Sunday, January 29, 2012

Articulation - who cares?

In a recent coaching class, someone [no names now] made the comment that for a singer, articulation can't be that important because nobody listens to the lyrics anymore!  I was too dumbfounded to make a comment at the time.

If this were really the case, we'd all be tuning to the classical music station...we'd all be listening to opera ....and nobody would be singing along in the car! [er, unless you sing opera that is]

Music is integral to the human spirit.  It uplifts us.  It soothes us.  It motivates us. It inspires us. Many of our memories are linked to music.  We use it to mark the important milestones in our life ....birthdays, weddings, celebrations of all types.  We treasure it as a solo experience and we share it with other human beings.  When the music has lyrics, it is called a song!

Songs are the fabric of, and the witness to, our lives.  Lyrics can become a mantra for many people [dare I stick my neck out and say 'most people'?].  Here are a few of my own examples:
  • upon achievement - the lyrics of Queen's "we are the champions of the world"  
  • successfully tackling a challenging task - Annie Lennox singing "sisters, are doing it for themselves"
  • currently, when I'm struggling with something, the lyrics of a Whitney Houston song - "step by step, bit by bit, stone by stone, brick by brick"
As a songwriter, the challenge is always in finding a way to get the message across in fewer words. For me, some songs are just for fun - so if the listener can't hear the lyrics, they'll miss the joke (or worse, the punchline).  Most of my songs, though, have a message - and often multiple messages.  I often structure my lyrics to be interpreted in different ways - in order that individual listeners will find meaning to fit their need.

When audience members come up to me after a gig and tell me that "that song really touched me because ..."  or "you played a song last year that changed my life ..." then proceed to share their own story,  well, for a songwriter it lifts me to a new high and I know I've done my job well.

So I'm putting out a new challenge on Facebook each day this week .....share the lyrics that make a difference in YOUR life.  I'd love to hear from YOU leave a comment below or jump on to Facebook and join the challenge.

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