Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vocally Speaking – Performing “Naked” Less a $40 Million Stage…?

Over the years my clients and I have bought a lot of CD’s, especially in the past, and respectively attended a lot of live performances. Speaking of 40-50 years ago when artists literally recorded right off the floor, as technology was not as advanced as it is now, the live performances had a very close resemblance to what people heard on the records. As the technology was progressing and, at the same time, people’s talents for whichever reason were regressing, the gap between what was recorded using that modern technology (autotune, melodine and what have you) and the attendees at concerts were hearing was getting progressively bigger. In some cases you could hardly recognize some songs in the live interpretations of them. Some of the big artists were very lucky and had very big budgets which allowed them to dissect the song literally into syllables and then piece it together at the molecular level. However, when push came to shove and the album had to be performed live, some of them were lip synching while others were building $40 million stages using pyrotechnics and other special effects to hide their inadequacies. Sometimes attending the performances like this you could easily mistake them for the Cirque de Soleil, as there was everything going on but singing. Some of them you could mistake for exotic dancers. One of my associates once said, “If I want to see an exotic dancer, I will go to a strip club. But if I want to hear good singing, that should be more so for my ears than for my eyes.” In other words, we need to teach the world to sing!!! I have been watching some benefit concerts, which were actually not too beneficial to the actual artists, as we could see them in a “naked” state without the entourage, flashing lights, special effects and high tech sophisticated stages. Being somewhat overweight myself and definitely knowing how to dress to hide at least 10-20 pounds, I could only imagine how stressful and embarrassing it would be if I had to expose myself au natural in front of complete strangers. In a manner of speaking, the artists in this context were forced to do exactly that and all their imperfections and shortcomings in their vocal performances were very well noticed by the naked eye. Sometimes I wonder first of all how these very talented people – however, with no knowledge of professional vocal technique – made it as far as they did. I also wonder if the whole world has gone deaf. When they hear the big artist’s name they cheer anyways. My fear is that singing between the notes – ie. off key, off tone and off tune – will become our standards and nobody will know the difference between tone deaf singing and the real singing. How sad is that???

1 comment:

  1. I have noticed this about the pop singers that my 11yo daughter listens to. When she plays them on the radio station in the car, I'll think they sound kind of nice actually. But when I see a live performance of them on TV, or even when I've taken my daughter to one of their live concerts, they have no vocal power, they go flat, and I am amazed at how different it sounds from their recordings