Peter Gabriel: Singing Lessons

May 13, 2015

"Technically, I think I'm a crap singer. I don't have the chops, but I know that I can move people and I can touch them. That interests me more."

The proliferation of  singing talent shows on American TV all suggest that prodigious vocal technique, along with the singing of as many notes (plus ornamentations) is the pinnacle of musical expression.

Wrong.

More is not better. Quality is not defined by quantity.

The singer's art, as I see it, is to directly connect us to music; to reveal through music our common humanity. To put it more bluntly, to knock our socks off.

What is it about Peter Gabriel's voice that moves me so?

If I were to stand back and use my musical analytical training, the description would not be kind: frequently out-of-tune, raspy, often reaching for notes beyond comfortable range, a lack of vibrato and often sounding tired and a bit froggy.

There is no one's voice that moves me as much. I can't explain it, so don't ask. There are much better singers in the world, but for my taste, Gabriel is the one.

Iarla Ó Lionáird & Michael Gallen have posted a wonderful (and unedited) interview with Gabriel with the focus on singing.

Go the link and scroll down to the bottom. It's really good.

POST SCRIPT:

Keith Richards on "singer syndrome."

And finally, lessons on how NOT to sing with the beloved Spinal Tap.