Top 10 Secret Details Hansi Kürsch Revealed About His Voice and SingingHansi Kürsch is the lead singer for metal bands Blind Guardian and Demons & Wizards. I've read an interview with him containing many interesting details.
The Top Ten
I've always felt there's something special, something extra in his voice and I even thought he's got some paranormal abilities, or at least his voice has such qualities. But I wasn't sure until yesterday when he said that in an interview:
Question: "The majority of your songs are full of layer after layer of vocal harmony. Do you record each vocal track individually, use a harmonizer, or some mixture of the two? "
Hansi: "Each track is recorded individually. Harmonizers and "perfect pitch" programs do not work well with my voice due to distortion and the natural double layer effects my vocal cords have."
This explains why I also feel his notes everywhere in my body. I even feel his notes with my skin.
He isn't talking about the flow in the words' meaning, he's talking about the sounds in the words (vowels, their order, etc). And he changes the words if doesn't like their sounds. For this reason he writes the lyrics directly in English and not first in German - because he pays attention to the pairing of music (notes) and sounds in the words.
Wow! Did any other singer paid attention to such details of harmonization of the...backing vocals?!? He tests and edits every pair "note-word" (on songs that are 7-8 min long on average and lyrics are like 2 miles long! )
Hands down. So much hard work but the result is amazing, especially songs after 2000.
"When I started making music I had a stronger tendency to become a guitarist. That changed when I met André Olbrich in school and he was the one realizing my potential as a vocalist."
But because André was already the guitarist, Hansi became a bassist and never was officially a guitarist.
I noticed that he is very focused when he sings and I guess every cell in his body takes part in singing and this creates a synergy effect. He is always 100% in what he sings and lives every note. There's nothing fake in his singing and the listener feels he always gives 100%.
Hansi explained that it's because "air stream runs up the spine and finds an almost straight way out to my nostrils. My jaw region is relaxed; I could even chew gum."
Hansi: "I loved to sing but it was an expression of my good mood and never looked at it as my first step in becoming a vocalist. During one of our high school parties I was screaming parts of Ian Gillan and MSG songs. André somehow liked it."
Many people wonder how he gets a smooth clean voice and a massive rasp at the same time.
Example: Blind Guardian - Dream a Little Dream Of Me. It's a cover song and it's not his biggest rasp but the contrast 'smooth clean - raspy' voice is available in this song. And in many other songs that are heavier than this one.
That's a lot of singing...
He explained: "there is only a small difference between a controlled raging high pitched distorted performance and an almost hysterical, desperate attempt of a poor scream. Doing some of these gritty high tones hurts my vocal cords and it can spoil a whole day and I could have too much grit on my cords the next day".
However, Hansi did many gritty high tones (studio and live), esp. from 1984-1998, which is almost 14 years. He still does them but I am happy he didn't damage his voice permanently. On the 2015 album, at 50, he still sounded incredible.
He has tinnitus - this is noise in the ears, usually ringing or buzzing, and affects about 1 in 5 people. This was one of the reasons he wanted to become a guitarist and not a singer because it’s a big challenge.
Also, people with tinnitus have to avoid ... loud music.
Hansi: “Throughout my career my ears have been the biggest problem. I do have tinnitus, which luckily disappears from time to time, but does also come back. Since my ears work differently every day this is a big challenge for every engineer. Apart from that I constantly have to struggle with sinuses, which especially on tour can cause severe problems, because of Blind Guardian‘s rule "do not cancel a show due to illness".
Hansi: "I would say my singing is natural but some of the skills I have nowadays are the result of constant practice. Apart from natural abilities which helped in the early days of Blind Guardian, I didn't do anything to improve my vocal skills until our third album "Tales from the Twilight World" (1990). Afterwards I seriously started taking classical vocal lessons. My teacher is a female opera singer and taught me a lot about breathing and how to establish and widen my range."
Hansi: "I try to stay sober. That is a golden rule. I have found out that drinking before a show spoils everything. I can recall 4 or 5 shows in my career during which I entered stage not completely sober. They all ended up a catastrophe. That has been a very healthy experience. Luckily I do not smoke and the smoking habits of those around me have changed completely. No one smokes in the tour bus anymore.”
In another interview he said that 24 hours before a show Blind Guardian members are not allowed to drink. It’s hard because they have shows every night or almost every night.