My name is Michelle and I was wondering if you could help me. For some reason every time I go to belt loud and high my voice gets so shakey and crackey. My throat seems to close up and I can’t control it to get my belt out! I was using “someone like you” from Jekyll and Hyde but I would ways get shakey trying to sing “nothing would EVER be the same.” I would really love to sing “mabey this time” but by the last verse my voice is unsteady! Is there anything I can do to get a strong high belt? And are there any audition songs you might recommend for someone in my predicament?
Thank You very much!
Sometimes the greatest strength can be found in release, and based upon what I hear in your voice, you’re approaching the higher parts of the song with way too much pressure.
From what it sounds like to me, you’re squeezing the sound more and more (through compression) until you finally get no sound, or there’s so much pressure that it’s causing your voice to crack. This obviously isn’t producing the type of sound you want, and my guess is it doesn’t feel overly wonderful either.
So now you have to find balance. In order to do that, I’d suggest you start to work at it in a completely different direction. Instead of forcing air out, release into more of a breathy, released tone. Think of allowing more air to come out of you… similar to the releasing feeling of a sigh while you sing. When you do this, don’t judge the sound that comes out, this is merely part of the balancing process. This will help prevent you from building up too much air pressure underneath the vocal cords.
I’d also suggest practicing these sections releasing completely into head voice. This will help you release pressure, but also be in a solid tone, even if it is a heady tone (btw, when I say head voice, this means the sound will resonate in the head, but the tone should not be breathy… it’s lighter, but has cord closure).
Once you find a steady sound like this, start trying to lean into a fuller sound while maintaining the more released coordination (less pressure). Narrowing the vowels here is going to be a necessity as well, as it’ll help you mix your chest and head tones. This means that “ah” sounds are going to modify to more of an “uh” sound, and “uh” sound to more of an “oo.” This may sound weird, but it’ll allow you to transition into more of a mix than just keeping it full chest voice the whole time (which isn’t pretty, doesn’t feel good, and isn’t healthy).
Practice the first two steps enough, and when you open up, you should find much greater balance. But I will warn you, this likely won’t happen over night. You’ve built up quite a bit of habit forcing your way through these notes, so don’t expect that habit to go away immediately. But if you’re persistent with this, you’ll find that fuller, released sound you’re looking for.
Best of luck!
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor