5 Things You Need For PERFECT Live Vocals

You may sound great in the shower, but how do you translate that bathtub bravado into a killer live sound? Here’s five essential things you need to do in order to OWN the stage:

1. Warm up

Talk to any vocalist that’s serious about their voice, and the one thing they’ll all have in common is that they do an extensive warmup. Your voice is a muscle, and just like any other muscle it works better when it’s limber. You wouldn’t expect most people to be able to get up off the couch and run a marathon, right? Then don’t ask your voice to do the same thing. Give yourself at least 10-15 minutes to do a low, slow warmup. Limbering up your voice not only helps you hit notes easier and cleaner, it’ll also prevent a lot of vocal damage and fatigue from setting in on longer tours.

2. Know your microphone

There are sanitary reasons for singers to bring and use their own microphones, but besides that – if you use the same microphone every night, you know how it behaves and sounds. Certain microphone types carry certain voice types better, and when you’re on the road you could get ANY NUMBER of weird, old, half-broken mics to sing into. Much better to just spend a few dollars on your own microphone.

3. Get a grip

On reality? Sure. But I’m talking about your microphone! Make sure you know how to hold your microphone correctly. Never cup the mic, or point it towards the monitors. Watch your cable and keep it free from things that might trip you up or unplug you. No matter what style you’re singing, holding the microphone by the handle and keeping your hands free of the back holes of the microphone will give you the cleanest, best sound!

4. Know your vocal effects

Unless you’re bringing your own sound guy with you on the road, you’ll have someone different at the helm night-to-night. The effects that they put on your voice and how they drop you in the mix can be the difference between you sounding AMAZING and sounding HORRENDOUS. The more you know about vocal EQ, compression, reverb, etc. the quicker you can communicate to whatever sound-guy-du-jour you’re working with.

5. Hail Hydrate

Your vocal tract works best when it’s lubricated. That means drinking a LOT of water. And yes – there IS water in beer, but there’s also alcohol which will dry you out and affect your perception. Make sure you’re staying mindful about imbibing equal amounts of water with your booze. When all is said and done, you can’t really drink TOO much water as a singer. The only danger is needing to pee in the middle of a set!

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