I released an EP a few weeks ago (though it's still with my publicist). The songs were written based on a vocal practice that my teacher had warned me was most appropriate for contemporary music: belting (belt-mix officially). It's the vocal practice that a Gospel-fuelled soul music (which defines contemporary RnB and some pop) was based on.
While I endeavoured to sing like this (even though I've never actually even heard Gospel being sung live), it was basically always really uncomfortable. While I did learn to sing in a church, it was chanting out my school hymns, rather than belting out Ray Charles. And from choir I went straight into opera, bypassing contemporary singing altogether.
I get it though: belting is cool and opera isn't. Yeah. But there was a reason why I sang opera and it's because I'm naturally geared for it; pretending otherwise just makes me nervous on stage.
What I've learnt over this period, is that you never lose your roots. Just as Aretha always sings a blues run in her improv, so I always reach for a high C somewhere in a song.
Taken me time and a whole EP but ultimately I sing the way I sing.