Adam's Vocal Abilities

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#86

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:19 pm

'badassalterego' date='Mar 1st 2015, 7:09 PM'

Aaaaaaarrrghhh!!!  That's hysterical!!   :laugh:   :laugh:   :laugh: I seem to be entertaining Glamberts worldwide at the moment.  I'll let everyone know when I get back to blogging again - which I probably think needs to be soon as I've got too many words in my head about QAL and Adam.

(madamimadam @ Feb 23rd 2015, 6:44 PM) *

And there's no better proof than this video...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNJrYyb7e5


I must have watched this vid at least half a dozen times - it's fab!

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#87

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:20 pm

'vistadiva' date='Mar 6th 2015, 4:53 PM'

JUST WOW!!! And thank you, badassalterego

MY BADASS ALTER EGO
ALL THE THINGS I EVER WANTED TO SAY…
Freddie vs. Adam – or Adam vs. Freddie?

March 5, 2015badassalterego9 Comments
One of the first things I noticed about the Queen + Adam Lambert collaboration was the furious (and often vicious) debate it has caused on the web.  There seemed to be some distinct groups of people involved in it:

Old-time Queenies (like me) who just wanted to hear the music live again and were prepared to give a new person a chance – or who had already heard Adam and were suitably impressed

Existing Adam fans who were also Queen fans – these people mostly got very excited about the whole thing
Existing Adam fans who weren’t particularly Queen fans, but gave Queen a chance and found they liked the whole thing
Existing Adam fans who felt that the QAL collaboration was taking Adam away from them, and got upset/jealous about it
Old-time Queenies who thought that the rest of the band should have retired when Freddie died, and who are vehemently against QAL
That’s one hell of a lot of people to get involved in one argument, so it’s no wonder that it’s polarised opinion.

So – is it Freddie or Adam? Adam or Freddie? Should we even compare them?

It’s not surprising that there isn’t an easy, or indeed a correct answer to this, as whether or not we like (or dislike) a singing voice is completely subjective.

There are some fairly obvious reasons as to why we will like one voice more than another, such as how well they can sing in tune, but when you put the technical basics aside and listen to two people with a similar level of vocal training, whether or not we prefer voice A or voice B just depends on our emotional response to that voice.  We have little or no control over that response – it is what it is.  There are some world-renowned singers whose voices I just am not turned on by – Elvis, for example!

Sometimes it can be related to whether or not we find that person physically attractive, but this isn’t always the case.  When I was at college, we all observed the phenomenon that you can find someone’s voice attractive without fancying the rest of them.  This was a bit bizarre and could lead to some rather unexpected liaisons when you were thrown together in an opera cast with the object of your “voice lust”. (It’s a bit like the “beer goggles” problem – you regret it the morning after)

Both Freddie and Adam got dealt the “attractive” card in slightly different ways – Freddie had the dark, smouldering looks of his Parsi ancestry; Adam has the sparkling, vivid blue eyes and engaging smile.  Fairly equal on that front, I think (depending on your taste in men).

But as for their voices; this is where we go right into the realms of subjectiveness.

Freddie had little or no vocal training.  His voice just came out “raw” – he had an astonishing range and an unusual, beautiful sound that just wasn’t like any other rock/pop singer around at the time.  Naturally, he was a baritone, which you can hear in his lower and middle voice (singers usually refer to this as the “chest” voice).  This was probably enhanced by him smoking like a chimney!  He had a huge top extension to his voice, and could use both head voice and falsetto. He also had a wide range of vocal colour which added to the overall sound he made.  I’ve always wondered how he would have sounded if he had started voice lessons as a teenager; he could well have been an operatic or music theatre high baritone.

In comparison, Adam has done a lot of training and coaching.  He has a great natural voice too, but over the years he has learnt the tricks of the trade – the breathing, support, and colouring the tone.  His stage training means that he has been coached in performance and delivery, how to pace yourself through a performance (very important for all serious singers), plus acting and dancing.  That’s a lot of resources to draw on when you’re performing; my first teacher always used to say that your technique was the autopilot – you learn it, then it carries on by itself without you interfering with it.  Adam has the technique in the background, so he can spend a lot of time thinking about how he is going to perform and engage himself with the music.  The stage training will naturally give any performer an advantage when you are standing on a stage; you will be confident about the way you move and the internal technique means that in general, you don’t need to worry about your voice too much; it’s lodged in your muscle memory and it will come out as it always does.

So, they’re both uniquely gifted, but very different.  Does that mean one is any better than the other?

This is where the debate rages.

Some of it is about this subjective issue of whether you like the sound of Freddie’s voice over Adam’s, or Adam’s voice over Freddie’s.  Because Adam’s voice is a tenor, to pretty much any ear it will sound higher/thinner.  Also, Adam does have more ease at the top of his voice as it naturally “sits” a bit higher than Freddie’s, so he can do higher notes in live performance.  Brian and Roger have remarked on this, and it’s well known that some Queen songs were performed live in slightly lower keys than the recorded key.  This was largely a self-preservation measure to enable the band to get through a setlist – there is no value at all in your frontman running out voice at a critical moment!

Because of the physical differences in Freddie’s and Adam’s voices, some people are naturally going to prefer one voice over another simply because of their emotional response to it.  There is no right or wrong answer, and this is down to personal taste.

The other, nastier part of the debate lies in whether Adam “should” be doing Queen’s music or not.  We go back to the list at the beginning – the oldtime Queenies who think that Brian and Roger should have retired along with John Deacon after Freddie died.  Unfortunately, these are the people who have heaped vitriol on Adam for daring to try and step into Freddie’s shoes.  The point of their ire is that they feel it is an insult to Freddie’s memory that someone else is doing “his” songs; they are sacred and should be preserved in recordings only.  They’ve even abused Brian and Roger for choosing Adam to perform with them and have suggested they should retire as they’ve got senile dementia.  This is just appalling, and I don’t understand how they can still call themselves Queen fans.

Hang on a minute; this is a rather odd view and one that has been challenged by “Phoebe” (Peter Freestone), the guy who used to be Freddie’s personal assistant and who spent years with him, including during his final illness. He wrote a wonderful, generous post on Facebook recently about his experiences seeing QAL.  He loved it, and he made the point that he thought Freddie would have loved it too.  Most importantly, he reminded us that most opera was written with a specific voice in mind; for example, Mozart wrote a lot of roles for his wife (and other sopranos that he fancied).  If we stopped performing music when the designated singer died, thousands of pieces of beautiful music would be completely dead to us because we would not be “allowed” to perform them.  Why should Queen’s music die when Mozart’s hasn’t?

In my opinion, this isolationism about Queen’s music is narrow-minded.  Brian, Roger and John weren’t Freddie’s backing band.  The four of them together were Queen.

I feel more than a bit sorry for the Adam haters, as they are missing out on a fabulous experience.  Their old heroes have got a new lease of life; they have played this tour with smiles on their faces as they have found someone who can make their music live again.  They clearly have a wonderful rapport with Adam and it’s obvious they adore him (and he them), which has made many an old Queenie shed a tear or two of joy.

The final point of all this is about how Adam performs Queen’s songs.  He’s not trying to be Freddie; he doesn’t need to be as he has his own voice and his own contribution to make to the music.  He’s also exercised great sensitivity and respect, which is a measure of how seriously he’s treated the whole experience. Importantly, he’s being Adam, and we Queen fans are so lucky he has come along to give us “our” music again.


The Live Experience – QAL Birmingham

March 5, 2015badassalterego1 Comment
By the time I went to the QAL performance in Birmingham on January 23rd, I still hadn’t seen any of the other YouTube footage of them.  I’m not sure whether this was because I was still being extraordinarily dim about what’s available on there (possible), or whether I just wanted to be surprised by what I was going to see and hear (also possible).  I therefore had no idea of the setlist, but guessed that most of the songs from NYE would be on it.

The stage set was hidden by a backlit curtain bearing the all-too-familiar Queen logo, bathing the stage in purple.  The crowd packed in – most of the people near me seemed to be old-time Queenies, but were looking forward to the music.

The audience sparked into excitement at the opening chords of One Vision and there were massive cheers at the silhouette of Brian in the classic “rock guitarist” pose.  Then the curtain whipped away like a giant parachute and the lights blazed.  Brian and Roger were all in black and Adam looked more like George Michael than George Michael, clad in studded leather and sunglasses.

It was a majestic noise; that spine-chilling, devastating Queen sound, but this time topped with Adam’s powerful, stratospheric voice.

Obviously, the live show was much more “unleashed” than the BBC performance, as there aren’t the broadcasting constraints on language and behaviour.  There were a number of costume changes, no doubt carefully chosen to match the various groups of songs.  There were also one or two props, such as the purple chaise longue which was used to deliver an incredibly camp version of Killer Queen (which I think Freddie would have loved).

But for me, the focus of my attention was on Adam’s voice, beautiful as he is.  Hearing live music is always an infinitely better experience than any recording, no matter how perfect the sound definition is.  When you are in a space with live music, you’re aware of many things – the movement of air that happens when sound waves are created, the acoustic quality of the concert hall and all the harmonics and overtones created by the voices and instruments.  Our ears are infinitely more sensitive than any recording equipment and we can absorb a far broader sound spectrum.

Just as an aside, I find it odd that some people get taken aback by live performance and comment that it’s “not like the recording”.  That’s the whole point; every live performance of every piece of music is going to be subtly – or vastly, different.  That’s the beauty of live music.

In the live environment, Adam’s voice had far more colour and dynamic range than I was expecting, even from having heard him on TV.  Someone to Love was stunning; the people around me were open-mouthed at the gospel cadenza before the song launched off into its new, rapid-fire ending.  The top notes were incredible; mental note to check these out on a piano afterwards.

The greatest surprise of all was Adam’s handling of Save Me and Who Wants to Live Forever.  As I didn’t know the setlist, I had no idea these songs were coming.

For me, these two power ballads are the pinnacle of what Queen was producing in the 1980s.  They were both written by Brian May; Save Me was for a friend whose marriage had fallen apart, and WWTLF was composed for the fantasy film Highlander, but was inspired by problems in his own life at the time.

Brian May certainly knows how to produce a song that pulls at the heartstrings, and placing these two together was a masterstroke.  They’re difficult, difficult pieces of music; they require the hallmark wide range that Freddie Mercury could produce, but also a large dynamic and dramatic range.  They’re definitely two of Queen’s operatic arias and Adam nailed them; it was so overwhelming I could hardly breathe.

It was awesome in terms of his technical skill and also the way he performed them.  Most singers will tell you that singing long, sustained phrases is more difficult than singing a song that has a lot of quick notes in it.  You’re more likely to get tense; it takes a lot of mental and physical energy to spin out a long phrase, and you may not be able to breathe where you would naturally want to.  Then, you have to be able to fulfil the power ballad requirements of belting out some glory notes at the end, just when you’re tired and would like a rest and a drink.

Adam dealt with these superbly – he has what I would call a “quiet” technique.  You don’t see the technical stuff happening, he doesn’t pull his face around to get the notes out, and there aren’t any extraneous movements going on (some singers writhe and twitch terribly; they may think it makes it look as though they’re working hard or being dramatic, but it’s just a distraction to the audience).  This leaves him with his voice contained and relaxed, and means he has far more energy to just deliver the songs properly.

Also, these two songs need a really intelligent performer to pull them off; by degrees you have to be sad, bitter, wistful and tormented.  You’ve been given a beautiful melody and heartbreaking lyrics, but you have to bring the song to life by giving it the drama it deserves – and that includes drawing the audience in towards you, rather than just assaulting them with the music (many singers are guilty of this – loud notes are boring if you do too many of them).  There are also songs that you just need to stand and sing – very few dramatic fireworks are required; it’s all done with your mind, as that’s what makes a convincing performance. The production and lighting were beautiful for both and only enhanced the music.

I don’t know which was more beautiful of the two; both used a huge range of dynamics and colour, from the pure silver tone needed for the last line of Save Me, to the huge, agonising climax of WWTLF.  When Adam left the stage for a break, I think everyone in the arena was completely wrung out.

The next section of the concert was altogether lighter and we were treated to some of the real crowd pleasers like I Want it All, Radio Ga Ga and Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  The finale item of Bohemian Rhapsody was very well handled; old footage of Freddie was spliced into it and Adam even sang a brief duet with him to close it.

That was the end – but it wasn’t the end, as for years Queen have closed their concerts with We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, usually with Freddie parading around in outrageous fashion wearing a crown.  I did wonder how this would be presented, but this had been carefully thought out and Adam reappeared rather as a crown prince than a king, which was just about perfect. Resplendent in a leopard skin suit and coronet, the end of the concert was as good as the beginning; he had paced his voice perfectly as the carefully constructed set had given him opportunities to cool his voice down whilst the others performed without him,

But this show wasn’t just about Adam – it was about Adam with Queen, and they fitted together perfectly.  It was easy to see that there was a massive rapport between him, Brian, Roger and the rest of the band.  In fact, they seemed to adore him; Brian still had that “hearts in the eyes” look that I’d seen in the footage of the Idol final.  They hugged him and just seemed so happy to be performing with him.  The music had come alive again and I think there was a tear in the eye of many a hard-hearted old Queenie in the audience.

It was just astonishing – in fact I think it was the best rock concert I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to an awful lot over the years).  The problem was, it just wasn’t enough.

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#88

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:22 pm

'barb4Adam' date='Mar 6th 2015, 6:31 PM'

And more :thumbs: .....

.MY BADASS ALTER EGO
ALL THE THINGS I EVER WANTED TO SAY…

Singing 101 – a quick overview
March 3, 2015badassalterego2 Comments
.....Therefore Adam had the advantage of a solid technical training to help him handle Queen’s music. It’s obvious from listening to him that he has an astounding natural voice (or the “instrument”, as singers like to label it, if you’ll allow me to be arty-farty for a moment), but on top of that there has been a lot of coaching and hard work in the practice studio. The combination of natural talent + training + practice means that in performance we get that beautiful, seamless voice, a relaxed, natural delivery and the added bonus of the words being properly communicated. One of my lifelong beefs with rock singers is that so many of them shut their eyes and sing in their own little world. They think they’re being intense, but they’re just shutting the audience out; a huge amount of singing is done with your eyes.

https://badassalterego.wordpress.com/

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#89

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:22 pm

'badassalterego' date='Mar 6th 2015, 7:43 PM'

You're welcome guys - this blog seems to be getting all over the place at the moment.  More to come soon - enjoy!  :flowers:

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#90

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:23 pm

'madamimadam' date='Mar 6th 2015, 8:06 PM'

And it's being retweeted all over my feed... Not even my doing! :lmfao:

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#91

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:23 pm

'sealuv' date='Mar 6th 2015, 8:23 PM'

hi badassalterego...

been keeping up with the blog...how can one not? .....retweeted everywhere ...my feed ...adam's feed...... :haha: ...really have been enjoying.......when his single and album are released......am especially going to be interested in your opinion.....not so much the subjective aspect ....but the vocals.....and the technical nuances he brings.... :thumbs:

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#92

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:25 pm


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#93

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:25 pm

'graffeodl' date='Mar 7th 2015, 10:12 AM'

badassalterego great reading your blog.  In case any of you are interested we have a vocal masterclass thread at Adamtopia that has some great stuff in it at http://adamtopia.com/thread/28/running

Also have you seen Angelina Kalahari's blog?  She started posting about Adam back in 2011. She is an operatic soprano, performer, teacher, writer and she has been inspired by Adam in the last few years to do some great new stuff like a performance workshop/play called Tempest and to get in to writing and performing her own stuff as well I believe.  Her blog is at  https://soundbath.wordpress.com/

Unfortunately she hasn't posted since 2012 but the old stuff is still there and a great read with some great analysis of technique and even lyric analysis with the help of a friend of hers who she has gone on to write music with.  

Both of these would provide some great fuel for new discussion here before TOH kicks off.

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#94

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:26 pm

'svca' date='Mar 7th 2015, 2:22 PM'

Thanks for the Masterclass link.....made the mistake of starting to read, lol.  Must do laundry, must do laundry  :(

I've bookmarked it but it'll take a while to go through 90-plus pages.

Yeah, a new project!  :w00t:

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#95

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:28 pm

'badassalterego' date='Mar 7th 2015, 6:37 PM'

(madamimadam @ Mar 6th 2015, 7:06 PM) *

And it's being retweeted all over my feed... Not even my doing!


I'm starting to find this out!!  I'm having a blast writing it too.

(graffeodl @ Mar 7th 2015, 9:12 AM) *

badassalterego great reading your blog. In case any of you are interested we have a vocal masterclass thread at Adamtopia that has some great stuff in it at http://adamtopia.com/thread/28/running

Also have you seen Angelina Kalahari's blog? She started posting about Adam back in 2011. She is an operatic soprano, performer, teacher, writer and she has been inspired by Adam in the last few years to do some great new stuff like a performance workshop/play called Tempest and to get in to writing and performing her own stuff as well I believe. Her blog is at https://soundbath.wordpress.com/

Unfortunately she hasn't posted since 2012 but the old stuff is still there and a great read with some great analysis of technique and even lyric analysis with the help of a friend of hers who she has gone on to write music with.

Both of these would provide some great fuel for new discussion here before TOH kicks off.


'badassalterego' date='Mar 7th 2015, 6:37 PM'

I've had a bit of a poke around on the Masterclass thread over there - very interesting.  It all adds to the research... :)

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#96

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:29 pm

'graffeodl' date='Mar 7th 2015, 9:43 PM'

Great!  Be sure to check out Angelina's site as well.  Since you are in the UK as well you might want to contact her on twitter.  She is @Starlight8AL.  Cassie who runs the vocal thread on Adamtopia knows Angelina better as she emails back and forth with her so maybe she could hook you guys up.  You probably have a bit in common.

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#97

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:30 pm

(vistadiva @ Mar 6th 2015, 3:53 PM) *

JUST WOW!!! And thank you, badassalterego

MY BADASS ALTER EGO
ALL THE THINGS I EVER WANTED TO SAY…
Freddie vs. Adam – or Adam vs. Freddie?
...
There are some fairly obvious reasons as to why we will like one voice more than another, such as how well they can sing in tune, but when you put the technical basics aside and listen to two people with a similar level of vocal training, whether or not we prefer voice A or voice B just depends on our emotional response to that voice. We have little or no control over that response – it is what it is.


'crocked' date='Mar 8th 2015, 1:45 AM'

So that is why I love some singers more than others who supposedly can sing better or have better appeal.  It was just one song which clicked Adam to me  :wub:  :wub: and I became his for life.  :">  :"> He is the mostest....

I enjoy your post very much !  Keep it coming  !

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#98

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:32 pm

(crocked @ Mar 8th 2015, 12:45 AM) *

So that is why I love some singers more than others who supposedly can sing better or have better appeal. It was just one song which clicked Adam to me  wub.gif wub.gif and I became his for life.  blushing.gif  blushing.gif He is the mostest....

I enjoy your post very much ! Keep it coming !


'badassalterego' date='Mar 8th 2015, 6:18 PM'

Hi there - I've been at it again with some more technical stuff.  :)


(graffeodl @ Mar 7th 2015, 8:43 PM) *

Great! Be sure to check out Angelina's site as well. Since you are in the UK as well you might want to contact her on twitter. She is @Starlight8AL. Cassie who runs the vocal thread on Adamtopia knows Angelina better as she emails back and forth with her so maybe she could hook you guys up. You probably have a bit in common.


'badassalterego' date='Mar 8th 2015, 6:18 PM'

Hi there - I have just run into Angelina on FB and have had a couple of chats with her!

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#99

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:33 pm

'adamazing' date='Mar 8th 2015, 6:29 PM'

Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge.  You are such a great writer.  Usually if I'm learning something by reading I start drifting off but not your writing.


'madamimadam' date='Mar 8th 2015, 8:06 PM'

What she said!!!! :Smile:

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#100

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:33 pm

'madamimadam' date='Mar 9th 2015, 9:22 AM'

Kym: You're a STAHHH, BB....

lambrasoqueens  ·  14h 14 hours ago
the latest edition of this excellent Blog which is currently all about Adam is out
https://badassalterego.wordpress.com/author/badassalterego/ … I recommend a read :-)

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#101

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:34 pm

(madamimadam @ Mar 8th 2015, 7:06 PM) *

What she said!!!! :Smile:


'badassalterego' date='Mar 9th 2015, 4:10 PM'

Hi BB - hope you're well. Mwah!!  :wub:

There will be more blogs coming in the next few days.  I'm just surprised that Adam didn't break my brains with that pic!!

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#102

Postby madamimadam » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:35 pm

'infinite' date='Mar 9th 2015, 4:34 PM'

I love reading  your blog.. it's very interesting. I've already learned a lot from it. :yes:


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