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How to Create a Signature Singing Style and Find Your Niche

Learn how to create a signature style and find your niche from vocal coach Cari Cole in this Howcast singing tutorial.


Hi I'm Cari Cole. I'm a celebrity vocal coach and artist development expert. And I help artist find their voice, craft their music, and create successful music careers. I've worked with Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Courtney Love from Hole, I've worked with the band Journey. I'm going to teach you how to be a better singer and performer

So I'm going to tell you a few tips for how to create your signature sound and how to find your niche as a singer. For those of you watching American Idol, it's become very clear when a singer is on their path to finding their niche and whether their singing the right genre, whether they've chosen the right songs for them or not, and this is crucial in the music world. There's a lot of great voices out there, there's a lot of talented people, but the people who tend to pop through are those that have found their niche, how they sound good singing. So I'm going to just a few tips for that today.

First thing is you want to choose the right material for you and that starts with lyrical content. You should be singing stuff that you believe in, that is akin to you, that is natural to you. So you want to choose lyrics that mean something to you, you don't want to be singing about stuff that doesn't mean anything to you.

You also want to find the right genre, and this takes some experimenting. So one of the things I do with my students when they come to me is we go through a bunch of different genres of material, and we record them and listen back and see what they sound best singing. Sometimes a singer might like a style; it might not be what's exactly perfect for them and they might not have tried other styles. Generally it's kind of a hybrid of what the singer likes and maybe a direction they might need to be pushed in a little bit to experiment.

You want to find songs that the melody feels easy for you, feels good for you. Songs, different melodies are very different. Everybody focuses on keys, on how important keys are, and yes they are, they're super important, but it's not just the key that is right, it's the actual way that the melody moves, and that has to do with some deeper stuff, like some singers like to hold notes for a longer time, some singers like to move more quickly and riff. All of this depends on how that melody moves in that song, whether it's right for you. So use your own judgment as you're singing something. You want to sing it at least 50 times. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's the truth. You want to sing it for about 50 times to get it in your muscle memory first before you make that determination.

Other ways I work with people in finding their niche is in song writing, is in helping them right songs that come from their own lives, the themes from their lives. And this is one of the things I'm very passionate about. I love working with artists in this capacity. We do a lot of co-writing, and helping them pull out the themes from their life and actually create their branding right there in their song writing. This is something that we do a lot today. So for those of you that want to be artists out there in the world and you're not yet writing, absolutely start writing. Co-writing is the best way. So these are some tips on finding your signature sound and finding your niche.

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