A signature sound happens when you hear a voice and you recognize it immediately. It’s like a “voice print” of sound.
For a singer – it’s developing their vocal sound so that they can perform consistently on a regular basis without any vocal concerns i.e. no tension to cause hoarseness, no nervous tension caused from outside distraction and attention to “groove and story”.
It’s like a golfer with a natural golf swing. They’re “in the moment” and “in the pocket”. The singer is naturally able to sing with a sound that is consistent – the colour (timbre), the tone, the placement, the song interpretation, the breathing are all “in place”. This all manifests into their signature vocal sound.
Vocal coaches help singers with a consistency and focus on technique that happens “without thinking” in performance. Neuroscientist E. PAUL ZEHR explains, “Plays, movements and movement sequences need practice until they can be performed almost unconsciously and arise almost spontaneously. And it also means letting our brains and bodies do what we have trained to do.”
Examples of singers with an undeniable signature sound: Ella Fitzgerald , Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker. Renee Fleming, Hozier, Adele, Freddie Mercury, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Karen Carpenter ….
You know when you hear a singer with a “signature sound”.