5 music artists that changed how we think about vocals
This article is a part of our History Of Music series.
Rap, metal, folk music, pop, rock – there are so many different kinds of vocals that we listen to on an everyday basis. People have been singing since before the invention of modern language. However, vocal music as we know it today has its roots in monophonic chants and oral traditions.
But who are the artists who have changed the game? Let’s find out.
The earliest use of what came to be known as the ‘talk box’ is credited to Alvino Rey and his wife Luise King. They made a puppet sing by directing the guitar sound to a microphone that is placed on King’s throat. Later, Peter Frampton popularized this method in the 1970s classic rock, with performances like Do You Feel Like We Do.
Freddie Mercury was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Range is one thing, but the rate at which he could modulate his voice, the vibrato, was significantly faster than other rock stars and even professional classical singers.
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter, otherwise known as The King of Pop. He was the first black artist whose music video (Billie Jean) was aired on MTV. Jackson is very well known for his signature dance moves and his unique singing voice. He is the owner of the best selling album of all time, Thriller (1982).
Elvis Presley was an American musician and actor also known as ‘The King’. He is said to be a musical prodigy for his voice. His three-octave vocal range was exceptional and was best described as a high baritone. He could hit full-voice high Gs and As that even an opera singer might envy. He is known for his number 1 singles including Heartbreak Hotel, Can’t Help Falling in Love, Hound Dog, and Love Me Tender.
The most famous deliberate use of auto-tune is without a doubt Cher’s 1998 techno-pop banger Believe. When the song Believe came out, it confused people. Is this the desired effect? Or a mistake? Auto-tune has since become a staple of any vocal recording session and changed the economy of recording studios completely.