Vocal Science: Does Your Speaking or Singing Voice Have a WOW Factor?

If you think that it does not, ask us how you can obtain it!

Everybody lately is speaking about a “WOW factor”.
During the vocal competitions like American/British Idol or shows like America Got Talent or Britain Got Talent, judges constantly looking for that WOW factor in their contestants. What do they mean by that?

Well, first of all, they are looking for a good song suitable for the contestant and, of course, good and original interpretation of that song. Obviously a sharp performance with the proper technical and artistic merit should move the contestant to the top of his/her category. Similarly, during the speech presentation, unfortunately, a lot of times you want to “fall asleep”, a the presenter sounds monotone; and thus, very boring. He/she often does not have the proper emphasis and inflections in their sentences and, therefore, sometimes you can not even make out what they are actually talking about.

This is especially annoying when those so called “presenters” are simply mumbling, or putting the work “like” or “um” in every “three” consecutive words. 
Some of them (even the radio announcers) are adding the letter “h” with the letter “s”. For example: Instead of the word “grocery”, they are pronouncing  “groshery”.
Instead of “strength”, they are saying “shtrength”.
And instead of “strong”, they are saying “shtrong”. 

How sad if that?
Sad indeed!

In this particular case, they also produce (in a manner of speaking) a “WOW factor”, but definitely in a negative light. 

My question is, “who is hiring these people to be radio and television DJ’s and why, for that matter? Shouldn’t they be the role models for the rest of the population promoting the right language command and, nevertheless, right annunciation and pronunciation of the appropriate words. 

There is a commercial running on TV for a while, where a very strange looking “unshaved” man is promoting Hotels “Trivago”. If there was not a scroll on TV spelling out this very word “Trivago”, I would think that he was talking about “Dgivago”. The other advertiser (also on TV) tries to say, “Sleep is a beautiful thing”.

He is clearly lisping and saying at the end of his commercial, “Sleep is a beautiful ‘fing‘ ”. MIND BOGGLING! You don’t even have to be a voice specialist to hear all of that nonsense polluting our ears! It would be funny, however, if it was not so sad!

Singers, nevertheless, are trying to wow us while “murdering”(so to speak) our Canadian National Anthem. They are doing runs and riffs to the point that this classic piece is hardly recognizable. For no apparent reason, they “pop-it-up” and “ Jazz-it-up” to say the least. What to say but, in those vocal competitions, the judges are commanding the contestants to make a cover tune “their own”. 

However, there is some validity in it but, as usual, it had been taken (by both the judges and the contestants) out of proportion. Those cover tunes (sung previously by the original artists) were also ruined by the artists to be, as they had been “interpreted” beyond the point of recognition. That was a real “WOW”, but yet again, in a negative light. 

I am still awaiting for the REAL WOW FACTOR where the speaker actually knows what he/she is talking about and also knowing HOW to talk about it; putting the right inflections and emphasis on the important keywords, holding the right speed (not too slow or not too fast), keeping the right pace and staying on topic. Having the voice which actually is not monotone and which fluctuates with proper intonation. And, of course, preferably not lisping, stuttering or substituting the letters. 

For the singers, my wish is: stay in tune and tell the story through your lyrics and music. And also, if you decide to cover someone else’s tune, yes, give your own twist on it, but please make sure that the original version of that song would be actually recognizable. 

And of course, if you decide to right your own song, WOW us with the originality of your musical and vocal skills!


  1. Good article. I'm amazed sometimes by the lack of quality in VO and singing.

    I am a full-time voice actor in Los Angeles, but also sing parody songs (featured on Dr. Demento), and singing impressions. Here's a short sampling:

    Joe J Thomas

    1. Thank you Joe,

      Interesting work that you are doing.
      All the best to you, and if you need anything at all, we will be here to help.

      Best regards,

      Jamie Mckay
      Office Manager
      The Royals Professional Vocal School
      Division of The Royans Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair

      On behalf of -

      Diana Yampolsky B.M. Ed.
      Alternative and holistic approach to voice mechanics.
      International Workshop Leader
      In-Studio Vocal Producer/Voice Optimizer
      World renowned Voice Repair Specialist
      The Royans Professional Vocal School
      Division of the Royans Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair
      077 88 989 319 - while in the UK

  2. Yes for us purists it is annoying. But maybe some are doing the mispronounced words for a dramatic flare. So that it will be remembered.
    Proper enunciation is very important. when someone is learning a foreign language, English for example, deutlich (German for articulate) has come to my mind recently. If it isn't articulate, who can possibly know what you are saying. But being articulate when one sings or speaks doesn't necessarily give the "Wow" factor to a voice.
    One of my Uncles was a story teller with the most monotone voice ever but he captivated his audiences. A Nashville musician I know said that putting feeling into a vocal performance gives it that "Wow".
    Technical details may be fine in some instances but won't sell if they are void of feeling.
    Once I did a VO audition at a studio. I was technically fantastic. But didn't get hired. The auditioner said I wasn't like an actor or a radio commentator he thought had feeling when they read.
    So feeling, even stressing certain words to do so may give that "wow" even if mispronounced.
    An example from the past is Ben Bernie the band leader. An example of how he misspoke words for effect can be heard in the 1937 film "Wake Up and Live" You can find it on You Tube. In the very first scene he intros two dancing brothers using such words.
    He definitely had that "Wow".

  3. Also consider this stutterer. Mel Tillis
    http://singingasong.net/?m=201307 The article links to a video where mel uses the stuttering to great effect.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ontario Heritage Trust: "MyOntario – A Vision Over Time" - Featured Article

Cancelled Tours and Rescheduled Shows... Is there a way to prevent that from happening... Let's Find Out?

Vocally Speaking… “Say No to Potato…” Huh??