If you’ve been singing for longer than you remember and you’re looking to mix up your style, this blog is for you. It’s time to talk about vocal agility! This aspect of singing is perfect for anyone looking to change up their singing style, or simply add a bit more interest to songs you feel like you’ve sung over and over and have already committed so much to memory that you feel like you could sing them backwards. It can also be a great tool for singers looking to write their own music, and once you get it right, it’s heaps of fun and sounds really cool.
If you don’t know what I mean when I say ‘vocal agility’, it’s the ability to perform amazing trills and runs with your voice, sort of reminiscent of acrobatics, and it can be absolutely breathtaking when done right. There are five very important things when it comes to achieving vocal agility:
- The right technique
- Good breath control
- More practice
- And lastly, listening to singers who can nail it (and then some more practice)
So, on that note, let me go through my 7 favourite singers who can make tears run down my face from how beautiful their vocal agility is.
First and foremost, the amazing Lianne La Havas is an awesome lady to kick off this list. Lianne is a British singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and, she has magnificent vocal agility and expression. She started singing at the age of seven and was heavily influenced by the diverse music tastes of her parents. Her album, ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’, won the iTunes album of the year in 2012 and has received support and glowing reports from critics. Her cover of ‘Say A Little Prayer’ is one of the many beautiful songs that show off her phenomenal talents and amazingly delicate vocal runs.
The next singer who absolutely blew me away the first time I heard her was the amazing Aaradhna. Aaradhna is from New Zealand and sings mainly in the rhythm, blues and soul genre. She was one of the first artists that I started singing when I was learning about vocal agility and she pretty much formed my appreciation for the amazing skill. Her 2016 release of the album ‘Brown Girl’ reached number 1 on the New Zealand top charts, but it was really her amazing expressive work and vocal acrobatics in her song ‘I’m Not The Same’, which was released in 2012, that made me fall in love with the singer.
Now you’re probably worried that this list will be fully female, but don’t fret, this next artist is, none other than, the multi-instrumental and singer songwriter, Prince! Prince was a phenomenal musician and was one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling over 100 million records worldwide. He won seven Grammys, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award, as well as being inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Prince is one of the greatest singers when it comes to vocal agility. His talents are phenomenal and his range is extraordinary. His amazing agility is evident in his song ‘Diamonds And Pearls’. Prince is definitely an artist you should check out, even if you aren’t learning vocal agility, because he is just an all round awesome musician, but is certainly very helpful for those singers trying to give their voice a bit of variation and decoration.
Alicia Keys is another artist who has phenomenal vocal agility. Her song ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ absolutely blew me away the first time I heard it and filled me with the desire to learn how to sing it properly. Alicia is a 15-time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and producer. Alicia is an amazing vocalist who sings with an enormous amount of emotion and passion in her voice. Her debut album ‘Songs in A Minor’ was released in 2001 and over 12 million copies were sold worldwide. Her astonishing vocal agility is something that blows me away every single time I hear it, and is something that you should definitely have a listen to.
Next on my list is Australia’s very own singer-songwriter Matt Corby. His 2011 single ‘Brother’ and his 2013 song ‘Resolution’ both won ARIA Awards for Song of the Year. He started out in a Christian rock band called Iron & Clay, alongside Jarryd James, and made his way into the amazing artist he is today. For triple j’s Like A Version in 2012, Matt Corby performed an amazing cover of The Black Keys’ ‘Lonely Boy’ which really highlights his amazing vocal agility and expression. He has really successfully added his own style to the song and gives it a new and exciting life. It is really worth a listen, especially when mastering the skill of vocal agility.
Sam Smith is another male singer with amazing vocal agility. Sam Smith is an English singer songwriter who first rose to fame when he was featured on Disclosure’s song ‘Latch’. The acoustic version of this song is one of my favourites when it comes to vocal agility and is just an all round good song. Sam’s vocal acrobatics and ornaments really make the song and highlight the beauty of this vocal skill. He has had a fair few hit singles, all of which show off his amazing vocal talents, so Sam Smith is definitely a very valuable singer to check out when focusing on vocal acrobatics.
Now, this list just wouldn’t be complete without the queen of decorative and talented vocal skills, Beyoncé. Not only does Beyoncé sing with a phenomenal range, but she sings vocal trills and ornaments like an absolute goddess. Many of her songs show off these talents, but I’d say her song ‘Halo’ really shows her voice off the best. Her quick changes in vocal register and her amazing vibrato also add to the level of astonishment this song brings. Her level of vocal agility is really my main goal when it comes to mastering the skill and ‘Halo’ is definitely a great song to listen to when it comes to learning about vocal agility, as well as ‘Love On Top’ if you’re feeling up for all those key changes!
So there you have it. My top 7 artists to listen to for getting inspiration and perfecting the skill of vocal agility. Go ahead and check them out. I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed! Always remember the three key things: artist exploration, technique, and PRACTICE!! Enjoy listening to these amazing vocalists, and happy singing! 🙂