At one point in my career, I lost my voice. As someone who uses their voice regularly for their job, it was quite frustrating. It took several weeks for me to regain my confidence to sing again. However, I found that in order to regain my voice, I had to relearn how to strengthen it. So, I decided to do this the same way I learned to sing in the first place.

People often ask me how I learned to sing. To be honest, I’ve always considered myself a songwriter first, and anything that helps facilitate that (singing, playing an instrument) second. I’ve also been asked if I’ve ever taken voice lessons, to which the short answer is no.

My family enjoyed music, but they mostly listened to “the radio,” which meant I had no one in my family with the musical gene, except for myself. So, any advice was pretty scarce.

You may be wondering how I learned to sing without any formal training. The short answer is that I taught myself. But my lessons were from some of the most talented singers to grace the stage.

Early on in my musical journey, I realized that I didn’t really have the skills for serious singing. My voice had no control, no range, and no ability to be used to its full potential. But it dawned on me that those singing on the radio clearly had those attributes.

So, I decided to try and learn from those voices. I studied what I liked about my favorite singer’s voice and then tried to reproduce it with my own voice. It was a daunting challenge with lots of trial and error, but I had to learn to listen really well.

That brings us to this post. I want to share some tidbits of what I’ve discovered about singing and the artists who helped me learn to sing. So, I will begin a brand-new blog series that features a guest vocal teacher each week and what I learned from them. Hopefully, this will be helpful to other vocalists as well.

This week’s teacher is Dennis DeYoung.

Dennis DeYoung, an American singer, was the voice of the epic 70s-80s rock band STYX. Dennis has always been credited with having a unique singing style and voice. He is also a self-taught singer, and his mother was a huge fan of the ’50s and ’60s recording artist Johnny Mathis, who had a unique voice in his own right. Dennis wanted nothing more than to please his mother (as Dennis tells the story), so he decided he wanted to sing just like Mr. Mathis, which would ultimately have a significant influence on Dennis’s own vocal tone and style.

Dennis is a tenor. His vocal style has a very strong theatrical vibrato, and he uses harsh vowels in the way he enunciates words. Another uniquely quirky characteristic of Dennis’ singing style is his propensity to sing certain words with a bit of a British accent. It’s a quality I find rather appealing about his voice.

So, with the advances in technology, I will take on Dennis DeYoung’s/STYX song Lady this week. It was initially released in 1974 on the album Styx II and was a local hit in the band’s native Chicago but initially failed to chart nationally. Eventually, all that changed.

I hope you enjoy my vocal rendition of the STYX classic, Lady.

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