Vanilla Vocals

Saturday night we went to see Pink Martini, a headline act for our local jazz festival. This is great 11-13 piece band made up with musicians with E-normous talent. One example; the incredible trombone player was also an incredible pianist and could sing like the best crooners of today. I was really looking forward to hearing China Forbes the group’s vocalist. At the beginning of the show it was announced she would be not be performing for a year as she had recently had vocal cord surgery. The “good news” was that Lucy Woodward would be taking her place even though she had only been with the band for 3 days…..we were told. As a live performer she was very talented with great stage presence.

I liked her enough to remember to go to iTunes to download her own album, recorded only a year ago. As good as she was live, the recording didn’t match up. I didn’t download it but chose to sample female vocalists that iTunes says “listeners also bought”. I sampled many tunes from Courtney Jay, Nellie McKay, Kari Kimmel, Katie Neil, Natalie Warner, Hayley Jensen, Tara MacLean, Alissa Mowat, Keri Noble, Kellie Coffey and several more. I had not heard of any of these very talented singers and again did not download one album.

The two things these women had in common was a great voice and an uncanny sameness. I wonder how they expect to make a living sounding like everyone else. And how many more are there? Apparently vanilla ice cream is the very top selling flavour. Why? It’s safe and predictable with no stand out surprises. I also wonder why label execs and producers allow such talent to race to obscurity? Please ladies take a risk, be different and create a demand with your own unique flavour.

About Murray Hill

I am a proud Canadian that wonders around. A lot!
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