Some celebrities, in an effort to combat what many feel are unrealistic ideas of “beauty,” are striking back against ultra-doctored photos of themselves for publication. When an obviously-photoshopped picture is released to the public (usually on the cover of a magazine), stars will in turn release the original, “untouched” versions of the photos. In some instances, one can understand why a photo has been altered, but in other cases, there’s no obvious reason for the editing, other than to make the person’s appearance conform to an “acceptable” standard of beauty. In at least one instance, it’s caused some controversy – when the Canadian-produced Netflix series based on Anne of Green Gables was promoted in the United States, the lead actress, Amybeth McNulty, was given the a Photoshop touch-up, removing some of her freckles and tanning her skin. Many felt that not only did it dilute some of the character’s defining traits, but it was an insult to a young lady who had her appearance altered for no apparent reason.
Some sound engineers are starting to do the same thing with vocalists (usually against the wishes of the vocalists). Several “isolated vocals” have appeared online of major pop stars that seem to indicate that the stars are singing along with a pre-recorded vocal track (which is commonplace in SG music), and often not even singing, or singing terribly off-pitch. Usually, the situation is such that the singer is too busy dancing to keep up vocally in a live performance, but a few instances have just been singers who aren’t able to sing.
This leads me to an interesting thought….what would happen if a gospel group today were to re-release one of their recent albums (or even just one song) WITHOUT the tuning? Would it be listenable? Would it be better or worse than the perfectly-tuned version? Would anyone even be brave enough to willingly allow the public to hear such a thing? There are some artists that I suspect would sound pretty much the same, but there are others who are so heavily tuned and edited that they may not even sound like the same group.
So, here is my challenge, artists: Pick a song from a recent project (or an upcoming project), and allow listeners to hear the UNTOUCHED, UNTUNED vocals.