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Thread started 01/06/17 11:29pm

purplerabbitho
le

Did Prince develop into a countertenor for some songs later?

I don't know much about singing. But listening to his vocals on the Montreux 2009 concert, his high singing seemed stronger and clearer than his earlier singing on albums like Dirty Mind. And even less squeaky.

I admit that at times in later performances, the falsetto or whatever it was would become strained. But there were other times when it was really gorgeous. And of course, the extreme highness of Kiss and TMBGITW can be piercing to some people. Both vocals have really grown on me since I was a young kid (even though when I was a kid, I didnt get high 'squeaky' falsetto singing..I even hated Frankie Valli and the BeeGees because of this). But I realize now that a bit of squeakiness is funkier.

BTW, Prince's singing voice to me was always improving or at least gaining texture and resonance. Compare "Damn U" to any of his earlier falsetto ballads. Even if his songwriting (and choices about what he should widely release) became inconsistent, I think his singing in many ways became more varied and interesting as he got older. I was listening to "Cool" live, and his lower voice is so soulful and funky as well. And in Look at me, Look at u, his voice was like velvet.

I always prefer voices with personality over perfect but ultimately dull singing anyway. (I don't like bad singing--don't get me wrong--but perfect singing can be boring singing). I also think Prince's voice is underated because he was a vocal chameleon who developed over time and some of his biggest hits don't necessarily show case his full capabilities. His voice is not the loudest in the world, but it did have texture and variety.. It was sensual, edgy, expressive, varied, sensitive, humorous, funky, and soulful.

[Edited 1/6/17 23:38pm]

[Edited 1/7/17 16:40pm]

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Reply #1 posted 01/07/17 3:52am

FlyOnTheWall

Hi, purplerabbithole. Thanks for this very interesting topic. Not being a student of music, I can't say if Prince was indeed a countertenor. I do know that his falsetto is one of the clearest I've ever heard. He once revealed in an interview that the falsetto was his natural singing voice, which I found surprising, especially when one considers his deep speaking voice. In fact, he said that reaching the lower notes was sometimes painful.

.

By the way, I loved reading your description of his singing and his velvety voice. You indicated that "in later performances, the falsetto or whatever it was would become strained." Can you give an example of a time his voice sounded strained, as I have yet to hear his voice crack in any form or fashion? Thanks in advance.

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Reply #2 posted 01/07/17 8:20am

purplerabbitho
le

Some people believe the Breakdown performance is a bit strained on Montreux 2013. The time in which Prince sounded most strained to me was the Somewhere here on Earth performance clip I saw from 21 Nights (2007 London concerts). i immediately went to the Montreux 2009 to remind myself how well he could sing that song. IN Prince's defense, he was doing 21 nights of concerts in row. But his voice was raspy and sounded almost like the beginnings of laryngytis (SIC)>

FlyOnTheWall said:

Hi, purplerabbithole. Thanks for this very interesting topic. Not being a student of music, I can't say if Prince was indeed a countertenor. I do know that his falsetto is one of the clearest I've ever heard. He once revealed in an interview that the falsetto was his natural singing voice, which I found surprising, especially when one considers his deep speaking voice. In fact, he said that reaching the lower notes was sometimes painful.

.

By the way, I loved reading your description of his singing and his velvety voice. You indicated that "in later performances, the falsetto or whatever it was would become strained." Can you give an example of a time his voice sounded strained, as I have yet to hear his voice crack in any form or fashion? Thanks in advance.

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Reply #3 posted 01/07/17 8:54am

FlyOnTheWall

purplerabbithole said:

Some people believe the Breakdown performance is a bit strained on Montreux 2013. The time in which Prince sounded most strained to me was the Somewhere here on Earth performance clip I saw from 21 Nights (2007 London concerts). i immediately went to the Montreux 2009 to remind myself how well he could sing that song. IN Prince's defense, he was doing 21 nights of concerts in row. But his voice was raspy and sounded almost like the beginnings of laryngytis (SIC)>

FlyOnTheWall said:

Hi, purplerabbithole. Thanks for this very interesting topic. Not being a student of music, I can't say if Prince was indeed a countertenor. I do know that his falsetto is one of the clearest I've ever heard. He once revealed in an interview that the falsetto was his natural singing voice, which I found surprising, especially when one considers his deep speaking voice. In fact, he said that reaching the lower notes was sometimes painful.

.

By the way, I loved reading your description of his singing and his velvety voice. You indicated that "in later performances, the falsetto or whatever it was would become strained." Can you give an example of a time his voice sounded strained, as I have yet to hear his voice crack in any form or fashion? Thanks in advance.

Thanks. I'll see if I can find these performances. With regard to "Breakdown," I just think that song was very emotional for him. IMHO, it reminded him of Andy Allo, who sings background on the studio version, and who was absent from this life, starting around 2013. I believe he missed her profoundly. I also think he wrote that song with her in mind.

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Reply #4 posted 01/07/17 9:33am

laytonian

FlyOnTheWall said:



Thanks. I'll see if I can find these performances. With regard to "Breakdown," I just think that song was very emotional for him. IMHO, it reminded him of Andy Allo, who sings background on the studio version, and who was absent from this life, starting around 2013. I believe he missed her profoundly. I also think he wrote that song with her in mind.



Absolutely. At Montreux, he changed the lyrics to "darlin" and "girl" at the end, singing directly to a woman. Increasingly emotional and we see it in him physically at the end.
We had fun, didn't we?
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Reply #5 posted 01/07/17 10:11am

anangellooksdo
wn

Now that I have the DVDs of Montreux themselves, I can see that Prince was very healthy and happy here.
The crying on The Breakdown was a bit forced in comparison to he times when he was truly emotional and it would be hard for him to get through a song. But that emotion, which Prince as a performer learned to put into songs, was part of what he did sometimes.
I do think he had become close to Andy Allo, and I might as well say it: it makes me feel bad that he lived in such a bubble socially that he wasn't able to meet someone who was a little bit older. His relationships were mostly based in mentoring young people. And I'm sure for him, that's the most normal he knew. There's more too that someone with a very good sense of human nature can see, but I can't talk about that.
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #6 posted 01/07/17 11:02am

FlyOnTheWall

anangellooksdown said:

Now that I have the DVDs of Montreux themselves, I can see that Prince was very healthy and happy here. The crying on The Breakdown was a bit forced in comparison to he times when he was truly emotional and it would be hard for him to get through a song. But that emotion, which Prince as a performer learned to put into songs, was part of what he did sometimes. I do think he had become close to Andy Allo, and I might as well say it: it makes me feel bad that he lived in such a bubble socially that he wasn't able to meet someone who was a little bit older. His relationships were mostly based in mentoring young people. And I'm sure for him, that's the most normal he knew. There's more too that someone with a very good sense of human nature can see, but I can't talk about that.

I think if Prince had wanted someone older, he would have been with someone older. It's unfortunate that all some people can see is these two beautiful people's age. Clearly, they loved each other, but they were not allowed to love in peace, without some always harping on their age difference. It's really sad that we can't even talk about their music without having age injected into the discussion.

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Reply #7 posted 01/07/17 11:43am

anangellooksdo
wn

FlyOnTheWall said:



anangellooksdown said:


Now that I have the DVDs of Montreux themselves, I can see that Prince was very healthy and happy here. The crying on The Breakdown was a bit forced in comparison to he times when he was truly emotional and it would be hard for him to get through a song. But that emotion, which Prince as a performer learned to put into songs, was part of what he did sometimes. I do think he had become close to Andy Allo, and I might as well say it: it makes me feel bad that he lived in such a bubble socially that he wasn't able to meet someone who was a little bit older. His relationships were mostly based in mentoring young people. And I'm sure for him, that's the most normal he knew. There's more too that someone with a very good sense of human nature can see, but I can't talk about that.

I think if Prince had wanted someone older, he would have been with someone older. It's unfortunate that all some people can see is these two beautiful people's age. Clearly, they loved each other, but they were not allowed to love in peace, without some always harping on their age difference. It's really sad that we can't even talk about their music without having age injected into the discussion.



Age is never an issue. Maturity is.
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #8 posted 01/07/17 12:06pm

purplerabbitho
le

I meant his thread to be about Prince's singing voice. NOt him and Andy Allo or whether he cried or not.

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Reply #9 posted 01/07/17 12:11pm

FlyOnTheWall

anangellooksdown said:

FlyOnTheWall said:

I think if Prince had wanted someone older, he would have been with someone older. It's unfortunate that all some people can see is these two beautiful people's age. Clearly, they loved each other, but they were not allowed to love in peace, without some always harping on their age difference. It's really sad that we can't even talk about their music without having age injected into the discussion.

Age is never an issue.

yes And there are young people mature beyond their years...just as there are immature older persons. Like love, maturity is a two-way street.

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Reply #10 posted 01/07/17 12:11pm

anangellooksdo
wn

purplerabbithole said:

I meant his thread to be about Prince's singing voice. NOt him and Andy Allo or whether he cried or not.




They were not equally yoked. Age is only not an issue after a certain point.
These are all things that can't be explained; they can only be understood through our own personal experience -- but you must have a certain kind of experience to see it.
[Edited 1/7/17 13:12pm]
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #11 posted 01/07/17 12:18pm

thebanishedone

Is this a topic about his singibg or gossip? because i see it tends to go in a gossip direction.

abyway POrinces voice sounded the best on 1999 tour . i think that around 1997 he start to develoup some nasal quality in his voice that stayed until the end.

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Reply #12 posted 01/07/17 12:22pm

anangellooksdo
wn

FlyOnTheWall said:



anangellooksdown said:


FlyOnTheWall said:


I think if Prince had wanted someone older, he would have been with someone older. It's unfortunate that all some people can see is these two beautiful people's age. Clearly, they loved each other, but they were not allowed to love in peace, without some always harping on their age difference. It's really sad that we can't even talk about their music without having age injected into the discussion.



Age is never an issue. Maturity is.

yes And there are young people mature beyond their years...just as there are immature older persons. Like love, maturity is a two-way street.



You have a very illusory perception of what love is.
[Edited 1/7/17 13:14pm]
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #13 posted 01/07/17 12:27pm

FlyOnTheWall

thebanishedone said:

Is this a topic about his singibg or gossip? because i see it tends to go in a gossip direction.

abyway POrinces voice sounded the best on 1999 tour . i think that around 1997 he start to develoup some nasal quality in his voice that stayed until the end.

I think the clarity of his voice, throughout his register, was incredible during the Piano & A Microphone tour. He just got better with age. heart

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Reply #14 posted 01/07/17 12:29pm

thebanishedone

FlyOnTheWall said:

thebanishedone said:

Is this a topic about his singibg or gossip? because i see it tends to go in a gossip direction.

abyway POrinces voice sounded the best on 1999 tour . i think that around 1997 he start to develoup some nasal quality in his voice that stayed until the end.

I think the clarity of his voice, throughout his register, was incredible during the Piano & A Microphone tour. He just got better with age. heart

he was good but not better when he was young like he was on 1999 tour

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Reply #15 posted 01/07/17 12:33pm

FlyOnTheWall

thebanishedone said:

FlyOnTheWall said:

I think the clarity of his voice, throughout his register, was incredible during the Piano & A Microphone tour. He just got better with age. heart

he was good but not better when he was young like he was on 1999 tour

Okay. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find some clips from that tour. Personally, I never saw the man miss a note.

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Reply #16 posted 01/07/17 12:39pm

thebanishedone

FlyOnTheWall said:

thebanishedone said:

he was good but not better when he was young like he was on 1999 tour

Okay. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find some clips from that tour. Personally, I never saw the man miss a note.

if you want to see him missing a note check for any live version of ThE bEAUTIFUL oNES.

I THINK HE DIDNT FIND THE RIGHT VOICE HOW TO PERFORM VOCALS LIVE ON THAT SONG until 1993

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Reply #17 posted 01/07/17 12:45pm

FlyOnTheWall

thebanishedone said:

FlyOnTheWall said:

Okay. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find some clips from that tour. Personally, I never saw the man miss a note.

if you want to see him missing a note check for any live version of ThE bEAUTIFUL oNES.

I THINK HE DIDNT FIND THE RIGHT VOICE HOW TO PERFORM VOCALS LIVE ON THAT SONG until 1993

Wow. That's an interesting perspective.

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Reply #18 posted 01/07/17 12:45pm

anangellooksdo
wn

thebanishedone said:



FlyOnTheWall said:




thebanishedone said:



he was good but not better when he was young like he was on 1999 tour



Okay. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find some clips from that tour. Personally, I never saw the man miss a note.



if you want to see him missing a note check for any live version of ThE bEAUTIFUL oNES.


I THINK HE DIDNT FIND THE RIGHT VOICE HOW TO PERFORM VOCALS LIVE ON THAT SONG until 1993



This is true. Sometimes The Beautiful Ones was not sung in perfect pitch. The other notable time I remember that happening was during The Breakdown in Montreux, as was already mentioned. Both were difficult songs to sing live.

Other than that, he seemed very on point and I thought his voice was wonderful throughout his whole life 🙂
I do feel it deepened somewhat over time.
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #19 posted 01/07/17 1:01pm

purplerabbitho
le

Until the end of the song, during the screaming part, I thought P's vocals were so pretty on this 2014 rendition of Beautiful ones. (he leaves out the screaming and his voice was a bit weird at the end, but most of the song was gorgeously sung). I was particulary impressed with Prince's smooth tone and breath control.

https://www.youtube.com/w...kpEWCEllWw

thebanishedone said:

FlyOnTheWall said:

Okay. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find some clips from that tour. Personally, I never saw the man miss a note.

if you want to see him missing a note check for any live version of ThE bEAUTIFUL oNES.

I THINK HE DIDNT FIND THE RIGHT VOICE HOW TO PERFORM VOCALS LIVE ON THAT SONG until 1993

[Edited 1/7/17 13:02pm]

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Reply #20 posted 01/07/17 1:21pm

purplerabbitho
le

https://www.youtube.com/w...GensWoglaU

His vocals here are a bit drowned out at times by accompanyment music, but I was impressed with his tone, longer notes, range, expressiveness, and fluidity.

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Reply #21 posted 01/07/17 1:40pm

smoothcriminal
12

Don't think so. Prince was baritone with a very well developed falsetto.

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Reply #22 posted 01/07/17 1:44pm

FlyOnTheWall

smoothcriminal12 said:

Don't think so. Prince was baritone with a very well developed falsetto.

I have to dig up the interview where P said that the "falsetto" was his natural singing voice.

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Reply #23 posted 01/07/17 1:51pm

purplerabbitho
le

Yes, I know MJ was a technically better singer...LOL. Just giving you shit.

Anyhow, thanks for responding. How do you know the difference between a well-developed falsetto and just a high head voice. I am saying his falsetto seemed less breathy at times when he was older. There are times throughout his later life when I could definitely tell it was falsetto but there were other times when it just sounded like higher regular singing to me. I was reading up on falsetto and it involves vibrating less vocal cords. But there are times in the 90's and beyond when P (to me) sounds like all his vocal cords for being used.

smoothcriminal12 said:

Don't think so. Prince was baritone with a very well developed falsetto.

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Reply #24 posted 01/07/17 2:03pm

Dibblekins

I think this 2012 live performance of 'Beautiful Ones' is spot-on - not least because he is dancing / moving throughout and STILL manages to maintain breath control and pitch!!!

https://www.youtube.com/w...Hcbe_U7kKc

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Reply #25 posted 01/07/17 3:24pm

thebanishedone

FlyOnTheWall said:

smoothcriminal12 said:

Don't think so. Prince was baritone with a very well developed falsetto.

I have to dig up the interview where P said that the "falsetto" was his natural singing voice.

Well the thing is he never said it.

What he did say is that he was not comfortable singing in his chest voice in the early days.

thats why chest voice was used only as back harmony vocals.

First time Prince ever sang with chest voice was on the

Rolling Stones support act.if you listen to recording of the concert u

will notice theres no falsetto

at all.Bambi was all chest voice.

After the Stones incident Prince decided t win rock

audiance so starting

with Controversy album his chest

voice was more prominent.

Prince sounded flawless during 1999 era .i didnt hear single

vocal mistake and he was amazing on that tour.

Althought he was singing great untill the end his chest voice did detoriete a little.

When he was singing Purple Rain the way he was pronauncing

the word Sorrow was very nasal and sometimes off key.

But his voice did improve with time in two departments.

His falsetto and his screams.

Listen to Prince screaming at the end of The Dance tell me

those screams are not stronger and superior to th Beautiful Ones.

The Beautiful Ones is amazing song but Prince was not yet

brilliant master of screaming until latter.

If you want to hear perfect screams on the Beautiful Ones

listen to version of the song from rock over germany concerts 1993.

And what is crazy he had some vocal problems during that

time and his voice was deeper than ever but he killed it on The Beautiful Ones and also he was singing Purple Rain like the original version.

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Reply #26 posted 01/07/17 3:40pm

smoothcriminal
12

purplerabbithole said:

Yes, I know MJ was a technically better singer...LOL. Just giving you shit.

Anyhow, thanks for responding. How do you know the difference between a well-developed falsetto and just a high head voice. I am saying his falsetto seemed less breathy at times when he was older. There are times throughout his later life when I could definitely tell it was falsetto but there were other times when it just sounded like higher regular singing to me. I was reading up on falsetto and it involves vibrating less vocal cords. But there are times in the 90's and beyond when P (to me) sounds like all his vocal cords for being used.

smoothcriminal12 said:

Don't think so. Prince was baritone with a very well developed falsetto.

LOL...I think Prince was just as good as Mike. Different in many respects...Michael's vocal style was much more percussive and biting than Prince's, especially as his career progressed. Prince's vocal style, like Michael's, had a lot of range - he often went from sounding soft, delicate and fragile in certain songs to sounding absolutely manic and crazed - for example, compare the beginning of The Beautiful Ones to the end. It's a solid example of the two extremes that Prince was capable of moving between.

Falsetto vocals often lack the power that the head voice has, sounding very light and airy...like a lot of Prince's vocals (like in The Beautiful Ones, to use that song as an example again). Most of his songs are in the baritone range. As a baritone myself, I can easily sing the majority of Prince's songs (sans the manic screaming), using my falsetto to access some of his higher notes in the manner that he does. However, I really can't sing songs by, say, Michael Jackson since he is a tenor and his voice is quite high most of the time.

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Reply #27 posted 01/07/17 3:43pm

FlyOnTheWall

thebanishedone said:

FlyOnTheWall said:

I have to dig up the interview where P said that the "falsetto" was his natural singing voice.

Well the thing is he never said it.

What he did say is that he was not comfortable singing in his chest voice in the early days.

thats why chest voice was used only as back harmony vocals.

First time Prince ever sang with chest voice was on the

Rolling Stones support act.if you listen to recording of the concert u

will notice theres no falsetto

at all.Bambi was all chest voice.

After the Stones incident Prince decided t win rock

audiance so starting

with Controversy album his chest

voice was more prominent.

Prince sounded flawless during 1999 era .i didnt hear single

vocal mistake and he was amazing on that tour.

Althought he was singing great untill the end his chest voice did detoriete a little.

When he was singing Purple Rain the way he was pronauncing

the word Sorrow was very nasal and sometimes off key.

But his voice did improve with time in two departments.

His falsetto and his screams.

Listen to Prince screaming at the end of The Dance tell me

those screams are not stronger and superior to th Beautiful Ones.

The Beautiful Ones is amazing song but Prince was not yet

brilliant master of screaming until latter.

If you want to hear perfect screams on the Beautiful Ones

listen to version of the song from rock over germany concerts 1993.

And what is crazy he had some vocal problems during that

time and his voice was deeper than ever but he killed it on The Beautiful Ones and also he was singing Purple Rain like the original version.

Yes, he said it. I'll find it.

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Reply #28 posted 01/07/17 3:56pm

purplerabbitho
le

That whole reaction seems to be implying that Mike is the better singer. I don't agree at all that Michael's is more 'biting'. But I guess the rest is a legitimate point.

TMBGITW (to me) is not light and airy. its almost Barry Gibb-like to me. Also using the BEautiful ones as an example of Prince's vocal range is not totally fair. Its one song sung 30 years ago. My whole point was that he later sang in ways that weren't so light and airy. The Beautiful Ones, I must say, is a great performance and his falsetto though light and airy was also dynamic and well phrased with long fluid lines and dips into his lower register throughout ("is it him or is it me"). But the beautiful ones is also more airy and light than Somewhere here on Earth, I love you but I don't trust you anymore or The most beautiful girl.

.

smoothcriminal12 said:

purplerabbithole said:

Yes, I know MJ was a technically better singer...LOL. Just giving you shit.

Anyhow, thanks for responding. How do you know the difference between a well-developed falsetto and just a high head voice. I am saying his falsetto seemed less breathy at times when he was older. There are times throughout his later life when I could definitely tell it was falsetto but there were other times when it just sounded like higher regular singing to me. I was reading up on falsetto and it involves vibrating less vocal cords. But there are times in the 90's and beyond when P (to me) sounds like all his vocal cords for being used.

LOL...I think Prince was just as good as Mike. Different in many respects...Michael's vocal style was much more percussive and biting than Prince's, especially as his career progressed. Prince's vocal style, like Michael's, had a lot of range - he often went from sounding soft, delicate and fragile in certain songs to sounding absolutely manic and crazed - for example, compare the beginning of The Beautiful Ones to the end. It's a solid example of the two extremes that Prince was capable of moving between.

Falsetto vocals often lack the power that the head voice has, sounding very light and airy...like a lot of Prince's vocals (like in The Beautiful Ones, to use that song as an example again). Most of his songs are in the baritone range. As a baritone myself, I can easily sing the majority of Prince's songs (sans the manic screaming), using my falsetto to access some of his higher notes in the manner that he does. However, I really can't sing songs by, say, Michael Jackson since he is a tenor and his voice is quite high most of the time.

[Edited 1/7/17 16:31pm]

[Edited 1/7/17 16:34pm]

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Reply #29 posted 01/07/17 4:47pm

smoothcriminal
12

purplerabbithole said:

That whole reaction seems to be implying that Mike is the better singer. I don't agree at all that Michael's is more 'biting'. But I guess the rest is a legitimate point.

TMBGITW (to me) is not light and airy. its almost Barry Gibb-like to me. Also using the BEautiful ones as an example of Prince's vocal range is not totally fair. Its one song sung 30 years ago. My whole point was that he later sang in ways that weren't so light and airy. The Beautiful Ones, I must say, is a great performance and his falsetto though light and airy was also dynamic and well phrased with long fluid lines and dips into his lower register throughout ("is it him or is it me"). But the beautiful ones is also more airy and light than Somewhere here on Earth, I love you but I don't trust you anymore or The most beautiful girl.

.

smoothcriminal12 said:

LOL...I think Prince was just as good as Mike. Different in many respects...Michael's vocal style was much more percussive and biting than Prince's, especially as his career progressed. Prince's vocal style, like Michael's, had a lot of range - he often went from sounding soft, delicate and fragile in certain songs to sounding absolutely manic and crazed - for example, compare the beginning of The Beautiful Ones to the end. It's a solid example of the two extremes that Prince was capable of moving between.

Falsetto vocals often lack the power that the head voice has, sounding very light and airy...like a lot of Prince's vocals (like in The Beautiful Ones, to use that song as an example again). Most of his songs are in the baritone range. As a baritone myself, I can easily sing the majority of Prince's songs (sans the manic screaming), using my falsetto to access some of his higher notes in the manner that he does. However, I really can't sing songs by, say, Michael Jackson since he is a tenor and his voice is quite high most of the time.

[Edited 1/7/17 16:31pm]

[Edited 1/7/17 16:34pm]

Yes Michael was more biting in the sense that his adult vocals were often sung staccato with heavy rhythmic emphasis, using various vocal tics to emphasize the rhythmic elements of his songs. That doesn't imply anything about who was "better" (as if there is a better among vocalists of such a high caliber), it just means that they had different vocal focuses. I'm talking music theory right now, and comparing the two singers as a way of highlighting their different vocal stylistics; what you take away from it is up to you.

The Beautiful Ones is a wonderful example of the dynamic range of Prince's vocal abilities and using it as an example is not unfair at all - it is a work of genius and deserves to be studied. The Beautiful Ones shows Prince's sheer ability as a vocalist. Did you misunderstand the intent of my post? I was very favourable to him (Prince being one of my favourite artists of all time and all that), and was using the song as a contained example of Prince's range, depth, and vocal style - in the same way you can study Beethoven's Eroica symphony as an example of his middle period works. It's not the only work of that period, but it's one of his best and a great example of his compositional technique and artistic aspirations.

[Edited 1/7/17 16:55pm]

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