It’s 2011. Adele is finally granted a visa to visit America:
It’s fascinating watching an artist grow. Four years earlier, and just one year after graduating from the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, Adele was scooped up by Pete Townshend and Rachel Fuller for their In the Attic Road Show :
She stays true to herself. Adele’s singing voice is Adele’s voice, and recognisably so. She’s true to herself and true to what her songs need: varying vowel depth and width that isn’t a standard part of the South London spoken accent. So, for the sake of the emotion her words need to carry, she gives her vowels plenty of space all round when she sings.
Even singers like Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, famous for keeping his Sheffield accent when he sings, bends and stretches into a heightened, languorous version of his voice to suit the music:
Ray BLK sounds like this when she speaks. When she sings, she smooths and lengthens her vowels, to suit the melancholy pride of her song My Hood:
Why does it matter? Because all the best singers shape their English to suit their song. If you speak English as a second/third language, make a choice. You can choose to sing as you speak, or you can choose to expand and contract, round and sharpen your vowels as the emotion and meaning of the song requires. It’s up to you, but if you don’t suit your English to the song, your words will be too short or too neat and tidy. They won’t fit the mood and they won’t fit the music.
Always shape the sounds of English in the service of the song. Never just roll out the standard shapes you learnt in school. Unless you went to the BRIT school.
Here’s Adele again. No visa problems in 2015:
© Sing Better English 2018