How to Sing Soul Music

By Carl Hose ; Updated September 15, 2017

Soul music is a musical genre that combines gospel, rhythm and blues, and even a little jazz to create a style that can be heard in singers from Aretha Franklin to Taylor Hicks. Within the soul genre you'll find subgenres such as Chicago Soul, Memphis Soul and Detroit Soul. Each of these subgenres include the basic elements of soul with a regional touch. Learn what it will take for you to sing soul music that will make your audience get on their feet and clap their hands.

Listen to as much music in the genre as you can to prepare yourself to sing soul. This musical genre not only requires singing talent, but emotion as well. Singing soul isn't simply understanding the technical aspects of singing well. Singing soul requires the vocalist to bring the lyrics of a song out musically and deliver them with power. Listening to other soul singers is an excellent way to learn how to feel the music.

Practice singing scales to keep your voice in shape. Blues scales (minor pentatonic with a sharped fourth) are great for soul singers who sing blues-influenced music, which can be found in a lot of soul singing (see "Resources").

Incorporate the call and response singing into your style. This is a method by which the soloist, or lead, singer answers a call sent out by the choir. Call and response could be a series of scale runs in response to a repeated chorus, or improvised vocal lines that answer the choir's call and build until you are singing a full chorus again. The call and response is a strong feature of soul singing, particularly in the gospel arena.

Practice controlling your voice and keeping the tension in it. Soul music sounds wild and untamed, but being a soul singer requires the ability to restrain your vocal chords and keep them taut. Practice hitting target notes and holding them for as long as you can. This is a good exercise for controlling the vocal chords.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.