I have seen many great singers unable to hit the high notes in some of their songs live, while the studio versions are perfect. What is the reason for this?
Well, I can think of a few of reasons.
- In the studio, the singer can sing the same part over and over until it is "perfect". A take where the singer doesn't hit all the notes correctly can be replaced with a better one.
- It is possible to pick the best parts of several takes. Doing this, the singer doesn't need to sing the song through perfectly.
- It is possible to correct out of tune notes using modern studio equipment.
- The singers voice might be in its best shape at the moment. Consider an artist during an extensive tour with concerts most every night, something which might affect the voice in a negative way.
- A stage show is often more than just standing still singing. Consider Mick Jagger running around the stage with rolling stones, or an opera singer performing an act which requires a lot of movement. This most likely affects the voice in a negative way.
The difference in atmosphere might have something to do with it. In a concert, a vocalist is not only thinking about hitting notes, but also the crowd and how they react to a certain thing. They are moving and dancing, which messes with your air support.
A studio atmosphere is very quiet and focused, the vocalist is not moving at all, they have headphones on that cancel out any other noise.
Basically, a concert environment is very dynamic while a studio setting is not.
Also, the vocalist might not even be able to hit that note, the engineer/producer could've auto tuned the voice to sound like it.