I laughed the first time I heard Will I Am say that on THE VOICE.
I thought he had made it up! It was a polite way of saying someone was out of tune. I used it in choir and we all laughed. How we laughed..’pitchy’ ha ha ha..And then last week, I had sent this track to someone and the feed back was “If there is any comment I could give you it’s a bit pitchy”…Now the boot is on the other foot and I am laughing and spitting, but also questioning our current need for ‘absolutely tuning’…Now there is a device that everyone uses to ‘tweak’ vocals so almost all commercial vocals are bang on. It means if we listen to that type of music, we are getting so used to it, that the old human voices of yesteryear ( remember Mark Almond?) are not really what our ears want? OR are we wanting to hear vocals with rough edges?…It’s a bit like airbrushing the voice..taking the wrinkles and the lines out…I will say that our first two albums I did not tweak one note …During the ‘singles ‘ once, I had a great take and there was a note that made me squirm and I tuned it…but it is like first aid…not cosmetic surgery…useful for the occasional little zit on an emotional face.
So then I listen to my track just for the tuning and not for the emotion…that is sad and I think well there might be a couple of notes that are not ‘bang on’ but they are gone in a minutiae and they are part of the song….
Its a dilemma…because once you start with the vocal airbrushing, when do you stop? Its maybe vocal botox…ha ha . So I just have to laugh.
So here is the offending track…No-one has asked me who the people are on the cover yet….
It is noted that most of my friends and I are working on the ‘coal face’. That seems to mean that are doing ‘real work’ in our communities and no-one in the world of the media has noticed us yet, or shined a light, and no-one, apart from the people nearest to us accolade us with more than golden chutney awards ( for which I am most grateful) or says we are we are ‘the country’s favourite bla bla bla’, or what ever. It is great work. We connect people. We have lots of fun. There are people in my choir who met and got married, became friends, send me photos of them on their holidays together while I am working my butt off making music for them in my little cave in Norf London. Its brilliant! Its badly paid and really hard work.
Then I find trying to get my own music played in the world of the media almost impenetrable. I have been trying hard for decades. Sometimes it feel creatively like being underground in a mine and not being able to get to the surface. Stuck in the pit, covered in soot with no way of getting to the light however hard you try. Just like my Grandfathers.
I have been thinking about the coalface a lot recently, as I am fast approaching the age that both my Grandads died from working down the mine. I joke that emphysema runs in the family. I am sad I never got to meet either of my grandfathers, but it also makes me think about all the things I have been able to do with my life and how I have to carry a light for them. I am very lucky.
Maybe I will continue to work really really hard doing what I do and no-one, apart from my close knit community will see it, and maybe that is actually real life and the shining light of fame is a load of old cobblers. I found this postcard on the internet and love it! So this year ahead I shall be thinking a lot about working on the coalface and how we get back up to the light, and what the light actually is or whether the lantern and the canary are all we need.
I have been working hard this week, setting up all the songs for the gorgeous choirs. In between we managed a song, recorded wrote it in 2 days at home…and its a cracker! Just press play …..Bandcamp is a great place to buy music and its worth a go, as you can pay what you want ,or just listen to it..and the artists gets a good percentage .