By: Rosanne Simunovic
Before we begin, one reader wrote and suggested that I write separate Vocal Masterclass articles for each singer, so that the comments for each contestant could remain separate from the rest.
I did fully intend to do this, beginning with the Top 11; however, with further thought, I realized that, because of the layout and design of this blog site and other logistic factors, this was not going to be feasible at this time.
I will, however, implement this format when we reach the Top 6 performance show. Until then, please make sure that you identify the singer by name when posting your comments.
The British Invasion, with Peter Noone and Lulu as mentors, proved to be a great theme this week. I thought that every singer excelled by varying degrees. A great deal was at stake –most notably, their inclusion into the coveted Top 10.
Here are my evaluations and, remember, I am reviewing each singer in (first name) alphabetical order. Your comments are always welcome.
To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.
Blake Lewis: “Time Of The Season” by the Zombies
Strengths: Blake – I loved loved loved this song and the arrangement behind this superb performance. Once again, your arranging skills weaved and worked its magic by transforming this great classic into a current and contemporary sound. However, what was so great is that you still maintained the original melodic structure of this song, while mixing a subtle beat box rhythm into the harmonic structure. The blend of sustained singing and beat boxing was absolutely perfect. Good for you!
This performance was beautiful in its simplicity and your performing style appeared effortless, yet obviously extremely well rehearsed. You initiated some great choreographic elements that flowed rhythmically and subtly throughout this showcase. Nothing looked out of place. It was a very current, well- formulated number.
You are an extremely intelligent performer, Blake and appear to be a very focused and conscientious young musician who is striving to achieve great success as a distinctly creative artist.
Critique: Blake – you are a wonderful performer and I applaud you for refining your stage skills. You are entertaining to watch, a breath of fresh air. However, you must continue to work on adding more presence to your vocal sound.
As I said last week, you must continue to develop dimension to your vocal sound. I think what is happening is that you are approaching your sustained vocal sound with the same technique you use when beat boxing. You are vocalizing from the mouth and throat area, as you do when you beat box and then transferring this process to your sustained singing.
You have to realize that the pure voice needs the powerful support that comes from the diaphragmatic breathing muscles. Also, when you sing, your mouth is less involved with the process, as your vocal masque (your face) must stay relaxed and open, thus allowing you to access the diaphragmatic breathing muscles with more consistency and assurance. Indeed, the mouth must move to articulate the consonants, but it must do so as a springboard to the vowels within your lyrics. The vowels are important to the sustained flow of the melodic line.
Grab those vowels and work on implementing a cohesive blend of chest and head voice throughout your range. And find that vibrato. It seems that you and Haley misplaced it along the way to the Top 12. (smile). Remember, this element, when used correctly, lends a distinctive sound to your vocal timbre.
However, all in all, this was an overall very satisfying performance and I feel that you are becoming increasingly comfortable on stage.
Also, looking into my crystal ball, I visualize you performing an a cappella number, allowing your rhythmic beat – boxing skills to act as percussion for your sustained singing. Now, that sounds like a plan and would be an American Idol first!