Tag Archives: American English

She Loves You, Yes, Yes, Yes

They completed “She Loves You” in McCartney’s house back in Liverpool. When his father heard the song, he said, “Son, there’s enough Americanisms around. Couldn’t you sing, ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ just for once?” McCartney said, “You don’t understand, Dad. It wouldn’t work.”

                                                                                                     Rolling Stone Magazine

Why not?

© Sing Better English, 2015


Bend, Stretch and Chop with Frankie Valli. Or lose your job.

Imagine this: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are on tour in your country. One of the singers falls off stage at the soundcheck and breaks their leg. You’re the last-minute replacement. This could be your big break.

Frankie makes a last minute change to the set list. He adds The Night. You don’t know the song, but you smile at Frankie anyway. “My favourite song,” you say. You feel sick.

A roadie hands you a dog-eared copy of the score, with all the latest additions to the song. Frankie smiles. You gulp. Read the lyrics now. The first thing you notice? An awful lot of words.

If English isn’t your first language, it can be difficult, when you sing, to know where to bend words or break lines without damaging their integrity. You’ll need to squeeze, stretch and chop in all the right places if you want the words to fit the music in The Night. You’ll lose the job if you don’t get it right.

Smile. Borrow Frankie’s diamond-studded pencil. Get to work. Find a private corner. Listen to The Night. Mark your lyrics to show where the strongest stress falls in each line. That’ll be your scaffolding :

Continue reading Bend, Stretch and Chop with Frankie Valli. Or lose your job.

Be Good – Be a Good Detective

You need no excuses to listen to Gregory Porter. It’s always a delight. If you’re inspired to cover his songs, do your detective work first. Like a lot of jazz singers (Amy Winehouse comes to mind) Gregory often ghosts consonants like d, t, n & m at the end of words. Softened endings often suit the jazz mood. But be careful when you sing a cover: a softened consonant isn’t the same as no consonant.

Try this exercise: in his song Be Good (Lion’s Song) Gregory sings the phrase Be Good fifteen times. Can you hear the d sound every time? Does the d sound exactly the same every time?

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Love, you didn’t do right by me: the subtle T of heart

We’ve talked about consonants: how important it is to keep them clean and clear when you’re singing at full force (here) and how you can evoke an emotional response from your audience by emphasising just one consonant (here).

Here’s Rosemary Clooney singing Love, you didn’t do right by me. Listen for the subtle difference between the final t of heart and all the other final t sounds

Continue reading Love, you didn’t do right by me: the subtle T of heart

I remember when I lost my mind

Now that you know how to sing September, you know how to sing remember. Now that you can sing remember, you’ll sound much better singing this:

Continue reading I remember when I lost my mind