Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi – cover (take 2)

Song:  Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi

Composer:  R D Burman

Singer:  Kishore Kumar/Lata Mangeshkar


It was in April last year that I started uploading recordings of myself singing on Youtube/Facebook.  Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi was the fourth such recording and the first of a Hindi song (I had done Imagine/Karma Police/All That I Bleed previously).

We are now in August-end a year on and I decided to try it again (result above) since  a lot has changed since April 2019 (understatement of the century!).

Back when I started recording, I had a karaoke mic with a built in speaker.  It looks like this:


It’s alright to get started with but has limited functionality and the echo effect (reverb, basically) can drown out the words.  If you want to know how, compare the above with  the below take of Tere Bina:


The high antara is fine but much of the mukda gets drowned out.  The reasons aren’t ENTIRELY to do with the mic and I will come to that but it did force me into sub-optimal adjustments to my singing.

I recently acquired a dynamic mic of the brand BOYA.  My father, who also sings, was gifted a karaoke mixer.  We bought a pair of old-school Logitech speakers with a wired power source (unlike the new ones which come with USB). All you have do is plug the speaker’s sound cable into the line-out of the mixer and connect the mic into the TRS socket.  The mixer came with a dynamic mic as part of the package and it’s also decent enough.  The mixer lets me set a good balance between vocal output and that of the backing track.  Using a good mic lets me concentrate on singing the best I can without worrying about how it’s going to sound coming out of the mic.

HOWEVER, for that, you need to first get to the point where you don’t HIDE your inadequacies behind a mic. I used to use echo effect a lot while singing Hindi songs to mask the lack of power lower down in my range.  You can tell that not only are the words not so clear, but I am not defining the words and phrases as to what they mean.

Enter the part about technical improvements.  Linda Eder, a Broadway legend (yeah, if the name rings a bell, THAT Linda indeed!),  happened to be marooned at home owing to the covid lockdowns, just like the rest of us.  Thankfully, she wasn’t twiddling her thumbs which she would have been fully entitled to and instead started to give one to one lessons on Skype (and has also been uploading the most magnificent covers of popular songs).  The price was steep but for some reason, I felt sure that whatever I could glean from a singer of her one-in-a-million caliber would be more than worth the price.  This is Linda Eder, by the way, and while this performance is from the late 90s, she can still sing this song to the same level today:


I do not think I am qualified to translate the technical aspects of what she said.

But I will reproduce a very important psychological aspect she touched on.  She said that when you sing, you want to be like, “Here I am, excited to sing for you” (I am paraphrasing, not her exact words) and say that in a way that commands the attention of the audience and not be apologetic and slump your shoulders.  Likewise, that you have to be equally engaged whether you sing a sad or happy song.  The emotion comes from the phrasing and other adjustments but the way you attack your vocals doesn’t change a whole lot, fundamentally.

Did I succeed, even partly, in bringing forth those principles in my latest attempt at Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi?  You be the judge!

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