A nasally voice is a voice production wherein there is too much nasality in your tone that is more often evident on high notes. In effect, the singer may sing with a real strong twang, or may sound whiny. This voice is typical with country singers who possess a southern twang, and also with singers of the hip-hop and R&B genres who usually employ a nasally voice to be able to sing the improvisations and embellishments that are distinctive of those genres.
Sometimes referred to as nasalance, hypernasality may be appreciated by some audiences. Some singers may intentionally sing that way, too, but generally speaking, this is not a desirable or pleasurable tone. Nasality is, whether we like it or not, considered an official nuance in singing. According to plenty of voice coaches and music experts, a nasally tone is a technically incorrect vocal element, because it allows and urges singers to use poor singing techniques. Fact is, it harshly sets limits to the voice, is unhealthy, and therefore is unacceptable.
Nasality is more often a product of several problematic factors, such as forward jaw position, a lowered soft palate, and a raised back of the tongue. It is a combination of many vocal issues that work together to alter true vocal resonance. Examples of singers with nasally voice are lead singer of Puddle of Mudd, Rascal Flatts and also the popular Vanessa Hudgens.
To see how nasality works in singing, and find out if you have one, I suggest you try these steps at home.
1. At your comfortable pitch, sing the vowel ‘a’.
2. While singing the note, pinch your nose as gentle as possible, and then close the nostrils off entirely.
3. The tone should change slightly, just as when you sing a non-nasal vowel and your nose is pinched.
4. Then try humming, while pinching your nostrils again. Notice that the voice ceases to produce sound. When you sing nasal consonants such as ‘m’, air coming from your body is wiped out through your nose. When you close the nose, it brings a stop to the stream of air and to the tone as well.
Some singers, though, don’t have the intention of singing with a nasally voice. This may be an after-effect of a chronic or severe nasal allergies or congestion. To get rid of such funny singing style though, treating the allergy and congestion attacks is the only solution. For singers with long-term nose problems, this can be a bit annoying and would require further voice training since most likely they have developed compensatory vocal habits. But there’s always a chance to improve your singing voice, despite all these health conditions.
Nasally voice can be a boon or bane for some singers, depending on the genre they’re working on. But as we’ve said, while singing through your nose maybe applicable to a couple of musical genres, that still doesn’t make it entirely an acceptable singing technique, especially in the eyes of professional judges and musical directors.
You may want to try enrolling in singing classes where proper singing techniques are offered under professional voice coaches. From there, you’ll learn how to overcome a nasally voice, and even more.