I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me to teach them how to sing with distortion.
I am also flabbergasted at how many people on YouTube and the Internet are willing to “show people how to sing with distortion” when they themselves have little to no idea as to the consequences and long-term detrimental effects of singing with distortion if not done correctly.
This isn’t to say that it can’t be done. And this isn’t to say that it can’t be taught.
But as I have said many times, and I will say it again and again in the name of keeping people from losing and destroying their voices: distortion must maturate and grow carefully over time.
You don’t put a seed in the ground and expect it to instantly be a full character tree.
You don’t walk into a gym and expect to pick up 400 pounds of weight and start pressing it above your chest.
You don’t learn to handglide by jumping off of a cliff on your first attempt.
You don’t learn to surf by immediately going to Hawaii’s Pipeline with 30-foot swells.
You don’t learn karate by jumping into black belt competitions.
You don’t start mountain biking from the top of Mount Elbert at 14,000 feet or start your first skiing expedition from Aspen’s Snowmass.
How many more examples do I need to give here?
Well, if you wouldn’t do those things, then why would you jump straight into stressing out your vocal cords to the point of possible scarring, developing a polyp or node, and creating lesions in your cords that can destroy your vocal folds forever?
The only way, and I mean the only way, to do this correctly, is to first build your fundamental building blocks and foundation for singing.
You MUST start with the correct understanding and execution of using your whole abdominal cavity for your sole support (true diaphragmatic breathing).
You must learn how to use this core strength to relax your upper torso, your chest, your neck and your throat to relieve stress and tension in the throat and the cords themselves.
Then, you must develop a bright “ping”, carefully and responsibly stretching your vocal folds through various exercises to create elasticity, resiliency, flexibility and freedom in your vocal cords.
Then, you must learn the art of “glottal compression”, which is the concept of holding back the air at the glottis or the vocal folds themselves without constricting your vocal tract (throat) and creating muscle tension in the throat.
Once you are able to do this (and not before), you can start compressing the air at the glottis (which would now be referred to as hyper glottal compression).
Only then, should you start leaning into a sound and begin to stress out the cords to start the process of creating harmonic distortion.
This process first starts small like going to the gym and working out.
And little by little, carefully, over time, you can start to increase the amount of air pressure that passes across the cords without letting too much air through so that they do not get dried out.
The challenge is to do this without mounting pressure in the throat and creating damaging stress.
I cover a small amount of this process in this video and have a very extensive section on this in my singing course for those that are interested.
Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy – Where The PROOF Is In The Singing!