Paul Simon as most of you know is a very gifted singer/songwriter. As the writing half of Simon And Garfunkel he churned out numerous hits such as Mrs Robinson, Bridge Over Troubled Water and countless others too numerous to mention. He also has done equally as well as a solo artist with his hit Graceland often heard on classic hit radio stations. Here’s what you DON’T notice though. He’s really not much of a vocalist. Not really. I mean, he’s a gifted musician/artist all round but his standout quality is his songwriting. Same goes for Billy Joel. As singer, neither of these guys would win prizes yet somehow that hasn’t held them back. Why? Well they both very simply play to their strengths. We can’t all have voices like Steve Tyler or Chris Cornell or Whitney Houston, so why draw attention to the fact that you can’t sing like that? This may seem obvious but after many years as a singing coach I can tell you that the vast majority of people have no idea as to what their particular individual vocal strengths are and this is precisely the sort of thing that a decent teacher can help you with. You never think of Paul Simon as NOT being a good singer because he doesn’t try to do things, vocally, that are beyond him. He was smart enough to have the wonderfully gifted Art Garfunkel to do the heavy lifting in the vocal department and when he went solo he continued to showcase his songwriting skills and managed to create wonderfully accessible songs that are not limited in melody yet still accommodate his pleasant yet unspectacular voice. So, first off you need to find out what your vocal ‘range’ is and start from there. Attempting to sing a Florence and the Machine song in the same way she does it or a Beyonce song with all her big notes and inflections if you don’t have that big voice is only going to draw attention to that fact. In many cases, less is more. Leave spaces, let the music do the work. It’s not how big your voice is or how long you can hold a note. It’s the expression and timing and phrasing. This is where we get into stylistics versus technique. A good teacher will help you to find your own style and sound so that you don’t sound like a bad copy of someone else.