Finding Your Natural Singing Voice
Finding your voice is the first step to finding your identity as an artist. If you strip your voice back to your natural singing voice, you can discover what makes you a distinctive singer.
Your natural singing voice is what sets you apart from other artists. No two people’s voices are the same and finding your natural sound will help you optimise your range and resonance. Your natural singing voice is much more powerful than an emulated voice.
It can be tempting to imitate the style of your favourite artists – you might even do so without realising. But finding your natural singing voice is what will really unlock your potential.
Does everyone have a singing voice?
Anyone who can speak can learn to sing. But a good singing voice isn’t necessarily something you’re born with. Like talking, singing is an ability you acquire with time and practice.
While everyone can sing, it can be hard to find your true voice. Everyone has a natural singing voice that is unique to them, but how your natural voice sounds might be harder to recognise than you think.
External factors and influences can make you subconsciously change your voice over time. You’ll never lose your natural singing voice, but you might have to go back to the basics to rediscover it.
Test your singing voice online
If you’d like to test your natural singing ability as it stands, you can take a Tone Deaf Test online. The test has 3 stages and will identify if you struggle with your pitch, tone, and rhythm.
You can also download lots of different apps to review and improve your singing ability. Vanido, Pocket Pitch, and Vocalist are some of the best free apps for coaching your voice and running through vocal exercises.
Testing out your singing voice using an app or online test gives you a good starting point to finding your natural voice. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t do very well in your initial singing tests – you’ll start getting better at singing exercises once you have a good understanding of your voice and your natural sound.
How to find your speaking voice
Finding your natural speaking voice is the ideal place to start when you’re discovering your singing voice. Learning to use your natural voice will put the least amount of strain on your voice and vocal cords and give the best audio results.
Your speaking voice might seem like an easy thing to find; after all, it’s the voice you speak in every day. But the voice you use in day-to-day conversation isn’t necessarily your natural speaking voice. Without realising it, you might be emulating the vocal habits of other people around you, or your idols and influencers.
There are two tests you can do to find and restore your natural speaking voice:
#1 The humming exercise
- With your lips shut, make an“mmm-hmmm” noise with your voice.
- Repeat this hum several times – if you feel your lips and the ridge and sides of your nose vibrate while you doit, you are using your natural voice.
- Next, practice doing this hum while you count from one to ten. Alternate between making the “mmm-hmmm” noise and saying a number aloud. It should sound something like this: one, mmm-hmmm, two, mmm-hmmm, etc.
- Pay attention to how your voice sounds when you say each number out loud between the hums – this is your natural tone and pitch.
You can do this exercise any time you want to remind yourself how your natural speaking voice sounds.
#2 The diaphragmic breathing exercise
- Stand and take a deep breath as you normally would. If your chest expands and your shoulders rise, you’re breathing from your chest, not your diaphragm.
- Try speaking and raising your voice while you breathe from your chest – your voice might sound weak or strained.
- Now take another deep breath, this time focusing on keeping your shoulders still and routing the air into your lower stomach. If your abdomen expands instead of your chest, you’re breathing from your diaphragm.
- Try speaking and raising your voice while you breathe from your diaphragm. Compare how your voice sounds compared to when you were breathing from your chest – it should sound fuller and have more resonance.
Learning to breathe from your diaphragm rather than from your chest will allow you to access the full power of your natural speaking voice.
Do you sing with your talking voice?
Not everyone sings with their natural talking voice – some people may put on an accent or imitate popular artists when they sing.
But you can learn to sing with your talking voice and doing this will unlock your natural singing voice.
There are lots of benefits to singing in your talking voice. Everyone’s voice is unique, so singing with your talking voice is a sure-fire way to create a distinctive sound.
Singing using your talking voice will improve your tonal quality and make your lyrics sound more authentic, too. Using your talking voice as a foundation is the best way to find your unique, natural singing voice.
How do you find your singing voice?
To find your singing voice, you have to get to know your voice beyond your natural speaking register.
Familiarising yourself with how your singing voice sounds and what your voice’s strengths and weaknesses are will tease out your vocal ability.
Here’s how to find your singing voice in 3 steps:
Establish your vocal range – practice some singing scales, starting with the lowest note you can sing and working up to the highest note you can reach. You can do this using a piano (or an online piano) and travel down from Middle C to establish your lower range, and up from Middle C to practice your higher range.
Work out what your tessitura is – once you’ve established your vocal range, you can find your tessitura (the range you feel most comfortable in.) Repeat your singing scales and look for the range where your voice sounds its best. It should be in pitch and shouldn’t feel strained.
Experiment with songs and styles – when you’ve found your voice type, range, and tessitura, you’re ready to start experimenting with different songs to find what music genre your voice lends itself best to.
What is a natural voice?
You might wonder what your natural voice is and how you’ll know when you find it. You’ll easily be able to recognise your natural voice by looking out for these three qualities:
- It’ll feel comfortable and easy to produce
- You’ll be able to sing in this voice across a range of keys
- You’ll feel a light buzzing vibration in the sides of your nose and lips
How to find your singing voice type
To put a name to your voice type, you’ll need to work out what your vocal range is.
Once you know your lowest and highest note, you can identify your voice type by comparing your range to this classification system:
- Soprano: C4 – C6
- Mezzo–Soprano: A3 – A5
- Alto: F3 – F5
- Tenor: C3 – C5
- Baritone: G2 – G4
- Bass: E2 – E5
Other factors like your timbre and tessitura can affect your voice type, so you might find that you don’t fall squarely into one category, which is normal.
How do you find your natural singing key?
The best way to find out your natural singing key is by working out your vocal range and what your highest and lowest comfortable notes are.
If you want to double–check you’ve found your natural singing key, you can pick a new song and try singing it in full in three different keys. The version that feels most comfortable and natural is most likely to be your natural key.
You can also try recording yourself as you sing a song in different keys. If your voice sounds fatigued or you notice yourself missing notes when you play it back, you’ll know this isn’t the right key for you.
How to find your singing style
Every singer wants to find their unique, distinctive style. You might not have complete freedom in choosing your style though, as your vocal style is largely predetermined by one main factor: your genetics.
Your singing style will be influenced a lot by your physiology and your vocal cords. Your genetics will determine your phonation and resonation, as the length and thickness of your vocal cords affect your voice.
Self-awareness plays a big role in finding your singing style. Your genetics and natural singing voice will lend you better to some genres of music than others; some singers’ genetics make them a natural rock-singer, while other voices are better suited to classical music, for example. Being self-aware and understanding your voice will help you find the style that best suits you.
How to unlock your singing voice
Unlocking your singing voice will help you find your singing style. If you unlock your natural singing voice, you will discover your natural tone and timbre, and this will help you better understand your voice and what genres of music you can best sing in.
You can unlock your natural tone and timbre by:
- Relaxing your face by opening and stretching your jaw
- Humming words with your lips closed to identify your natural tone
- Singing with a straight face so your expression doesn’t influence your tone
Taking your technique back to basics like this will familiarise you with the sound of your natural singing voice and give you a point of reference for when you start singing a song.
Unique singing voices
When singers talk about finding their voice, they can mean more than just finding their head voice and chest voice. Up-and-coming singers want to find a distinctive voice; their own trademark style and sound that sets them apart from other artists.
Singing legends like Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, and Bob Dylan frequently rank in the top ten most unique singing voices. All these artists have had huge careers in music, owed greatly to the distinctive qualities of their voices.
It can be daunting to compare yourself to other singers and imagine how you can make yourself unique. But your natural singing voice is already unique. No two human voices are alike; everyone’s vocal cords, larynx, and voice box are different and create a totally unique voice.
How to have a unique singing voice
With so much influential music around, it can be hard to not be subconsciously influenced by existing artists. You can easily find your voice emulating your favourite singer’s sound or style without realising it.
To draw out your own, distinctive voice and steer clear of mimicking other artists, you can:
- Write and sing your own songs
- Sing songs you’ve never heard before by artists you don’t know
- Regularly listen to your own voice and get accustomed to your sound
- Practice without the original artist’s lyrics on the backing track
- Listen to as many different genres of music as possible
Are you singing with your real voice?
If you don’t put on an accent or imitate another artist when you sing, you might assume you’re singing with your real voice. But the term “real voice” takes on a new meaning in singing.
You may have heard singers refer to their “real voice” and their “fake voice.” By this, they’re simply referring to their chest and head voice.
Your real voice (your chest voice) is most similar to your speaking voice in terms of pitch and resonance. It comes from your chest register and typically feels heavier and lower-pitched.
How can you hear your real voice?
You might wonder why your voice sounds so different on a recording to how it sounds when you speak aloud. This can make you question what your real voice is, and how you actually sound to other people.
Your voice sends vibrations into your ears and head when you talk, altering how you hear your own voice. To allow you to hear your real voice (and how it sounds to everyone else), you need to stop the sound travelling up the side of your face to your ears.
Check out this video for a novel technique on how to do this and hear your real voice.
What is false voice in singing?
Your head voice is sometimes referred to as your false voice or your fake voice. It’s the voice you use when you sing or speak in a high pitch.
The term “falsetto” literally translates to “artificial voice.” When you use your fake voice, it generally sounds shriller and more superficial than your chest voice. This is why singers call it their fake voice; as it sounds so different from their normal pitch and tone.
How to find your voice
Don’t get hung up on the terms “real” voice and “fake” voice. Your head voice might be referred to as your fake voice, but it’s just as much a part of your natural singing voice as your chest voice is.
Finding your singing voice is about discovering all the different parts to your voice – your chest voice, head voice, range, and pitch. Your natural singing voice is a combination of all these qualities and will be what feels most comfortable and natural.
Singers strive to find their true voice and true sound. But you don’t have to look any further than your natural singing voice to find what makes you distinctive as an artist. Everyone’s voice is completely unique, so you can’t go far wrong if you use your natural singing voice.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is my singing voice different from my speaking voice?
It’s not uncommon for a singing voice to sound different from a speaking voice. Your singing voice uses a wider range and register than your speaking voice, and some people’s singing voice can be higher than the voice they normally talk in.
Singing requires more training than speaking. You use a different breathing technique when you sing, and your lungs require more air. Singing also requires more vocal control.
Some singers notice that the longer they sing for, the more their singing voice starts to sound like their speaking voice.
- Is it bad to imitate other singers?
If you imitate other singers, you won’t find your own distinctive sound. Chances are, if you imitate another singer’s style or sound, you won’t be able to do it as well as them either.
Finding your natural singing voice has much more merit than copying other artists. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from existing singers – imitating other artists does have its place, as it can help you improve your technique and get rid of bad habits while you’re learning to sing.
Imitation should ideally be used as an exercise to find your own voice, not the basis in which you build your voice around.