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Thread: Carrie Underwood 6 - Cry Pretty Era

  1. #3981
    Hil
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    Quote Originally Posted by MelissaD View Post
    Truth be told, her technique is still pretty much exactly the same as it was before that. The only thing TSOML encouraged her to do was use her head voice a bit more, but the way she places and projects her voice is still the same as always.
    I love all your posts. I guess I've often worried Carrie will lose her voice because she doesn't take care of it as you say, or warm up. Although, Reba and Faith seem to have maintained their voices from the few performances I've seen. At the very least they don't seem to have lost it like Martina. I just hope Carrie can keep hers. In all honesty because you are such a vocal guru I thought you would be most excited about hearing Carrie is exploring new things about her voice. I could always be proven wrong, but I doubt it will be glory note free lol

    Also, I've never listened to Carrie and Martina back to back, but I didn't realize Martina couldn't do what Carrie does vocally. I knew she wasn't as versatile though.
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    Another flawless CP vocal ... from CMA Fest last night. #Slayed!!!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Hil View Post
    I love all your posts. I guess I've often worried Carrie will lose her voice because she doesn't take care of it as you say, or warm up. Although, Reba and Faith seem to have maintained their voices from the few performances I've seen. At the very least they don't seem to have lost it like Martina. I just hope Carrie can keep hers. In all honesty because you are such a vocal guru I thought you would be most excited about hearing Carrie is exploring new things about her voice. I could always be proven wrong, but I doubt it will be glory note free lol

    Also, I've never listened to Carrie and Martina back to back, but I didn't realize Martina couldn't do what Carrie does vocally. I knew she wasn't as versatile though.
    I was SO excited, until I saw an article posted a few moments later entitled "Carrie Underwood is more raw, doesn't go for the 'money notes' on new album," then my heart sank lmao. I'm still excited though to hear what she does, as I too am sure it isn't going to be glory note free. I'm hoping to hear more exploration of her beautiful soprano head voice, a la Cry Pretty at the end.

    & Martina had a great big sturdy sound on her belts, they were incredibly solid and brassy, almost mechanical-like at times. But her range only went so far. She rarely ventured above C#5 or D5, and when she did, her voice lost an immense amount of the quality, heft, and ease that could be heard on her 4th octave belts and low-5th octave belts. Still, she needed to apply a lot more FORCE on those notes than Carrie did (because she was a mezzo, whereas Carrie is a soprano), which made them seem higher than when Carrie hits the same notes since for Carrie they're only in her mid-range. The notes that Martina belts in the climaxes of her songs, Carrie usually has in the choruses of hers. So comparing side by side, they seem higher from Martina since they're the highest notes in her songs, the point at which she is stretching her voice the most, whereas Carrie is just casually singing the same notes in a chorus, making them seem like not as big of a deal. Know what I mean?
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    Insane Carrie Fan LilUnderwood's Avatar
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    I’ve heard CP live twice once at the Opry for her 10 year and at the Fan Club Party and honestly if CMA and the ACM’s don’t see Carrie as Female Vocalist of the year I want to question their judgement! I’m a Music Teacher and have sang in choirs and what she does with her voice is incredible. She’s so gifted and deserves to be recognized especially for this song!
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    I'm glad to see that Carrie's comment led to so much spirited discussion - but I think it's been partially misinterpreted, and has led to some "style wars" fears that I believe are largely unnecessary.

    I don't see anywhere in the comment an implication that Carrie is going to move away from power vocals, higher register singing, or full use of the strength and range of her voice (much less an implication that she's going to make a largely "laid back" album.). As I said in my first reply to Clare's quote from the article - I'm sure she will continue to need (and use) those dramatic vocal styles.

    What I think she was emphasizing in the part of the interview dealing with what she's learnt as a producer is the relatively greater value in showing "raw emotion", and the possibility that that can often be achieved by a greater natural spontaneity in letting the feel of the song lead her vocal, instead of over-thinking, and going for a "money note" for the sake of meeting a perceived fan, performance, or radio expectation. As I see it, following an approach along those lines won't mean that the power notes disappear - but rather that they will appear more organic and integrated into the needs and spirit of the song.

    It may be difficult to illustrate this convincingly, since we all differ in how we hear a song; in how far we prefer a general concert stage sound, as opposed to a specifically Country, Roots or Soul singing tradition; and specifically in how we prefer the emphases Carrie herself shows in the different songs she writes or chooses. I don't expect others to necessarily agree - but I'll try to use "Cry Pretty" to illustrate how I, personally, see this difference.

    My two favourite parts of the song are:- firstly, the opening, up to about 48 seconds, when she shows what I consider one of her most dramatic, raw, and emotional vocal passages to date. For me, drama and emotion don't require a power vocal (though they obviously don't preclude having one, when needed). But this quieter opening certainly can't be described as "laid back" - it's raw, and shows a stark emotion in its vulnerable admission of personal involvement in the theme of the passage.
    --- and secondly, the long conclusion to the song, beginning at about 2 mins 16 secs. This involves another aspect of drama and emotion, with much more force, and use of emphatic notes. But, in my view, it remains "raw". Rather than possible "over-thinking", or aiming for a predictably staged vocal effect, the overwhelming impression I get here is of a singer letting the song express itself, through her remarkable vocal gifts. For me, nothing of Carrie's skill is lost here - on the contrary, I feel it all the more as she absorbs the spirit of the song and lets it shine through in an unpredictable whirl of emotion, that feels organically at one with the music.

    (More controversially, perhaps, I, personally, am not so keen on the part of the song that falls between the two sections I've highlighted - there, I feel Carrie is going for a more traditional power chorus approach, which I feel comes across as less raw, more formally constructed, and directed more towards perceived fan or radio expectations. In itself, there's nothing wrong with this, and I'm not arguing that it is done in any way badly - but this section, to me, seems closer to a formulaic approach that Carrie has used before, and my preference would be to hear rather less of that approach, in favour of more experimentation along the other lines I've highlighted)

    Agree or not, I hope I've suggested that the change in production style that Carrie may have hinted at need not apply to different songs chosen for the upcoming album, but to different styles, which can be combined in the same song..

    ---

    Finally, to digress a little, I think the most potentially misleading suggestion made in the discussion may have been the idea that people who criticize what they sometimes see as an overuse of formalized power choruses would prefer something bland that they can "hum along to". Obviously, I can't speak for everyone - but that would be the last thing I would want (and is, in fact, a prime reason why I can seldom stomach Mainstream radio!).
    Carrie is not immune to having what I would consider "hum along" songs. (Again, controversially, since I know many like it, I'd see "Do You Think About Me" in that vein - for me, I'm afraid it comes across as a bland, jingly, album filler, with very little musical variation and relatively weak lyrics. Sorry - but I mention it to emphasize that I'm not looking for more in that style!)

    For anyone still interested, these are a couple of examples of how a singer, in my view, can combine a strong vocal with a raw, organic feel, without relying on hum along predictability - and (although Carrie would obviously do it in her own way) it is this general direction that I would love to hear her explore a little more.
    First, the lady that I regard as unquestionably one of the greatest all round, expressive Country singers of her generation - singing a modern Darrel Scott classic (with harmonies from Carmella Ramsey and Jeff Hughes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n57WBtvtC4

    And secondly, a duet between Carolyn Routh and Sam Moore. The Nu Blu vocalist has been described in a way that i think could also apply to Carrie: "a caramel-coated soprano, at times a tender lullaby, at times a freight train headed straight for you, but always unwinding a surprising tale."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nb9wTuAuBA
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan txacar's Avatar
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    ^ Love this, as always.
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    Don't Brad and Carrie are announced as the CMA's hosts during CMA Fest every year? Do you guys think they will host this year?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MelissaD View Post
    You're 150% correct. I've been saying for a long time, her natural talent and abilities are astounding, so much so that for so many years she's gotten away with a failure to observe certain formalities of vocal practice that are pretty much cardinal rules to most singers for them to even vocally function at all. But the voice is literally a muscle. It doesn't matter how naturally strong it is, you need to continue to exercise it properly and with GOOD FORM if you want to maintain it, especially with age. The technique of MIXING that I speak of so often would be extremely beneficial not only in helping her to preserve her voice, but in extending her belting or "money note" range even beyond what it already is!
    The choir teachers that I had in middle & high school would be really shocked to hear that a singer who has Carrie’s natural vocal talent & abilities doesn’t warm up her voice because she feels blessed to be able to be so loud & hit those high notes & hold them for such a long period of time &her not feeling like she needs to warm up because she feels she’s gifted enough vocally to not need to worry about warming up before she sings.It doesn’t matter how naturally strong her voice is,you need to take care of it with warm ups so you don’t end up blowing your voice out to the point that your voice sounds really rough & you can’t hit those high notes like Carrie does on a consistent basis.I don’t know if this applies or not,but I don’t want her to end up with the same kind of problems that Adele had with her voice 6 or 7 years ago I think that she had vocal cord hemorrhaging that forced her to cancel 2 tours & had to be on an extended period of rest to avoid permanent damage to her vocal cords & had to have surgery to remove a benign polyp on her vocal cords.I don’t know if that applies here but I just don’t want something like that happening to Carrie if she doesn’t take care of her vocal cords properly or if she doesn’t start warming up before her performances,her voice could get strained or be blown out by all of the high notes she hits &none of us want any issues like that or any kind of vocal issues happening to Carrie because we want her to be singing well into her 50s & 60s without having any permanent damage to her vocal
    Cords because of all of the belting & high notes she hits without warming up her voice properly or not resting her voice between performances of songs that require those notes being held for such a long period of time.Lastly,when you say mixing to maintain her voice to preserve her voice & to try & extend her belting and money note range,what do you mean by that?


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    All those talk about money notes upthread.... I am almost always afraid to voice out here that I tend to grow weary of the loud, belting songs a lot faster. People will jump on my post lol.

    As Donna mentioned, I am so ready for a more raw, toned down Carrie this time as well.

    Some say why changed something that wasn't broken? She has made a career out of belting. I'd say in this music industry, if you don't change and evolve, that's career death in a few years' time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuiZ View Post
    All those talk about money notes upthread.... I am almost always afraid to voice out here that I tend to grow weary of the loud, belting songs a lot faster. People will jump on my post lol.

    As Donna mentioned, I am so ready for a more raw, toned down Carrie this time as well.

    Some say why changed something that wasn't broken? She has made a career out of belting. I'd say in this music industry, if you don't change and evolve, that's career death in a few years' time.
    Don't be afraid to express how you feel. Many of us feel the same way. Sometimes we just need softer tones to soothe our souls. She is such an exceptional talent -- I really want to hear it all. I loved her from the beginning but must admit I fell in love all over again when she sang WAW. I'm hoping for more of that on this album.
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    I like so many of y’all am really looking forward to this new and creative Carrie album. I don’t think she’s letting go of all her glory notes whatsoever....I think she’s learning how to incorporate them as phrases to the verses rather than culmination’s of a verse. I am also looking forward to the different effects/affects she’s found in her treatments of the vocals. And yes, I do call that a switch. We are reading so much much in our need to know mindsets about the new album, but I’m willing to bet the changes will be subtle for most.

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    She's heading in your direction Tee.

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    I’m hoping Carrie plays some more material from the album. Wishful thinking. September is still so far away. Can’t wait, lol.
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    September is far but in the meantime, it would be nice if she performs some covers on some festivals before that. Perhaps to show more versatility and interpretation of unexpected songs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuiZ View Post
    All those talk about money notes upthread.... I am almost always afraid to voice out here that I tend to grow weary of the loud, belting songs a lot faster. People will jump on my post lol.

    As Donna mentioned, I am so ready for a more raw, toned down Carrie this time as well.

    Some say why changed something that wasn't broken? She has made a career out of belting. I'd say in this music industry, if you don't change and evolve, that's career death in a few years' time.
    I’m not going to jump on you,HuiZ.I get that the loud,belting songs & the money notes are what she’s been known for since she started out,but I’m definitely ready for a more raw,toned down Carrie this time around.We May love the belting & money notes she does but after some time,people get weary of it because they think that’s all Carrie can do vocally.We all know there are different areas of her voice that she’s shown off before but she doesn’t show them off as often as we & other people want her to.I’m excited to see what other areas of her voice that she’ll show us this time around!!


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    Quote Originally Posted by HuiZ View Post
    All those talk about money notes upthread.... I am almost always afraid to voice out here that I tend to grow weary of the loud, belting songs a lot faster. People will jump on my post lol.

    As Donna mentioned, I am so ready for a more raw, toned down Carrie this time as well.

    Some say why changed something that wasn't broken? She has made a career out of belting. I'd say in this music industry, if you don't change and evolve, that's career death in a few years' time.
    I’m not jumping on your post, I promise. I love the high, belting notes. It’s just what I prefer. At the same time, I’m love soft songs too! I am not sure if you’ve heard the song “Praying” by Kesha. It is one of my all time favorite songs, as is “Picture” by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. To me, there is something mesmerizing by being able to switch from soft, tender vocals to singing soaring, high notes! I feel Carrie does his effortlessly which is why she has maintained her country queen status for this many years.
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    Nor will Carrie's career ever see career death... If anyone has evolved in the Country music scene as a vocalist and an accomplished artist is Carrie....... And I believe she is well on her way for legendary status......
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farawayhills View Post
    I'm glad to see that Carrie's comment led to so much spirited discussion - but I think it's been partially misinterpreted, and has led to some "style wars" fears that I believe are largely unnecessary.

    I don't see anywhere in the comment an implication that Carrie is going to move away from power vocals, higher register singing, or full use of the strength and range of her voice (much less an implication that she's going to make a largely "laid back" album.). As I said in my first reply to Clare's quote from the article - I'm sure she will continue to need (and use) those dramatic vocal styles.

    What I think she was emphasizing in the part of the interview dealing with what she's learnt as a producer is the relatively greater value in showing "raw emotion", and the possibility that that can often be achieved by a greater natural spontaneity in letting the feel of the song lead her vocal, instead of over-thinking, and going for a "money note" for the sake of meeting a perceived fan, performance, or radio expectation. As I see it, following an approach along those lines won't mean that the power notes disappear - but rather that they will appear more organic and integrated into the needs and spirit of the song.

    It may be difficult to illustrate this convincingly, since we all differ in how we hear a song; in how far we prefer a general concert stage sound, as opposed to a specifically Country, Roots or Soul singing tradition; and specifically in how we prefer the emphases Carrie herself shows in the different songs she writes or chooses. I don't expect others to necessarily agree - but I'll try to use "Cry Pretty" to illustrate how I, personally, see this difference.

    My two favourite parts of the song are:- firstly, the opening, up to about 48 seconds, when she shows what I consider one of her most dramatic, raw, and emotional vocal passages to date. For me, drama and emotion don't require a power vocal (though they obviously don't preclude having one, when needed). But this quieter opening certainly can't be described as "laid back" - it's raw, and shows a stark emotion in its vulnerable admission of personal involvement in the theme of the passage.
    --- and secondly, the long conclusion to the song, beginning at about 2 mins 16 secs. This involves another aspect of drama and emotion, with much more force, and use of emphatic notes. But, in my view, it remains "raw". Rather than possible "over-thinking", or aiming for a predictably staged vocal effect, the overwhelming impression I get here is of a singer letting the song express itself, through her remarkable vocal gifts. For me, nothing of Carrie's skill is lost here - on the contrary, I feel it all the more as she absorbs the spirit of the song and lets it shine through in an unpredictable whirl of emotion, that feels organically at one with the music.

    (More controversially, perhaps, I, personally, am not so keen on the part of the song that falls between the two sections I've highlighted - there, I feel Carrie is going for a more traditional power chorus approach, which I feel comes across as less raw, more formally constructed, and directed more towards perceived fan or radio expectations. In itself, there's nothing wrong with this, and I'm not arguing that it is done in any way badly - but this section, to me, seems closer to a formulaic approach that Carrie has used before, and my preference would be to hear rather less of that approach, in favour of more experimentation along the other lines I've highlighted)

    Agree or not, I hope I've suggested that the change in production style that Carrie may have hinted at need not apply to different songs chosen for the upcoming album, but to different styles, which can be combined in the same song..

    ---

    Finally, to digress a little, I think the most potentially misleading suggestion made in the discussion may have been the idea that people who criticize what they sometimes see as an overuse of formalized power choruses would prefer something bland that they can "hum along to". Obviously, I can't speak for everyone - but that would be the last thing I would want (and is, in fact, a prime reason why I can seldom stomach Mainstream radio!).
    Carrie is not immune to having what I would consider "hum along" songs. (Again, controversially, since I know many like it, I'd see "Do You Think About Me" in that vein - for me, I'm afraid it comes across as a bland, jingly, album filler, with very little musical variation and relatively weak lyrics. Sorry - but I mention it to emphasize that I'm not looking for more in that style!)

    For anyone still interested, these are a couple of examples of how a singer, in my view, can combine a strong vocal with a raw, organic feel, without relying on hum along predictability - and (although Carrie would obviously do it in her own way) it is this general direction that I would love to hear her explore a little more.
    First, the lady that I regard as unquestionably one of the greatest all round, expressive Country singers of her generation - singing a modern Darrel Scott classic (with harmonies from Carmella Ramsey and Jeff Hughes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n57WBtvtC4

    And secondly, a duet between Carolyn Routh and Sam Moore. The Nu Blu vocalist has been described in a way that i think could also apply to Carrie: "a caramel-coated soprano, at times a tender lullaby, at times a freight train headed straight for you, but always unwinding a surprising tale."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nb9wTuAuBA
    My thoughts exactly..... Great post..
    Farawayhills likes this.

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    Melissa, I have a question. Speaking 50 year old artists, I had the wonderful experience of seeing Céline Dion a couple of weeks ago - another lyric soprano so I’m told. I read that Céline hits an F5 in the famous note in “All By Myself,” although she lowers it live to save her voice (which works, she was still amazing). Do you know if Carrie has ever hit a note that high full voice?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcramer View Post
    Nor will Carrie's career ever see career death... If anyone has evolved in the Country music scene as a vocalist and an accomplished artist is Carrie....... And I believe she is well on her way for legendary status......
    In terms of mainstream and chart success, yes, she will. There will come a time when she’ll stop having hits. She’ll continue making music, but she won’t be at the top forever like she is now. No artist has ever stayed relevant the entire run of their working career.


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