When I was a young man learning the creative aspects of music, I used to always try to understand why one singer’s vocal tone is able to have mass appeal for generations, while another vocal tone would only appeal to a select demographic for a particular era. The reason tones became of interest to me was because during my lifetime I would come across an individual who would make the remark that an artists such as; Dionne Warwick, Mariah Carey or Bjork could not sing. I was so perplexed by their statements because the 3 artist they named are all highly skilled masters of technique in the world of singing.
However, once I stepped away from the art and placed myself in those listeners shoes, it became clear to me what these people where talking about when they stated this artist cannot sing. I concluded that it wasn’t the technical ability of theses singer but the tonality of the singer voice that does not appeal to one’s ears, so most listener resort to the artist cannot sing to try and describe what they are musically experiencing. Let’s take a look at Mariah Carey’s early career: most remember that Carey was introduced to music fan through r&b radio, and it was during this time Carey used to utilize her high octave a lot. However, by the time Carey’s Music Box was released she had achieved the mass appeal, but the high octave was gone. Think about it. When I think of my own personal taste, I have artists that I enjoy their work, however, can only listen to couple tracks at a time because after awhile the singer’s tone begins to grate against me. I’m not going to state which artist I was referring to.
Tone we comprehend is a major factor in a fan appreciation or disdain for an artist and that it doesn’t not always result in an artist lacking in technical ability. In part two of “I Love This Voice Tone, But I Can’t Stand That One” we will observe the relationship between producers, arranger and vocalist regarding tones.