AI winner Phillip Phillips is one of the more unique male voices to come out of American Idol.
This time it wasn’t about range, or flash, or even glamour. It was about texture, soul, sincerity and delivery.
Phillip Phillips delivers a Bob Seger type of sound with hints of Rod Stewart and other gritty singers of the past 30 + years.
The way he achieves his sounds is by forcing a considerable amount of air across the vocal folds (cords) while restricting the air at the same time.
(like holding your breath and pushing air simultaneously).
This also requires him to keep his vowel phrases (for the most part) in the Ah (like law) position.
If you are attempting to recreate this kind of sound, I suggest you first work on strong diaphragmatic support (breathing with your stomach and not your chest) pushing down on your stomach for power (not using your chest so much when you breath) and then relaxing the stomach between phrases.
Something you will notice quickly if the back of your throat does not stay open in the “Ah” postion is you will feel like you are “squeezing” your throat and it will have a tickling sensation and dry out.
You do not want this.
Start first by practicing this at low volumes and slowly and gradually work your way up to the compressed airy tone.
Believe it or not, this tone and style of singing is very similar to the amount of air used by singers like Seal, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Jason Mraz and others.
The only difference is the amount of air being compressed across the cords and the amount of support needed to create Phillip Phillips’ sound.
It is VERY important to not dry out the cords – and make sure to relax between phrases in order to be able to sustain this kind of singing.