• Val Bastien

Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing

If you're a little bit like me, the last few months have been somewhat stressful. But singing once again saves the day by helping me relax. That is why it is so important for me to share the fruit of my labour with you all today in hopes that this will bring a smile to your face and a little bit of sunshine to your day. This song has literally become a life motto to cheer me up. And I'm not kidding; it has been stuck in my head now for weeks, practically since I have been learning it! I'm bringing back Stevie Wonder's genius with this brilliant Tori Kelly version of "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing". In my opinion, this song has it all. A rhythm that makes you wanna get on your feet and dance, beautiful runs and my absolute favourite: high notes. VERY high notes!! Plus, it's not only super uplifting musically, the positive lyrics are a constant reminder that every thing always works out in our favour. What more can you ask for?! The message is: why feel anxious when you can just go with the flow?! So simple, yet so AMAZING!


Have a listen:



When you fall in life, get up and start again! Don't take things too seriously. Have a laugh at yourself and keep going, always bettering yourself in the process. This is the spirit that I tried to capture in my performance. For this video, my partner and I headed up to the Humber River for our first skate of the season. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day and an impeccably snow free river that when on and on. It was absolutely perfect! Especially that it got covered by over 30 to 50 cm of the white stuff, just a few days later with the biggest snow storm we've had here in Toronto since 1999 when former mayor Mel Lastman called in the army for help to plow our streets!


Back to singing... As you can imagine, this advanced song requires great preparation since it is quite difficult. I discovered it a year ago after one of my clients, Deborah in Hong Kong, wanted to work on it. I immediately fell in love with the catchy melody of "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing". The challenge of learning all of its intricate runs and powerful high notes got me excited.


When covering a song of this stature, a song that is notoriously demanding, I am of the opinion that it's best to replicate it as accurately as possible or your audience might think that changing the runs and replacing the high notes served to camouflage your lack of skills and potential flaws.


If you are up to the challenge, I have a few tips for you.



1) Get the Sheet Music


Learning a song of this skill level is easier to do by reading the sheet music. Alas, Tori Kelly's version has not been published yet and the only Stevie Wonder original sheet music of this song I found was written 1/2 a step lower. But that wouldn't stop me. It was still useful to see it down on paper and follow along the main melody to learn it correctly.



2) Listen on Repeat


Ok. That's obvious. But what people don't realize they can do, is to listen at a slower speed. That's the best way to pick up runs and decipher the notes and rhythm. Specifically, listen to tricky sections several times at a slower speed. YouTube conveniently has this option available on its player. All you have to do is select the setting wheel and set a different playback speed.



3) Write It Down


Because it's hard to memorize so many notes, and many many many notes there are in this song, I write them down for future reference. There are many sheet music editor softwares out there but I can't really bother with them... I just use blank staff music that I annotate in a PDF document or I do it the old good fashion way with a pencil and paper.



4) Practice in Isolation


This is at the essence of accuracy. Don't just wing it. Know what you're singing. Start slow and increase your speed. You may even practice at a faster speed than the original once you know it well so that when brought back to the actual speed, the runs appear easier.



5) Have Fun With It


It doesn't matter how good you hit the high notes and sing the runs if your face tells a different story! Keep your expression relaxed and in context with the emotion of the song. Enjoy gliding your strides and stay cool!



Of course, mastering vocal technique is a pre-requisite to doing any song of any level the justice it deserves. If you feel inspired to taking your singing to new horizons, I am the best vocal coach to assist you. I will tell you EXACTLY what you are doing wrong and HOW to CORRECT it. I don't let anything fall through the cracks. You will meet your outcome QUICKLY and EFFECTIVELY. I would be thrilled to chat with you about your needs and aspirations. I have a few openings on my calendar in the next 48 hours for us to connect.


Go to my calendar to see my availability and sign up for your FREE consultation session:


www.voiceyourselfsinging.com/apply


Don't you worry 'bout a thing, cause I'll be standing for you,


Val