Denny Strickland on What it takes to be a Successful Musician


It doesn’t matter if the music is extraordinary, or if the lyrics are out of this world. In a song the first thing that will be judged will be the sound that comes out of your mouth. Between the attitudes, the tone and the timbre, there are a set of elements that will enhance the song or completely ruin it.

Denny Strickland is no stranger to writing music. Having collaborated with major hip hop artists like Juicy J., he knows a thing or two about writing music. Denny is planning on releasing a full length album and is one of the few musicians who are innovating with something new; he’s working on creating a blend between country and hip hop music together, something that most people don’t know about.

He has collaborated with Grammy award winners and has millions of streams to his name. His shows have also been consistent sold outs. Here’s what he has to say on becoming a successful musician. 

The First Impression

Tone of voice is the first impression made and the first element to be judged. The audience immediately decides if they like your voice by the sound that comes out of your mouth and not by the words.

This is important as the first impression defines the willingness with which the audience will listen or even if they will pay attention to you. It is not about having a “beautiful” voice, that it sounds perfect, or even that you know how to sing, but rather that it has character, that it differentiates itself, that it stands out, that it speaks for itself.

It is important to think about how we are going to sing, the attitude, and mainly the sound we want to achieve. One way to contrast this difference in timbre, at the compositional level, is to test the melody played by different instruments such as piano, saxophone, and violin. This can give us an idea, but until the moment of being sung and trying different forms or voices we will not be sure.

We can also think about how “such an artist” would sing it, and the great secret is that many times, it is not the timbre of the voice but the way they sing. For example,  Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark, not only sings but also has a quasi-theatrical nuance, like that of an opera singer, or the interpretation of a huge story.

Another detail is that as singers, we should not limit ourselves to natural sound either, several artists use different voices than those they normally speak or would sing, for example, Beastie Boys and B-Real, Axl Rose from the GNR, System of Down, etc. Of course, we must be very careful not to damage our voice. In Gun’s N ‘Roses – Knockin On Heavens Door, we can hear a clear use of the different unnatural tones.

Everything is one: The voice is part of the music

Many times, it happens that the music goes on one side and the voice on the other, both are correct but there is a feeling that they do not go together. Another of the most frequent problems is that the voice sounds well above the band or well below. This also makes a very bad impression, it is very important to check the volume, and other details of the sound to make it sound more like a set. At this point, a good sound engineer or sound engineer makes a difference.

3) 99% attitude, 1% talent and content

When you are in front of the microphone, there is no room for shyness, speak loudly or join the quiet crowd. It doesn’t matter if it’s an intimate and romantic ballad, whispering or a depressing song, your voice has to have strength. An excellent example is Barry White – Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby. We can also remember Kurt Cobain’s screaming in Nirvana. In conclusion, whether you are going to rap, sing or speak, do it with determination and character that is: EVERYONE should listen to you.

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