We asked Jaron LeGrair, Estill Master Trainer (Candidate), to talk about the craft of gospel singing in anticipation of his full presentation at the Estill Voice North American Summit in New York City. Jaron is a voice teacher, voice coach, speech trainer, the founder and owner of the Jaron LeGrair Studio. Jaron grew up singing gospel, loves singing gospel today, and has a lot of clients who are worship leaders, gospel singers, and praise leaders. He has gospel singing clients who have won Grammys and clients who have to sing in church every Sunday morning. Jaron identifies three major Estill figure options prevalent in gospel music today:
1. Thick True Vocal Folds: Body-Cover
Something Jaron sees and hears often in Gospel singers is thick folds. You hear them all the time in gospel choirs, gospel singers and gospel groups. You’ll hear them especially in this quick clip of one of his favorite singers Kierra Sheard-Kelly singing “My Redeemer Liveth.”
2. Glottal Onsets
The glottal onset goes hand in hand with the pitfalls that Jaron’s talked about before. The glottal onset really gets the vocal folds together physically and quickly gives you a nice full sound. So here’s a clip of one of his favorite choirs of all time James Hall Worship and Praise singing “The Blood.” You’re going to hear some other things like cricoid tilt but just listen for those glottal onsets.
3. False Vocal Fold Constriction
You’ll hear a lot, but not all, gospel singers use squalling and growling in their vocal technique. Jaron thinks a lot of it comes from emotion and is inspired by what the singers are singing about. The emotion takes singers to that growl or squall and some added FVF constriction adds emotional texture. Listen to Ricky Dillard & New Generation singing “There Is No Way.”