I only started singing soul music well when I started keeping a large horizontal embouchure and I started pushing the back of my tongue up and the soft palate down, sounding more "nasal". This creates a soulful/squeezed sound that is great when I sing Otis Redding, John Belushi, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, The Doors, Stevie Wonder and so on... Is that the right mouth configuration for that style of singing?

Unfortunately, I cannot find a teacher that seems to agree. One coach, recently told me to try to sing with a more neutral mouth and a lowered jaw, rather than an American large configuration of the mouth. His intention was to reduce the tension, but in the end he also realised I cannot have that same nice soulful sound if I sing in that way, and it sounds more like Pavarotti singing rock n roll.

Other times I was told to keep the tongue neutral and raise my soft palate. That also doesn't work well when I listen back to my recordings.

Is there any standard way of singing for soul singers? any standard mouth configuration or embouchure?

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    I just want to reassure you that it can take some time to adjust to a change in technique. I hope that after you get used to the change this coach has suggested, you'll be able to integrate the new with the old. I do think it is worthwhile to make some changes in order to reduce tension. Best of luck! Oct 15, 2021 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


yo, I agree, you can have your 'standards' that have good technique meaning healthy singing and also experiment with ya voice. Did you record yourself? It is more important how you project, then how 'nasal'/soulfull it sounds to yourself. Mostly the tone should come out clearly and then is 'styled' within this projection (be it nasal/soul-ish) imho. Have fun!


It seems you've already found the way that gives you the tone you want. As long as you don't feel you're straining or otherwise injuring yourself, that's all you need.

My strong recommendation is that you study with a teacher to learn "proper technique" and mastery of "the apparatus" — which means you might sound like Pavarotti for a while. (You could do worse than Pavarotti.)

But once you have good enough control of your breathing, palate, glottis, vowel shape, diction, etc., you'll be able to adjust to the demands of whatever style you choose.

As examples, I'll point to Lada Gaga and Meryl Streep. Both trained classically, but Lada Gaga can adjust her voice to sing pop and jazz, and Meryl Streep can sing Abba with the best of them.

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