SINGERS OR STYLISTS?
Well, it’s a bit of a dilemma, isn’t it? Today, more than at any other time over the past century, we celebrate people who aren’t singing at all, in the real sense of the word. I’ve already covered, in my last two posts, the problems caused by bad diction and also the smoke and mirror effect of autotuners.
The video I’ve attached here shows Rex Harrison performing “I’ve grown accustomed to her face” from the film “My Fair Lady”. Rex never purported to be a singer and so he cleverly created a way of getting through the song by speaking on notes, which gave the effect of singing.
Today, quite a lot of performers use this “technique”, no doubt for the same reason as Rex (they can’t really sing very well!). As such, I tend to call these performers “stylists”. Have a look anyway and notice the difference. I think it worked very well in the film as Rex expressed the emotion of the lyrics - and this is key: if you’re not a good singer, you will still make a song sound much better if you express the emotion of the lyrics.
Today, in the contemporary music world, it appears that there is a place for both singers and stylists, although I for one, think that we would do well to recognise great singing talent a lot more than we do and celebrate mediocrity less, otherwise we’ll literally drown in it!