Hello guys, here’s Daniele Calimera from DC Vocal Studio and today I will start the blog category: my Singing Heroes!!
In this blogs I’m gonna talk about the singers who really inspired me during my training as a performer and as a singing teacher and I will analyse both the singing technique , the vocal ability, the presence on stage and how much impact these singing heroes left on the future generations.
The first singer I wanna talk about is the great Steve Perry from Journey!!!
Born in Hanford , California , but with Portuguese origins , Steve Perry is mostly famous for his activity with the American band Journey, from 1977 to 1986.
Journey became really popular during the 80’s especially in USA & Japan.
Their major hit like “Don’t stop Believing” , “Open Arms”, “Faithfully” and “Wheels in the sky” still resonate nowadays and inspire many rock bands.
Why is he in my singing heroes list?
When I discovered Journey 6 years ago I already listened a lot of rock music from all decades but I never saw a singer on rock music with such an easy capacity of singing in different vocal ranges with that quality.
Especially on live concerts , Steve Perry always maintain the same vocal lines he made in studio. Here’s some examples:
On the live performance , not only he maintain the same key and the same vocal line, but also he made some different melismas with the voice that make the singing richer than the studio.
The easy way in which he can hit the high notes is impressive and the fact he can sustain that notes is a symptom of a good vocal technique that we will discuss it in the next paragraph.
In the next video you can hear how wide his vocal range was:
Steve Perry Vocal technique: is he a mixer?
Steve Perry is different from the others rock singers of the 80’s. Even though the 80’s give us many singing heroes in rock and hard rock like Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, David Coverdale, Axl Rose,Lou Gramm, Joey Tempest ecc…
I always try to understand his singing technique and now that I started to have knowledge about the vocal quality of the MIX, I can say that Steve Perry could be considered a ‘mixer’.
He his a light tenor with really easy high notes access, but , since the 70’s , he put really attention in controlling the high notes in order of coordination and volume.
As you can see in this video his high notes was always controlled, coordinated , with a good ratio between heaviness and lightness that high notes request. He never shouted the high notes.
In the 80’s , because the sound of the band become stronger, his singing require more effort and volume on his high notes, so he became, on my point of view , a strong mixer.
His mixing now was established and sometimes he was a bit weighty, also because of the intense live activity of the band.
In this video you can see a little bit more of weightiness on the high notes, but he was always gentle when he challenged it.
From the album Frontiers the sound of the band became harder and require even more effort for Steve.
Even though his vocal ability doesn’t change, we can see that he started to brought the chest voice higher than before and his vocal quality started to become a bit raspy as well.
Despite his wonderful vocal abilities during the years he started to lose that great blending he had from chest voice to head voice, and he was , in the middle of 80’s, mostly chest dominant.
In this video you can hear he struggled to hit the high notes and he brought the chest voice ‘over the line’ , sometimes he was flat as well.
This is completely understandable because of the intense live activity of the band and because the repertoire they did was one of the most difficult in the history of rock.
What Steve Perry left to the rock music?
The reason why I put Steve Perry in my singing heroes list is because he was always underrated and not considered important as the same as other singers of his decade.
The passion he put into the singing, his vocal abilities, his great stage presence and the sensation he gives me every time I hear a Journey song is inexplicable.
The majority of the band nowadays , especially the ones who is influenced by 80’s hard rock, are influenced by this great band and singer.
Personally ,on my singing level, since I discovered Steve Perry he let me understand that rock music could be sung also by making attention on what the voice do on the high notes and not just put the voice over the line and see what happened.
He let me understand the important combination of a strong vocal technique and how to apply it in rock music.
I always thought before that rock music was just for few elected people, but after I put so much effort in achieve a good vocal technique I can say , definitely not.
I leave you with, for my consideration , the best Journey song and vocal performance of Steve Perry.
Daniele Calimera is a certified singing teacher for the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA). He is an expert of the MIX method, use by international singing stars and grammy award winners. Lessons in Cardiff and via Skype.