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Thread: MJs falsetto and general vocal discussion. Dat boy good!

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    MJs falsetto and general vocal discussion. Dat boy good!

    Was watching this:



    And its very interesting to see how the falsetto trend peaked in the 80s as I think MJ was a huge influence on the shape of sounds people were creating even though it had been popular before and after him. Inspired to do some more research I read this:

    MJ is my biggest influence as a singer. Studied his voice for years. He is a belter at heart. All those high powerful notes you're talking about are full voice not falsetto.

    How did he do it? He was one of those lucky guys just born with a good voice from day 1.

    Around Destiny and Victory (his last stuff with his brothers) was where his voice was at its best from a vocal technique standpoint. The way he approached the high notes around this era (around 1978) was healthiest.

    around Off the Wall era he sought out the help of Seth Riggs because he was having trouble getting through tours, suffering vocal fatigue.

    Although in the lessons with Seth he was doing things healthier, on stage he would resort to shouting through the notes around the 80s and 90s. This is partly because his way of adding aggression to his songs is by hitting his consonants really hard and staccato - so basically he was doing one thing on the scales and a completely different thing on stage. He was a very aggressive singer. His overuse of staccato and method of adding aggression caused rigidity in the larynx making it really difficult to get to the high notes. The only way I can sing his stuff in the original key without straining is by removing all that staccato he does. It's very hard to get that staccato in there without straining.

    His declining health also made it very hard for him to breathe, he would often use oxygen tanks in between songs because he couldn't catch his breath from all the dancing and singing. He was undereating a lot which zapped his energy. He stopped singing live after the Dangerous tour in the early 90s due to his declining health.

    After the 70s he would tend to get stuck in chest voice a lot live. On the cd's he would find it but live he didn't. But because of his naturally high voice, he could still get to the C5's occassionally like here then notice right after on "together" he loses it and gets stuck in chest at 2:05. This is what happened to him a lot after the 70s.

    The C5 gets a lot of singers because it's another bridge area. Bridges can become a brick wall if you don't keep them tamed with good training or if you approach them slightly wrong. there is a slight resonance shift that needs to happen there, you have to bring in more of the head resonance (this doesn't mean go lighter!) and sometimes when you're trying to belt and keep it strong up there you can dampen the sound too much, essentially throwing a blanket on the upper resonances preventing your voice from releasing (when I say release i'm not talknig about leaving chest voice into falsetto) and get stuck. it's easy to screw it up and get caught in chest. Then we start thinking chest voice is a mechanism that can only be taken so far, when in reality all those full high notes you hear are done with the same voice you're speaking with.

    In the 70s he was able to blend in that head resonance a little better you can hear it on "things I do for you" when he goes up to the high notes you'll hear the parts where his voice thins a little and it gets more of that head voice ring have a listen at 32 secs here on the word "am". and then here too on the word "stand". that is a healthy resonance. if you hear him live in the 80s and upwards he didn't usually get into that spot, and that's what kept him out of HIS high range.

    Of course on CD's he was able to punch in a more consistent sound.

    Anyone can develop the range he had, but only Michael sounds like Michael.

    Cheers

    Phil Moufarrege
    https://www.reddit.com/r/singing/com...ksons_singing/


    Folks MJs voice really, really was something else. The way it could shatter glass on one end whilst throwing grit out of your speakers in the other whilst still being smooth as silk all the way through really is something else. I commented before that the reason MJ got so big was that he was a man who sang like a woman, better than a woman could and I stand by it as his vocals were just so pure, wherever they were at.

    Really have to check out some more live singing now to hear the points mentioned above in the quote. Great playlist of various compiled performances here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a00S...pEYTQOR6aK7WNG


    Another excellent article here which highlights exactly how dedicated MJ was to getting the absolute best out of himself:

    Michael Jackson without his falsetto is not the commodity on which their collective dream depends. But Michael has never known a reality that wasn't susceptible on some level to his creative powers. He works to develop something, not a falsetto, which is a way of singing above your range, but instead a higher range. He isolates totally different configurations of his vocal cords, finding their crevices, cultivating the flexibility there. Vocal teachers will tell you this can be done, though it's considered an extreme practice. Whether the process is conscious in Michael's case is unknowable. He probably evolves it in order to keep singing Jackson 5 songs every night through puberty. The startling effect is of his having imaginatively not so much castrated himself as of womanized himself. He essentially evolves a drag voice. On the early demo for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," recorded at home with Randy and Janet helping, you can actually hear him work his way into this voice. It is a character, really. "We're gonna be startin' now, baby," he says in a relad, moderately high-pitched man's voice. Then he intones the title, "Don't stop 'til you get enough," in a softer, quieter version of basically the same voice. He repeats the line in a still higher register, almost purring. Finally—in a full-on girlish peal—he sings. A source will later claim to have heard him, in a moment of anger, break into a deep, gruff voice she'd never heard before.
    https://www.gq.com/story/michael-jac...llivan-tribute


    Anyway, feel free to chime in on anything vocal related because dat boy good!

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    Utter nonsense to for the person in the first quote to say MJ had to use oxygen masks inbetween songs. Not at all.

    Michael's falsetto was never really what caught my attention, but his staccato, aggressive yet rhythmic vocal styling did. I think he knew it caught most people given how often he used it as opposed to the falsetto style or his soul roots style.

    It marked him out from everyone else on the radio at a time when radio exposure was still of critical importance for artists.
    "Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even concieve of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless." - Brandon Lee

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    It seems like a lot of people (including that video) mistake singing in one's upper register for falsetto. MJ used his falsetto sparingly, and it was never a strong point of his (compared to Prince, who frequently used his falsetto). The staccato flow that he started doing with Bad was more his thing rather than falsetto.

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    I wrote a blog a few weeks ago how MJ's falsetto was one of the primary inspirations for Justin Timberlake's Justified album, and I compared the similarities between the two.

    http://www.ajdugger.net/blog/justifying-off-the-wall

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Vega View Post
    It seems like a lot of people (including that Video) mistake singing in one’s Upper Register for “Falsetto.” M. J. used his “Falsetto” sparingly, and it was never a strong point of his (compared to Prince, who frequently used his “Falsetto”). The staccato flow that he started doing with “BAD” was more his thing, rather than “Falsetto.”
    Hmm....What an interesting discussion, here. Another great thread, in regards to my most favorite subject matter to talk about —— whether on this board or any other one —— the very sound of Michael’s great singing-voice, that he had throughout his entire career and life. I remember having commented on the only segment of the article quoted in this thread, which was taken from the issue of “G. Q.Magazine that came out almost right after Michael had passed.

    While that segment does strongly interest me (because, it’s the only one focused specifically on his vocal skills), I totally disagreed with its author’s views, then, and still do, now. Here’s why:


    “People want to know, Why, when you became a man, did your voice not change? Rather, it did change, but what did it change into? Listening to clips of his interviews through the ’70’s, you can hear how he goes about changing it himself. First, it deepens slightly, around 1972-73, or so. (Listen to him on ‘The Dating Game’ in 1972 and you’ll hear that his voice was lower at 14 than it will be at 30.) This potentially catastrophic event has perhaps been vaguely dreaded by the family and label for years. Michael Jackson without his ‘Falsetto’ is not the commodity on which their collective dream depends. But, Michael has never known a reality that wasn’t susceptible on some level to his creative powers. He works to develop something, not a ‘Falsetto,’ which is a way of singing above your range, but instead a higher range. He isolates totally different configurations of his vocal cords, finding their crevices, cultivating the flexibility there. Vocal teachers will tell you this can be done, though it’s considered an extreme practice.

    Whether the process is conscious in Michael’s case is unknowable. He probably evolves it in order to keep singing Jackson 5 songs every night through puberty. The startling effect is of his having imaginatively not so much castrated himself as of ‘womanized’ himself. He essentially evolves a ‘drag’ voice. On the early demo for ‘Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough,’ recorded at home with Randy and Janet helping, you can actually hear him work his way into this voice. It is a character, really. ‘We’re gonna be startin’ now, baby,’ he says in a relaxed, moderately high-pitched man’s voice. Then he intones the title, ‘Don’t stop ’til you get enough,’ in a softer, quieter version of basically the same voice. He repeats the line in a still higher register, almost purring. Finally—in a full-on girlish peal—he sings.”
    There are various different points the author makes in his assessment of Michael’s singing abilities, that I really take issue with and which I very strongly disagree. Why in THE WORLD does the writer even have the gall to refer to Michael’s singing- and speaking-voice as “drag,” when he more than likely knows full well the definition of that term, and what it implies to most people, with its obvious connotations? “ ‘Drag’ voice”? Oh, come on, now!!! Michael having “womanized himself”? PLEASE!!! Yeah, RIGHT!!! It will be a very long time, before I ever believe that bunch of garbage, crap and baloney, that load of malarkey, hoo-hah and utter nonsense. Nothing could have been any further from THE TRUTH. And, by the way, here’s some other information I found, which helps to explain WHY I object so strongly to this author’s mis-characterization of Michael’s natural “adult” voice, and what such a gross mis-characterization implies:

    “A drag queen is a person, almost always male, who uses drag clothing and makeup to imitate and often exaggerate female gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes. Historically, most drag queens have been men dressing as women. In modern times, drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture, but queens can be of any gender and sexual identity.”

    I would bet he also knows about the long history of certain rumors, malicious gossip, outright LIES, slander, and negative stories done on Michael in the last 40 years, or so, with the media’s misleading innuendos and implications as to what his private life may have been like, as such stories were false. At least, the author admitted and mentioned in the article that vicious rumors had indeed been spread around about Michael, mainly due to the sound of his natural voice (one of the few facts that he agrees with, regarding the subject of his piece).


    “1979, the year of ‘Off the Wall’ and his first nose-job, marks an obscure crisis. Around the start of that year, they offer him the gay lead in the film version of ‘A Chorus Line,’ but he declines the role, explaining: ‘I’m excited about it, but if I do it, people will link me with the part. Because of my voice, some people already THINK I’m that way—“homo”—though I’m actually not at all.’ ”
    While he always had an “androgynous,” “young”-sounding voice for an adult his age, I would say that this had far, far less to do with which “Gender” most people would normally have assumed it sounded like, in any meaningful or significant way (that whole issue concerning whether his voice —— however he wanted to use it —— sounded more like either one gender or the other, like a lot of people think), and much more to do with what AGE his voice just naturally so happened to have sounded like at a particular time, in my opinion.

    He very seldom used “Falsetto” —— whenever he did so, as he was, naturally, an extremely High Tenor who could hit Upper Register notes easily, without necessarily having to use it —— because, his voice just was the way it was. With Prince’s voice having been a naturally deep Baritone, O.T.O.H., he had to rely on the use of his “Falsetto,” in order to reach the higher-pitched notes. The author also implies that Michael “faked” the sound of his voice; He never did any such thing, as his voice was always genuine and REAL.
    Last edited by DDFF22552255; 4 Days Ago at 11:16 AM.

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    Jam, if I may say this, honestly (and, please forgive me, if I come across to you and other posters the wrong way, so, don’t get upset with me), you already know, from my previous comments on this board, that I am NOT a fan of Justin Timberlake, nor do I support and/or acknowledge the career of any so-called “artist” whose fame and celebrity resulted from, mainly, the deliberate copycatting off of, stealing from, ripping off of and exploitation of African-descended/Black culture. In fact, I absolutely detest and loathe such exploitation.

    To be truthful, of course, you know about the history of such ripping off, and that those thieves who stole from an entire culture and population, without giving any proper credit to far superior, much more talented ORIGINATORS, whether they be well-known or anonymous, whomever they are or were —— thieves who have, basically, little to no real talent at all, to begin with —— have gained and benefited from wealth, fame and celebrity status at the expense of countless others not being recognized and given what rightfully belonged to them.

    Such practices have went on for decades (especially, in the entertainment, fashion and beauty industries), and still continue today. What is even more despicable is that, while people are or have been discriminated against, White celebrities with far less talent, if any at all, have taken advantage of what went on in the United States during the so-called “Rock-and-Roll”/“Pop” era and used that to promote themselves; I truly believe that the entertainment/music industry, in and of itself (by its very nature), is deeply inherently racist to its core.

    Even when Michael was alive, the industry and the media were totally, insanely jealous of him (partly due to the fact that very, VERY few White artists/performers —— if any at all —— had achieved their success at the same level as his was/is, not to mention his purchase/ownership of the “A.T.V.”® Music catalogue in 1985 and the publishing rights to music associated with many different artists, including those same White performers), began hating him and trying to destroy his career (ever since 1985 and on through the “BAD” era), because of his “Thriller” success in the earlier and middle part of that decade.

    Magazines such as “Rolling Stone” —— which very rarely had anything positive to write about him, anyway —— were referring to Justin Timberlake, of all people, as “The New ‘King of Pop’ ” in the Early-2000’s, and —— particularly, after his passing —— certain publications have been touting and declaring every other this, that, and such-and-such person to be the “new,” or the “next,” version of him. There are continuing reports of, and articles written about, other performers breaking records that he held for so many years with “Thriller”* (as I have just recently read about *The Eagles and their “Greatest Hits: 1971-1975” album supposedly outselling Michael’s, at least in the United States, but still not worldwide, I don’t think). There will NEVER again be a “new” or a “next” Michael Joseph Jackson, because he was ALWAYS unique unto himself. His good friend Diana Ross once spoke of him, when she introduced him at the 1984 “American Music Awards,”® as “The one AND ONLY.”


    Last edited by DDFF22552255; 10-23-2019 at 11:53 AM.

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    I know all of that. I am a black journalist and I’m full aware of everything you just said. I was just writing about how MJ’s falsetto and early adult sound influenced Justified. 😳

  10. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jam2008 View Post
    I know all of that. I am a Black journalist and I’m full aware of everything you just said. I was just writing about how MJ’sFalsetto” and early adult sound influenced “Justified.”
    I apologize, if I came across the wrong way, Jam. Thank you, for really understanding me, where I’m coming from, on this. Yes, Michael’s style of singing did influence quite a number of different people who have all tried their hardest to imitate his vocals, including his great Upper Register* (which, to me, was mainly the use of his strong *Head Voice, a good deal more so, rather than “Falsetto” anywhere nearly as much). Justin Timberlake is but one of many newer, currently popular performers whom Michael has obviously influenced to some extent.
    Last edited by DDFF22552255; 10-14-2019 at 08:34 PM.

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    Yeah. We can start a thread about the very topic of how a lot of black pioneers are often imitated but still overlooked. I have lots of knowledge about that. But as far as Justin goes, the very reason I like Justified is because of the obvious MJ influences. That's the only thing that makes it worth listening to.

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    I always thought Justin Timberlake had a voice that shared more with Barry Gibb than Michael Jackson - an above average tenor more or less. It was the production on his best records that made him sound MJ-esque, not his voice in itself. Ditto for guys like Ne-Yo and Chris Brown.

    When it comes to modern-ish stars, the Weeknd always was more a "dead ringer" for MJ's vocal style than anyone else. There's a certain warmth and gravitas to his voice that reminds me of Michael's.

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