BecomeSingers is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
The popularity of Blues music became widespread in the early 19th century when many people sing this tune in their daily life. Elvis was one of the most popular artists at that time who sang the blues very well. He learned how to sing this style from some of the expert singers during that time. Anyone can sing the blues depending on his/her interest to learn.
There are various genres of music, and one such distinct genre is that of Blues. It is a form of music that was originated by African Americans of the Deep South of the U.S. This musical form calls for a different style of singing, and if you are interested in learning the rudiments of blues singing, you should consider the following techniques for blues singers.
What Is The Blues Music?
Learning the background of blues music is important to fully understand the aspects of this song. If you’re interested to be a popular blues singer, you should learn how the experts do it. One of the best ways to learn singing the blues is to start listening to this music. Hear the words, and feel how the singers perform this style. Feel how they feel when singing the blues, and put your whole self into it. Soon, you’ll be part of the music and get a connection to it.
One thing you should remember when you’re singing the blues is to make improvements in your style. There is no need to be perfect and mimic an artist’s style in singing blues. Integrating yourself into the music is one way to make yourself unique, and try to create an original song of your own. The trick is writing your own music with sad stories in your mind. By doing this, you can make it quite easy to produce perfect blues music because you can feel the sadness inside while you’re singing. Feel the music while you’re singing it. Write about sad things that you’ve experienced in life and soon, you’ll be so familiar with singing the blues just like others.
7 Blues Songs Singing Techniques You Must Learn
In the past, singing blues has been mystified where many people claim that a person is born with this inherent talent, and there’s no way to learn it later. However, they are wrong because one can learn it easily and it’s even possible to train a beginner. It actually depends on the type of sound that a singer wants to achieve. You’ll find here a step by step guide that can make you a real singer of blues. So, if you’re interested to learn blues, then continue reading below.
1) Blues Mood
The first thing that you should remember about blues music is mood. As the name implies, blues is a kind of depressing music that can be interpreted as sad because it’s all about loss, poverty, and death – along with that line. If this genre truly interests you, check first about its history. You can make your own lyrics, and you can incorporate them into the song. It is also important to know that blues music is usually done in a lower register. This is the reason that a singer should focus on the lower register. This means that you should sing the vocal scales on a low voice as possible, and make yourself more flexible in singing.
2) Scales of Blues
The next important thing is to familiarize yourself with the scales of blues. This genre is different from other styles because of its blue note. This note is lower than the typical interval on a given scale, so it gives more quality to your singing. It makes your voice sound lonely – but it’s the element that makes your singing perfect in this genre. So, study the “blues scale” and the blue note so that you’ll become familiar with this secret of singing blues. You can depend on this site to learn the basics of singing blues as a beginner.
3) Blues Feels
This genre gives you a great feel, but you should know first if singing the blues is the genre for you.
Start feeling it and extend it to your soul.
In performing this technique, you can really feel the music by closing your eyes. You don’t do this style with deep techniques or with mouth shapes. But if you want to improve your skill, you have to use your diaphragm because the sound comes from your emotion deep inside. In other words, it is focused on your feeling. If you can’t do it naturally, then, it’s time to think twice. You can try other genres such as pop or R&B.
Singing blues is definitely a style of giving your feeling. If you really want to be a blues singer, you should hear the songs of famous jazz singers like Ella, Vaughan, Sarah, and Ray Charles. You’ll get the value of listening to them, and you can adapt their style later.
4) Blues Notes
A distinctive characteristic of blues singing is the use of the so-called “blue notes.” These notes separate the major scale from the blues scale. If you ask some expert musicians about these notes, they would say that they refer to the “flatted 3rd” and the “flatted 7th.” When you speak about major scales, these musicians understand them as diatonic scales that consist of eight notes referring to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8. For example, the C-major scale is C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, where E is the 3rd and B is the 7th in the C-major scale. The 7th in the C blues scale is B-flat while E-flat is the flatted third. You can convert a major scale into the blues scale by having the 3rd and the 7th notes of scale flatted. Jazz singers including those who are more sophisticated singers of blues make additional blue notes by changing other notes on the major scale. They include the raised 9 and the flat 9 — the flat 5 and the sharp 5, and the D-sharp and the D-flat in the C-major scale. Singing in the blues scale helps you train your voice and ears, thus resulting in natural blues vocals sound.
5) Blues Jamming
Remember that performing and practicing are very different aspects of singing. When you sing in front of many people, you’ll realize that this process is important for your development and evolution. In blues singing, you are specifically required to have strong confidence and maturity to convey your message to the audience with intense feeling. If you go to some nightclubs or bars that offer live music, you will notice that the singers usually perform blues. When you participate in blues jamming in live music outlets like nightclubs, you get the opportunity of performing in front of an audience. You can sing along with the band and interact with other musicians. Musicians on blues jams are often composed of amateurs and seasoned professionals.
6) Remain Authentic without Becoming Overly Sentimental
The most common conception about blues is that it is all about “feelings” because, with blues, you would simply let your emotion run in your singing. But throughout the years, the concept of singing with feeling has become so common and overused that it is almost hard to distinguish its real essence. Some singers, in the hope of sounding blues, try to feel the music but end up sounding inauthentic and trite. To achieve authenticity, you need to listen to the instrumental chords and parts several times until the real feeling sinks into your subconscious mind. It is like asking yourself how the music effects or makes you feel.
The very essence of blues singing is the desire to share how you feel about the music. You should let your true self be known to your audience and be committed to letting your unique voice be heard. If you can do this, you will surely be a successful and authentic blues singer.
Check this guide by Become Singers on Do-Re-Mi scale.
7) Make It Simple for Simplicity is Beauty
Blues is characterized by the richness and bittersweet style. The genre itself was born of the desire to express the sufferings of black African slaves in America. Hence, blues is characterized by heartbrokenness, while at the same time, it also exhibits a tinge of healing. The cathartic element of blues is the best expression by the idea that if you sing out your sadness, you can diminish the sadness. Hence, it is cathartic in a way; while it also makes blues challenging to perform.
Simplicity, however, does not entail being lazy in singing or being less creative and lacking in energy. Simplicity, in this sense, means being true to your feelings without any sense of pretension. It also implies acknowledging the exquisite beauty of unadorned and unornamented notes of blues. In this case, therefore, simple singing entails allowing the beauty of every word to be apparent and to come out. Blues is characterized by a 12-bar progression that does not necessitate fancy form or does not allow for virtuosity. Blues is simply allowing your artistic side to trickle down in your manner of singing.