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This App Wants to Help You Become a Better Singer

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A new app promises to make you just a little less embarrassing at your next round of karaoke. Vanido, which is billed as a "personal singing coach," provides daily lessons and real-time feedback to help improve your voice and your ear, as The Verge reports.

When you first sign up, the app—free on iOS with an Android version in the works—determines your vocal range, tailoring exercises to your natural vocal abilities. After that, the app assigns practice activities that involve various singing techniques, including chest voice, head voice, and foundational skills—though it doesn’t actually explain what those categories mean.

Fortunately, users don’t necessarily need to understand those categories to complete the tasks. Similar to playing the music video game Rock Band, notes appear as colored bricks that move across the screen. When they cross over the line, you have to hit that note, which you hear through your headphones simultaneously. A continuous orange line representing your voice illustrates which note you're singing, helping with adjustments.

However much you might want to turn this into performance boot camp, Vanido limits practice time. You can only take up to three lessons a day, although you can repeat them as many times as you’d like.

After a few days of trying the app, I have, disappointingly, not gained the vocal range of Whitney Houston. In fact, I can’t really tell if I’ve improved at all, even though the app records and scores every note I sing into my phone.

It’s hard to tell how well you’re doing based on your “VANI XP” level. And along with the score from each complete lesson, the app includes an encouraging note, meaning that I can’t really tell if I’m "doing great!" or if the app is just trying not to wound my pride. Based on how horrifying my voice sounds coming through my headphones, it's the latter.

Still, being able to see my pitch and exactly how far I've strayed from the note makes my lack of skills into a challenge to overcome, rather than simply an embarrassing disappointment. Each completed exercise feels like winning a game. I would often go back and repeat the same lessons immediately to get a better score. I looked forward to practicing every night, even though I refused to do it before everyone in my apartment was safely asleep.

Hopefully, doing all of these exercises means that someday my voice won't be quite so embarrassing. One day, maybe the app will even give me enough positive feedback to convince me to let someone else hear me sing.

[h/t The Verge]

All images courtesy Vanido

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Food
7 Places To Grab a Bite of Elvis
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Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

August 16, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, reportedly from hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerotic heart disease. Just 42 years old at the time of his passing, the King of Rock 'n' Roll had a reputation for loving rich, decadent food as much as he loved music, with the infamous fried peanut butter and banana sandwich being one of his favorite delicacies.

While we can’t recommend them as part of your daily diet, there are Elvis-inspired indulgences to be found at eateries across the country. If you’re ever in the mood for a taste of Elvis, here’s where to go.

1. THE ELVIS MARTINI // FORT WORTH, TEXAS

With roots stretching back well over half a century, Forth Worth's T&P Tavern used to be a rail station stopover for notables including Elvis Presley himself. To honor their history, the bar offers the Elvis—a martini flavored with peanut butter, banana, and bacon.

2. MR. LUCKY'S // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Brian Brown

There’s decadent, and then there’s Las Vegas. To match the city’s reputation for excess, Mr. Lucky’s—the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's 24-hour diner—can reinvigorate patrons pulling all-nighters with the King. It’s an enormous plate of 14 banana pancakes served with Nutella, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and 14 slices of bacon. Before ordering, don't forget to tell your family you love them.

3. JOHNNY J'S // CASPER, WYOMING

In 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama paid a visit to Johnny J's while on the campaign trail.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Johnny J’s specializes in burgers named after influential rock stars, including Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and, of course, Elvis Presley. With the Elvis, patrons can expect a slab of beef topped with red chili and melted cheddar jack cheese, served open faced—without a single banana in sight.

4. BROOKLYN FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN // BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

This reworked early 20th-century pharmacy underwent renovations for reopening in 2010. Like any proper soda fountain, they're all about sundaes and milkshakes—including The Elvis, a vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon.

5. MEMPHIS MOJO CAFE // BARTLETT, TENNESSEE

Mojo's

The Memphis Mojo Cafe and food truck are go-to spots for burgers, but it’s their dessert that will send Elvis fanatics into a sugar frenzy. Their Elvis Dippers are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in maple waffle batter, deep-fried, and dunked in butterscotch banana cream.

6. OATMEALS // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The menu at OatMeals offers something for everyone, even if that someone is into Sriracha-covered oatmeal. But the standout might be The Elvis, a bowl of oats topped with peanut butter, banana, bacon, and sea salt.

7. MARLOWE'S RIBS & RESTAURANT // MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant

Just a few minutes from Graceland, it’s almost a prerequisite that Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant would have a surplus of Elvis-inspired items on their menu—and they don’t disappoint. Among their specialties: the Elvis Burger, which comes topped with bacon, smoked ham, and American cheese. For dessert, the Crispy Creme Banana Foster Sundae—a donut with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, sauteed bananas, and whipped cream—is a modern take on some of the King's favorite treats.

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Pop Culture
Prince Is Getting His Own Pantone Color: Love Symbol #2
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Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Prince was music royalty, so it only makes sense that purple—the hue traditionally favored by monarchs—was his signature color. To memorialize the late singer/songwriter, who died in April 2016, the Pantone Color Institute and the Prince Estate have collaborated on a custom shade of dark purple to represent the High Priest of Pop.

Pantone

Called Love Symbol #2, "the color was inspired by Prince’s custom-made Yamaha piano, which was originally scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57," Pantone stated in a press release. "The color pays tribute to Prince’s indelible mark on music, art, fashion, and culture."

Thanks to the 1984 film Purple Rain and its Oscar-winning music, Prince has long been associated with royal hue. Now, “while the spectrum of the color purple will still be used in respect to the 'Purple One,' Love Symbol #2 will be the official color across the brand he left behind,” according to Pantone.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the Funky One’s flamboyant legacy.

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