Hard Songs to Sing: You Say, by Lauren Daigle
Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” has been hitting the airwaves of both Christian and Commercial radio stations, and if you’re like a lot of our students, you’re interested in singing it. While it might not seem too challenging, since it doesn’t have some of the higher pitches that tend to trip us up, figuring out how to shape the song in a way that can maximize a powerful performance takes a lot of thought and preparation–not to mention that the low notes are just so low for many female vocalists! I’m going to take a slightly different approach than usual for this Hard Songs post and discuss possible ways to modify the low notes if they happen to be too low for you, as well as giving you some options for how to knock it out of the park on the higher parts if you transpose it.
How to Sing: “You Say”
How to Modify the Low Notes
If you’re like most women I work with, some of these notes are simply out of reach. Luckily, there are some quick, easy ways to modify them without obstructing the beauty of the melody too much.
The line, “I will never measure up,” includes a D3, that is, the D below middle C. The F3 isn’t so easy either. Consider modifying “measure up” to Bb3-Bb3-A3.
Same problem with “need to know.” Consider modifying to Bb3-A3-A3.
Use the same modification as above for identity: A3-Bb3-A3-A3.
Same goes for “you’ll have every victory.”
How to Kill it on the Choruses
If you’d rather not modify the low parts and have a high enough range to transpose the song, you might consider just taking the whole thing up. Think about maybe 2.5 half steps (i.e making the starting note a C4 instead of an A3 and taking the high note up to a C5 instead of an A4).
Whatever you decide, here are some ways to make the chorus come alive.
One thing people love about Lauren Daigle’s voice is that it’s so warm and open-sounding. To achieve that in a belty chorus, you’ll need to keep your jaw loose and your words open and nearly slurred.
Try modifying to yeuh-seh-ah-am-lahved
Yeuh-seh-ah-am-had (with the l almost dropped in “held”)
An when ah-dun-bilagh-
It looks insane in writing, but when you’re singing anything higher than your speaking range and going for some warmth in your sound, vowel and consonant modification is a must. Unvoiced plosives, for example, like the “t” sound will expel too much air, so replacing them with voiced plosives, like “d,” will help with breath control.
Diphthongs (vowels that can be broken into two separate vowel sounds, the way “I” can be separated into “ah” and “ee”) will tend to close off your resonance, so choosing the more open one on a belt tends to be helpful.
As a general rule, anything that keeps your jaw released, your soft palate lifted, and your tongue forward with the sides high up at your molars will facilitate a nice healthy belt.
Working on a hard-to-sing song? Tell us about it in the comments section, or head over to our Inside Voice Facebook page to sign up for some feedback on your singing videos.