Monday, July 14, 2014

Never let the fake perfection of pop singers put you off singing

A Britney Spears recording has recently escaped into the wild which demonstrates that without Auto-Tune her singing can be less than perfect (Experience the shocking power of Britney Spears without Auto-Tune – which may have been removed by the time you read this!).

102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2013 Concert at the Home Depot Center in Carson California on May 11, 2013

Shock horror! Pop singers are only human so don’t be put off by their apparent perfection — it’s all smoke and mirrors.

once you reach the top you can only go down

Of course well-known pop singers have some talent or they wouldn’t have got where they are. But they’re not necessarily the best singers in the world. Trouble is, with all the fancy production values these days, after their first hit record they need to keep the perceived standards up. It’s all downhill from the top!

Once a singer has become famous they (or at least their management team) become afraid to fail. They need to use every trick in the book to keep standards up lest we see the cracks and begin to realise they are only human.

recordings have always been different to live performance

Recorded songs are always different from a live performance. Ever since the days of wax cylinders the sound reproduction has never been 100% accurate and people have looked for ways of making themselves sound better, even if it means simply singing in a space with a good reverb.

Since the pop industry really got started there have been endless production techniques and tricks to make singers sound better than they are in real life. Some of those production tricks are not meant to deceive, but actually add something to a record that could never be achieved live.

But now we have Auto Tune it has become ubiquitous. So much so that we start to believe that every single singer in the world needs to be pitch perfect. There is no room for error. The stakes are extraordinarily high. And if you can’t reproduce that live then you can’t call yourself a ‘singer’.

there’s no such thing as perfection so stop chasing it

It’s similar to those toned beach bodies on magazine covers that have been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives. We start to believe that we ought to look like that too. And if we don’t then we’ve somehow failed as a human being.

We need to keep clear in our minds that all the celebrity stuff out there is always highly manipulated and none of it is real. Britney Spears (and the others) can have off days when they aren’t perfectly in tune. Supermodels can have bad hair days. Movie stars get cellulite. It’s what being human is.

The problems start when we begin to think that we can never be a singer or in a band or sunbathe on the beach or go shopping for clothes unless we are perfect. We’ve chosen the wrong role models.

she’s only human

What can we take away from this? That Britney Spears should keep tighter control of her outtakes? That she (like the rest of us) can have an off day? That she’s actually not a very good singer? That her management team are trying to maintain the fiction that she’s perfect (“it was just a warm up exercise”)?

I think it’s just that she’s a human being like the rest of us with all our failings. I’m just surprised that people are so surprised.

Chris Rowbury




Chris Rowbury


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