Just because you miss a few notes every time you sing doesn’t mean you can’t be a singer and a very successful singer to boot. If you listen to the judges on American Idol praising some of the contestants they believe can become big stars, you might hear them say, “You were a little pitchy in a couple of spots. But that’s OK, because I believed your performance.” What they’re really saying is, “You look like a star, and you move like a star and don’t worry about your notes, because we can fix that in the studio. We’ve got machines that can tune you up.”
Years ago, back in 1989, I had gospel singer Andrae Crouch demonstrate for me the magical pitch correcting power of synthesizers. He was also showing how the synthesizers can provide the voices of singers who aren’t at the concert and hit the notes for stars who may be to breathless from dancing to sing their full songs. This was just after Andrae and his choir had provided the background vocals for Madonna’s hit record, “Like A Prayer.”
To put the synthesizer to the full test I had Andrae record me saying four words, that’s right speaking not singing the words. Now this was pushing the machines to the limit but he made a song out of it, even if it wasn’t very musical on my part. This was before auto tuning came along to regularly turn people’s speeches into songs. I thought this story had been lost to history and the tapes erased, but I found it last night. And now with almost all records going through pitch correction before they are released it seemed timely to show how for many singers today, being close to on key is good enough. Music and horseshoes, points for being close, who would have thought.