Hi guys -

I used to post here a lot, back when I started my musician days. I always remember getting a lot of good info on here. It's been awhile but I'm back at it, and I need some help.

Some guys here in Spain decided to put together a cover band (for now, I want to incorporate originals), and I have the benefit of being American, and I can sing properly in English. A couple of the guys I'm with are very capable, classically trained musicians and I'm feeling a bit inept. I have always been a vocalist, but no training, and not really an amazing singer but definitely a passable pop punk voice. I don't know my range but I feel most comfortable singing in the key of G, A is also pretty ideal, A# maybe, once I get to C I'm starting to push it, D also possible, gosh maybe even E but then I'm really pushing it at that point. I'm of course referring to the upper octave.

I thought things would be OK but I'm actually finding it difficult. A couple examples of songs that are easy for me:

The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go
Green Day - Basket Case

This morning I was fiddling around, plugged in and singing decently loudly and I really struggled with the following:

The Police - Message in a Bottle
Nirvana - Lithium
The Knack - My Sharona

I had already proposed tuning down 1/2 a step for those (Lithium is already that way). Today I thought, well darn, maybe we need to tune down a whole step. I was finding it much easier that way. Lithium was still a push - but it's supposed to be that way, right? Also, weather is cold here and I don't have central heating in my house. I feel like my range wasn't as good as it normally is.

Anyway - I'm looking for some tips. My questions:

1. Is tuning down a whole step something that is possible? I'm not sure if the tension on the strings would be weird or something.
2. Could cold weather have affected my range today? I really felt like I was struggling more this morning. Also, could be that I just woke up?
3. How much of it is supposed to be a bit of a struggle? I feel like Kurt is pushing his voice purposely to get that distorted sound, but I also don't wanna screw up my voice.
4. What kind of simple exercises can I do to help me learn these songs in 2 weeks? Exercises to warm up my voice beforehand?
5. At what point do I say - sorry guys, my voice ain't cut out for these songs.

Any general tips also highly welcome.

Thanks a lot guys.
Last edited by shortyafter at Nov 8, 2016,
1. Of course its possible. I keep almost all my guitars tuned down a whole step. You might need thicker strings, but its doable. It is however annoying if you ahve to retune all the time, so you either play all the songs a full step down, or you use different guitars for different tunings.
2. Its possible. Its not so much the cold (if you warm up properly), as it is the dry air. Drink lots of lukewarm water while you sing. And warm up ESPECIALY if you just woke up.
3. None. Obviously reaching you highest notees will be a bit of a struggle, but you should never be straining you throat. If you need a disterted type ov voice, go to the screaming and growling thread, there have been loads of discussions on how to do that safely. But for clean singing, idealy there should be no struggle at all.
4. Not much really. Do warmups, some breathing excercises, look up propper placement and singing with support. Thats pretty much it.
5. Never. You say you can sing basket case? Im not sure if i remember correctly, but that song isnt that much lower than the others you mentioned. The best thing for you to do, if you are serious about singing, is to get a teacher. A good teacher will make a difference even in two weeks, but after a few months you will be singing like a different person.

As for general tips: dont eat for a few hours before singing, drink plenty of lukewarm water, sing with support, KNOW YOUR LYRICS, know the song pretty much inside out. After you are comfortable with the song, you can then focus on singing properly, instead of chasing the pitch around and trying to remember the lyrics. Also, have confidence. There is nothing worse than watching an unconfident singer take the stage. Ive seen people sing perfectly, but they were shy and scared, and it was not fun to watch at all. But a confident singer thats a little pitch and mises some words is always fun to watch.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.

Hey man - I read this a couple days ago but never got back to you properly. Your post was quite encouraging, dude. I realized - hey, you're right, Basket Case ain't that much higher. And that - hey, I can do this, and I shouldn't give up. This morning I drank some lukewarm water, started warming up by playing some lower-range songs, and focusing on singing with good support. Gradually took it up to songs I'm comfortable with, in higher keys, until I finally tried Nirvana, My Sharona, Message in a Bottle. All of the above, I believe, will need a bit of practice. But I realized, that, I can do it. I think I just had a minor meltdown when the songs ended up being higher than I originally thought.

Thanks for your support dude. All great tips. Also like what you said about confidence, etc. That, I don't lack (usually). I'm a bit out of my comfort zone but I now know I can do this too. Cheers for encouraging me to continue. Take care!
No problem. I forgot to add, that you shouldnt do the gravely voice that Kurt does, until you know a bit about what you are doing. Just sing it normally, since its a cover band i doubt many people will mind. You should also look up some warmup excercises on youtube, theres thousands of them. And i still recomend getting a teacher. Its the only way to learn how to sing properly. You might get to the high notes on your own, but if you have noone watching your back, you can still be singing wrong, and that can mess up your voice a lot after a while.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.