Most artists are known for distinctive stylistic features of their voice that are present in their work and create an identity for their voice. An artist is often considered captivating for these characteristic features that are seen throughout his or her work. However, Will Want’s voice adopts different styles and features based upon the particular song being performed. Will’s voice is captivating for its ability to evoke emotion from a myriad of different genres by adapting his stylistic techniques to the song and its audience.
The five excerpts below demonstrate the different vocal affects Will uses in different genres to portray meaning. In the first two excerpts we see how Will’s voice can captivate the classical audience of a singer-songwriter. Will utilizes a soft and breathy voice to present the feeling of intimacy. He incorporates affects such as vocal ornamentation and a vocal flip to add intensity to the intimacy of his tone production. The mood created in these pieces is one of reflection over the intimacy of the moment
Excerpts three and four demonstrate a departure from the smooth tone of the previous two. Will utilizes affects such as the vocal fry to completely alter the tone of his voice. He adopts a strained voice that is less pure and focused on the struggles of the songs. By changing the style of his singing he is able to create an entirely different mood of resistance and dissatisfaction. In “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” Will delves into rapping, rapidly increasing the tempo of the song and his lyrical pace, at times blending the words together. The rapid tempo is in stark contrast with the pure intimacy of “Bella Donna”, yet it is equally emotional. Will’s voice is captivating for its ability to create an emotional connection to two widely varying songs from disparate genres.
Will demonstrates the extent of his versatility in his a capella cover of “Royals” by Lorde. In one song he beat boxes, harmonizes and sings the melody. Each of these parts requires a unique stylistic approach in order for him to provide the proper meaning. The vocal percussion techniques of beat boxing are not even classified as singing as they involve a completely different set of skills and techniques to properly learn and successfully execute. Nevertheless, Will flawlessly performs them side by side with the ornamentation of the harmony and melody part. He integrates the beat boxing with the melody and harmony part by tweaking the individual style of each part so that as a whole they form one cohesive unit.
The excellence across a range of musical styles is what characterizes Will Want's voice as captivating. His mastery of vocal affects such as ornamentation and vocal fry, and his his control over tone and mood allow him to adapt his voice to the stylistic demands of the piece. From rap to pop to rock, Will uses his voice to evoke the required emotions of the piece and provide a meaningful connection, whatever the audience
This excerpt is a cover of "Bella Donna" by the Avett Brothers which demonstrates Will's ability to use stylistic elements to create a feeling of intimacy. He sings with perfect pitch and demonstrates a characteristic tone that is smooth and breathy with low dynamic levels. The tone sounds like a whisper in the listener's ear to create a feeling of close proximity to the singer. Phrasing is also important to the intimate mood of the song. Will phrases the lines by stretching the tempo and decreasing the volume at the end of each line. By holding onto the lyrics and softly trailing away he creates a feeling of longing. The combination of longing and proximity creates an intensely emotional and intimate song.
Vocal ornamentation is integral to the creation of meaning and the expression of emotion in music. In this excerpt Will demonstrates the extensive use of vocal ornamentation at the ends of each phrase by varying the pitch on the long held notes. The ornamentation on the lyric "change" at the end of the recording is especially notable for the way he uses it to create emotion. He begins with a vocal flip which signals a volume and intensity increase. He then slowly bends the pitch culminating in the rapid ornamentation and quick decrescendo at the end of the phrase. The vocal flip and volume increase signal the increase in energy as the song moves into the chorus. The rapid ornamentation adds the feeling of excitement and belief to the change that is sung about.
Here, Will demonstrates his ability to expand into other genres and adapt a different style from the smooth tone of a classical singer. He raps an excerpt from "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" by Ed Sheeran. This passage is characterized by the speed with which Will sings the lyrics of the song and the change in tone production that results from his rapping. He demonstrates his ability to rapidly recite the lyrics of the song while retaining musicality. His voice adopts a louder tone with less breathiness and an increase in straining characterized by the vocal fry at the beginnining of the passage. The speed and strain in his voice creates a mood of resistance and internal strength.
In this excerpt from “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, Will demonstrates the combined usage of the register flip and the vocal fry technique to create meaning. The line “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” is repeated twice and both times Will strains his voice heavily with a vocal fry while singing this lyric. The vocal fry creates a feeling of struggle as we hear the grating in his voice which mimics the frustration of the song lyric. To further emphasize the mood of resistance Will employs a register flip on the word “can’t”. The vocal flip is a physical expression of the struggle in the song as the voice is pushed to the point of breaking. Both of these vocal affects contribute to the emotion of intense anger and frustration portrayed by the song.
An important part of vocal performance is the ability to combine one’s voice with accompaniment and other sounds, both vocal and instrumental. This excerpt is a recording of an a capella cover of “Royals” by Lorde with Will providing the melody, harmony, and drum beat (beat boxing). Will demonstrates the ability to sing and blend all three parts of the song. The beat boxing also demonstrates an area of vocal performance that is a departure from the previous songs. He is able to successfully imitate the different drum beats of the song using only manipulations of his voice. The versatility of will’s voice is highlighted by the three unique parts present in this song and way they are balanced. Will alters his use of vocal ornamentation and changes his tone production to properly mix the melody and harmony with the harsh background of the vocal percussion