Little Christina Aguilera, with her Blonde-blonde locks, in her rail thin body, sang the “you-know-what” out of “It’s A Man’s World”, made famous by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, at the 2007 Grammy’s. You can see it on YouTube if you want.
She sang very well, and she didn’t hold anything back. I wouldn’t imagine that her rendition of the song would stand up to 8 shows a week on Broadway, but for a once-in-a-lifetime performance, she used everything she had. I would like to ask the teachers of singing who think that the 24/26 Italian Arts Songs are necessary to developing a strong vocal technique how those songs would have applied to what she was doing or helped Christina be OK. I would actually like to ask her, too.
I wouldn’t have thought that this song could bring an audience to its feet when sung by a caucasian female, and I would have been wrong. I want to know if she could sing “Nessun Dorma” (like Aretha Franklin did) and get the same reaction. Probably not, as those who know the song would still be disturbed by this kind of rendition and those who don’t wouldn’t know the difference……
I write this, yet again, because we had another discussion the other night with some colleagues about classical training being all you need, and classical training being different than any commercial sound because of a style, or the singer’s talent, or the formant frequencies shifting (by themselves, I guess). No amount of arguing changes their minds. Even aural examples are heard as being “almost the same” (when they were totally not the same). My head spins.
If you have the “talent” to sing like a pop singer while training to be an opera singer, good for you. That’s like learning golf so you can be better at tennis. It might work, in that they both require good eye/hand coordination. But if you are like most people who want to learn to be good at tennis, and you approach a tennis teacher who takes you out to a tennis court and puts a tennis ball and raquet in your hands, you would feel better, no?