Tim Storms says he first realized he had a wide vocal range when he sang songs at a Christian camp as a kid. As he’s gotten older, that range has only widened as his voice has gotten deeper.
Considering the fact that he’s held the Guinness World Record for singing the lowest note for nearly a decade (an honor he had to reclaim in 2012 after winning it the first time in 2008), you’d expect Storms’ speaking voice to sound like James Earl Jones or something. But to hear him speak, you’d never guess how low his voice can really go.
To give you an idea of how low we’re talking, hit the bottom note of a piano, then imagine adding another piano’s worth of keys below that note. Storms’ lowest notes are so low, they’re nearly impossible for our ears to hear—instead, they feel like the rumble of a subwoofer. The official record-breaking low vocal note was registered at G-7 (0.189 Hz), which means nothing to most of us, but it’s really freaking low.
The guy can really sing, though. Check him out singing “Lonesome Road”:
ALPHA STREAM – Tim Storms – Lonesome Road
However, that video, while impressive, doesn’t show of his whole vocal range. Oh yes, Storms holds the Guinness World Record for widest vocal range as well, at 10 octaves.
For reference, a piano has seven octaves. Mariah Carey has a five-octave range, as does David Lee Roth. So yeah. Double the range of Mariah Carey? Impressive.
How does he do it? In an interview with CNN, Storms said that an ear, nose, and throat specialist asked to look at his vocal chords after hearing him sing at a concert. The ENT told him that his vocal chords were about twice as long as average, and the muscles around his vocal chords had a lot more movement to them.
Here’s a showcase that includes some of the low notes Storms can hit as well as a demonstration of his range toward the end:
[HD] Tim Storms Vocal Showcase (G#0 – A4) Studio and Live
To understand how truly unique Storms’ ability to sing those low notes is, check this out: In 2011, composer Paul Mealor wrote a choral piece called De Profundis, which included the lowest vocal note ever written for a classical voice—a low E. A worldwide hunt for a bass singer who could sing the note commenced, and Storms was one of the singers who submitted a recording. While there were other singers who could hit the low E, most had to strain to hit it. Storms could not only hit it seemingly effortlessly, but he could sing two octaves below it as well.
Needless to say, he got the part.
Storms says that the older he gets, the lower his voice gets, so the chances of anyone coming along to take his record is pretty unlikely. Sure would be fun to watch someone try, though.