Well, I'm not one of those who wishes she still sounded like she's 16, 18, 19, 23, or whatever. I've enjoyed how her voice sounded on all of her albums, yes, even Hushabye. The only "flaw" I think I've ever noticed on a studio recording was that newer version of Amazing Grace on the Jap. version of Paradiso. I just did not like the way she sang that, too low, nasally, and thin. And yet, on the Asaichi show just recently, she sang the song as beautifully as ever. Why the difference? I just don't understand that. Why couldn't we have a recording of her singing it as we always hear on TV shows?
I actually like her singing a little bit lower as she does in songs like Go To Sleep... except for the lowest note on "Baayy-beh". The beh part is a little too low. So, I think it's great for her to sing in those notes, but just not every song. Because even though she is able to sing in lower notes now, she still has a limit, I think. Plus, I've always loved her sweet soprano notes, and I would miss it if she only sang in Dream a Little Dream notes, and that's all. But I don't think I have to worry about that.
So, even if her higher notes are not as effortless as they used to be, they still sound good to the ear, and I still think that's one of the best tones of her voice. Soprano singing has always been her forte, and I think it still is, to some degree.
It seems to me she is becoming progressively more poppy, Hushabye is her first non-classical album in the UK. And pop technique is what to my ears she is moving towards. But the quality pop market she might be aiming at might no longer exist. In pop music, talent is an unnecessary optional extra these days.
Good point there martin, first you're right that there's too many of them, and the pop sound hayley's trying to develop might not be the best (not that she is)
And comet, to an extent I think you are right too, lack of informed guidance as you put it. Talent, Knowledge and Experience are three different things when talking in this aspect. Talent, we all know Hayley is super talented, knowledge, she had proper classical training to an extent too, and experience, hayley is still young, achieved so much already and still many more years to come. Knowledge is endless, it might help if Hayley did little more training to put her on track if she's ever confused. (And I'm not talking about over-training)
Why couldn't we have a recording of her singing it as we always hear on TV shows?
Libby, it is quite evident that she is trying to make a jump, and experimenting is not so good in live performances where she might fail with the new technique. Clearly marked from Winter Magic, she is aiming for a thin, nasal, young, sound. She is approaching from different angles to produce this sound, and that's the result we see in some songs of winter magic, some of Paradiso and most of Hushabye, while all are sung differently. I think Hayley is trying to respond to the criticism of her singing in a purposely angelic, too ethereal manner. But I'd deny that because that's a genre by itself, and that legato singing brings out her voice really greatly.
Knowingly or unknowingly Libby you said you don't like Bao bei so much because of the Choppy notes. It's a great song, but you are right, somebody more appropriate to the genre could have sounded better. Why is this? It all comes down to the technique, (ofcouse bao bei has to be sung like that only) As versatile as she may be, she is gonna sound her best only when she sings in certain certain ways, and as much as she tries to develop into a new path, she should not forget her strong zone.
Sounding good to the ear is not an excuse I believe (while they don't already sound great to my ears), I'm sure you already know that strained high notes is going to be bad for your voice in the longer run. (not saying hayley's high notes are strained, but are tending to)
That you've brought the topic of low notes, I really appreciate when Hayley sang Once upon a time, starting with a low F (the one above Middle C) That's really low for a soprano and sounded beautiful. I can imagine Ennio asking her to go lower and lower to that note, saying you can do it! Sometimes we need that force to encourage you and make you do things you can that you never knew you were able to. I think that was hayley's lowest ever note along with a F# from My heart belongs to you.
I'd like to point out a few songs, first Pokarekare ana, there's a high note in the bridge, she never sings it live, the last time she did it was in the live from newzealand DVD performance. Ave Maria, before the interlude. Now these high notes add life to the performance, it used to be at the blink of her eye. And I've never heard of her performing "Never say goodbye" or "Mary did you know" in a long time, as I think those had some really high live notes.
Being a soprano, she should make use of her voice the fullest, like Libby said, it wouldn't be too amazing if she sang in a mid-range throughout.
Now Thank you so much Marin for shooting that wonderful video, I'm sure you had a heavenly moment when she sung that. This video (2009) is not a professional video, but enough to explain what I'm trying to say. Her pure one was angelic, but it beautifully matured to what we hear in the second video, such perfect control. Observe her starting, ending, vibrato and breathing. Flawless. Then comes the 2011 version, You don't have to be a singer to say the obvious deterioration in tone, both low and high notes, too airy and very nasal. But still I'd say her vibrato and control is good. But now with her more pop songs it's not even reminiscent of what she was singing before, I'm starting to notice lack of perfect control.
The thing is I wouldn't go on about this if it was any other singer, it'd already be too good for them (what hayley is singing now). Because she was really perfect (yes you can argue saying no one's perfect, but this is just to get the point across), and to see this happen to her slowly is disappointing.
Back to microphones, They have a sensitive side or axis in front of the microphone, some microphones are much more sensitive than others to the movement of the singers head (or of the mic) and the angle they are pointed at.
This is a wonderful video with Hayley in fine form, outdoors on a cool day. The mic is in a fixed position on a stand, pointed at her upper lip on average, between her nose and mouth, the two main sound sources, so Hayley moves her head around the axis of the mic to get different effects. I think she puts her hand on it, not to move it, but to locate the axis and distance from it while her eyes are closed.(I may be wrong) If she is straight on the axis of the mic and movers her head up and down in a vertical line it changes the amount of nasal tone you hear. She moves away from the mic to cause a fade or a reduction in sound level. She tends to turn sideways slightly for the M in Maria, It can cause a Mu (popping sound) if done straight on and close up.
I am fairly Shure Hayley is well aware of the effects all these movements have on the sound that is being produced, There is usually a speaker (monitor) on the floor in front of her pointing up at her where she can hear herself clearly.
Words with C or S or SH or a sharp T in them can cause an unpleasant sound. (Sibilant, Sibilance)
words with a B or a P can cause a bit of a pop.
M and N can cause their own problems.
Hayley uses different techniques when she is holding the mic in her hand, Including holding the mic almost parallel to the ground or floor and singing straight into the axis of it. She will move the mic horizontally in front of her to cause fades when it is hand held.
Must look for a video with a hand held mic. There were some good ones with Jonathan Ansell and Hayley together, facing each other with each mic at almost a perfect 45 degrees to the ground and forming a perfect right angle between the two microphones, Fascinating stuff (for some people)
" But you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the Angels
and then the Angels forget to pray for us. " ......Leonard Cohen
Having performed in public and recorded songs over various mics, I'm well aware of all the things you mentioned. But what I'm talking about is not the difference caused by the mic. Which is why I compared amateur videos too, I'm taking into account, the differences of the mics, but there's an obvious change in her tone which is evident from a series of performances from different places, different mics, in that period of time. So what I'm trying to say is irrespective of mics I'm sure. Never the less great observation on some of those details
This is a fascinating thing that I have never thought about before. Microphone technique. But you are right, and Hayley does it so unobtrusively and naturally that you hardly notice. Brilliant. And by the way that Ave Maria is far and away the most popular video on my channel. For good reason, it is beautiful. Throughout Hayley's career I have had fears about her losing something as her voice matured. Her voice was changing, and she needed to keep control of it. I really worried about her in 2007, about the time she was doing West Side Story. I felt she was struggling to control her voice as it was changing. But she overcame it as we know. I am concerned that she might again be facing such a crisis. I would like to know what you thought of my recordings fro Gwyl Gobaith Simba. That is the last time I heard her live, a year ago, and I have heard nothing of her since except Hushabye and the various videos. But you have me worried. Like you I don't mind Hayley changing and developing. I expect that, and it is good that she does. But if her standards are falling, then I start to worry. It is hard to tell anything from Hushabye, she sang it in a different style and admitted to that. I will be interested to hear how she sounds when I next hear her live in October. That beautiful voice is a very precious and fragile thing. I would hate to think she was losing anything. BOTW by the way, did a lot to convince me that she is still as good as she ever was.
Simba, when I say low notes, I'm not talking about OUATITW. That really low note was a stronger, rich sound, and I agree, was very beautiful. I'm talking about Go To Sleep and songs like that. Those notes are not VERY low, but they are low enough, below her former soprano style, and is just not always her strong suit. I actually think it's the tone more than the notes themselves. Because they're easy enough for her to hit, but they just don't always sound amazing, that's all. Her soprano notes do. I don't want her to damage her voice, but if Hayley felt that those notes would damage her voice, she probably would never try it again. However, there will always be certain songs that people want her to sing, but who knows.
Having said that, I think songs like Go To Sleep are a good genre for her, but it just wouldn't be a great idea to have every song on the album be in those tones, that's all.
What about the low notes in My Heart Belongs to You? She sounded excellent in all of the notes in that song. What about Prayer? Her voice isn't in really high notes the whole way through. I could think of lots of songs that have lower and higher notes in the same song, but not super high notes. Maybe she should stick to songs that have a balance of lower and high notes, just so she doesn't have to strain the whole way through, if she really is straining. I rarely notice her straining in songs.
Simba, what song on Paradiso did she sound thin, nasal, and young? None that I can think of. Unless you mean the Amazing Grace song.
Hey guys, interesting discussion here. I agree with everyone that her voice has changed and it's probably harder for her to hit those high notes....BUT I think she still has that special tone. I wasn't too big a fan of her recent album because it sounded too kind of...sweet and poppish to my ears. But I still think that artistic direction- and actually that whole album- was more just a Decca production for the Royal Baby. A side project almost. Anyway, a few of the more recent performances that I really enjoyed... That Music Night with Tam Mutu (I've mentioned that before), "Love Came Down at Christmas" (2009 I think), "When a Child is Born" (I think a more recent Christmas one), and "World in Union" from the Rugby World Cup. None of those really required hitting super high notes but I thought they were all really good. She still had that pure tone but they didn't sound too poppish. They were just natural. I'd like to hear more of that.
Oh, and a little Off Topic here, but after watching a certain TV program last night with a certain former child star and thinking about all of the other young girls that have gone off the tracks after achieving fame at a young age (i.e. Charlotte Church for a while)...and to be honest, today's young people in general... I have so much more respect for Hayley for never once losing her respect and dignity in any way. Always a class act no matter how her voice changes. And that's more impressive than anything Well done to her parents.
Martin, well put that her voice is a precious and fragile thing, it has to be taken care of and put to right use. If we worry about this that only shows how much we care about her. All this while I'd been convincing myself that she isn't losing anything too. And regarding the Gwyl Gobaith performance, summerfly was good, but then the other two I never wanted to judge because it was so damn cold during the performance, and her voice falling short I'm sure was because of that. But what upsetted me was, songs like Pokare kare ana and Somewhere over the rainbow which had to be sung with more subtle and gentle tones were sung with much power. Though I have to admit that some portions of somewhere over the rainbow were stunning
Libby, I know what you were talking about, I just took that opportunity to appreciate her lowest notes, that sound brilliant, not in response to what you said
but if Hayley felt that those notes would damage her voice, she probably would never try it again.
Maybe that's why she's not singing the notes I mentioned earlier, live anymore?
What about the low notes in My Heart Belongs to You?
One of my favourite Hayley songs actually, I already mentioned about it in my previous post too! And it has some really high notes along the bridge
Oh sorry I meant the Amazing grace song, other than that it was awesome, that's why I always referred to Paradiso.
sweet and poppish
yes yes, that's exactly the sound that's coming out now, which calls for it to be airy, nasal and thin. And I don't think Decca had a say in her singing style, I'm sure it was Hayley's own will regarding the sound of Hushabye. Yes! That's what, she never lost it is the truth, since World in Union was a huge thing, she chose to sing it properly with her matured tone, but not the new singing technique. And I'm sure for that song she had a lot of people around her telling the kind of sound they wanted. This is really good as we always learn when working with people of the same field.
Haha as off-topic that is, I have to agree, till date I tell everyone I know that she's the perfect example of a girl, a true person. And that fame and name has got no impact on her personality. I still think all girls should learn a lot from her
I presume you're talking about Miley Cyrus -- I was actually thinking the same thing as you when I was watching it. Presumably her record company encouraged that shambolic, disorganised and un-choreographed mess to go ahead because they knew it would create spectacular short-term media coverage. They certainly were right - even Australian politicians are talking about it today (lol).
Anyway - you're right. It does show that Hayley has always had a strong sense of self and intelligence that she's been able to steer such a steady and determined course through her career. Not being drawn into doing sensationalised things for a quick moment of short-term gain. That's empowering, I think.
Just to clarify - I don't have a problem with singers using their sex-appeal to their advantage. But I do take issue when it's just vulgar, talent-less and stupid.
As for all the above talk about singing techniques and styles - gee it's been fascinating to read.
Like mlb said - I think a lot of it comes down to repertoire. Choosing just the right songs to show off your strong points and hide any weaknesses.
You're right Jillian, it certainly is fascinating. :wink:
Here's my "fascinating" two bits:
I just think Hayley needs to get some guidance. The Voice is still there. Not that I don't enjoy Hushabye, I love it, but it needs to be a one-time-thing for Hayley, direction and (for the most part) technique-wise, though I like the new warmth she puts in some songs. I most enjoyed "Bau Bei," "Go To Sleep," and "All I Have To Do Is Dream" because they just seemed to work with the style Hayley was using. But those songs are limited. I love this not-often-brought-up performance, because 1: it's (fairly) recent , 2: she uses a good bit of her range, and 3: it's all precise, clear, and projected.
Yeah, I'm actually really warming to Go To Sleep. I think the low notes I mean are just too quiet, that's all, they don't sound bad. But I do think the O Brother Where Art Thou genre is great for her. She's done 2 from that movie, now if she could just add one more, I'll Fly Away.
You're right Jillian, it certainly is fascinating.
Fascinating maybe, but I'm a little bit uncomfortable about any of us here trying to tell Hayley what she should or shouldn't do. I'm sure that she knows better than anyone how her voice has changed/is changing and what to do about it.
grant, sometimes even the greatest people overlook little things that are apparent to a lay person There are times when I sit for days on a painting, and go through doing the slightest of details and when I finish my piece, I'm satisfied with all the effort, and all that is what stays in my mind and someone who doesn't even know how to paint (who can see though ) made a small constructive criticism on a very basic thing, that quickly changed my perspective. It was indeed helpful. There's no reason to be uncomfortable about this, we all know hayley's voice can possibly be the best in the world, but nobody's god. Why assume she 'knows' when we might possibly be of some help? Even though no one is to say they know better than hayley, who knows so much more.
Indeed, Simba and Grant, I take on board your comments, ans I know Hayley will too if she sees them. Hayley has always listened to what her fans are saying. She can decide for herself what if anything she wants to do about it. It is up to her in the end, but if we are noticing things and talking about them, it is not because we want to direct her, but because we want to make her aware of what we are hearing. That could be useful to her. If it is what she intended, fine. But is it isn't, she has a reaction and something to think about and perhaps work on. I know we all say these things because we care about Hayley, and want her to be the best she can be. She has such a wonderful gift, and I'm sure she wants to make the most of it. And we too, long to hear her at her best. Feedback is useful to her I'm sure, and she has always been open to it. We need to be honest and say what we think. Just unthinking praising everything she does because we are her fans and supporters doesn't help her. We might think it is unfair to criticise Hayley for little inperfections that you wouldn't notice with any other singer, because of the much bigger inperfections they have. But as long as it is constructive, I'm sure it will help her. I would still rather listen to Hayley than any other singer on the planet. That has been the case since I first heard her sing back in 2004, nothing has changed.