There are so many things that can spice up a great vocal. That said, many singers only seem to use very few. Singers are communicators and you as a singer can deliver your lyrics in a far more insightful and interesting way if you know how to stylistically treat your vocal. Vocal style can energise a song, add emotion and can show your identity as an artist.
Firstly we need to think about vibrato. What is it? They are just regular oscillations in vocal pitch that can really take your tone to the next level. That said, proceed with caution! Sometimes it can be used too much, too little, too heavily, too lightly. It’s good to think about vibrato as a seasoning for a dish – get it wrong and it’s ruined! That said, it’s also good to think about unusual ways of using it. For instance, if you’re always using it at the end of phrases, try using it creatively in a different place, like a passing note or an insignificant word. Because it’s different, it might spice your phrase up even more.
Then we have cry flips. They’re great and often thought of as being from the “yodel” family but when used a little more minimally, this simple chest-voice-to-falsetto flip can make a world of difference to your phrases. Be playful with them and experiment. Sometimes they’re going to sound too intense, whereas other times, they might be perfection. Know also that you can put them on the beginning of a word (onset), or at the end of a word (offset). If you’re struggling with them when you start, imitate a spoken whimper and you’ll find them much easier. Just remember to not take yourself too seriously at first!
And finally, creak is a great stylistic addition to a good pop phrase. Britney used them all the time for a sexy/intimate sound, but you can use them in many different ways. Creak will sound a little like a light crackle and comes when you’re not quite bringing your vocal folds completely together and like flips, they’re best in a phrase when you experiment to find the best treatment for that moment.