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Jenny Stokes
(@jenny-stokes)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 505
10/05/2020 7:18 am  

Hey y'all. I'm probably asking too much of you, but if you have the time and are feeling like listening to a rather jarring medley of tunes, I'd appreciate some feedback on the following song reel (it's 7 and half minutes long so I'll understand if no one wants to take a stab at it). The purpose of this sampler is to provide a sample of my vocals and my songwriting. In this sampler, I have taken twenty tracks that illustrate my various styles (both secular and Christian; both heavy and light).

I plan to make a shorter (i.e., 60-90 second) vocal reel that just features a selection of varying vocals as opposed to varying songs and lyric styles. That's where I'm struggling. I need to pick a handful of samples from this reel that (a) illustrate my strongest performances and (b) illustrate the variety of sounds my voice can make (e.g., mellow, bluesy, raspy, etc). It's pretty hard to judge one's own performance fairly. Any suggestions?

 

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
https://www.facebook.com/evansandstokes/


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JAPOV
(@japov)
Prominent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 779
10/05/2020 11:51 am  

You can delete half the metal, sounds like you're hitting the same 5 notes over and over... Keep 3:50-4:00, 5:13-6-10...

https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandid=1449856


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Gavin
(@gavin)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 627
10/05/2020 5:14 pm  

I agree with Tony. All those metal tracks just show one side to you. You would do better to focus in on 3 or 4 of them. Frankly, I'm surprised you left out one that shows off your vocal talents rather well 🙂 

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Jenny Stokes
(@jenny-stokes)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 505
10/05/2020 8:21 pm  

Ha! If Only I were a writer on If Only Gavin. If memory serves, I didn't even tweak one word on that one.   😉

Thanks for the specific suggestions Tony (how are ya btw?). I was definitely looking to cut most of the metal out so it's good to know which you think is best.

Appreciate the time you both took greatly. Thanks

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
https://www.facebook.com/evansandstokes/


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Gary E. Andrews
(@gary-e-andrews)
A Night To ReMember
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 221
10/05/2020 9:30 pm  

I think fewer samples, with more of each Song might be more effective to demonstrate Songwriting.

Twenty second pieces of Songs don't reveal much to my ear. These may be even shorter. 

Snippets can't demonstrate much about Songwriting. Structural Components, Verses, Choruses, Bridges, how they come together to support each other in getting the story told. Structural Components are more revealing regarding Songwriting, especially THE Hook, the main idea of the Song. If they hear it and don't come away singing THE Hook, you missed them. 

Vocalization: Your enunciation is good on most of the very first one, and some of the blues, jazz. 
The blues seems to work, the jazz for feel about 1:01-1:35, crooning about 1:45.
About 2:41 the hard rock, I can't understand the words you're singing.
If I can't understand them I can't judge them under Songwriting, for word meaning, and in snippet form, for coherence of storyline, theme.
So none of that, added to not enough of the Song to analyze component Structure.

It seems there are interruptions and then the same Song starts again, perhaps another snippet of the same Song. I wasn't sure.

I couldn't understand most of the words all the way out to 7:15.
This was the critique I offered years ago. If you don't get the words to the listener's ear they hear the voice, they hear notes changing in pitch, they can perceive the vocal on the beat, the arrangement can be entertaining, guitar/drum, but the whole factor of word meaning is lost. And words have power to hook listener interest, Hook Factor, for a wider variety of people. Some are focused on instrumentation, drums, guitars, but almost everyone is hooked by words. 

I'm aware of a Song continuing to play, but notice when the Song ends that I haven't really been paying attention. I came 'unhooked'.
Singers often hold on to the notes to which words are sung right up until the sound of one word slurs into the note/sound of the next word.  That may lose the natural enunciation of a word, in favor of the note. I think you need to give the word the favor, still hitting the note, but assuring you let go of one note before beginning the next. Sometimes the slur works. Most times it does not, distorting enunciation. How many words can they miss before they tune out, and only notice when the Song ends?
I wish I could be more positively helpful.  I know you can do whatever you want with your voice. That is demonstrated clearly. But getting words to ears is of strategic importance in 'selling' a Song. You have to 'send' so they can 'receive'. They can 'listen up', deliberately be more attentive. But most won't. They'll let the Song play, notice when it ends, and retain nothing or not much. Unhooked, they won't lay their money down. 

 

Despite 1,000's of years of Songwriting humans have not exhausted the possibilities. There will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com


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Jenny Stokes
(@jenny-stokes)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 505
12/05/2020 6:48 am  

Thank you for your comments, Gary.

You may not think it, but those years ago that you gave me the advice to enunciate, I DID listen and appreciated very much the guidance you gave on the subject. I have made, I think, a lot of progress in that regard with my blues and jazz singing, but especially in my folk projects. I don't worry so much about enunciating in the metal projects because it's not such an important part of the genre. In fact, too much precision of the word can get in the way of the vibe of the song in that genre. Don't get me wrong, the words are very important to a metal head, but the vibe that the vocal gives is even more important, so much so that you will find very successful songs in the genre where not one word of the lyrics is clear! Those songs are quite funny to listen to and definitely not my cup of tea, but commercially successful none the less. I guess my point is that when I sing a heavy metal song, I am singing in a style that is appropriate for the genre. All of the metal songs featured on the reel have been well received so I am not worried about that so much. I do, however, take to heart your observation that not enough of the songs is provided to clearly demonstrate the songwriting. If I am wanting to attract people to my songwriting, then I should be doing more selling! Thanks for your critique. As always, it's much appreciated.

Jen

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
https://www.facebook.com/evansandstokes/


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Gary E. Andrews
(@gary-e-andrews)
A Night To ReMember
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 221
12/05/2020 7:26 am  

I defer to your expertise regarding metal. The lack of vocal content is precisely why I never became a fan, or part of it. I simply never heard much of it. If it is the norm in the genre then pick out the ones you feel best demonstrate your skills and narrow it down to those, with longer passages, especially where the changes from Verse to Chorus and/or Bridge are most apparent and demonstrate your vocal range.
Remember that your 'target audience' in a demo reel are busy people who get paid to listen but have to listen to lots of stuff. So being confident yours is as entertaining as possible from their point-of-view is key.
For Songwriting, again, pick out the ones you are most satisfied with, and try to give them as much of the Song as possible. Component changes do that, Verse, Chorus. Introductory Movements are generally not demonstrating the vocal, and are an obvious segment to omit. Ten to fourteen seconds deleted there can help you get more quickly to what you want to show them. Assume they're going to be ready to move on after that period of time if they don't hear something truly interesting. 
I've never been a fan of snippets. It was common practice years ago to present snippets with the click-to-buy field next to them, as if that snippet was adequate to convince a potential buyer to lay their money down. It may have been that their strategy was that consumers came looking for a Song they had heard in full in some other way, live play or internet or radio, and only needed a snippet to confirm this was the Song they were looking for.
Reduce your reel down to those best examples, and try to go through the looking glass to experience it through the ears of your target audience.
I am confident you can do anything they want done and I encourage you to pursue your goals with confidence and perseverance.
Junior Walker discovered Nancy Wilson, saying, "Her diction was perfect!" Those were different days, a different genre, but the importance of enunciation was the factor he noticed and likely compared it to other singers in his experience. I think words are still the most powerful element, having appeal to a broader cross section of an audience than any of the other elements. They like the guitar. They like the drums. But they 'get' the words.

Despite 1,000's of years of Songwriting humans have not exhausted the possibilities. There will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com


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Gavin
(@gavin)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 627
12/05/2020 10:44 am  

Hey Jen, what is the purpose of the song reel. I already got it a bit wrong, thinking it was more about showing off your vocals rather than the songs themselves. What will you do with it once you're happy with it?

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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Jenny Stokes
(@jenny-stokes)
Right Honorable Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 505
12/05/2020 8:27 pm  

Thanks Gavin. This version is meant to show vocals and songwriting. I'm just going to have this one (or similar) on my website (under construction) inviting collaborations. I'll have some full songs posted on the site for folks to explore plus links to youtube and soundcloud. The shorter reel that I'm doing next will be primarily a vocal reel, demonstrating my vocal range and personality through different genres (and indirectly showing my work with melody etc). It will be a maximum of 90 seconds and will be used more widely to "sell" my voice. See, I would like some new equipment and I'm always giving away my vocals to folks so I thought I'd put a reel on airgigs or similar and if I get a bite, maybe I'll get some new gear. That's not to say I would stop giving vocals to friends, just looking to expand my offerings.  

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://evansandstokes.com
https://www.facebook.com/evansandstokes/


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