Many years ago I went into the studio with my aunt to lay some vocals on a song she had written. I think it may have even been my first time doing something like that. Anyway, I’m in the booth with the headphones on. The music starts and when the time came I started singing. Only I couldn’t hear my own voice. At all. Not even inside my own head.
After a few seconds the engineer must have realized he didn’t have my voice up in the headphones, because all of a sudden there it was.
I only heard it for a second or two but stopped singing IMMEDIATELY. It was almost shocking how off key I was and how bad I sounded. I’d never experienced not being able to hear my own voice at all, so to hear it doing THAT when I finally was able to hear it, was freaky.
Mind you, I’ve been singing all my life. I couldn’t deliberately sing off key if I tried. But at that moment the producer was pretty convinced my aunt had brought her tone deaf nephew in there to sing on her stuff. You should have heard him scrambling and trying to come up with a way to make it work anyway, lol!
But I’m only telling you guys this short story to hopefully add weight to what I’m about to say about this Mariah thing. I finally watched the video just yesterday. First of all, let me explain something. Every singer, no matter how incredibly gifted he or she is, needs to be able to hear two things in order to sing. The music and his/her own voice. Even if you’re singing a cappella and there IS no music, you still need to be able to hear your own voice, or you can’t sing.
So right away it stood out to me that she kept repeatedly saying she couldn’t hear; not in her ear-piece or the stage monitors.
She kept trying to get the producers’ attention and get it fixed, but to no avail. At one point you can even see her pull the ear piece out, lift it up and look up at the sound guys. She even said out loud she was trying to be a good sport about it.
Now, I do think Mariah’s voice may have seen it’s better days. But don’t get it twisted, she can still sing. And despite what she seems to be implying, I do NOT think the show producers intentionally set her up to fail.
While it has been established (both by her on stage and by the show producers) that she didn’t do a sound check, I don’t think she was denied one as she seems to imply.
In fact a spokesperson from the show said she practiced her moves with the dancers but stood off stage while a stand-in did the vocal soundcheck. As deep in this whole diva thing as she is now that seems totally plausible to me.
But the truth is technical issues happen a LOT. Especially at huge events like this. They’re not usually as catastrophic as this one, mind you. But live tv really is live tv.
Here’s another thing you should know. Lip syncing at very large, high profile events is very common and done all the time. It’s a form of insurance against a major problem with the performance..well, usually.
Many people still think Beyonce lip synced her performance at the President’s inauguration. She didn’t, but she did sing live over her own pre-recorded vocal. And while Whitney Houston’s performance of The Star Spangled Banner is still seen as one of the best ever, she too lip synced over a version she recorded earlier in the studio.
That’s why Mariah’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne was so good. She went into the studio, recorded a version of it, then lip synced to that pre-recorded version for the show. So it could be that when you hear Mariah say “we’re missing some of this vocal”, the “missing vocal” she’s referring to in the video during the song “Emotions” was actually the lead vocal, which she was perhaps planning to to lip sync over. Perhaps she noticed it was missing and took a stab at perhaps singing it live. But then she couldn’t hear the track.
Of course if she could hear that some of the vocal was missing then that would imply that she could also hear the track, hunh? (I just realized that, lol)
Anyway guys, this kind of article isn’t usually what I do. I’m not a “gossip blogger” and this isn’t an entertainment blog.
I guess I’m just putting it out there in the interest of fairness and because I happen to know just a little bit about it as someone who has done some singing. I don’t know to what extent Mariah could hear or could not hear, or for how long. It appeared that sometimes the sound was coming in and out, which is why she’d start occasionally and then stop again.
But I do know this. If you can’t hear the track you can’t sing to it, no matter who you are. You don’t know what to sing to. And if you CAN hear the track but you can’t hear your own voice you still can’t sing to it because you don’t know where to place your voice. All fun and jokes aside, that’s the truth. Yet to date Marie Osmond is the only singer I’ve personally sing come out and go to bat for her. Leaves a different taste in your mouth when you look at it that way, hunh?