There’s nothing better than singing in the shower.
You turn the water on, wait until the temp gets just right, put on some Marvin Gaye, maybe some Taylor Swift (whatever floats your boat) and suddenly you have the voice of an angel.
It’s your own private concert. You might be the only one in attendance, but it doesn’t matter; you sound absolutely magical.
Yet, sadly, for most people, singing outside the shower rarely goes well. Let’s be honest, the last time you did karaoke you made “Killing Me Softly” sound more like “Killing Everyone In This Room Loudly, Slowly And Painfully.” It’s OK, don’t beat yourself up. It happens to the best of us. Just please don’t do it again. Thank you, kindly.
Why do we sound so much better when we sing in the shower? In one word: science.
Indeed, science helps explain why you sound like Freddy Mercury within the steamy confines of your shower, yet people want to stab themselves in the ears when you sing in public.
It all has to do with what is known as “reverberation” and acoustics.
Simply put, reverberation is the process by which sounds blend together. The structure of your shower provides the ideal environment for this. In other words, your shower acts somewhat like a mixer, modifying your voice and making it sound better. So in many ways, singing in the shower is like using auto-tune, but more natural (take notes, Kesha).
Your shower modifies your voice in three ways.
First, it impacts the volume of your voice. This is because of the hard and smooth surfaces of your bathroom. Sounds reflect better off these types of surfaces. They move back and forth between the walls of the shower and don’t fade as quickly as they would in a more open space.
This is why your voice seems as powerful as Aretha Franklin’s when you’re hitting those high notes in the shower. Show off that falsetto, don’t be shy.
Second, as the sounds bounce around your shower, some sounds travel farther than others. This effect is known as reverb, which we mentioned above. It’s why your voice seems to echo and linger for longer while you're shampooing and conditioning.
Lastly, your shower also acts as what is known as a “resonant cavity.” What this means, is that your shower naturally amplifies certain frequencies of sound. It’s like turning the bass all the way up, and it’s why your voice sounds so deep and full in the shower.
So go ahead, bust out that Bill Withers. Let the whole world (or at least your roommates) know there “Ain’t No Sunshine” when she’s gone.
As Cat Stevens once sang:
Indeed, be free and sing out my friends.