Best Singers Are Natural Singers?
When I taught singing at a University in Montreal, students often asked me to explain about "natural" singing ability.
“Why do some people who have never been trained or even had any vocal warm-ups sound just as good or even better than those who do the vocal warm-ups and who have the training background?"
Another question that follows naturally is: “Are they the best singers; do these singers have more success than the others who are not so naturally gifted?”
My answer went something like this:
"Some singers have what I would call a "natural" co-ordination. Their breath energy and vowels meet in a throat that is well-enough coordinated to produce good singing sound with relative ease."
It could be that they have listened to a lot of music as children. Or they may come from a very musical family where they heard good singing from a young age. Or perhaps one good singer in particular made a major impression on their young ears. Or the language they spoke at home was helpful in producing well-coordinated sounds.
Or maybe their vocal ease simply comes from some mysterious process that we don't yet understand. Listen to a clip of Christina Aguilera singing at a very young age. Beyonce Knowles also started singing in her teen years.
ARE THESE PEOPLE THE "BEST SINGERS?"
These singers do stand out at an audition or contest. And a few, like Aguilera and Knowles go on to have fabulous careers.
But in my experience as a singing teacher and coach, a natural singing ability does not assure a singer a career.
Making a career as a singer takes a broad range of qualities - the ability and the desire to listen and learn; to work hard; to be persistent: to have vision; to sing with deep feeling: to be self-motivated; to get along with others; to dream of big things and to work passionately in order to make those things happen.
When all these qualities come together, the gifted singer can soar. (Here is 11 year old Justin Timberlake.)
But often, I have seen singers with extraordinary singing ability simply drift away from music. Perhaps singing was too easy for them. It did not become the passion that it must be in order to withstand the many disappointments that inevitably enter a singer's life. Perhaps they were missing too many of the other necessary qualities, as well.
THEN WHO ARE THE BEST SINGERS?
On the other hand, those who have to work harder to gain control of their voices appreciate what it means to sacrifice time and money for the art they love. Some of them develop a good voice, build a strong vision, and stick with it for many years. They make singing and/or performing their life.
A great natural voice can be very impressive. But what impresses me most is a singer (at any age) who, by nature or by hard work has developed not only a wonderful instrument, but has also developed a rich inner life that has given them a unique world of feelings and ideas to communicate to others.
I Wish You Great Singing!