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What Are R&B Singing Techniques?

Learn R&B singing techniques in this Howcast online singing lesson featuring singer Anya Singleton.

Transcript

Hi. I'm Anya Singleton, and this is my friend and accompanist Matt Gallagher. We're going to talk about R&B singing techniques.

You can't really, in a short segment, really talk about the whole scope of R&B singing techniques, but what we can do is we can give you an idea of how to approach it. The biggest thing that defines R&B singing is it's behind the beat. When we talk about singing, oftentimes, when you're singing a song like 'Goodnight, My Someone', for example, you would sing it right on the beat. You want to lay back a little in R&B singing; you take more time. With the phrasing, you can use more room to breathe and improvise a little. We're going to do an example, just on humming, just of how you would approach singing an R&B song.

You want to sit a little behind the beat; you want to give it space. As Matt was playing, for example, I didn't come right in at the beginning. I also used the areas where he took a break to come in and fill in a little. You don't have to feel married to one note; you can improvise a little bit. It's really about letting the music breathe. I think that's the key to R&B singing.

Every R&B singer has a very different approach. If you have a gospel background, it's going to be a little bit different than if you have a pop/rock background. If you're a higher voice, if you look at something like Beyonce, she has a higher voice, so her approach is to sing everything in a very high range because she can do it, and she syncopates everything. She's right on top of the . . . behind the beat, but still, it's very pulsing. It's a little bit of a different style than if you were gospel and you were laying into the beat. There's different styles, depending on what kind of an R&B singer you are.

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