I have sang once back in my freshman year in highschool, but I learned quickly that I sang off-key. My peers didn't really told me that and I stopped singing overall due to embarrassment. My voice cracks and I go off-key a lot. I'm not tonedeafed since I played the violin and a bit of piano.
Where should I start to gain these skills and fix my habits?
Well, this might not help a LOT, but I'd say practice. Some people are just gifted with lovely voices; others aren't, but with enough practice anyone can sound good enough to listen to.
Try also looking for songs that suit your voice, and when you practice, start with songs that you find easier to sing, then move up to harder ones. And sometimes singing the songs slower helps when practicing, if you're having trouble moving between notes quickly. Try looking up breathing exercises online or something, and looking into better throat care.
Personally, I have allergies and asthma, and they're interconnected and pretty bad. So some days, no matter how hard I try or how much I practice, I can't sing without coughing or breaking pitch no matter what I do. If it's a possibility that you might have a slight case of that sort of thing, you can get over the counter stuff to help clear out your sinuses, like nose sprays or something. Also, a good time for practicing would be while taking a hot shower, because the steam makes it easier to breathe and thus you can hold notes better and longer without cracking as much. So, singing while showering every day is a really good way to get in some practice. If you have a vaporizer, that might work too, if you use it in the room where you practice. If you don't, I don't think they're very expensive, and if not they're a good investment because they have other uses as well, such as when you're sick. Anyways, try drinking lots of water too when you practice, keep your throat hydrated.
A good idea is to record your voice too, because in actuality your voice sounds different than how you hear it yourself, something to do with the acoustics of where your mouth is, and because the sounds are created from inside your head (as in the inside of your mouth) or something. So if you record yourself in any way, even just with a cheap built-in camera, you can hear what your voice sounds like to other people. Sometime I'll sing something I think sounds good and it actually sounds sort of weird. So I'm trying to record my voice more so that I can learn what sounds good for my voice.
Anyways, it sounds like your throat might be a little rough, either that or it's your breathing. So maybe you can try figuring out which it is, your lung capacity or your throat, and then you can target the problem and try fixing it.
Even me, I can sing not too bad. Occasionally there'll be days when I can't because my allergies and asthma can get pretty severe, but most days I'm able.
But anyways, sorry for rambling a bit. I guess my advice probably sounds pretty standard and might not be what you're looking for, but I don't think its really that unrealistic of an answer. Some places have singing lessons but that's not really for everyone, and it (usually) costs money. But anyways. Hope I could be of SOME help at least.
You should probably listen to songs more and pick up their rhythm. ^^
Any advice is great and helpful to me, no matter how standard they are. I have been watching vocal warmup/exercises videos and they really helped. I sort of stopped cringing at my own voice (chuckling at it now). I coughed quite a bit since I'm sick often. I guess my problem now is really determining which songs suits my voice before I could extend to songs that I would love to try out. I noticed that I may be practicing the wrong songs (Too high notes for me atm?).
If you don't mind me recommending some songs, I'd recommend that you try some of Deco*27's songs to sing!
I think his songs are by far the easiest to sing because the tune repeats a lot and I don't think they go too high most of the time either :>
What do you think?