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2015.09.08 13:45

B. McFerrin: everyone can learn to match pitch and sing reasonably “well”

Goda Raibytė, LRT.lt2015.09.08 13:45

„I wanted to explore my voice and didn`t want to encounter anyone who I admired so much that there was a danger I`d start to imitate them. […] Mostly it`s down to the fact that I sing almost like I talk“, – once said innovator, composer, musician and singer Bobby McFerrin. His honest style and incredible skills have won him international acclaim and 10 „Grammy“ awards.

„I wanted to explore my voice and didn`t want to encounter anyone who I admired so much that there was a danger I`d start to imitate them. […] Mostly it`s down to the fact that I sing almost like I talk“, – once said innovator, composer, musician and singer Bobby McFerrin. His honest style and incredible skills have won him international acclaim and 10 „Grammy“ awards.

– During your shows you share an improvisation with an audience member. Sometimes those people are professionals, sometimes not, but in the end they all seem to be singing perfect. It`s like you manage to open some inner energy in them and make them sing as they never did before. How do you do that?

– I don`t do that! I do something else. I invite them to enjoy it as much as I do. Sometimes that helps them sing well, but not always, not by a long shot. Still, for me and for the audience it's interesting and fun to watch someone having an adventure.

– During your performances what do you enjoy the most?

– The moments when the whole audience sings. There`s nothing like it.

– Can everybody sing? Or if you don`t have a good ear, you could never develop it and never become a good singer.

– Everybody can sing. I hate it when people tell me they were told they couldn't. I do believe almost everyone can learn to match pitch and sing reasonably “well”… But who's the judge of that? Who cares if it's “good” or if you can develop it to the highest level? I'll never be a race car driver but I get myself to the supermarket just fine, thanks.

– You`re the influence of many musicians. What music do you listen nowadays? Do you think nowadays music is good, or it's just pop music getting worse, but not the rest of it.

– I'm not a musicologist or a critic. For me, just for me and my ears, I need the resonance of a real voice, real instruments. I`m not completely against electronics or processed sounds. But I need to hear and feel something human, feel the breath and the heart behind the music. There`s lots of that going on in the world, lots of wonderful music being made. There's also some stuff I'd rather not listen to, so I just don't listen to it.

– What are your values as a musician and performer. What do you expect to give and get before going on the stage?

– I think our job as artists is to bring joy. It`s that simple. You must bring joy, help people feel alive in the world. I get there by singing, and I try to invite people to come there with me.

– Religion plays an important role in your life. What is God to you?

– My faith and my spirituality are part of my foundation. My daily reading of the Bible, especially the Book of Psalms, my prayers and reflections, and my relationship to the teachings of Jesus are very important in my life. But religion not quite as much. I love to pray and worship with others, but I don't always go to church. When I do I really appreciate a good sermon. But my relationship with God is a very personal, private thing.

– It will be your second time in Lithuania. What impressions did the country leave for you the first time you were here?

–I played in a really unusual place, a sports hall where the audience completely surrounded me. And I remember there were lots of kids in the audience, and one volunteered to sing with me and completely surprised me by singing an Elvis Presley tune. He sang it really well, too!!

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