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Thread started 04/10/17 6:42pm

rogifan

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How was Prince able to maintain such an amazing voice his entire career?

Jon Bon Jovi said in an interview last year if he could tell his 18 year old self one thing it would be stop! before you put the key change in Livin' on a Prayer. He says he curses ever time he sings that song. A lot of stuff he sings now is in a lower key and some parts of songs he farms out to the audience to sing for him. The Slippery When wet and New Jersey tours totally wrecked his voice. I know Def Leppard sings a lot of their songs in lower keys because Joe Elliot can't hit the high notes any more either.

It got me thinking about Prince's voice and how amazing it is that he pretty much sang every song in the same key his entire career and the falsetto was as good as ever. Listening to some of the Piano and Microphone shows there are notes he hits that artists half his age (or younger) would kill to hit. Are there that many older artists who are able to sing in the same key and hit all the high notes? Paul McCartney comes to mind though I do think sometimes his voice sounds strained and he's working hard to reach the high notes. I'm sure Prince's voice benefited from the fact he never smoked but there had to be other things he did (or didn't do) to keep his voice in shape. Just another aspect of his musicianship that I'm completely in awe of.
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Reply #1 posted 04/10/17 6:55pm

PurpleDiamonds
1

He lived a clean lifestyle...no drugs cool
His voice IMO seemed to get better and better.
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Reply #2 posted 04/10/17 7:27pm

fen

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I don’t know a great deal about the art of singing, but for me Prince’s strength as a singer was his subtlety and control rather than brute power, especially in the studio. Maybe it was just dedication and constant practice, I can’t imagine there being an extended period in which he didn’t use his voice. I imagine that most voices will begin to change eventually though. The character of Jimmy Scott’s voice changed as he entered his 70s and 80s, but he retained remarkable power and control right until the end (he's probably an acquired taste though).

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Reply #3 posted 04/10/17 10:19pm

PeteSilas

discipline has a lot to do with it, that means discipline in terms of how you live and how you sing and how you rest your voice. Springsteen says his voice is better than ever, Billy Joel's voice got better with time and Elvis was much more versatile as an older singer. Lots of guys damage their voice with drugs, alcohol and overuse as well as not practicing anymore. Smoking of anything is bad for the vocal chords as is alcohol. And just as many singer probably ruined their voices touring relentlessly. They say Steve Perry blew out his voice, there were always rumours during the Bad tour that MJ shot his voice out and he never seemed to sing live after that.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #4 posted 04/11/17 3:36am

67Cadillac

I've always wondered this myself. It was probably a combination of luck and discipline, he can still hit C#6's in 2016.

He was singing "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" better than ever on the Piano and a Microphone tour.

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Reply #5 posted 04/11/17 4:11am

PeteSilas

last week i watched some sly stones recent interviews, he sounds nothing like the young sly, then you have smokey robinson who doesn't sound much different than he ever did. It's not just discipline and care of the voice it's also in, I think, how much time a person has had to develop before they have to use their voice on a long tour or something like that. Lots of younger singers haven't really had time to develop their vocal strength to the point where it has the resilience to be used every night. That's one thing that ruins singers for sure. Prince was smart too, he sang only falsetto for several years before he started developing everything else and I think that really worked for him. He developed his voice just like he did his dancing, with a lot of hard work and time. Personally, I never thought of him as a great singer as we think of great singers until I saw his 2002 performance in the ONA dvd of Gotta broken heart again, that sealed it for me. Truly great. Before that, well, too many guys like Marvin Gaye and Terence Trent Darby etc.., etc.., who were just on another level as vocalists for me to really put Prince in that class. Truth is, pop singing, generally speaing has never required great vocals, in fact, a good percentage of the greats were not great singers.

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Reply #6 posted 04/11/17 4:53am

rogifan

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67Cadillac said:

I've always wondered this myself. It was probably a combination of luck and discipline, he can still hit C#6's in 2016.



He was singing "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" better than ever on the Piano and a Microphone tour.


Yes! Adam Levine would kill to hit notes like Prince was during the P&M shows.
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Reply #7 posted 04/11/17 4:56am

rogifan

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PeteSilas said:

discipline has a lot to do with it, that means discipline in terms of how you live and how you sing and how you rest your voice. Springsteen says his voice is better than ever, Billy Joel's voice got better with time and Elvis was much more versatile as an older singer. Lots of guys damage their voice with drugs, alcohol and overuse as well as not practicing anymore. Smoking of anything is bad for the vocal chords as is alcohol. And just as many singer probably ruined their voices touring relentlessly. They say Steve Perry blew out his voice, there were always rumours during the Bad tour that MJ shot his voice out and he never seemed to sing live after that.


We know for a lot of hard rock singers their lifestyle did nothing positive for their voice. I'm sure the fact that Prince didn't drink much alcohol and didn't smoke cigarettes helped a lot.
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Reply #8 posted 04/11/17 5:15am

Wlcm2thdwn3

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I was saying the very same thing. Even on his last shows when he looked so thin and weak, his voice was still amazing and as strong as always. RIP

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Reply #9 posted 04/11/17 5:21am

laurarichardso
n

rogifan said:

PeteSilas said:

discipline has a lot to do with it, that means discipline in terms of how you live and how you sing and how you rest your voice. Springsteen says his voice is better than ever, Billy Joel's voice got better with time and Elvis was much more versatile as an older singer. Lots of guys damage their voice with drugs, alcohol and overuse as well as not practicing anymore. Smoking of anything is bad for the vocal chords as is alcohol. And just as many singer probably ruined their voices touring relentlessly. They say Steve Perry blew out his voice, there were always rumours during the Bad tour that MJ shot his voice out and he never seemed to sing live after that.

We know for a lot of hard rock singers their lifestyle did nothing positive for their voice. I'm sure the fact that Prince didn't drink much alcohol and didn't smoke cigarettes helped a lot.

Of course it helped. No way would have kept his voice, looks or energy level if he was doped out.

No one with a lick of commonsense would think otherwise.

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Reply #10 posted 04/11/17 5:51am

paisley2002

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I remember when Candy Dulfer was on Arsenio Hall once she mentioned that Prince had a little bottle of honey nearby, and she said that was 4 his voice. Found that quite interesting.

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Reply #11 posted 04/11/17 8:44am

steakfinger

Clean living helped, but mainly edictation to the craft. Talent is nothing but hard work. He supposedly was a student of Seth Riggs Speech Level Singing. If true, that completely preserved his voice. Lots of great singers use the same method.

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Reply #12 posted 04/11/17 9:02am

RodeoSchro

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steakfinger said:

Clean living helped, but mainly edictation to the craft. Talent is nothing but hard work. He supposedly was a student of Seth Riggs Speech Level Singing. If true, that completely preserved his voice. Lots of great singers use the same method.



Apparently he definitely was a student. Here is Seth Riggs' student/client list and Prince is on it:

http://www.speechlevelsin..._list.html

This is very interesting information. Thank you for posting it!

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Reply #13 posted 04/11/17 10:25am

Shawy89

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I wonder that all the time eek. I mean it's only normal for a singer's voice to drop an octave or two later in their career. Maybe he worked a lot on his voice, that's the way to maintain a clean delivery. The falsettos though are A GIFT from above, I fail to understand how could a 55 year old man hit falsettos like those...

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. - Buddha
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Reply #14 posted 04/11/17 1:09pm

rogifan

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steakfinger said:

Clean living helped, but mainly edictation to the craft. Talent is nothing but hard work. He supposedly was a student of Seth Riggs Speech Level Singing. If true, that completely preserved his voice. Lots of great singers use the same method.


Very interesting thanks for sharing.
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Reply #15 posted 04/12/17 1:47am

mynameisnotsus
an

I honestly think his physical smallness helped him do things vocally other people can't do but it doesn't explain his incredible consistency through the years - he was pretty flawless for close to 35 years.
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Reply #16 posted 04/12/17 8:22am

namepeace

He was very good at pacing himself in live performances.

His live renditions of songs like "When You Were Mine" and "If I Was Your Girlfriend" are examples.

Good night, sweet Prince | 7 June 1958 - 21 April 2016

Props will be withheld until the showing and proving has commenced. -- Aaron McGruder
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Reply #17 posted 04/14/17 10:05am

dave1dmarx

rogifan said:

PeteSilas said:

discipline has a lot to do with it, that means discipline in terms of how you live and how you sing and how you rest your voice. Springsteen says his voice is better than ever, Billy Joel's voice got better with time and Elvis was much more versatile as an older singer. Lots of guys damage their voice with drugs, alcohol and overuse as well as not practicing anymore. Smoking of anything is bad for the vocal chords as is alcohol. And just as many singer probably ruined their voices touring relentlessly. They say Steve Perry blew out his voice, there were always rumours during the Bad tour that MJ shot his voice out and he never seemed to sing live after that.

We know for a lot of hard rock singers their lifestyle did nothing positive for their voice. I'm sure the fact that Prince didn't drink much alcohol and didn't smoke cigarettes helped a lot.

I would hardly call Elvis, Springsteen and Billy Joel "hard rock"! biggrin

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Reply #18 posted 04/14/17 10:27am

rogifan

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dave1dmarx said:



rogifan said:


PeteSilas said:

discipline has a lot to do with it, that means discipline in terms of how you live and how you sing and how you rest your voice. Springsteen says his voice is better than ever, Billy Joel's voice got better with time and Elvis was much more versatile as an older singer. Lots of guys damage their voice with drugs, alcohol and overuse as well as not practicing anymore. Smoking of anything is bad for the vocal chords as is alcohol. And just as many singer probably ruined their voices touring relentlessly. They say Steve Perry blew out his voice, there were always rumours during the Bad tour that MJ shot his voice out and he never seemed to sing live after that.



We know for a lot of hard rock singers their lifestyle did nothing positive for their voice. I'm sure the fact that Prince didn't drink much alcohol and didn't smoke cigarettes helped a lot.

I would hardly call Elvis, Springsteen and Billy Joel "hard rock"! biggrin


Ha, I wasn't referring to those three as hard rock. lol I was more referring to some of the rock bands of the 80s.
Paisley Park is in your heart
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Reply #19 posted 04/14/17 12:43pm

kewlschool

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Stevie Wonder still has his voice. Amazing that both where able to maintain so late into their careers.

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Reply #20 posted 04/14/17 2:57pm

lrn36

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He actually sounded better in his P & M shows than he did in the past 10 ten years. His screams rivaled what he did in the Purple Rain tour. It's mind boggling and sad at the same time.

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Reply #21 posted 04/15/17 1:42am

nemesis2099

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In the book Mr S - My Life with Frank Sinatra it says that:

"On the tour Mr. S took special care of his voice. He only drank tea with Honey the day before concerts, and the glass he carried onstage that everyone thought was Jack Daniels was actually Lipton's. He also swore off milk and cream. He believed that all dairy products caused phlegm, the bane of any singer."

I suspect prince did the same thing.

'Somewhere in Uptown'
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Reply #22 posted 04/15/17 10:05am

namepeace

lrn36 said:

He actually sounded better in his P & M shows than he did in the past 10 ten years. His screams rivaled what he did in the Purple Rain tour. It's mind boggling and sad at the same time.


I'd guess that format conserved his energy. He seemed immortal onstage, but all of that physical energy he exerted live for so long probably took away from his voice in the decade prior to P/M.

[Edited 4/15/17 10:05am]

Good night, sweet Prince | 7 June 1958 - 21 April 2016

Props will be withheld until the showing and proving has commenced. -- Aaron McGruder
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Reply #23 posted 04/15/17 10:13am

fielder

He frankly didn't perform that much. His tours were for the most part short. Musiciology was his last long tour. Most artists hit the road 6 months a year every year but Prince didn't.

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Reply #24 posted 04/15/17 2:23pm

GTsymbolover

His voice had so much range, so much emotion, Beautiful

Genius
[Edited 4/15/17 14:24pm]
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Reply #25 posted 04/15/17 6:47pm

purplerabbitho
le

really? He seemed to tour a lot to me. I counted 26 tours (some shorter than others) Welcome to America was a really long tour.

Welcome To America15 December 2010 to 29 May, 2011Welcome To America: Euro Tour30 June 2010 to 17 August, 2011Welcome To Canada25 November to 17 December, 2011Welcome To Australia11 to 30 May, 2012Welcome To Chicago24 to 26 September 2012

Plus, touring isn't the only live performances he did.

Most super famous artists don't tour half the year. When was Madonna's last tour?

fielder said:

He frankly didn't perform that much. His tours were for the most part short. Musiciology was his last long tour. Most artists hit the road 6 months a year every year but Prince didn't.

[Edited 4/15/17 18:48pm]

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Reply #26 posted 04/15/17 7:23pm

rogifan

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fielder said:

He frankly didn't perform that much. His tours were for the most part short. Musiciology was his last long tour. Most artists hit the road 6 months a year every year but Prince didn't.


Really?
I'd be really curious to know which artists tour every year for six months a year. Jon Bon Jovi, whose voice is pretty shot, isn't doing that.
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Reply #27 posted 04/16/17 7:42am

Replica

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fielder said:

He frankly didn't perform that much. His tours were for the most part short. Musiciology was his last long tour. Most artists hit the road 6 months a year every year but Prince didn't.

When he wasn't on tour, he was still doing ALOT of live shows. And they would usually last for hours.

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Reply #28 posted 04/16/17 7:49am

NorthC

rogifan said:

fielder said:

He frankly didn't perform that much. His tours were for the most part short. Musiciology was his last long tour. Most artists hit the road 6 months a year every year but Prince didn't.


Really?
I'd be really curious to know which artists tour every year for six months a year. Jon Bon Jovi, whose voice is pretty shot, isn't doing that.

Bob Dylan has been playing about 100 shows a year every year since 1988. And yeah, his voice is pretty shot too, but he is still, on the road.
Don't ever lose your dreams.
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Reply #29 posted 04/16/17 7:50am

NorthC

Replica said:



fielder said:


He frankly didn't perform that much. His tours were for the most part short. Musiciology was his last long tour. Most artists hit the road 6 months a year every year but Prince didn't.



When he wasn't on tour, he was still doing ALOT of live shows. And they would usually last for hours.


And of course he spent lots of hours in the recording studio.
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