Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Freddie took singing lessons?

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Posted: 12 Jul 08, 20:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ok, this might have been discussed here before but i´m too damn lazy to look it up. I recall, in a interview, I think it was with Brian that when Tim Staffell(Not sure about the spelling here) left what was "Smile, not yet Queen" Freddie wasn´t a great singer. In fact, a kinda poor one. Does anyone know what he did to get his amazing singing voice in order? Did he practice scales on a tape? Did he take lessons? Anyone know?


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Posted: 12 Jul 08, 21:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I sincerely doubt Freddie took lessons. Any good musician, and he did learn to play the piano, knows that practice makes perfect. So, to answer your question, to the very best of my knowledge and ability, he simply sang and sang until his voice became satisfactory. Additional evidence to make the assumption he didn't have vocal lessons is this. Even in 1986 he would strain his voice, and he would have learned ways to avoid that had he taken worthwhile lessons.


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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 01:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Henke. I don't recall Brian Saying that in a interview but i do recall Roger saying in a program on VH1 Classic that when he first heard Freddie sing his voice was like the bleating of a sheep. I'm unaware of Freddie taking any singing lessons. As far as i know Freddie only took piano lessons while attending boarding school.

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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 02:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie's voice is quite horrible in Ibex' "Communication Breakdown"...

But it's quite amazing how he later acquired the voice of "God"...


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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 03:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Another reason why it took a while for Freddie to get in control of his voice is because he sang with his throat, instead of with his gut. He said all that when he was discussing his throat nodules and why he has them, or at least why they get worse sometimes. He said that in an interview which I think you can find on David Fuller's youtube page.


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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 03:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

P.Freestone writes Freddie never did take vocal lessons.
This fact shows he was a God given-born talent, he was growing up practicing singing.

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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 18:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Saif wrote:

Freddie's voice is quite horrible in Ibex' "Communication Breakdown"...

But it's quite amazing how he later acquired the voice of "God"...

And that performance of Jailhouse Rock sounds nothing like those wonderful ones from the rock'n'roll medleys Queen performed in the 70's...


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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 19:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

if you listen to those early Wreckage and Ibex recordings you can clearly here that Freddie wasn't a singer back then. Although you can hear (especially in Green) that he had a very nice and gentle vocal sound.

But to be honest.. If Freddie was auditioning for my band in the late 60s I am sure I wouldn't have picked him as my singer.

Auditioning in the early 70's would be a totally different story of course


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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 19:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yeah you might be right, maybe I mixed up the intreviews. In fact, now that you mention it I think it was Roger, not Brian...BAH! Nevermind. Great to see so many "adult" replies in the general discussion forum! Must be a record of some sort don´t you think? SO, generally what most of you guys are saying...with a lot of practice you can get a great voice? I know for damn sure that I sound better that the early Larry Lurex or Wreckage recordings. You´ll think that one day I can outshine Freddie Mercury?


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Posted: 13 Jul 08, 19:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Doubt it. I heard he'd practise while walking down the street as if he's performing a concert, and he'd freak out people while doing so.

I used to sing pretty nasally because I was singing with my throat. I started listening to a lot of Peter Wolf (the vocalist of the J. Geils Band), and I wanted to hit some of his long high notes (in such songs as Do You Remember When? and Here Comes That Hurt)... and my ex girlfriend told me I can't sing with my throat, gotta sing with the gut. So she taught me how and I could finally do it after a while. I sing a lot of falsetto stuff. Love singing Brian Wilson's music, I could probably be a great Brian Wilson vocal imitator from his 80s era (Getcha Back, Love And Mercy, I'm So Lonely, Let's Go To Heaven In My Car).


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Posted: 14 Jul 08, 00:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

henke1980 wrote:

Yeah you might be right, maybe I mixed up the intreviews. In fact, now that you mention it I think it was Roger, not Brian...BAH! Nevermind. Great to see so many "adult" replies in the general discussion forum! Must be a record of some sort don´t you think? SO, generally what most of you guys are saying...with a lot of practice you can get a great voice? I know for damn sure that I sound better that the early Larry Lurex or Wreckage recordings. You´ll think that one day I can outshine Freddie Mercury?
Everyone gets mixed up Sometimes Henke, don't sweat it. I think that with alot of practice one can improve ones voice. With alot of practice one can probably improve in many areas of human endevour. But in order to be a great singer one probably has to be born with a certain amount of inherent talent.

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Posted: 14 Jul 08, 05:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Technically Freddie wasn't a very great singer. As a few other point out, you can hear his voice getting damaged after a couple of concerts. So in this way you can outshine Freddie if you practice and take lessons.

I don't know how your voice sounds, but normally your voice sound doesn't change much after puberty. So you can practice all you want, vocal sound won't change much. If you listen to early Queen recordings he sounds like Freddie, and in 1986 he also sounded like Freddie. Only older and his voice damaged by smoking and drinking. But his vocal sound didn't sound much different.

Vocal sound has to do with the shape of the throat, head, nose, all the cavities in your head and more things



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Posted: 16 Jul 08, 13:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

some singers are lucky to know how to use their voices.


i was an alto in denial for the longest time. i have abilities to sing high notes but i dont prefer my higher register. my lower one is more pleasent.

with freddie, most have said he sang with his throat....baaaaad thing.
you can also tell he was shy. sometimes the 'bad sound' of sounding strained is mostly those who have considerably "different" voices, and makes them self concious. luckily he figured out that his different voice could be used for something amazing, and he knew his potential, and kept him going! his flaws were the fact that he was self taught. any vocal teacher or good listener can tell he weilded his voice well, but you can hear his transition notes and such that he didnt properly use the right sections of his voice.


im rambling, sorry.


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Posted: 16 Jul 08, 15:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

^Great post -- you weren't rambling.




As inappropriate as his singing techniques were, we can't deny his ability to project himself. He was able to convey emotions effectively. Take for example 'One Year of Love'. While his singing voice sounded edgy and strained, he was still able to deliver with great power and emotion. It's for that very reason I feel we often overlook his destructive technique.

Sometimes when Freddie performed live his vocals sounded sketchy and strained -- but the fact remains the concert goers had a great experience. This is because he delivered to them the emotion and raw power of each composition. For what he lacked in technique he made up for in power and determination.

I don't think any one of us can say that what he was doing was completely and utterly wrong. Perhaps he wanted his voice the way it was. After all, I recall hearing in an interview that one of the reasons he wouldn't quit smoking is because he liked to hear his voice get raspier. I think that's stupid logic -- but it was his career, and more importantly his singing voice. Say, for example, I wanted to make my trumpet sound more dazzling by shortening the bell. God dammit, I'm a musician! I'll do whatever the hell I want!




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Posted: 17 Jul 08, 01:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Steven wrote:

^Great post -- you weren't rambling.




As inappropriate as his singing techniques were, we can't deny his ability to project himself. He was able to convey emotions effectively. Take for example 'One Year of Love'. While his singing voice sounded edgy and strained, he was still able to deliver with great power and emotion. It's for that very reason I feel we often overlook his destructive technique.

Sometimes when Freddie performed live his vocals sounded sketchy and strained -- but the fact remains the concert goers had a great experience. This is because he delivered to them the emotion and raw power of each composition. For what he lacked in technique he made up for in power and determination.


IMO, Roger Daltrey is a person who had the technique. He didn't have the power and his voice didn't sound that good but he made up for it in technique. Don't you think?


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Posted: 17 Jul 08, 10:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie Mercenary / Darth Mercury (Saif) wrote:

Steven wrote:

^Great post -- you weren't rambling.




As inappropriate as his singing techniques were, we can't deny his ability to project himself. He was able to convey emotions effectively. Take for example 'One Year of Love'. While his singing voice sounded edgy and strained, he was still able to deliver with great power and emotion. It's for that very reason I feel we often overlook his destructive technique.

Sometimes when Freddie performed live his vocals sounded sketchy and strained -- but the fact remains the concert goers had a great experience. This is because he delivered to them the emotion and raw power of each composition. For what he lacked in technique he made up for in power and determination.


IMO, Roger Daltrey is a person who had the technique. He didn't have the power and his voice didn't sound that good but he made up for it in technique. Don't you think?


Actually, I couldn't disagree more. He's always had a powerful voice, and still does. And he certainly sings well, very well in fact. Here are a few performances that caught my attention.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0APBsWQHEEM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RCS9qAsb4Y&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aTJM7KVXWs&feature=related

He's a very, very talented musician.




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Posted: 19 Jul 08, 13:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Steven wrote:

^Great post -- you weren't rambling.




As inappropriate as his singing techniques were, we can't deny his ability to project himself. He was able to convey emotions effectively. Take for example 'One Year of Love'. While his singing voice sounded edgy and strained, he was still able to deliver with great power and emotion. It's for that very reason I feel we often overlook his destructive technique.

Sometimes when Freddie performed live his vocals sounded sketchy and strained -- but the fact remains the concert goers had a great experience. This is because he delivered to them the emotion and raw power of each composition. For what he lacked in technique he made up for in power and determination.

I don't think any one of us can say that what he was doing was completely and utterly wrong. Perhaps he wanted his voice the way it was. After all, I recall hearing in an interview that one of the reasons he wouldn't quit smoking is because he liked to hear his voice get raspier. I think that's stupid logic -- but it was his career, and more importantly his singing voice. Say, for example, I wanted to make my trumpet sound more dazzling by shortening the bell. God dammit, I'm a musician! I'll do whatever the hell I want!





haha actually, in my lower register, i also love it when mine gets raspier. the one thing i didnt understand with freddies logic is he was afraid to fix his teeth because he thought it would change his sound!


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Posted: 19 Jul 08, 20:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie's vocal technique was in fact superb, probably one of, if not the, finest in the history of rock 'n' roll. From physiological and anatomycal aspects - such as those people have been hinting at - to the whole range of difficulties and shades involved in singing, he managed it all with remarkable flair.

He's almost too technical for a rock 'n' roll musician and, if you do watch him sing in many concerts, it hard to find an occasion where he really strains, beyond necessary, his vocal muscles, even when it seems he's shouting - which he's not many times if you take a closer look, it's just that his range was considerable and his voice very powerful.

His control over his voice, as well as his ability to find new ways of singing the songs and creating new musical structures live, on spot, without getting out of tune, is awe-inspiring.

I usually tell people who want to learn some singing and enjoy rock and popular music to watch Freddie's performance at Hammersmith Odeon, 1979.

It's perfect throughout in terms of posture, breathing, the movement of his mouth - to what extent he felt he needed to open it more and how he moved his lips and his chin - and he works his abdominal muscles to the point of perfection. It's also worth noticing that the shoulders are, except here and there, to give drama to the performance, in the right position - he didn't push them up or forced them up, and he often left them very relaxed or on the right stance. He would strech open his legs to avoid bowing his thorax forward and he'd lean it backwards slightly when necessary, without moving his head to the side too much, which is a sign of a very self-conscious singer in terms of technique.

It's all there.

His shape and his condition got worse over time, however, he put on some weight and he did have to strain his body a bit later on, but nothing serious.

In fact, his later years, like the works and the magic tours, although his physical condition is not that good and he had developed some annoying vocal nodules, are some of his finest in terms of technique and his use of different registers is jaw-dropping, especially when he gets to explore his lower register to its full potential or his falseto skills, which were amazing.

Smoking, drinking, putting on weight, all of that made up for the worsening of his physical conditioning, and that's why he sounds so tired in his later years in some concerts, he couldn't stand the tour routine anymore, but the technique was there, and it was tremendous.

One of my friends, who's a singer - good one - and not much of a Queen fan, got amazed by Freddie's vocal improvisation in Vienna, 1986, I guess, before they do Under Pressure. The technique is really great throughout, as well as the choice of notes and the way he sounds and the intelligence behind the singing.

I think it's quite the contrary: Freddie had a tremendous technique which did make up for his bad physical conditioning at times.

I can't think of a more skilled and self-conscious singer, in terms of technique, in rock 'n' roll's history.

There are all too many technical aspects to singing and he managed it all, really, to the point of being an encyclopedia when it comes to it.

And, of course, he was a musical genius.

But, that aside, he did learn a lot of technical aspects, and as most of the greatest popular singers, he did it by himself and took some tips here and there, listened to the stuff he liked, watched the people he admired, and that's it.

But he was a musical genius. And then it's an alltogether different history.



Yara
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Posted: 19 Jul 08, 20:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

-I like my voice husky, that´s why I smoke. :)


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Posted: 19 Jul 08, 21:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yara wrote:

Freddie's vocal technique was in fact superb, probably one of, if not the, finest in the history of rock 'n' roll. From physiological and anatomycal aspects - such as those people have been hinting at - to the whole range of difficulties and shades involved in singing, he managed it all with remarkable flair.

He's almost too technical for a rock 'n' roll musician and, if you do watch him sing in many concerts, it hard to find an occasion where he really strains, beyond necessary, his vocal muscles, even when it seems he's shouting - which he's not many times if you take a closer look, it's just that his range was considerable and his voice very powerful.

His control over his voice, as well as his ability to find new ways of singing the songs and creating new musical structures live, on spot, without getting out of tune, is awe-inspiring.

I usually tell people who want to learn some singing and enjoy rock and popular music to watch Freddie's performance at Hammersmith Odeon, 1979.

It's perfect throughout in terms of posture, breathing, the movement of his mouth - to what extent he felt he needed to open it more and how he moved his lips and his chin - and he works his abdominal muscles to the point of perfection. It's also worth noticing that the shoulders are, except here and there, to give drama to the performance, in the right position - he didn't push them up or forced them up, and he often left them very relaxed or on the right stance. He would strech open his legs to avoid bowing his thorax forward and he'd lean it backwards slightly when necessary, without moving his head to the side too much, which is a sign of a very self-conscious singer in terms of technique.

It's all there.

His shape and his condition got worse over time, however, he put on some weight and he did have to strain his body a bit later on, but nothing serious.

In fact, his later years, like the works and the magic tours, although his physical condition is not that good and he had developed some annoying vocal nodules, are some of his finest in terms of technique and his use of different registers is jaw-dropping, especially when he gets to explore his lower register to its full potential or his falseto skills, which were amazing.

Smoking, drinking, putting on weight, all of that made up for the worsening of his physical conditioning, and that's why he sounds so tired in his later years in some concerts, he couldn't stand the tour routine anymore, but the technique was there, and it was tremendous.

One of my friends, who's a singer - good one - and not much of a Queen fan, got amazed by Freddie's vocal improvisation in Vienna, 1986, I guess, before they do Under Pressure. The technique is really great throughout, as well as the choice of notes and the way he sounds and the intelligence behind the singing.

I think it's quite the contrary: Freddie had a tremendous technique which did make up for his bad physical conditioning at times.

I can't think of a more skilled and self-conscious singer, in terms of technique, in rock 'n' roll's history.

There are all too many technical aspects to singing and he managed it all, really, to the point of being an encyclopedia when it comes to it.

And, of course, he was a musical genius.

But, that aside, he did learn a lot of technical aspects, and as most of the greatest popular singers, he did it by himself and took some tips here and there, listened to the stuff he liked, watched the people he admired, and that's it.

But he was a musical genius. And then it's an alltogether different history.


I love most of your posts, and they wonderful to read. I think we should get married lol.


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