Stryper’s Michael Sweet Addresses His Vocal Struggles

In a recent interview with the Rock Experience with Mike Brunn, Michael Sweet shared his thoughts about not performing Stryper‘s tracks with the original key to protect his vocals.

An unspoken pride is attached to bands that can perform their songs in the original key. The bands that don’t need to tune down to perform the tracks view this as an accomplishment and a reason to consider themselves better than bands that need to tune down to get through shows.

It’s no different for Stryper’s Michael Sweet, who recently admitted that they started tuning down their vocals to get through the setlist. Sweet mentioned that it is a pride issue for him because being able to perform in the original key had separated him from other bands until recently, when they decided to tune down as a band. He realized that only a few bands have kept playing their original key, but those bands don’t have as high of a register as Stryper tracks do.

Sweet explained that the vocals for Stryper are unique in that they are high but also chest-belted vocals, making it harder to sing in the original key. The band’s decision to drop the key down a half step made it much easier for Sweet to get through the show without straining his vocals.

Michael Sweet’s words about his vocals:

“You know what it is for me. It may be wrong for me to think this way, but it’s a bit of a pride issue; you’re proud that you don’t have to tune down because you could do it in the original key. And there’s something to be said for that; it feels good to be able to say that. But then I realized everyone tunes down except for a select few — very select few. And those few are bands that don’t sing in a super-high register. The bands like Stryper sing in a very high register, belting.

See, the vocals for Stryper, and this isn’t to put us on a pedestal, but they’re unique in the sense that they are not only high but also chest-belted vocals. They’re not; they come from here [puts hand over chest], not from here [puts hand over his throat]. That makes it more difficult to pull off. So when we dropped the key down a half step, I felt like, ‘Wow, okay, this is a little easier.’ I can get through the show a little easier and not have to strain or struggle so much.”

You can watch the interview below.