Tag Archives: schwa sound

Shura: What’s it Gonna Be?

When a songwriter crosses the Atlantic to borrow an English word, it’s always strategic. Think of David Bowie here.

Shura‘s British, of Russian heritage, so why does she choose gonnaGonna is American colloquial English. The British version is gunna.

Why reject the ‘correct’ English version: What’s it Going to Be?  Because gonna flows where going to would trip and tangle. Gonna offers a simple, double schwa sound, a light, uncomplicated meaning and an extra touch of ‘cool’:

Continue reading Shura: What’s it Gonna Be?


Singing 3 gardens into life

When we moved to our new house, for us kids it was a huge huge big deal to have trees in the back garden. Where we had lived in Selly Park, the back garden was more concrete than grass, so it felt like we were in a forest. Some of my happiest memories are of endless summer holidays where it seems like we spent most of the time in the garden, making up dance routines or having mammoth waterfights. The song is a celebration of that.”                                Laura Mvula, speaking to the Birmingham Post

Say the English word garden out loud. Two equal syllables, neat and tidy. Now listen to Laura Mvula unzip that first syllable and pack it full of happy memories, of sanctuary and joy:

Continue reading Singing 3 gardens into life

Customizing Your Broken Blueprint

Your badger has broken my new phone.

How does your brain imagine the word broken? Where do you put the stress: broken or broken? Is the e like the of egg or the e in the? Do you roll your r? Is your o like the o in alone or like the o in orchestra? Your personal version of broken is your brain’s blueprint for the word.

The blueprint tells you what sound to imagine every time you read the word broken. It shapes your mouth and instructs your muscles to produce that sound whenever you speak or sing.

Listen to the way Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) sang broken. Is his version of the word the same as your brain’s broken blueprint?:

Continue reading Customizing Your Broken Blueprint