What’s the big deal?By Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I’d like to call it “Much Ado Over Nothing.”
At the recent inauguration of United States President Barack Obama, quite a few of the music industry’s most talented artists were gathered to perform.
Opening the ceremonies was Beyoncé, undoubtedly a gifted vocalist. Her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was stirring.
There is a bit of a brouhaha about the possibility that she lip-synched that performance. Adding insult to injury, Kelly Clarkson’s sung “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” live.
There are conflicting reports, one of which says it wasn’t Beyoncé that did the lip-synching; it was the marine band that accompanied her. (I never thought musicians could fake it.) But at the end of the day, the question I’m asking is, who cares?
Lip-synching is common enough. Seems everyone does it here—at least movie stars not known for their singing abilities.
Back in the day, singers promoting new singles would bring along an open reel containing their music. The spinner would then play it, and the singer would lip-synch to the prerecorded track. No big deal.
Nowadays, on TV variety shows like “ASAP” and “Party Pilipinas,” singers perform live. A live band plays in the background and the singers let it rip. I love the integrity of this practice, despite the risks that live singing can bring.
At major concerts by artists like Madonna and Janet Jackson, certain numbers are sung to track (with the band playing along) because of the strenuous dance numbers involved. The jumping around can shake a human voice. Try singing/dancing “Oppa Gangnam Style.”
Which brings me back to Beyoncé. As an audience member, I am very forgiving of a singer who decides to take the safer route. In this instance, Beyoncé had possibly billions of eyes trained on her, and we don’t know what went on prior to the event.
She could have lost her voice to a significant enough degree. (Any little sablay would have been cause for great criticism, just the same.)
There are times a prerecord is mandatory. During the Olympics or other large-scale sports gatherings where arenas and stadiums are veritable sound headaches, artists normally lip-synch.
I sang at the Asian Games in December 2006; my prerecord was done the previous July. So yeah, I’ve done it, and there’s no doubt that I can carry a tune.
For that event, I had to stand many, many feet above the ground on an elevated platform with a nice breeze blowing. I was terrified and extremely nervous; I was thankful that I was required to lip-synch.
I also prerecorded “A Whole New World” with Brad Kane for the 65th Oscars in 1992. We were prepared to sing live. But during the rehearsal, the forklift that was supposed to raise our magic carpet was too loud. The noise bled into our body mics; we had no choice but to employ the recording.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. It does not, and should not, take away from who Beyoncé is and all that she’s achieved. Speaking of which, she sang everything live at the recent Super Bowl. And she was effing amazing.
I am so proud of “Allegiance,” and now it’s officially award-winning! At the Craig Noel Awards held Monday evening in La Jolla, California, “Allegiance” took home three trophies: Best Performance by a Featured Actor (Michael K. Lee), Best Orchestrations (Lynne Shankel) and Best New Musical. To everyone involved with our musical, most notably George Takei, our inspiration every single day, I send a hearty CONGRATULATIONS! Oh my goodness, we did it!
It’s time to take it up a notch… onward and upward to Broadway.
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