Many vocalists are in the habit of “eating” the microphone which means staying so close to it that the lips touch the mike. The problem is that as you sing louder, you run the risk of pre-amp distortion, which produces a muddy unprofessional sound for you and the band.
When you do your sound check, keep your mike at least two inches from your mouth. This way you’ll have some leeway to vary mike distance during your performance. As you sing louder, back away from the mike slightly. If you want to reduce your volume, you can bring the mike closer, and still be heard. Practice varying the distance of the mike at home or in your rehearsal space. It can take a while to get used to it, but it’s worth the result.
More Vowel, Less Strain
A straining voice is physically uncomfortable for you and painful sounding to the audience. Your voice is the result of sung vowels. It’s vital to work closely with these vowel sounds. When you emphasize consonants it closes your mouth and exhales the breath too quickly and forcibly. Vowels, on the other hand, require an open mouth and utilize your breath more efficiently.
Choose a song and sing it through. Notice any words that coincide with points of strain. Work those phrases over, while directing your attention to the vowels of these words. As you stop pushing on the consonants and focus on the vowel, you should find yourself gaining greater vocal comfort while improving sound quality. Continue working through the song in this manner.
When you sing for others, it’s important to keep your focus on the audience rather than on listening to yourself. Focusing your attention outward to your audience will give your whole performance greater direction and energy. Amazing as it may seem, shifting your attention off of yourself and onto your audience may actually relax your throat if it had previously been tight. As your throat relaxs you can find your sound becoming fuller.
You can practice this focus as follows: Choose a song to work on. Select an object in your practice space. Stand a few feet away and talk the lyrics of the song to this object. You may feel self-conscious at first, but keep doing it until you feel comfortable and know that you’re maintaining your attention (not just eyesight) on this object. Next, sing the song in the same manner. Now do this to your image in a mirror. Use your reflection as though you’re singing directly to someone else.