Martha Wash was sitting in a Los Angeles hotel room, furious and confused. It was late 1990 and the singer, relaxing before a show that night, had decided to unwind with some channel surfing. She stumbled upon a new music video by Italian house group Black Box, whose synth lines, horn stabs and pulsating, club-tailored drum patterns had already made them dance music stars. When the song's vocals kicked in, she was shocked to see French model Katrin Quinol, the ex-girlfriend of founding member Daniele Davoli, bending over and crouching in a unitard, lip-syncing Wash's vocals to the eventual hit "Everybody Everybody." - Martha Wash: The Most Famous Unknown Singer of the '90s Speaks Out (Rolling Stone) [more inside]
Pitch Battles: How a paranoid fringe group made musical tuning an international issue.
The petition had its origins in one of the strangest conflicts to have overtaken classical music in the past thirty years, and many of these luminaries were completely unaware of what they’d gotten themselves into. The sponsor of both the petition and the conference that featured Tebaldi was an organization called the Schiller Institute, dedicated to, among other things, lowering standard musical pitch. ... But behind this respectable front lurks a strange mélange of conspiracy, demagoguery, and cultish behavior. At its founding in 1984, its chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche laid out the Institute’s role in surprisingly apocalyptic termsOriginally published at The Believer.
Ev'ry truly cultured music student knows: you must learn your scales and your arpeggios. Even if you're the lead singer of a death metal band (SLYT).
Not just a singer, but a songwriter. Not just an actress, but an activist. Abbey Lincoln helped to push the expectations that the jazz loving public had of jazz vocalists beyond the stereotype of sexy chanteuse delivering someone else's lyrics. From sexy and sultry (as in this clip from "The Girl Can't Help It") to quirky and passionate to elegant and expressive, Ms. Lincoln was a true original in every sense of the word. [more inside]
She's been called "the greatest posthumous success story in music history." But when she died of melanoma at age 33, few people outside of the Washington DC-area had heard of Eva Marie Cassidy. [more inside]
Perhaps the greatest country baritone since George Jones is confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy and has a day job at a nuclear power plant. [more inside]
Queens of Carnatic singing: Nithyasree Mahadevan: 1, 2 and 3. Sudha Ragunathan: 1, 2, 3 and 4. And the legend of the legends, M.S. Subbulakshmi, in her film appearances from decades past: 1, 2 and 3, and as an elder stateswoman of Carnatic vocal artistry: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
"Feelings" - As only the brilliant but... ummm... eccentric (case in point: July/August 1995 in that last link) Dr. Nina Simone could've performed it. >
Is That All There Is? Goodbye Peggy Lee.