The number one difference between a good singer and a great singer is feeling and emotive singing. The same goes for a pianist, the difference between a good pianist and a great pianist is the feeing and emotion that comes across in their playing.
People connect with music emotionally. A good singer will employ good technique, whereas a great singer will dig deep and connect their own feelings and emotions; transporting a listener. Since rock, pop, blues and country can be so raw and vulnerable, it is very important to add feeling to a song. Songs can cover themes of betrayal, lust, heartbreak, love, anger and everything in-between. All music requires heartfelt words to conveying these emotions.
A pianist will use shaping the phrases (groups of notes) with crescendos and decrescendos, which is getting louder and softer. Also building a song to the climate. How you approach playing notes with staccatos or accents, etc.
To put emotion into your singing or playing piano, you must feel the emotion yourself. For any music performance, it’s the music or the lyrics that draw you in with the touch of sweet emotion that floods the senses. Listen to Natalie Rodriguez singing "Love On The Brain" the words, melody, and vocal performance just ooze with emotion.
JOKE FOR THE DAY:
How can a drummer and a conductor avoid rhythm conflicts? Work separate concert halls.