How To Sing With Emotion

(Last Updated On: April 6, 2021)
Singer singing with emotional facial expressions.

Some singers, when they sing, have an elating effect on the emotions of their listeners. This is because they sing from the heart. Their renditions of songs appeal to the feelings of the audience, enabling the audience to connect with them easily. Their audience swoon to their voice, like dazed lovers, enraptured. How do they do it? Are there techniques that enable a person to sing with so much emotion, passion and expression? 

Well, at the onset, it would be good to differentiate between feeling an emotion (getting emotional) while singing and transmitting the emotion that goes with the song. In fact, if you are only feeling strong emotion, you may find it hard to sing or connect with your audience. Your strong emotion may hinder you from transmitting the perfect sentiment in your voice. 

Therefore, is more than being emotional while singing. It can move your audience with your singing. It is captivating them and being able to connect with them in a deeper way. But you can only sing at this level through constant practice and by learning the following tips on how to sing with emotion:

Techniques To Sing With Emotion, Passion & Expression

1) Choose to Sing Songs that You Can Naturally Relate With!

There will surely be an obvious disconnect between you and your audience if you are not singing a song that you can relate with. If you can’t relate to the song you are singing, how can you expect your audience to connect with you? Singing a song with which you can relate will surely bring out the natural emotion in you. Moreover, it will lead you to sing from your heart. Hence, you should carefully choose the song that you will sing. Choose songs with which you can connect musically and emotionally. This will also allow you to let your audience experience the true meaning of the song while you sing. You will also enable them to experience the beauty of music through your song.

When learning to sing a new song, you should sing and play it several times prior to your actual performance. In doing so, you will get the “feel” of the lyrics and the music. Moreover, you’ll understand what it wants to convey. You will also get the feel of how to perform it, whether you will go slow or faster in your tempo.

2) Use Your Imagination to Understand the Meaning of the Song

One faculty that differentiates us from other beings is our ability to imagine and project our mind either to the past or to the future. With your imaginative faculty, you can imagine the meaning of the lyrics of a song. If you are going to sing, for example, the song “In my life” by the Beatles, you should listen intently to its lyrics several times. While listening, you should imagine what each verse would mean. You can also imagine a past experience with which you can relate the lyrics of the song. Once you’ve done this, I am sure you can really sing that song with emotion.

Similarly, if you sing the song “Always on My Mind” by Elvis Presley, you should first learn why Elvis wrote the song. Elvis obviously wrote that song for her wife, Priscilla Presley, after their divorce. Elvis was obviously devastated after that event, and so he was able to write that song. Knowing the reason why Elvis wrote the song will immediately give you a great clue on how to sing the song. Imagining how Elvis felt during those times will surely give you greater emotional depth when singing that song. 

So, next time you would sing a song, you should carefully read its lyrics. Study why it was written. Understand how each word makes you feel. Figure out the story behind it. Then interpret that song based on your findings.

3) Enunciate the Stressed Word or Syllable. Express Well the Emotional Consonants!

Experts say that emotion usually resides in how you pronounce the consonants. They may be right. But a lot of singers tend to focus on enunciating the vowel sounds when singing. This may have an effect of its own. But more often, it muddles the lyrics and distorts the lyrical sound if done frequently. Thus, you should instead enunciate the consonants like L, M, N, V, etc. Consonants sound more often give your song rendition more depth. They allow you to connect naturally with the lyrics. Hence, you should learn to express or enunciate the consonants properly. This does not mean, however, that you should leave out the vowel sounds not enunciated. Some vowel sounds need to be expressed well likewise. 

Songs are forms of poetry! Hence, you should stress some syllables while you directly glide over some syllables. Learning the right mix on how to enunciate vowel sounds and consonants will surely help you enunciate well the lyrics of the song. Stress what needs to be stressed, and just glide over those unstressed sounds.

4) Get the Right Mix of Silence and Breath!

To effectively sing a song, you should get the right mix of silence and breath. The silences in-between lyrical words add depth and nuances to your rendition of a song. Moments of quiet can elicit great feelings. You should also learn how to emphasize these moments of silence. Thus, silence after a highly stressed word or lyrics is equally potent in conveying your emotion. The manner you deliver those intermittent silences can surely add texture and nuances to your rendition of a song. On the other hand, how you pace your breathing while singing can also add something to the texture of the song. It can also be very impactful!  

5) Make Great Use of Facial Expressions!

As a singer, you should also be an actor. You should know how to act out the emotions enveloped in a song. Facial expressions are undoubtedly an excellent avenue for communicating the feelings encapsulated in a song. Your eyes and lips will surely elicit emotions in your audience. Your facial expressions can also set the mood of your audience, allowing them to connect easily with you when you sing.

Thus, it is crucial that your facial expressions match well with the emotions that the lyrics of the song want to convey. For if they don’t match, your audience may get distracted and find it hard to connect with you. To achieve this total matching of your facial expressions with the lyrics of the songs, you should focus on words and the timing of the lyrics. You should also practice in front of a mirror to see how your facial expressions match with the lyrics of the song. 

You should also never underestimate the value of eye contact. Some newbies in singing make the usual mistake of singing while their eyes are closed. You should also avoid the mistake of focusing only on the lyrics while your eyes are closed. Make sure that you open your eyes when you need to and close them when it is required in a song. Make the closing and opening of your eyes more dramatic. Eye contact with your audience is a sure way to connect with your audience. Lastly, you should consider taking acting lessons. These lessons will help you internalize better the lyrics of any song that you intend to sing.

6) Make Use of Vocal Techniques and Be Creative with Your Sounds!

I remember one time a monthlong singing contest wherein one of the contestants usually insert a new sound into his rendition of a song. Thus, people really appreciated his rendition of every song because there are nuances in each of his rendition of any song. If you want to become a good singer, you should never shy away from inserting some vocal sounds that you think will add nuance to the song. You should also make use of vocal techniques that you have learned from your music lessons. Using appropriate vocal techniques usually differentiates you from other singers. It’s like stamping your rendition with your own brand.

7) Work Out Your Voice with a Coach! (Optional)

Most popular singers had in their singing careers vocal coaches to rectify their singing styles or enhance them. Thus, if you are dead serious in becoming a good singer, you should never shy away from the idea of hiring your own vocal coach. Michael Jackson and other popular artists had one. So, it is not too much to have your own too.  The pointers given by an experienced vocal coach will surely be invaluable to your budding musical career in the long run.

8) Train Your Vocal Cords!

The vocal cords, just like any other organ of the body, are trainable. There are myriads of vocal exercises that you can engage in to enhance your voice. You can learn, for example, the right way to pace your breathing while singing. You can also practice vocal and breathing exercises. You can also practice lip trill to prevent experiencing vocal fry. Your vocal coach can surely teach you these myriads of vocal exercises if you are willing to learn them. 

9) Get Out of Your Own Head; Get Out of Your Comfort Zone Likewise!

Many singers are beset with the thought of not sounding good. Moreover, they are also anxious of making mistakes and forgetting the lyrics. These worries, however, distract you from singing. Thus, you should really prepare well before taking on the stage so that when you are onstage, you can set aside the technicalities and sing with emotion.

You should also get out of your comfort zone. In a way, you should let yourself be vulnerable. In this way, you can free your mind and heart express yourself and to do justice to the song. You can also eventually set your music free and express the message without a hitch. Just let out yourself, and the audience will surely appreciate it.

10) Learn to Sound How You Feel!

One good tip when singing is to let your feeling runs through your rendition of a song. But always remember that sounding sad is different from feeling sad. You may be feeling sad, but you do not sound sad. Thus, you should learn how to sound sad if you are singing a sad song instead of simply feeling sad. Learn to know how to figure out the right sound. Learn also how to produce the right sound!

Singers Who Can Sing With Good Emotional Control

Below are the few of the singers that can sing with emotion, passion and expression professionally. They are Adele, Paloma Faith, Racheal Platten and more. Just name few of them in this article. The  skill of singing in emotion is not merely applied in the love song, there are singers who are able to use the power of emotion in the fast song as well such as Racheal Platten in his famous “Fight Song” with adequate force of passion added into her performance.

Final Tips & Advice

At the onset of this article, I have indicated one caveat—that you should avoid being too emotional. Moreover, I have said that being emotional is different from singing with emotion. Singing with emotion doesn’t mean that you should always cry when you sing a love song. I remember one time watching a singing contest wherein a contestant became obviously too emotional. She ended up garbling her lyrics, and eventually ruining her performance. Thus, you should check your emotions when you sing. You should always be in control. You should also find the soft spot in your audience and play on them without you becoming soft.

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