Developing a Partnership with a Microphone

Recently, my exploration into vocal technique has involved working with a Shure SM7B to record a variety of songs using a range of techniques from the Old Italian Style right through to belt voice.

I found the Shure SM7B to be poor for classical which is to be expected; truckloads of the colour in my voice went missing. However, I enjoy working with the microphone when singing contemporary. (Although, I am also not sure about the results when belting; colour seems to be lost when belting as well. In that aspect, the microphone works best for singing ‘smaller’.)

This week I wrote, recorded and uploaded three songs. There is some improvement from when I first started doing this at the start of the year. I don’t use a pop shield (in fact, I don’t even own a microphone stand and use a clarinet stand instead which is perched precariously on a tray). Therefore, I need to rely on the Old Italian School of Singing techniques to implode consonants. Ten months ago, there was a lot of popping but now, nada. So, I am happy to be now developing a partnership with the microphone in that I know what it can (or can’t) translate for me into the Logic Pro software and what I have to do as a singer to make that happen.

Another thing I am noticing is that I can use vocal techniques rather than the software when creating backing vocals. In the following examples, there is little manipulation from the software. Rather, the EQ is done naturally. I prefer this for myself because I feel this allows the colour of the voice to come through.

Accordingly, below are three different songs I wrote in the first week of my ‘holidays’. The first is ‘In Your Collection’. It is a bittersweet song and came out of ‘nowhere’; written, recorded and uploaded in one day. When I started writing the song in the morning, I wanted to take the listener on a journey that covered a lot of territories. I hope this was achieved.

The second is ‘River Will Carry Me’. This song was written, recorded and uploaded over one and a half days. This uses Taonga Pūoro in the background which are traditional Māori instruments. When I began to write the song, the goal was to confine the voice to as fewer notes as possible. Surprisingly, the genre ended up as some type of jazz (I think); I virtually never sing or listen to jazz so this was fun.

The song ‘Advice to a Songwriter in Love’ ended up a tad more ‘musical theatre’ than I had hoped for and my childhood love for country music really reared its head in the southern accent which mixed with the Southland accent from Aotearoa/New Zealand is very funny. However, I do like the construction of the song in terms of conveying emotion. In the end, music is about emotion. Regardless of how fancy we can become, for me as a singer who performs other people’s music, or my own, it is about the emotion and, hopefully, from time to time, a person listening and sharing that emotion with me.

In Your Collection – written, recorded and uploaded in one day as a practice exercise this week
River Wil Carry Me – also an exercise in how to do an efficient turn around of a song

Advice to Songwriters in Love – a bit more musical theatre sounding than I would have liked and a few cliches but never mind, a good exercise in constructing a song.

Published by Deborah Wai Kapohe

I am a classical singer and guitarist. I have created a project called 'The Lilli Lehmann Project'. The project, lasting from 2020 until 2023, aims to refresh my voice and prepare me to be a singing teacher. The scope of the project is that I am studying Lilli Lehmann's singing book, bibliography, recordings and her reviews, as well as other historical vocal pedagogy. I have chosen this platform in order to blog about my discoveries, demonstrate techniques and exercises, and perform pieces of music. I have done so because I wish to be transparent. I think that if a student is prepared to learn from me then I should stand up to public scrutiny.

2 thoughts on “Developing a Partnership with a Microphone

  1. Hi Deborah Incredible. Your 3 songs are beautiful and so good to listen to even through my phone. I will download to my PC and listen through a better sound system to really enjoy. Your ability to compose, record and publish in such a short timeframe is an accomplishment that must inspire others . Your natural EQ and backing methods are to be applauded as well. I hope you have many subscribed followers to appreciate your advice and talents. I subscribe to a singer/song writer group in LinkedIn. If not already, that may be a site which you could reach an appreciative audience as well? Thankyou Regards

    Dave PS Sad day when John Grenell died. He leaves a huge legacy and very talented children in his footsteps though. Your and his performances at Stronechrubie serenade way back in 95? is something I am always grateful to have been a part of. Cheers


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