The Musical Therapist BenO at the VT Lounge

I often wonder which singers really influence my vocals, from the vast number of legendary soul singers both alive and dead.

I often wonder which singers really influence my vocals, from the vast number of legendary soul singers both alive and dead. I have attempted to narrow it down to my top 6 favourites…that may have had a considerable influence on me. In no particular order these are:

1. Charlie Wilson - First heard him 1979..."Burn rubber on me". Funky current and energetic vocals. This man is an awesome vocalist that can blend fast commercial, ballad music and still sound incredible. Aaron Hall and R.Kelly literally based their vocal styles on him but they later didn't quite get there. The new RnB vocals of today is modelled on his style. Favourite tracks..."Outstanding", "Yearning for your love", "There goes my baby" and many more...

2. Donny Hathaway - Perhaps the most accomplished soul vocalist ever. He simply oozes class and sophistication. Very technical soulful/blues/Jazz singer. The texture of his voice is just next to none...no one can touch this man. His daughter, Lallah, is also an accomplished Jazz singer and though sensational, her voice is still not a carbon copy of her father’s. Unfortunately Donny suffered from mental health issues and his life came to an untimely end. Some of his popular songs are: "Song for you" and "For all we know"

3. Teddy Pendergrass - The original Mr. lover man. A different class singer that basically croons and ladies start taking it all off!! Amazing vocalist...he's the chief crooner. Perhaps my most favourite vocalist, greatly influenced my style. He just sings with a lot of command and finesse...Started out as a drummer but was thrown into the deep end when his former group's (Harold Melvin and the Blue notes) record label realised he could sing...and that was pretty much it. The Mr Soul sexy singer...Had an unfortunate car accident in 1982 which left him crippled bottom down, this temporarily stagnated his career, but not for long. Much respect to Teddy Bear. My favourites " Close the door" "Turn Off the light", "My Latest, Greatest Inspiration" "Come go with me" and many more...

4. Luther Vandross - I always like to emulate this man for "best practice" on techniques of singing. Another very, very technical singer...everything about this man’s vocals is perfect, each note to the syllable is inch perfect. He has many love songs...I see him as the Godfather of vocal technique. Favourite songs… "Dance with my father" "House is not a home" "Superstar" and many more...

5. Marvin Gaye - How can I possibly leave out this legend...I listened to his unique jazzy/soulful style in all my formative years. Greatly influenced in the church like most of the others. Marvin is a master vocalist not always pitch perfect but delivery always on point and what he represented vocally cannot be equalled. The sexy crooner with three - octave vocal range, he helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s. He was first as an in-house session player and later was a solo artist with a strings of hit songs. Marvin Gaye is all about style and finesse. Favourite songs 'Let’s get it on", "What's going on" "Sexual Healing", "Troubled men"…

6. Stevie Wonder - Last but not the least, he was a game changer of his era. He brought a new vocal style that the likes of Charlie Wilson and many, many others had to emulate and carve their own styles from. His range as a vocalist is just simply awesome, not many people have touched his range and not sure many can still do...Also an incredible musician...an all-rounder. He redefined singing styles from 60s into the 70s. Too many songs to have favourites’...

What is synonymous about these men is that they are not just musicians but they are men that stood passionately and compassionately for something, be it political or on world issues.

There are many legendary soul singers out there...Bobby Womack, Michael Jackson, James Ingram, Jeffery Osbourne, Ottis Redding, Al Green, Barry White and many more...but the list above are the 6 that most influenced me as a singer.

I will be paying tributes to these men on Valentine's day...so ladies come get some love songs down your system and guys bring your women on a journey of soul train and lovers lane. Check my timeline for more info...

BenO at VT Lounge

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