Gravely voice



I’d like to know how singers add a gravelly/growl effect to their voice.  I love it. It sounds so emotive, so passionate.  I’d like to be able to do it sometimes, to add as an effect when I sing blues songs etc, preferably in a way that’s not too bad for the voice.
…Here are some examples, first male:

Joe Cocker – … re=related

then female:

Bonnie Tyler – … re=related


>>>>I have a gravelly voice that I try to get rid of, so perhaps can answer this one.

It has a lot to do with how the upper part of the inner mouth (upper pallet?) is tense, and how the lower jaws protrude.  Protrude the lower jaw yourself, and you’ll see it looks like anger.   Cry a bit, and you’ll feel the upper pallet raise.

A gravelly voice is a result of these emotions suppressed as forms of muscular tension in the mouth and jaws.   Thus Joe Cocker’s singing sounds just like these emotions, with a lot of boldness added.

To gain a gravelly voice, then, is done, in part, by protruding out the jaws a bit, and then tensing the upper pallet such that it drops down a bit.  This is bad melodic singing technique.  Also, if you force it, it’s more difficult.  Try, somehow to see if you have such suppressed emotions and express these into the singing–then everything will be very natural.

Vocalposture says that the entire body is actually involved, such that the jaw and upper pallet changes are only partial.  

On the mentioned Bonnie Tyler’s video, one can even see how she does the gravelly and raspy.  When she wants this effect, her mouth frequently forms into a slight anger emotion shape.

The elder Joe Cocker no longer appears as angry as my recollection of the younger Joe.   Nevertheless, even in this video, observe that his mouth is not a melodic, but anger shaped (wheras the chorus women are very melodic happy mouth shaped, and sound just as).

These videos also illustrate the Zen concept– when you see Buddha, kill him.  Observe the women chorus in Cocker video– standard melodic pretty voices, and possibly well trained.  Cocker– non-standard.  What this means is that the Buddha is initially socially perceived as “correct, melodic singing”.   To kill the Buddha means, to bypass society’s norm of “correct, melodic singing”, and to express one’s own emotions and voice (thereby attaining the true Buddha).

What I noticed in your posting was all kinds of “singing techniques” to achieve the effect.  These two, I believe, are using emotions coupled with, suppressed emotions, and then singing techniques to achieve the effect.


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