really struggle to hear without. 

    I've been practising a few Jeff Buckley covers to really learn how to spread the vocal sounds out, and doing exercises to get those techniques cemented in. Doing what I used to do on piano - really over exagerrated styles to learn it then reign it in until it's acceptable. Seems to be working, I've managed passable versions of Grace and Mojo Pin (either playing piano or guitar, or using a backing track) so hoping now my work assessment is out of the way I can do some open mics with the results. Even better if I can find it within myself to get somebody to accompany me with playing so I only have to sing, but I'm not holding my breath on that 

    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • thecolourbox said:
    I did I Shall Be Released and that version goes up to the C# the octave above Middle C and I didn't die, even considering I had tonsillitis.
    How did you manage the three-part harmony? (To say nothing of the different vocal nuances of Richard, Rick and Levon.)

    The song is in E. Buckley capos up four frets. 
    Be seeing you.
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  • thecolourbox said:
    I did I Shall Be Released and that version goes up to the C# the octave above Middle C and I didn't die, even considering I had tonsillitis.
    How did you manage the three-part harmony? (To say nothing of the different vocal nuances of Richard, Rick and Levon.)

    The song is in E. Buckley capos up four frets. 
    I've no idea who those chaps are, I'm afraid, I only know the Dylan and Buckley recordings. I play it in A, I learnt it with no capo but my noodling around the chord changes was harder to do without looking so I too just did it with a capo but on the 5th fret. So essentially same place on the fretboard but with the bottom two strings played open more
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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  • Funkfingers said:
    Richard, Rick and Levon.
    I've no idea who those chaps are, I'm afraid.
    Manuel, Danko and Helm of The Band. <facepalm emoticon>  Boy, are you missing out. 


    thecolourbox said:
    Buckley 
    Well, you could certainly learn from his example by performing with conviction. If you play live as if you don't give a flying one about the material, why should the audience give one?
    Be seeing you.
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 4881
    edited November 2019
    Funkfingers said:
    Richard, Rick and Levon.
    I've no idea who those chaps are, I'm afraid.
    Manuel, Danko and Helm of The Band. <facepalm emoticon>  Boy, are you missing out. 


    Ah my dad has tried to get me to listen to The Band thinking I'd like them if I liked Dylan, but I was unfortunately rather bored by it all because it's Dylan's voice, lyrics and accompaniment I like and not the musical arrangements!

    Buckley 
    Well, you could certainly learn from his example by performing with conviction. If you play live as if you don't give a flying one about the material, why should the audience give one?
    Yes that's what I'm going for, as I feel there is plenty to pick up on from his efforts and I have an affinity with his style of stuff and his influences certainly so it's good learning material. The problem being, as with anything, in order to have the conviction/confidence one does need something to be confident about, so it's as important for me to improve ability-wise as it is confidence-wise.

    But there's definitely more scope in his musical direction for me if I'm singing and playing, than when I'm just playing (however I'm close to a passable reworking of White Stripes' Black Math once I can source some accompanying rhythm)
    She's the tear that hangs inside my soul forever
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