Singing Guide: New York Dolls

Vocal technique, exercises, tips and relevant resources

Are you a beginner or advanced singer?

If you want to learn how to sing like New York Dolls' David Johansen, let's start with some context.

The Dolls were part of the New York City rock scene of the early 70s and developed a high-energy, glam-rock sound. David Johansen's voice was a critical component of their music, and his style was a blend of gritty rock and roll, soulful blues, and deliberate attitude. Here are some tips and strategies on how to sing like David Johansen:

Vocal Technique

  • David Johansen's voice is a classic rock and roll style, featuring raw, raspy, and often-angry vocals. To achieve a similar sound, practice singing deeply from the throat, with a little bit of tension and grit in the vocal cords.
  • Learn to control your breath and emphasize your diaphragm. Breath control is critical to capture Johansen's high-octane style and sustain his notes. You can use Singing Carrots' Farinelli Breathing video to practice.
  • Experiment with different vocal registers, such as the chest voice, head voice, and mixed voice. David Johansen was excellent at moving between registers, creating a range of different effects, and you can learn this through Singing Carrots' videos on Voice Registers and Mixed Voice.

Songs to Practice

David Johansen's vocal style is prevalent in many New York Dolls songs. Here are some suggestions to practice and sing along with:

  • Personality Crisis: With this track, you should work on your breath support and control while maintaining a consistent, edgy tone. The lyrics are fast-paced and quick, so you will want to practice until you can keep up. You can use Singing Carrots' Pitch Training exercises for rhythm and timing, and the Pitch accuracy test to ensure accuracy.
  • Trash: For this song, focus on the rough, gritty attitude required to deliver the lyrics and emulate the screaming vocals in the song's chorus.
  • Puss 'n' Boots: This track will help you practice the right vibrato style. Sing it in the style of a soulful ballad, with long sustaining notes and slight vibrato.
  • Frankenstein: Here you'll want to show your versatility, mixing soulful crooning with shrieking high notes. Use Singing Carrots' Heavy Modal, Twang, and Belting videos to train your voice for this exciting and energetic style.

Singing Carrots Resources to Help You Improve:

Singing Carrots offers tools and resources to help you train and perfect your voice. Below are some recommended resources for improving your singing technique:

To sum it all up, to sing like David Johansen, you need to master the rock-and-roll style, with a mix of crooning, growling, and high-pitched shrieking. You can work on your breathing and learn how to control your voice better using Singing Carrots resources. Make sure to also practice singing along with the New York Dolls' songs mentioned above, to emulate David Johansen's unique characteristics.

Learn more about this artist vocal range, voice type and repertoire.