Ever since I was a little kid, my mom has talked about my “musical ear.” Particularly, she likes to tell about me being in the other room when M*A*S*H came on TV, and yelling out “Truck!” at just the right moment in the theme song. That’s kind of stuck with me throughout my life, and I often attribute some of my memory to my “musical ear.”
Lately, I’ve been thinking about it because there are some songs that I can’t sing without doing an impression of the singer. Three songs in particular have come to mind recently: Elvis Presley in “Hound Dog” (followed by the obligatory “Thank you very much”); Kermit the Frog in “The Rainbow Connection”; and Neil Young for “A Horse With No Name” (yes, I know Neil Young had nothing to do with that song, but the lead singer of America sounds so much like him that I just slip into a NY impression while singing). Sometimes it’s a conscious impersonation, sometimes not. Sometimes, I think I affect a James Taylor twang when singing “Fire and Rain”; I often will try accents when singing songs like “La Bamba”; I know Bob Dylan creeps into my voice when singing “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
I don’t know exactly what therapeutic value the act of changing my voice has, if any. Familiarity, perhaps? At any rate, it just seems to be a touch I add to my singing, and it seems to go over fairly well.
Thanks for reading.