Monday, April 25, 2011

Audiences Hear With Their Ears AND Their Eyes

Tomorrow night is the premiere of the new show The Voice on NBC, hosted by Carson Daly with Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, and Cee Lo Green.serving as coaches.  If you're not familiar with the premise of this new show, it's a twist on other singing competition shows, where blind auditions are held first.  During the blind auditions, the coaches decide who the best singers are that they personally want to mentor based solely on their voice, not their looks, which is how most people think it should be, but that is not the reality of the music business.  Live music producer Kevin Pauls explains why in his recent blog "The Voice Alone?":
I was watching American Idol and saw an ad for the new series called “The Voice.” I am very interested in how this will play out.
In real life, I don’t think you can ever separate the voice from the person, the character, the looks, the actions… (If we could, there would be a lot more ugly singers… haha!)
When I look at this kind of exercise I understand what they are trying to accomplish. But, that is not the real world we breath in.
When you sing or play or act or perform anything, people respond to the entire person.
Bob Dylan is a perfect example. So is Johnny Cash… I imagine you can think of many others, too. The voice alone did not capture the essence of who they were. The performance did! The emotion, the song, the words, the person… the ENTIRE person captured the fans, not just one aspect.
Yes, every once in a while there is a voice that beats the odds and can capture the audience on pure perfection of “the voice.” And every once in a while someone wins a lottery and becomes rich; but you don’t want to quit your job and buy lottery tickets for a career!
The entire person… your face, your hair, your body moves, your passion, your smile, your… everything is what people hear! All of that “stuff” is what people hear when you perform live. If you think that a single piece will capture an audience and make your career, you are wrong.
It can, on a given night. But to be a whole artist you need to learn to engage your whole body and physically match the voice and the song and the band and the instruments, etc. The audience will hear with their eyes.
The stage is everything, and the audience wants the whole package… not just the voice!
Once the coaches on The Voice decide whom they want to mentor, they will be developing and advising their hopefuls in various areas of the music business.  It will be interesting to see at that point how much emphasis is put on the visual (i.e. image, appearance, live performance, etc.).  Be sure to tune in!

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