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If you’re a singer then sing

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Maybe it’s a generational thing but I hate lip syncing.  It’s certainly been in the news this week due to Beyonce’s performance at President Obama’s inauguration.  However, the topic seems to come up several times a year.  A recent article in the Huffington Post covered many of the recent episodes and they all left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I understand some artists want to appear perfect, just like some pitchers would like to throw a perfect game of 27 strike outs.  That’s led to other things that bum me out, like the use of auto-tune, both live and on records.  It seems to me fans don’t want perfect they want to see a performance.  They want to witness that special moment with its imperfections.  They don’t want to just listen to a recording.

I’ve written about this topic before.  Just last year, I touched on it after Dave Grohl’s Grammy speech.  As I think back through rock and roll history, some of the most memorable performances were not perfect but were instead amazing.  Amazing for their imperfections or the emotion conveyed.  They were amazing for capturing the moment.  As I think about this spirit, I’m reminded of a quote that Suburbanhobo forwarded to me recently from David Ackert of the L. A. Times.

 “Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every note, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life – the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.”

Musicians and singers dedicate yourselves to that moment.

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