Why You Should Write Music When You Don’t Feel Like It

If you make music for fun with no intention of improving as a songwriter, creating only when you feel like it isn’t a bad way to go. But if you’re serious about making the best music you can and want to get better and better as a songwriter, you’ll have to put in the work during the times when writing music feels like the last thing you want to do. music

The inspiration myth

The stories we hear about in music when a songwriter hears a song in a dream and writes a hit or a band transforms something that happened to them into great music are usually true. Using inspiration to fuel music is an undeniably great way to create. But what do you do when inspiration is nowhere to be found? How do you create when life momentarily feels boring, predictable, and seemingly impossible to transform into music?

The truth is that the ability to write during these times might be one of the biggest indicators of whether you’ll be able to pursue music seriously over the long term or not. Professional songwriters aren’t sitting around at home waiting for great musical ideas to fall into their laps. They are constantly experimenting, exploring, and asking what’s possible in music. Inspiration is fantastic when you can identify and leverage it, but sometimes it’s an asset we can’t start to use until we sit down and toy around on an instrument or while writing lyrics. In other words, inspiration is often there waiting for us, but we have to do our parts by putting the work in first.

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Creatively thriving through consistent work

The more time and effort you throw into your songwriting practice, the better work you’ll make. This sounds so obvious, but it’s something many bands and songwriters don’t take to heart. Wait for that special feeling of emotional motivation to wash over you to start writing, and you might be waiting forever. But if you commit to writing multiple times every week for hours at a time day in and day out for years, and you’ll be sure to finish songs and consistently improve as a songwriter.

It’s a lot sexier to view songwriting as something we do in reaction to big life events or as a coping mechanism when things get hard, but that approach won’t work if you want to pursue music seriously. If we want to make the best music we can, we need to devote enough time and space in our lives to discover and refine ideas. The simple truth is that writing in a reactionary and inconsistent way almost certainly won’t give you enough good material to work with. You’ll get better and better ideas the longer you look for them, and this inevitably means writing when you don’t want to.

Related:- 5 Reasons Songwriting Can Be Therapy For Musicians

A couple of minutes after tooling around on an instrument or freewriting lyrics you’ll probably feel glad you did. In this sense, writing consistently is a bit like exercising in the way that we often dread it but are happy we’re doing it once we get started. It’s important to remember that making music is hard and often thankless work. Yes, it should be fun and gratifying, but it’s not realistic to think it will feel great 100% of the time. It’s possible to work on an idea you love only to see it go nowhere, or to write music for weeks and come up with nothing you like or can use. These situations are common, of course, and if you can keep going through rough patches like these, you’ll be able to write better music on the other side. The truth is that working during especially difficult and uninspiring circumstances is a cost of admission of being a serious songwriter.

We have to be able to work consistently as songwriters, but we should also know when it’s time to take breaks. If you truly love music and want to make it for the rest of your life, you’re running a marathon, not a sprint. Sitting it out for a period of time is essential for your well-being, but also for your ability to create. Like so many other things in life, knowing when to show up to the music-creation process and when to rest is a balance.


5 Reasons Songwriting Can Be Therapy For Musicians

Songwriting delivers musicians some huge benefits that have nothing to do with money or critical acclaim. It’s a pursuit that is endless because we can always write better and better music, and it’s an incredible resource for helping us to understand ourselves and others.Songwriting

We often hear about the idea of songwriting being good therapy a lot in music, but it’s helpful to get to the bottom of what that really means. Here are five ways writing music can be therapeutic for musicians:

Helps process emotions

Making music gives us permission to feel our feelings and process our emotions. This is because creating music without feeling and emotion is essentially impossible to do––not if you’re trying to write songs that other people actually want to hear, anyway. The hard emotional labor that goes into songwriting pays off for musicians in big ways. It helps us to be more attentive in our relationships and more empathetic in the way we view the world. You can think of it as sort of an emotional awareness training benefit that you can’t get working at a conventional job.

Related:- 9 Songwriting Competitions You Can Enter

Helps tell your story

Your story is important. How you were raised, what you believe, how you fell in or out of love––these are all human stories that can shape and inspire great music. Wrapping your head around who you are and what’s happened to you in your life isn’t always easy, but telling it through songwriting helps. We’re healthier and happier people when we can tell our stories not just to other people, but to ourselves. If you write music honestly and passionately, the songwriting process can not only tell you who you really are, but also why.

Reveals the humanity in yourself and others

Writing music is one of the most human and emotionally revealing things a person can do. This is because songs contain human stories not only by way of lyrics but also through the arrangement of sounds. Songwriting can help reveal the humanity in yourself and in the fictional and real people you write about. Familiarity with humanity allows you to be more compassionate to others and yourself, and that’s an asset that can benefit you and the people closest to you for the rest of your life.

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Connects you to the joy of making something new

Something doesn’t have to be complicated in order for it to be therapeutic. One of the best benefits of writing music is that it connects us with the simple joy of making something new. Whether your songs are heard by millions or just you, you’re creating something that’s never been made before, and that’s incredibly special and exciting, but more importantly, it’s hopeful. Every time we write something new, we hope that we can make something meaningful and honest. Every song is another chance to connect with people through our art, and that’s endlessly exciting and rewarding. If you’re ever been jaded with making music, recognize that not all people have this sort of joy in their lives. You’ll need to remember this when the inevitable disappointments in music come your way.

Eases the pain of you and your listeners

Songwriting is something that eases you and your listeners’ pain. Countless human beings have made it through breakups, deaths, job losses, and other hardships with the help of great music. But writing music helps us deal with our own pain as well. By telling our stories, confronting our emotions, and throwing our energy into the hope of making something new, songwriting is truly a gift when it comes to coping with pain and disappointment. If pain isn’t something you seem to be able to outrun in your life, enduring it through music creation is one of the best things you can do. Songwriting gives us a path towards understanding and helping others, and also ourselves.

The challenges of seriously pursuing music are so overwhelming for some musicians that it can seem impossible to reach their goals. We can’t force success or make the world pay attention to our music. We can, however, thrive in our personal lives by creating music.


Guitars Used by Famous Musicians Instrument

The stars understand the value of a great instrument. But when you make it to the top of the industry and have the cash to spare, what’s your guitar of choice? Whether acoustic, classical or electric, there’s the perfect model out there for everyone.


And most major musicians will have a whole collection. Although one usually stands out as their favourite stalwart piece.

Most iconic guitar models

The big factors considered by music icons when choosing a guitar are the functionality, sound and look of the instrument. The latter is probably the least impactful, as it can be hacked and customised to suit. Often the brand that is chosen just comes down to a personal preference.

What are the most famous guitars?

How do you know which guitar is right for you? Should it be electric or acoustic? What size and what budget?  Here are some iconic guitars as listed by Rolling

  • Eric Clapton’s customised Fifties Fender Stratocaster was assembled from parts of three Strats bought in Nashville in the 1970s.
  • The Canadian musician Neil Young, had a 1950s vintage Gibson Les Paul Goldtop.
  • Bruce Springsteen’s Fender Esquire was sometimes identified as a Telecaster – yet another creation from the mid-century era renowned for great design.
  • US band frontwoman Joan Jett has a beaten up Gibson Melody Maker with a single Red Rhodes Velvet Hammer humbucker. It’s covered in stickers and survived decades of music-making.
  • Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page played a double-neck Gibson with 12 strings on top and six on the bottom.
  • The Beatles’ legendary guitarist and sometime solo artist George Harrison, played a Gretsch. However, his most iconic guitar was probably a 1963 Rickenbacker 12 string.
  • Jimi Hendrix is often named the finest guitarist who ever lived. But his Stratocaster had a short life when he famously set it on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival.

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What guitars do rock stars use?

It’s been said that the electric guitar has been the soul of rock and roll. Over the years certain guitars have become legendary and almost have a mythical quality. Here is a list of some of the best rock guitars:

  • The Fender Stratocaster. Among its most famous players are Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen.
  • The Fender Telecaster. Rock stars who used this guitar include Chrissie Hynde (who has recently had a cool new Telecaster named after her) Noel Gallagher, Muddy Waters, Bruce Springsteen and Joe Strummer.
  • The Fender Jaguar. This was popular with Kurt Cobain, Elvis Costello and Johnny Marr.
  • The Gibson Flying V. The solid body shaped like a V made this popular with Eddie Van Halen, Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Hendrix.
  • The Gibson SG. Angus Young of AC/DC was one of the most notable players of the SG, as well as The Who’s Pete Townsend and Thom Yorke.
  • The Ibanez RG550. Popular with many hard rockers and metallers since the late 1980s, this is a modern classic.
  • The Gibson Les Paul. This was a favourite with Jimmy Page, Slash, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton and Billy Gibbons.

Which players use Martin guitars?

Martin guitars and strings have been among the top choices for musicians due to their quality, craftsmanship and tone. Top musicians worldwide from all genres, classical and country to blues, folk and acoustic rock have played from their range.

  • Elvis Presley had the acoustic Martin D model which he played in the early days of his career.
  • Beatle Paul McCartney used a D-28.
  • Eric Clapton has used a number of Martin guitars.
  • John Mayer – who has owned hundreds of guitars including his main acoustic through the years – has a Martin own signature model.

Although these are top artists with big budgets, the guitars are also suitable for those beginning their careers. And the smaller models can be well suited to students, as well as those instrumentalists or singers who frequently have to travel about to gigs and lessons.

Guitars given nicknames by famous musicians

Once in possession of the perfect strings, many of the stars have chosen to given their instrument a pet name. Here are some famous examples.

  • George Harrison was given a unique red Gibson Les Paul guitar which he named Lucy. It is one of the most famous electric guitars in the world.
  • Eric Clapton’s nickname for his Fender Stratocaster is Blackie. He played Blackie on stage and in the studio from 74-85, recording some of his biggest hits such as Layla, Wonderful Tonight and I Shot the Sheriff.
  • A Telecaster used by both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page in both The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin was named The Dragon for its green, yellow and red paint. It was used to record the famous Stairway to Heaven.
  • Nile Rodgers’ white Fender Stratocaster was called The Hitmaker.
  • Bob Marley had a favourite guitar during the 1970s which he affectionately christened Old Faithful.
  • Brian May’s Red Special has been with him through thirty years of live concerts and studio work with Queen.
  • Billy Gibbons of American rock band ZZ Top calls his guitar Pearly Gates.
  • Prince had a custom-built guitar which had an asymmetric cloud-shaped body, which was given the name The Cloud.

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Famous acoustic guitar players

An acoustic guitar can be funky, soulful and raw, whether you’re strumming, picking or tapping. Many well-known musicians have chosen acoustic guitars. In a Music Radar poll, readers voted for their favourites guitar players – among them the dynamic acoustic player Stephen Stills who transitioned from rock to folk. Another favourite was Bob Dylan, who made it look so easy with elaborate fingerpicking, perfect sense of rhythm and amazing runs.

From the classical world, Andres Segovia made the top 20 poll – a genuine classical legend with stunning tone and delivery. Singer/songwriter James Taylor had a sensitive and emotional touch to his songs and playing. Top place in the poll went to Tommy Emmanuel. Described as having fingers blessed with the tone of gods, it’s said he could make wire stretched across a plank of wood sound good.

Celebrity guitars

Top guitarists have often owned or played hundreds of guitars but usually started out with a fairly simple instrument, often second hand or a humble barely playable guitar.

  • Ed Sheeran has long been a fan of the Lowden. So much so, there’s now an entire range named after him – Sheeran Guitars. Irish made, these are great for aspiring music makers who need something affordable, but high quality.
  • Ed’s not the only artists to have had an entire range named after him. Alternative songstress and guitarist St Vincent also has a collection (albeit smaller). The St Vincent Collection is eclectic and funky, like the star herself
  • Slash, lead guitarist of hard rock band Guns N’ Roses received a one-string Spanish style acoustic from his grandmother for his 15th birthday.
  • Award-winning Joe Satriani decided to be a guitarist after hearing Hendrix had died. He saw a white Hagstrom in the local music shop and thought it looked like the one Hendrix played, and with help from his sister he bought it, knowing little about guitars.
  • Todd Rundgren, a pioneer in the fields of electronic music and progressive rock, was seven when he signed up for lessons at the local music store and with it came a steel-string acoustic.
  • Aerosmith’s Joe Perry used to play around on his uncle’s homemade guitar but he got his own Silvertone which he said was difficult to play because of the heavy strings, however, he fell in love with the guitar and knew it was his calling.

From these humble beginnings, many fledgeling musicians have learned and practised and progressed to become top guitarists. Every guitar has a story and every player remembers his first guitar.


9 Songwriting Competitions You Can Enter

Find out which songwriting competitions you can enter to be in with a chance of winning cash, air time and industry packages. If you win, you’ll likely advance your career in leaps and bounds, as well as attracting the attention of record executives.


Before you go all the way and win a songwriting contest, you’ll need to understand the art of songwriting and what is expected from a competition first. Read on to discover the best songwriting contests open to you.

Songwriting competitions you can enter

The idea of writing your own songs for a competition can be daunting. Before you go all the way and win a contest, you’ll need to understand the art of songwriting and what is expected from a competition first. There are lots of small, easy things you can start doing now to get your songwriting skills competition-worthy. And if you find yourself out and about when inspiration strikes, use a voice recording app to take note of your ideas. Android users can access a Voice Recording app on their phones, and Apple users have Voice Memos available to them.

Songwriting competitions may be more lowkey than singing competitions, but there are still lots out there. Some even have big cash prizes and dream co-writing opportunities with existing writers up for grabs.

Are songwriting contests worth it?

Yes. They offer opportunities and some amazing prizes. If you win a songwriting competition it may launch you into a lucrative and successful career.

But be sure to enter your song into the category that suits it best. Your piece will be judged on its originality and quality, not its conformity to a genre. If you’re struggling to decide what category your piece fits into best, ask people you know to listen to it for you and give their opinion.

It’s worth thinking about the finished product when you create your song, too. Apps like Dropbox and WeTransfer let you create accounts for free and you can store and transfer your final pieces. If you want to add some extra flair to your recorded songs – or even just to experiment and have fun – there are lots of amazing music apps out there to jazz up the instrumental side of your music, too.

UK songwriting contests

Different competitions have different rules and regulations so it’s always best to check their specific guidelines before you enter a contest. Most competitions allow you to enter a song that you’ve entered into other competitions and some contests even allow you to enter songs that have previously won other competitions.

The rules may vary depending on the competition you enter, but songwriting competitions can accept songs that have already been released. You have to own the rights to the song – or be able to get permission from the copyright owner – to enter it into a contest though.

When you enter a song into a songwriting competition, that contest does not hold the rights to your music. You can still release that song to a record label and company after entering it into a contest.

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Best Songwriting Competitions  

Songwriting competitions may be more lowkey than singing competitions, but there are still lots out there. Some even have big cash prizes and dream co-writing opportunities with existing writers up for grabs. These are the most anticipated competitions: 

#1 Uploaded

This is hosted by Andrson, an innovative A&R platform which enables musicians to deliver their music to industry executives.  The Andrson Uploaded competition runs from June 15th to November 11th and invites finalists to perform live in Dublin. A grand prize package includes €10,000 cash, a feature interview with Songwriting Magazine and a Dublin Vinyl Full Artist D2C Package. Entry is £15 per song, with 20% of sponsorships and all donations from the competition donated to the Make-a-Wish Ireland charity.

#2 The UK Songwriting Contest

The international UK Songwriting Contest was launched in 2002 and has a strong partnership with the BBC. Finalists and winners receive BBC Radio coverage and there is a star-studded judging panel comprised of top Grammy, Emmy, CMA, and BRIT Award-winning Gold and Platinum Album producers and artists. Each entry with original lyrics automatically receives a free entry in The Lyricist Of The Year (LOTY) Awards. The overall entry fee is £15.

#3 BBC Music Introducing

The Beeb previously had its own songwriting competition. However, artists can now apply to feature on their Music Introducing programme. While not a traditional style contests with prizes and first or second place, it is a forum to compete for air time. If your original song is successful, you’ll be played on the BBC. So it’s well worth a shot.

Worldwide songwriting competitions

It’s important you format your submission in the right way to make sure your music gets heard. A submission that doesn’t meet the guidelines or is handled unprofessionally may put the judges off from the start.

Make sure you’re sending your recording to somewhere who’s expecting to receive it. Competitions are a good way to guarantee a willing audience to your song. Sending a recording to random people hoping to get a deal off the back of it will be more irritating than impressive for the recipient.

#4 The John Lennon Songwriting Contest  

In memory of the late John Lennon, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest welcomes submissions in any of the following categories: Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, World, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, Gospel/Inspirational, Latin, Electronic, Folk, and Children’s. It doesn’t have to be polished. It’s more about artistry and creativity than professional recordings here. Entry is $30 per song, but you could win $300,000.

#5 International Songwriting Competition 

International Songwriting Competition is an annual contest that is open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Submissions are judged on originality, creativity, lyrics (they exclude songs without them), melody, arrangement and overall likability. The fee to enter is $25 per song.

#6 Song Academy

Song Academy’s Young Songwriter competition is open for those aged between 8 and 18. Entrants receive written feedback from a professional music industry expert to help them with their songwriting. Past judges include Tom Odell, Imelda May, Rumer, Chris Difford, and Emily Phillips.  Entry is just £10 per song.

Related:- Hoarse Singing Voice: Best Natural Remedy

Songwriting competitions 2021

If the production side of songwriting isn’t your thing, there are still lots of competitions out there for you. You don’t have to be able to produce backing tracks, play instruments or be a master of riffs and intros to win a songwriting contest, as there are some lyric only categories open to songwriters.

Lyric contests welcome Lyric Only entries and look for poetic imagery, good song composition, and effective rhyme. Competitions such as the UK Songwriting Contest and the Great American Song Contest have Lyric Only categories that focus on the words themselves.

Lyric contests give you the option to upload some context alongside your submission. You can add a description of how you envisage the presentation/lyricist/style that accompanies your lyric. This is optional but including a description will help the judges picture how you imagine your song being brought to life.

#7 The Great American Song Contest

The 21st annual American Song Contest is now open for submissions and has a $15,000 cash prize. All submissions receive a written evaluation from the contest judges and all entrants have a judging schedule to easily track their progress.  The entry fee is $35.

#8 Unsigned Only

If you’re an independent artist, then this one’s exclusively for you. Unsigned Only comes from the same team as the International Songwriting Competition. It was designed as a segue for up and coming solo artists and bands to get noticed and it has many diverse categories for entry, including:

  • AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
  • AC (Adult Contemporary)
  • Americana
  • Blues
  • Christian
  • Country
  • EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriter
  • Instrumental
  • Jazz
  • Latin Music
  • Pop/Top 40
  • R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Rock
  • Screen Shot (original songs in all genres suited for placement in Film/TV/Advertising/Gaming)
  • Teen (for artists 18 years old and younger)
  • Vocal Performance
  • World Music

Entry is $35 per track.

#9 Eurovision Song Contest

No doubt you’ll already be familiar with this one. But did you know, as a songwriter, you can put forward a track for consideration as the UK Eurovision entry? Obviously, the winning prize is the chance for it to be heard in front of millions, both live and televised internationally. Check out past winners to get some tips.


Hoarse Singing Voice: Best Natural Remedy

This abnormal change in the voice causes a gruff, overly husky, weak or raspy tone. You may experience alternating pitch and volume, often quite sudden and out of your control. This comes with anything from mild vocal cord irritation through to vocal cord injury.Voice

It can be the result of a variety of conditions, however, the most common cause of hoarseness is laryngitis. Prevention is of course always better than cure. With that in mind, try to avoid excessive strenuous shouting, screaming or yelling and give up cigarettes if you’re a smoker. Vaping isn’t quite as bad for your voice, but it won’t do it any good either, so is best avoided too.

Voice remedies for singers

Sometimes hoarseness is unavoidable. In winter particularly, colds, coughs and flu can play havoc with your respiratory system and leave you with a gravelly sounding voice Usually, any kind of vocal improvement takes time, but that are some quick fixes you can employ for hoarseness that can improve the condition relatively quickly.

Home remedies for a hoarse voice

There’s much you can do to improve your voice without even having to leave the house. Here’s where you should start, before seeking out medications.

Stopping smoking

You’ve no doubt heard this before, but smoking is bad for you. Not just your overall health, but your voice in particular. If you’re plagued by persistent hoarseness, chances are the cigarettes are getting to you. Stop buying them and spend some of the money you’ll be saving on a steamer instead…


This is a super habit for singers to develop. And it’ll work wonders to clear mucus from your airways and sinuses when you have a cold. But don’t wait till you’re sick to do it. Start now. Remember – prevention is better than cure!

While you can do it with a mug of hot water and a tea towel, a purpose-designed device is more effective. Check out these top steaming products for singers.

Related:- 7 Loss of Singing Voice Causes: Get Your Voice Back!

How to cure a hoarse voice in an hour

If you don’t have an underlying condition or an illness what could be causing your hoarseness and how do you get rid of it? Well, there is another trigger – allergy.


Allergens often cause vocal irritation and allergies may develop at all stages of life. So if you suddenly find yourself with red eyes, a cough and/or a hoarse voice, you may have developed an allergy to something. If you’re allergic to a particular food or washing powder, for example, avoiding that allergen should be enough to stop the problem. But if you have hay fever or are allergic to something else that’s unavoidable, antihistamines are the solution.

So if this is the root cause it’s good news, as hoarseness from allergies is usually a quick fix. Some antihistamines will make you drowsy – not what you want when performing on stage. Look out for varieties that won’t make you feel sleepy, or take yours before bed. If your allergy is continuous, you can buy a brand of antihistamine that’s suitable for daily use.

My voice is hoarse and I have to sing tonight

It’s the singer’s nightmare. You have a big gig tonight, but your voice isn’t on top form. The most important thing you can do at this stage is to save what little you have left. If the event isn’t a super important one – like an open mic night or rehearsal with your band – it’s best to reschedule. Singing with a weak voice can worsen the effects and it’ll take longer to get it back as a result.

Many singers go to the doctor to request antibiotics when hoarse, but this is very unlikely to be the answer and the doctor will usually say no. Unless you have an infection that can only be cleared using these medications, your doctor will not prescribe them. Overuse of antibiotics resulting in resistance has become a real problem in the UK, so you should only seek them out when it’s really necessary. And they’re rarely a cure for hoarseness.

Voice rest 

Perhaps it’s vital you carry on. If you’re performing in a professional show, or have a place in a competition final, you won’t want to cancel unless you’re unable to get out of bed. In this instance, your remedy is to rest your voice ahead of the gig as much as possible. That means no singing, no talking and definitely no whispering. Do a very gentle warm-up before you go on and if possible, adapt your repertoire to songs well within your range that won’t tire or tax the voice too much.

What is the best medicine for a hoarse voice?

Fishermen’s Friend

Dating all the way back to 1885, these little lozenges have quite a heritage.. A menthol and eucalyptus liquid was created by an English pharmacist for fishermen sailing the North Atlantic a cure-all tonic for a number of respiratory issues. But with glass bottles proving a challenge when navigating choppy seas, it was later engineered into the lozenges we now know and love. The recipe remains more or less unchanged, other than the introduction of an aniseed variety (an ingredient that is also excellent for clearing the voice) and a sugar-free version.

Cough suppressants

Hoarseness often comes with a cough. You can buy lozenges to help suppress it though. It’s not good for you to take these regularly, but they are a fall back if you really need them.

Related:- Why Nothing Is More Important In Music Than Creation

Hoarse voice for months 

Some people, like Joss Stone and Rod Stewart, have naturally raspy voices. If yours has always been that way, it’s nothing to worry about. But if you noticed a change that doesn’t go away, it’s time to get it checked out.

Perhaps your hoarse voice is being brought on by a medical condition. It should be stressed, that this is much less likely than the aforementioned causes. But if it is the case, your remedy will need to come from a medical professional, rather than your kitchen cupboards or a pharmacy. The rule is, if your hoarseness lasts longer than 2 to 3 weeks, you should see a doctor and request a consultation with an otolaryngologist. They can then exclude any of the more serious causes of hoarseness, which are:

  • benign vocal cord nodules, cysts or polyps
  • vocal cord paralysis
  • inhalation of irritants
  • thyroid problems
  • trauma to the larynx or vocal cords
  • neurological conditions
  • cancer of the larynx

My voice is hoarse but my throat doesn’t hurt

So what else could be the underlying cause of your hoarseness?

Acid reflux could be the culprit. Again, you’ll need to be examined by a medical professional to properly identify this. But it’s easily solved and a relatively common complaint.

Medications for gastroesophageal reflux

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux, is a condition that may cause hoarseness.  If so, your doctor or specialist will prescribe medication to treat it.  There are plenty of things you can eat and drink – like manuka honey, ginger, lemon and throat coat tea, that will ease your symptoms. They’re not remedies as such, as they only soothe and help. However, they will be of benefit when used alongside some of the remedies we’ve talked about in this article. Getting into a good health routine and developing positive daily habits will prevent hoarseness from striking in the first place. But you always have these hoarse voice singing remedies to fall back on when it does.


Why Nothing Is More Important In Music Than Creation

From booking shows to arranging rehearsals to promoting music, there’s usually enough non-musical work involved with being a serious musician for a part or full-time job. This is why successful artists have teams of managers, entertainment lawyers, and PR agents behind them. But if you’re a developing artist, you’re more than likely doing all of this sort of work yourself.


Like everything else in music, there’s a hard balance to strike here between needing to put in the hours it takes to answer emails, pitch music, and stay organized and prioritizing music creation. When artists place the administrative and promotional aspects of their work over making music, there’s a major problem that needs to be addressed.

Related:- 7 Loss of Singing Voice Causes: Get Your Voice Back!

Why music doesn’t come first for some artists

What is a serious musician without their music? If there’s not compelling music behind an artist’s image, social media following, and promotional efforts, there’s nothing for audiences to connect to. Music creation can slip as a priority for artists for multiple reasons. Instead of doing the hard emotional and creative work of writing new music, some musicians find it easier to dig deep into the endless efforts it takes to sustain their public identities as artists. Other musicians start their careers with an uncompromising desire to create music but get bogged down by the day to day duties of being a part of an active band or promoting their solo music.

If you’re set on sharing meaningful music with the world, nothing is more important than the act of creating, exploring, taking risks, asking questions, and shaping vague musical ideas into developed songs. But few things are harder, even if you’ve already managed to find success in music in the past. It’s easy to forget that creating music can be tedious, demanding, and difficult work––the sort of work that might not ever give us the results we want.

It’s natural to not want to take on the burden of making new music, but choosing not to over and over again is a dangerous spot to be in as a serious musician. It takes you further away from your goals, puts you out of practice as a songwriter, and keeps you distracted as an artist.

Related:- 4 Signs That A Song Isn’t Ready For Release

The importance of prioritizing music creation

Nothing is more important than music creation for artists who want to make an impact with their songs. However, while choosing to prioritize songwriting, producing, and recording is easy, maintaining that priority is another story. Whether it’s sticking to a strict weekly songwriting schedule, writing lists of ever-changing short-term goals, or making the conscious effort to stay inspired by constantly trying new things in music, prioritizing music creation isn’t a choice you make once as an artist, but over and over again. Similar to how romantic relationships take constant work to keep healthy and rewarding, making music creation the center of your identity and purpose as an artist requires constant effort and attention.

It’s not as simple as stepping back from promoting an album to free up time to write a new one, though time management is part of it. Instead, it’s about where your focus is as an artist. In your daily life are you more focused on racking up song plays than discovering what’s possible through music? Do you have an incredible idea for a song percolating but can’t get to it until you post on your artist’s social media accounts? These are a few examples of how the joy and spontaneity of music get put on the back burner for musicians.

In theory, we want to create the sort of music that truly resonates with listeners, but it’s often easier and more convenient not to try. When we force ourselves to show up to the creative process and engage over and over again, songwriting becomes a priority and a focus, not just something we’ll get around to doing when we feel like it. When we do this over and over again, there will be days when throwing everything we’ve got into the process simply won’t work, and that’s okay. But by prioritizing music creation above everything else as artists, we’ll have the time, freedom, and energy we need to create our best work.


7 Loss of Singing Voice Causes: Get Your Voice Back!

Voice loss is not uncommon among singers, just like injury is not unusual in sport. But, as professional athletes must do everything possible to look after their bodies (eating well, warming up and down, recognizing when there’s a weakness), so must you. Many of the famous names in the industry haven’t heeded these warnings and have paid the price as a result.


Loss of singing voice causes vary and most are nothing to worry about, just a sign that you need to take a little extra care and rest. Let’s take a deep dive into the seven possible issues you might encounter in your career as a singer.

1. Vocal Fatigue

The most likely reason, if you’re a less experienced singer, will be overuse. This kind of hoarseness or voice loss should pass quickly. But you should follow these rules:

  • Don’t scream and shout excessively
  • Avoid too much alcohol, nicotine and vaping
  • Rest when your voice feels tired and never continue if it’s hurting in any way
  • Avoid singing on your throat – learn correct breathing technique and release any tension
  • Don’t sing out with your range (apart from gentle exercises to gradually increase your range safely)

    2. Hoarse voice and mucus in throat

    If you know you’ve not been oversinging or pushing your voice to excess, the next most likely cause is an infection. Common colds, flu and other viruses can all cause voice loss. The body produces mucus to protect the delicate membranes from invading germs. However, this clogs up the vocals, causes coughing and sinus blockages, all of which are the enemy of the singer. However, this is also a frequent event that you’ll have to deal with as a professional singer and to some degree is unavoidable. You can reduce the number of viruses you catch by doing the following:

    1. Wash your hands regularly, especially when out and about touching surfaces in public spaces
    2. Eat a healthy, nutritious balanced diet to boost your immunity
    3. Exercise regularly
    4. Take rest, relax and have fun! This too boosts the immune system
    5. Supplements like echinacea and vitamin D during winter months can be helpful

    3. Laryngitis

    If your infection is more pronounced, you may develop laryngitis. This is an inflammation and swelling of the larynx, or voice box, usually resulting from infection. Your vocal cords can’t move freely when they’re enlarged, meaning you struggle to speak and can only make a coraking sound. You may also develop laryngitis from oversinging if you’ve sufficiently irritated the larynx. If you have no other symptoms, this is likely to be the case. However, if your laryngitis occurs simultaneously with a cold, the virus will be the root cause.

    If you strain or tire your voice at all while suffering from a respiratory infection, you’re much more likely to develop laryngitis as the voice is already compromised. This is why it’s so important to go easy when you’re sick. Laryngitis may pass in a day or two, or it could go on for up to a fortnight.

    Realted:-,4 Signs That A Song Isn’t Ready For Release

    4. Vocal cord nodules

Here we venture into more serious territory. Many singers get nodules (or cysts, or polyps), so it’s not a reason to panic. However, it is a reason to re-evaluate your technique and make some changes. Most importantly you must rest and seek medical advice. At this stage, it’s not an option to carry on regardless, or you could find yourself with major problems. Symptoms of nodules are:

  • Raspiness
  • Breathiness
  • Inability so sing the notes you used to
  • Sudden change in register
  • Persistent, ongoing hoarseness

Some famous singers who overcame this issue include Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Freddie Mercury, Luciano Pavarotti, Rod Stewart, Shirley Manson and Joss Stone. There are some patterns here. Singers with gravelly voices and those who belt ‘big’ powerful numbers are most at risk.

5. Vocal cord paralysis

One or both of your vocal cords can be affected by this rare syndrome. It’s usually triggered by an injury or health condition such as a tumour, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s. Occasionally it’s a result of extreme inflammation. Surgery is sometimes required to restore communication between nerves in the vocal cords and brain, but it may just resolve on its own after around a year, alongside speech therapy. Symptoms of vocal cord paralysis are:

  • Breathiness
  • Hoarseness
  • Noisy breathing
  • Loss of pitch
  • Trouble swallowing and loss of gag reflex
  • Increased need for breath refills
  • Inability to project when speaking
  • Persistent coughing and throat clearing

Related:- 8 Gadgets Every Recording Studio Must Have

6. Permanently damaged vocal cords

We must stress that this is very rare indeed. Especially nowadays with all the medical interventions available. But there are some cautionary tales in this category of cause. Never think that your voice is invincible. You must take care of it, as permanent damage will be the result of ignoring the warning signs like nodules, haemorrhage, and bruising.

Julie Andrews suffered from throat nodules, and unfortunately experienced further – and permanent – damage following surgery to remove them in 1997. Sadly, this ended her singing career and she sued the hospital.

7. Vocal cord haemorrhage

Adele, on the other hand, recovered from a serious vocal injury, a haemorrhage. While she was forced to cancel the tour, she bounced back after she had surgery to deal with the issue. She now has to avoid acidic foods that cause reflux – something that contributed to her haemorrhage. If you’re prone to this kind of thing like Adele, you may need to make changes to your diet.

Unfortunately, haemorrhages can recur if lifestyle changes are not made. Jess Glynne underwent vocal cord surgery in 2009 and 2015, yet again last year, she was forced to cancel major gigs due to a vocal haemorrhage.

This caused a lot of controversies, as Jess had been seen partying hard with the Spice Girls shortly before pulling out of the Isle of Wight Festival. While it may be a separate issue, we do know that lack of sleep, alcohol and smoky environments are terrible for your vocals. Jess has a superb sound, so these vocal issues are a growing concern for the artist. A haemorrhage isn’t painful, but it will cause sudden hoarseness and render you unable to sing.


4 Signs That A Song Isn’t Ready For Release

In today’s shockingly competitive music industry, it’s not easy knowing how much music to release and how often. There’s a feeling that between how hungry listeners are for new music and the astounding number of new songs uploaded to major streaming platforms every day that artists will lose their audience’s attention without constantly releasing music.


The problem is that it’s hard to write, record, and produce great music consistently, and that if you’re approaching the songwriting process in ways that embrace curiosity and risk-taking, you’re bound to run into false starts and failures over and over again. Since not everything we write should see the light of day, it’s crucial to be able to discern what’s worth sharing and what needs more tweaking when it comes to our music. Here are four signs that your music isn’t ready for release:

Something feels missing

If you feel like you’re nearing the completion of a song and get the sense that something’s missing, it’s important to take that intuition seriously. When we’re more concerned with putting out music consistently or finishing music on a deadline, it’s easy to cut corners and leave our songs far from reaching their true potential. Whether it’s a subpar performance or a section of a song that isn’t as strong as it could be, releasing music that feels unfinished or lacking in any way is a bad idea.

Related:- How to Do Vocal Runs: 7 Simple Steps

Numerous listens reveal glaring errors

It should go without saying, but if there are noticeable errors in your songs, they’re not ready for release. By errors, I don’t mean minor and nuanced parts of your performances or production choices that can be interpreted as beneficial sounds that build character in your music. Instead, I’m referring to stuff you’ll listen back to later with your head in your hands because it sounds so bad and embarrassing.

If you’re a spur of the moment sort of musician that wants to release lots of music, that’s totally fine as long as you’re not putting out rushed and flawed art that will end up hurting your career and report with fans down the line. It’s easy to fix errors in your songs or decide they’re not strong enough to share. Recovering from putting out weak work however is much, much harder.

The song sounds unintentionally unmixed and unproduced

Intentionality is a big deal when it comes to the way your songs sound and feel to listeners. If noticeable parts of your music sound like you didn’t mean for them to sound the way they do, it’s a signifier that the track isn’t ready to be heard by anyone aside from you and your collaborators.

There’s plenty of happy mistakes and surprises to be found in the process of recording and producing, but when things come off as unintentional in ways that are inconsistent, distracting, and unsupportive of the song and your musical aesthetic in general, your work isn’t finished as a music-maker.

Related:- 8 Gadgets Every Recording Studio Must Have

You wouldn’t want to listen to it if you weren’t the artist that created it

This is the most important sign. If the end result of a song is a piece of music you genuinely wouldn’t want to listen to if you weren’t the songwriter behind it, it’s either unfinished or unworthy of being released. This is a hard pill to swallow for developing artists who are establishing their voices or anyone else who’s spent lots of time on a song only to see it go nowhere or need new revisions, but if you follow this rule, you’ll be so much better off as a songwriter. When you put out music you’re genuinely excited about, everything becomes infinitely easier and more natural as an artist, whether it’s playing the same songs over and over again during concerts or promoting a new album. If we want and expect people to support us and our music, we need to hold up our end of the bargain, which is delivering meaningful music that other human beings will actually want to hear.

Once you recognize that your work is valuable and can be hugely meaningful to listeners, you’ll find the balance between wanting to give them music consistently and only sharing songs that reflect your best creative effort.


8 Gadgets Every Recording Studio Must Have

Recording studios come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It may be an amateur booth in your bedroom, a studio in your garage, or you may own and run a fully-fledged professional set up. Whichever it is, you can access the right kit to make it a functional and top-class recording space and purchase the gadgets that every recording studio must have. This might cost you a considerable amount, to begin with, but the pay off is worth it in terms of a quality finished album. Or if it’s a commercial studio, to attract higher-profile clients.


If you’re planning to buy some studio time rather than create your own space, this article will help you to understand what you need to look for when choosing your venue. And which add on gadgets may be useful in getting that perfect track.

Related:- How to Do Vocal Runs: 7 Simple Steps

What does every recording studio need?

While style and staff will be different from one studio to another, each will have many things in common. Alongside a purpose build, part of the makeup of a studio is its equipment. Most studios will list what they have on their website, so you can identify whether they’ll be able to provide what you need. Let’s begin by looking at the basics required to record your own music professionally.

  • Computer
  • DAW (digital audio workstation -the software used to compose, produce, record, mix and edit audio and MIDI)
  • An audio Interface
  • Microphones – usually a condenser is best
  • Headphones
  • Studio Monitors with isolation pads -if you have several you’ll need a gadget to manage these – more o that later
  • Cables (invest in some snake cables)
  • Microphone Stands
  • A pop filter
  • Mounts and shock mounts

These items will get you started. But there are many more gadgets that’ll prove invaluable in the process. You’ll soon want to move onto getting the following in your studio…

  1. Power Conditioner
  2. Microphone preamp
  3. Headphone amp
  4. Monitor and MIDI controllers
  5. Uninterruptible Power Supply
  6. Direct Box
  7. Master Clocks
  8. Signal booster

Creating a Professional recording studio setup

High quality professional standard equipment is what makes successful music stand out from amateur attempts. Let’s take a look at these eight gadgets in more detail to see what they do and how they might benefit you.

#1 A power conditioner

The electric currents running through your equipment aren’t smooth. They’ll be spikes and surges, manifesting in musical terms as a low-level electrical noise or minor interruptions. If this is something you’ve experienced, then it’s well worth getting a power conditioner to even this out. This is not the same as a surge protector, which prevents dangerous surges in electricity. Power conditioners are purely about the sound.

Music studio gadgets

Some of these gadgets may be new to you completely. Even if you’ve recorded tracks before, you may not have realised what some of the boxes and wires were.

#2 A microphone preamp

You’ve obviously heard of an amp, but what about a preamp? These are necessary when recording vocals. Mics give off a weak signal, so this little gadget is the go-between for your mic and the mixer. It’s less important if you use a condenser, but generally necessary for ribbons and dynamic microphones. You must get a good one – it can transform a poor mic if it’s good, but ruin even a good mic’s sound if it’s not. Find out some of the best preamps of 2020 in this article by Music Critic. It’s also worth getting a reflection filter fitted onto your mic.

#3 A headphone amp

While we’re on amps, we should mention the headphone amp. This translates the signal from your turntable, PC, or smartphone a higher to such a level that is can be recognised as sound waves by the speakers inside your headphones. This improves the quality, enabling you to hear and in turn perform, better. The caveat here is that a headphone amp is only useful if you’re using high-quality phones. If you have a cheap pair and a home studio setup it may not be worth the investment.

What equipment do you need for music production?

So what else will might you need for music-making and production in the studio?

#4 Monitor management and MIDI controllers

Monitors in the studio are speakers, not screens. And you need something with which to control them. This enables you to switch between multiple monitors, adjust levels and inputs gaining complete control over your entire monitor setup. If you have many instruments and backing singers in your recording, there will be monitors everywhere. Types of monitor controllers include compact, active, passive, intuitive, wired, Bluetooth and high resolution.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controllers on the other hand sequence music and play virtual instruments on your computer by sending data to the computer or synthesizer. This, in turn, regurgitates the signal and spits out a complete sound. This will, of course, be an important device in building your track, if you’re a vocalist needing virtual backing.

#5 An uninterruptible power supply

Known at UPS, these are by no means exclusive to the recording studio. They’re used anywhere you need a constant supply of energy in the event of a power failure. This is vital in a professional studio, as any interruptions could ruin that perfect take and lose everything you’ve done so far. And when musicians are paying by the hour, they don’t want to be delayed or have to repeat sections, because your kit wasn’t up to scratch. A power conditioner purely irons out the current, but can’t protect your supply in the event of a mains fail, so you should have both of these gadgets.

Related:- 5 Signs That It’s Time To Give Up On A Song

The best studio gadgets

#6 A direct signal box

Also known as a DI (direct insertion or direct injection) box, this is a kind of transformer and relates to the instruments you’ll be using in the studio (if you’re just covering vocals with backing tracks, give the direct signal box a miss). It reduces distortion, hum and ground noise by converting an high resistance unbalanced, instrument output signal into a balanced, low resistance input mic signal. In essence, this gives a better sound on your instruments. It then splits the sound from the jack to the audio interface. Musicians can also get direct signal boxes suitable for stage performance too.

Direct signal boxes are especially handy if you need to run cables over long distances, as the sound can often get distorted in the process. You can choose between a passive and an active box. The latter is pricier and runs off a battery, AC or phantom power, providing significantly improved sound quality. Passive boxes are great for home studios and can be plugged straight into the console. Many DI boxes are designed with specific instruments in mind, so it’s ideal if your studio has a few to choose from. And if you’re buying do some research on the best model for you

#7 A master clock

We’re not talking about the thing you hang on the wall. This is one of the high tech gadgets every recording studio must have. In the recording studio, we’re continually intermixing both analogue and digital inputs and outputs. A continuous analogue signal must be sampled at regular intervals. A master clock or ‘word clock’ provides this information allowing the sound waves to be reconstructed as an analogue signal correctly when required. The clock identifies when each sample should be recorded or replayed. Beyond this, it also identifies each encoded audio channel in multi-channel systems. And a master clock looks nothing like a traditional clock by the way!

Professional recording studio equipment 

#8 The signal booster

We’ve got into some pretty technical territory, but we’ll finish up with a more generically familiar device – the signal booster. Chances are you have one of these in your home if you live somewhere with an extended area of space.

Like a mains fail with your power, a loss of internet signal can be catastrophic, losing your takes and costing you valuable time -and money. A weak signal is incredibly frustrating. So don’t take any chances. Even if your connection is usually strong, it just takes a local issue to knock it out. And you’ll get things done faster with a signal booster. It also goes without saying that you should get the best broadband available in your area.

The other possible ‘gadget’ we’ve not explored in detail is the DAW. This is because it’s not always a gadget, but rather integrated software. However, it is possible to buy a DAW in device form. According to Consordini, these are some of the best DAW software buys of 2020.

Avid Pro Tools

Apple Logic Pro X

Ableton Live

Image Line FL Studio

Cockos Reaper

Reason Studios Reason

Steinberg Cubase

PreSonus Studio One

The home recording studio setup 

In addition to these gadgets, you’ll benefit from using hardware including bass traps, diffusers and acoustic panels to dampen the sound and absorb unwanted extraneous noise. These are part of your kit, rather than being a gadget as such. Bass traps work a lot like acoustic panels, but unlike panels, they don’t just absorb the low-end frequencies in the recording area. Bass traps will make the low frequencies easier to control and recognize, creating a crisper, cleaner and more interesting layering of sound. If this is all a bit too overwhelming, you can purchase an all in one start-up production bundle for a few hundred pounds. You can find out more about building your own DIY studio in this article.


How to Do Vocal Runs: 7 Simple Steps

Vocal runs are popular in contemporary music but have been around since the inception of gospel and jazz traditions. Many of the biggest names in pop, rock and R&B are expert in these skills and use them to make songs their own. It’s a surefire way to create a totally unique interpretation, even if it’s been sung many times before.


This is often known as artistic licence or creative liberty – where you add in fresh elements to turn out something brand new that deviates from the norm. Watch this video to see how easy – or difficult – these Tik Tokers found riffs and runs!

What are vocal runs and riffs?

Vocal runs are fast melodic sequences ‘running’ up or down a scale. A riff is similar but lasts on average between two and four notes. They are musical enhancements used to add emotion and intensity, rather than purely showcase the voice (if used for the latter, the performance will feel quite empty and shallow).

The ability to sing up and down a scale, around the topline and over the melody, can have spine-tingling results. But how can you achieve these and what do you have to do to prep the voice?

What is the easiest way to do riffs and runs?

Some singers will sing runs and riffs instinctively, particularly if they’ve been exposed to them since childhood. If that’s not you and it doesn’t happen automatically, the easiest way to achieve them is to follow our simple steps to success.

#1 Learn the melody first

You have to know the rules to break them. So make sure you’re note-perfect throughout an entire song before messing about with it. This is important, as when trying runs for the first time, there is a risk of going off the pitch or clashing with the topline. Along with this, you should get to know the tempo and rhythm at al sections of the song.

We recommend you practice with a metronome at this stage. This will be key in slotting in your flourish, so it fits in a way that is sonically cohesive. If you have a very strong innate musicality this will stand you in good stead. But if not, it’s vital you have the basics down before moving onto advanced effects.

Related:- 5 Signs Of Creative Stagnation To Watch Out For In Music

Riffs and runs vocal training

So now you know your song inside out, what’s next?

#2 Become vocally agile

If you read our articles regularly, you’ll already know how important the foundations are. To develop any new technique, you’ll need to have worked on correct breathing as well as always warming-up and warming-down. Vocal runs require control and – usually – a good range. While it’s possible to produce them with a limited register, the more access you have, particularly to your upper range, the more room you’ll have to play around. You should also be used to sliding your voice up and down. So in practical terms, this means lots of scales, sirens and breathing exercises.

Riffs and runs exercises

You’ll need more than your basic exercises to get to grips with riffs and runs. Here are your next steps.

#3 Speed up your scales

Now it’s time to try those scales again, but much faster. You should build up speed gradually rather than suddenly to keep the clarity. As you get faster, the notes ‘run’ together as one. This is the start of your vocal runs. Try gradually slowing down too. You’re aiming to speed up and slow down at will. This adds to your vocal toolbelt in terms of what’s within your control and what you can do.

#4 Use Ng

It’s important to keep your vocals safe while you experiment. You can do this by practising your runs on an Ng sound. This forces your tongue up to your soft palate and protects the throat and vocal cords in the process. You don’t want to perform like this, but it’s a good technique to employ while you’re picking it up.

Vocal riffs and runs exercises: download and tutorials

This guide outlines simple steps. But if you struggle to pick up musical techniques by yourself, it can help to download vocal riffs and runs exercise programme. Or you can use a video tutorial like this one from Tyshan Knight to help you. These provide a more in-depth guide perfect for those who have less singing experience.

There are two routes to a run.

  1. You sing a run already created by another singer. This is just a case of listening and copying the movement of the notes and is a good way for newbies to get the hang of it. Try their runs very slowly, then use a metronome to gradually move up in speed.
  2. Craft your own. This may be off the cuff if you’re very experienced (more on the risks associated with that shortly). Or pre-prepared and possibly even written down, so you know exactly what notes you plan to hit and where you’re going with them. This is a useful way to approach it as an intermediate singer.

Crafting vocal runs

Your vocal runs must be crafted. If you go too far with them, you can end up oversinging (using runs, riffs, whoops and vibrato to excess). If you plan on making your own, bear this in mind, especially if going for an off the cuff approach.

#5 Understand pitching 

You will have already got to grips with the pitch of the song you’re singing. This will be your starting block for pitching your riffs and runs. If you plan on coming up with your own runs, it will help to be able to play your notes on a piano when experimenting. Here’s a guide for how to do this.

The best vocal runs

#6 Rehearse them to sound improvised

While many runs may sound improvised – and there is a place for that in live performance – it’s better to have rehearsed them thoroughly beforehand. You could even write down the notes once you’ve established them through some experimentation. Once you have an abundance of on-stage experience and have nailed this technique, then and only then, can you risk a little improv. So the trick is, to make them sound like they’re off the cuff, when in fact you know exactly what’s coming and what you plan to do (and so do your backing band/singers).

#7 Listen to other singers 

Often the best way to pick something up is to see it in action and to some degree, copy. The caveat is, you must only imitate those who are very good at what they do! With that in mind, we’ve compiled some videos of great songs and singers featuring impressive vocal runs.

Related:- 5 Signs That It’s Time To Give Up On A Song

Songs with vocal runs

You might be curious to see and hear some of the best vocal runs out there. And this forms one of your steps to success. There are so many great singers from which to take your cues. Here are just a few and some great songs you might like to try out with some vocal runs of your own.

Feeling Good by Nina Simone 

Let’s begin with a classic. Many female singers have taken inspiration from the likes of jazz heroines like Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. They’re also handy case studies for those with lower voices, proving that you don’t need to have a whistle register to be able to pull off amazing runs.

Dangerous Woman by Ariane Grande

This is a great one to watch because it’s totally stripped back, leaving nothing but Ariane’s incredible vocals laid bare. The a cappella version of Dangerous Woman really enables you to hear the mechanics of those runs and how perfectly on the note and in time Ariane is at all times.

All of Me by John Legend

As John accompanies himself, he has room for a whole lot of licence when playing live. Some of his riffs are almost imperceptible as his style is so smooth and fluid. If you play an instrument this will be a great help in allowing yourself plenty of room to manoeuvre. If you’re using a backing track or performing with other musicians, just be sure to stick within the tempo of the song and you’ll be fine.

R&B vocal runs

More emphasis is placed on the vocals than the lyrics in this genre. So it’s a great area of study for the singer wanting to understand runs and riffs.

7 Days by Craig David

Not all vocal runs have to be big and dramatic. This enduring hit from Craig David demonstrates a gentler approach to the technique, that’s hugely effective in a very different way.

Fallin’ by Alicia Keys

It can be useful to watch live performances, such as this one by Alicia Keys at the Apple Music Festival, especially if you plan to vamp your runs. There’s a huge amount of vocal dynamics going on in this piece, as she goes from loud to soft and back again, as well as adjusting the tempo.

Georgia On My Mind by Usher

This may not be how you’re used to seeing and hearing R&B singer Usher, but this cover of the Ray Charles hit is a great showcase for his beautiful runs and riffs. Hopefully, you’re now inspired to get started experimenting with some vocal runs of your own. Not only do they create a great ornamental effect in your sets, practising them helps increase your vocal flexibility. If you’ve ever felt intimidated at the prospect in the past or are unsure where to start with riffs and runs, follow these 7 steps and you’ll be crooning like Mariah Carey in no time