As you may know Bruno Mars has the first single from Breaking Dawn, The Twilight Saga movie soundtrack, with the song entitled “It Will Rain”. Also he is up for a whopping six Grammy awards, including three in the top categories: album, song and record of the year.
But what does this have to do with your singing voice? I would like to break down a couple of the things that Bruno Mars is doing in his song, “Let It Rain” and give you some ideas of what he’s doing right that you can apply to your own singing voice.
First of all, let’s talk about onset. What is onset? Onset is simply the beginning sound of a sung phrase. The whole goal of singing is to turn air into sound as quickly as possible with the vibrating larynx and vocal chords. But many people have problems with getting a proper onset, meaning they allow some air to escape before turning that air immediately into sound and into singing. And an improper onset radically affects the rest of the phrase and could give you problems with pitch, power and tone.
Notice what Bruno Mars does at the outset of the song. Even from the very first word “if” you can hear that there is an immediate vocal cord connection and an immediate proper onset. This whole song is a great example of what a proper onset sounds like.
Do you aspire to be a pop singer?
Well, there is one other thing I wanted to point out for those of you who aspire to be a pop singer. Notice Bruno uses a straight tone throughout most of the song and uses vibrato only occasionally as a coloring here and there. You’ll notice that the first time he brings in even a little bit of vibrato is on the word, “meditation,” which is toward the end of the first verse, and then you don’t hear his first real vocal trill until the very end of the first. I think this is a good model for pop vocals.
Vocal trills and vibrato come about with a similar function of the through and vocal cords. Mastering one will help you master the other.
I’ve heard it said, “Learn vibrato and master it, then never use it.”
I would modify that to say, “Learn vibrato and master it, then use it sparingly.” And you could switch out “vocal trills” with vibrato, and the phrase still holds true.
Whether Jacob, Bella and Edward are singers or not, they could listen to Bruno’s song, “Let It Rain,” and they would get an idea about what proper onset and proper use of vibrato and vocal trills sounds like.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!