People telling you you can't sing. -- Inspiration thread!


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Question: What keeps you going when everyone just keeps telling you that you suck after practicing for ten million years? :)

This thread is actually inspired by Ankh. Here's his post and my story.
Hope to hear everyone else's :D


I can see that everyone is trying to be nice. I can also see that sometimes people can't accept the fact that one are not born to be a singer. It is not like practising the guitar, keyboards or any other musical instruments.

But the fact, that singing won't do for someone to pay for it! Probably as entertaining with friends at a Karaoke pub or just casual session. Have to accept the fact. You're not cut out to be a singer and no matter how you practice you won't sound good. Pick up some musical instruments to realise your potentiality rather than trying out that you are not meant for.

Sorry if it sounded offensive.


K I have a story to share. I have to say that the remark isn't harsh, but perhaps Ankh would like to rethink his/her words before demoralising other aspiring vocalists with such an opinion as that.

About eight years ago when I was in secondary school, my classmates used to shove me into talentimes just because I liked singing to myself in class. Every class had to have someone represent and no one wanted to do it.

Unfortunately, I was a closet singer and I was very very shy. Very. Like, if anyone heard my voice and turned to look at me, I'll blush like CRAZY.

Actually I'm still shy lah but anyway,..

The first talentime I had, I sang along with a minus-1 and I won consolation prize because no one heard my voice, and those who did thought it was by the original singer. Second talentime I had, I won 3rd prize only because my "partner" pulled some ropes and cut some corners.

During these phases, there were friends and other singers who were telling me that maybe singing wasn't my thing because I had a soft voice, and everytime I tried to sing louder, I'll go off-key.

Most of them told me I should just stick to playing guitar, because it seemed a more effective instrument compared to my vocals.

Even my MOM told me I can't make it and she tried to correct me every single time; "Must sing louder! From the stomach!" etc etc. My mum's not a singer lah haha she's just giving remarks. K anyway

I stopped singing after that and played guitar for the next three years and devoted myself to it, because I was, apparently, "not vocal material" and not "born to be a singer".

Singers also had to have confidence to lead a band, and with my shyness around people, it didn't seem to make sense for me to be a vocalist.

More than enough reason to stop singing even though I loved it the most.

My big break came one day when I broke up with my bf and impulsively went for an audition requiring a female vocalist. I actually just went for it because I wanted to sing to let it out hahaha... (they let me sing my fav songs lah, who can resist?)

I sang like shit, and they couldn't hear me even when they turned the mic really loud and there was only one guitar and one drummer. *slaps forehead*. Thankfully, the band took me in anyway (god knows why but they said it was because of me playing the guitar when they went for ciggie break. i think they thought if after some time I still can't make it on vocals, they'll tell me to play guitar. so in the end my guitar work saved my butt after all).

Five years later, this band is still established and my vocals have improved tremendously to the point of getting guest vocal offers from big names, got approached by BMG, and invitations to sing in concerts. I have also been reprimanded to cut a solo album (which I'm still considering on), and have been complimented and even made role model and an inspiration to some aspiring female vocalists in the music scene. People are also asking for help to teach them how to sing, but I don't think I'm qualified... altho I still try anyway. :}

My shyness? Well I'm still shy..... but just offstage. :} Sometimes when you see the crowd get into the whole performance with you, the energy just bounces back and that shyness just takes the backseat. Why be shy with people wanting to touch your hands and yelling at how beautiful your voice is? :p

K I'm not trying to brag here, and I'm sorry if anyone felt I went overboard, but my point is, if someone tells you you're not born to sing, that person obviously has no vocal experience or lack of sense and logic, because every voice can be trained and moulded into perfection from different ways such as practice, influences, ear training, throat studies, and .. god, so many others! Everyone has their own way of learning how to sing. If you can talk, you can sing (an old Tibeten quote).

The state of my voice is still soft sometimes, as I realised that it is just my style. But my voice has also been polished to the point of being able to control my volume and weaknesses I had in the past at will. I also learned other techniques from reading, experimenting, and asking other vocalists. ALL of them had different opinions when it came to singing, which is very very interesting, and in the end, I used ALL ideas to polish my range, my techniques, my styles, and my versatility. I have still a long way to go in polishing these up, but I'm pretty sure I don't sound the same from eight years ago...

It was stupid of me to listen to my friends and company when they told me I'm not cut out to be a singer. Fortunately for me, I was given a second chance (with that impulsive audition) with which my love for singing would never have materialised if I had believed people like Ankh here.

Food for thought sweeties, and I hope none of you would give up your dreams of singing. If you need help, we're always here to help.

Just remember... set realistic goals, and that if you're just starting out, humble down!
No one wants to support a proud braggy self-absorbed cockanaden no matter how good they sound.

Listen to as much as you can. Good singing is also subjective, as everyone has their own style. Listen to Bjork, for example. Would a blues singer call Bjork a good singer? Maybe not, but look at how many fans she has and how she's noted to have one of the most unique voices in our generation.

If you need more examples, check out Dadawa, Enya (soft singer like me but her voice can soothe a savage soul), Janis Joplin (rusky drug-infested probably rotting throat), Diamanda Galas (beautiful jazz voice but she makes weird noises with her voice), Antony & the Johnsons (a tranny who sings female ranges and is absolutely beautiful)....... you get my drift. All these singers are widely respected in their genre and have a strong fanbase.

Take every criticisms with a pinch of salt, and don't give up k!!!
I have to admit one thing also.... I never quite understood how anyone would prefer an alternative instrument when the voice can be an extremely versatile instrument.. I know it's a preference, but to tell a singing-lover that another instrument can replace it is quite odd.. They're in completely different leagues, every instrument is in their own league. This is from experience, cos I also play a couple of other instruments during my lifetime.

Look at all the guitarists out there... just playing solo after solo after solo... changing their sound here and there with effects... zzzz... I think the only con with vocals is that you can only use one throat and not sing a chord or something (although I know some vocalists who are trying ;)). :p No offence to guitarists! :p
well someone once told me, playing really well on the guitar can't get you as far as being able to sing really well.
that's one long post there. and i understood every word. everyone says that but very few practise it. laziness and lack of motivation i presume
well someone once told me, playing really well on the guitar can't get you as far as being able to sing really well.

Simple reason; Everything's been heard before, every skilled topped, every sound experimented. It depends too much on physical objects such as the instrument craftsmanship and its equipment. And these things don't usually go out at one piece worldwide.

Whereas in singing, every voice is unique. It's how you want to use it, via type of music, tone control, sound, genre, styles, that gives it more core to be different than anyone else. No one person sound exactly the same, even the way they talk changes how you sound when you sing...
that's one long post there. and i understood every word. everyone says that but very few practise it. laziness and lack of motivation i presume

Thanks for reading! But what were you referring to when you said everyone says what but few practice what?
what i meant is,
people always say, "don't give up", "your time will come", "practice makes perfect"..

but very few truly understand what they mean and follow them. to some, they are just phrases that don't mean anything. in one ear, out the other.
those who succeed are those who really knows what 'don't give up really means'.

'don't give up' means to not let go of what you want. perservere until you get it. at all costs. forgetting it means it's over, you've given up.
a lot of people here initially think" i must not give up". give them a day or two and you'll find them lazing around doing other stuff or worse yet, doing nothing.

"practice makes perfect". there's a lot of sarcasm that has to do with this phrase. "if practice makes perfect and nothing is perfect, so why practice?"
this is negative thinking. this is giving up. this is losing hope. it's when you put your mind, heart and soul into doing something and the result will be sweet, i.e, perfect.

these phrases arent usually literal. you just have to understand them.

notice how many ah peks and such down at the coffee shop begging for money for a beer. they've given up long ago and are now getting their just desserts.

so ya. to sage: you're a real inspiration not only to those who has lost hope in singing, but to others out there who think they aren't good enough for anything. everyone's good at something. you're good at singing and i don't need to hear you sing to say that.;) i've read your post and that's good enough for me
:) I'm so flattered, and thank you again

:) just want to make ppl hapi

:) i'm shy now and my face has turned red :)
Hi Sage!

That's a very long statement you have there. Well, I won't rethink how I'd lay down my words if ask to ammend. Hahaha...!

I have no intention of demoralising anyone but just saying as a reality sake. There are people who can sing and there are people who think they can sing. So, for instance an inexperienced singer would probably learn to nurture his or her skill in vocals like techniques, style, etc. The improvement will definitely payback depending on the frequency of practices. But people who think they can sing and gives you some theory of some kind of singing technique may not even sing properly. If you can't hold a note, you definitely can't sing. Simple as that!! No matter how you practice you'll never be able to sing professionally. Maybe at some karaoke pub or so where all drunks will clap at every cheap singing ability.

But again, the ones who really decide whether you can or can't sing are the audience. Like William Hung, I actually love him. Not his singing though but his guts!! He's an entertainer I must say. So, we have to learnt to differentiate from an entertainer to a singer. In my 25 years in this musical industry, I have seen many type of singers in the market. Some are just average singers but the crowd love them! They're such good entertainers I must say!!

Yea i think Ankh didn't mean any offence (at least not to those cockanadens, if i can quote sage).

Helluva good post there kak! And just so you guys should know, i'm her most recent inspiree. Somehow got to chat with her via voice chat and she was playing this song, which was really really good. I was seriously having goosebumps, my hairs were standing on its ends and that feeling everytime a note or a riff hits ur soul and you go "OMFG...".

Thing is, i thought there were 2 singers, 1 front and 1 backing. Until...One of them stopped singing suddenly. I was like "WTF?".

Then i realised it was SAGE.

My own experience, in seconday school, i've always sang quietly to myself not wanting to attract attention ah. Then i think 1 time i was singing an evanasence song (the slow one, can't rmb the name) in falsetto. One of my friends scolded me. "Can u sing properly or not!" So i did. Then all of them stopped and stared. I was like "What?!" They said i could sing and i should join talent time. And so i did. I sang Fever but couldn't find a minus 1. So i sort of made my own minus one but its hard if u only have a mono track. So i didn't get through. From then on i realised i should be making my own songs (cos u dun have to bloody find the minus ones....) and cos every voice is unique, like sage said, and sometimes someone's key may not be your own.

So here i am after 2 years of experimenting, trying out stuff, looking for opportunities and marketing my noobish self. At the same time, meeting cool people (sage! rork! <3) and awesome communities (SOFT.COM!) and never stop learning something new.

So for those who's been disheartened, don't ever give up. Seriously. I mean, i didn't exactly give up. Singing was like my relaxing thing. Made me feel good.

But i think the important thing is that, how far do you wanna go with your singing? If u wanna make it like a side career, then you have to realistic and take comments etc with a pinch of salt and a humble approach. You'll learn more and realise that there is more than you know.

P.S. I found out whats falsetto when i found WOOT!
wahliao.... *hides face in blanket* basket you lol
no more voice chats! now i paiseh and ppl gonna expect something else AH
what song was it anyway? cancao do mar right? that song's goosepimply..

ankh! no worries, but are you coming for the hangout?
would be good if we can chat and stuff :} then maybe you can explain to me a lil more clearly... we'll be having khai's lasagne :D
I have no intention of demoralising anyone but just saying as a reality sake.

"Reality" is what pessimists use to say why things aren't possible ..

And what are the optimists doing? They are out there creating and changing reality :p

What I'm saying is, you can never say that something is not possible. People achieve the impossible every day. I have achieved the impossible. And I will achieve the impossible again and again until one day I keel over and die. And I'll die happy, knowing that I've reached my full potential :)
Hi Sage!

I saw your thread there about the outings but unfortunately I won't be able to make it. But my brothers will be there I think. Hahaha...!!

Brther or however you'd read the name. Hey!! Don't get personal. You asked for an opinion, people give it to you and it really doesn't matter if you heed that opinion or not to me. But the fact is you can't sing. Sorry, I'm not as mean as Simon I think. Prove me wrong dude! One thing for sure and very sure!! People won't buy for that singing. I work all my life in the night industry and I can tell what is sellable and what is not. It's not even average singing so try and improve to become at least an average for goodness sake!!

As I've said before, there are people who can sing and they are people who think they can sing. Which category do you fall into? Well, I'd be filled with joy if you could prove me wrong like where you get paid nitely to sing in a pub with that kind of voice.

bthrl! you heard ankh! prove him wrong!!! :D

i think i can't sing ler, so i guess i don't fall into the pub section right? :p
actually... it doesn't matter whether i can sing or not, i don't intend to prove it to others or do it enough to get paid or something.. i just do it cos i have nothing better to do and if i don't i'll go spastic and land in IMH... which isn't a bad prospect sometimes.. i can scream anytime i want and won't get weird looks... lol


anyways ankh how do you know you can't make it if we haven't set the date yet mmmm? *poke poke poke squeezes your face*.
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Well Sage, I pressume you guys will do it in the evening. That's the time I'm working except Monday nite. But if it's in the day time, I might just pop by and probably see brtherl sing live. Hahaha....!!! Hope I don't puke.

Cheers to all!!

No hard feelings!!

Oye wahliao. The only thing you'll be puking is if you're overeating the food alright? Anyway it's just a friendly hangout lah, no one wanna sing also can.. like I said it's not a showcase.. it's a exchange tips all that ...

Will probably make it around late noon so that peeps can catch lunch and have tea. :) So no excuses :D
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Yeah anyway, same discussion 3 threads. lol.

lol kak. u can sing lah my dear... and definitely sellable to me. lol.

Yeah like ankh said and the same point that i've said before. what u wanna do with your music? you should be asking urself that before u post your songs/covers up.

About that reality thing, its your own opinion bout that pessimist and optimist but honestly to me, if you wanna know optimism vs reality, get on the streets. do a simple test. get 20 people and sing a song to them. if 20 of them are still there by the time u finish the song, hey! you've proved ankh wrong. =) optimism wins.

Btw, Ankh, u think i sellable? lol.

1 more thing. No one pukes over my lasagna OK!!!!
Hi Khai!

Well, I've heard your singing and I was told too by my brother that you've got potential. However, I can see that you lack experience in song writing. Hey...don't get me wrong! You've done good though. The chords can be improve where you'll see more dynamics in the song.

The singing can improve too. This is what I call people who can sing but yet able to improve with more practice unlike that brtherl. He's wasted man!!

Well done!


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