Covering songs – Struggling vs Story-telling

Good singing is about story-telling. It’s pretty easy to hear when a singer is struggling with a tune. The voice doesn’t quite convince the listener. Perhaps the timing is slightly off. Most importantly, it doesn’t sound authentic. There is no sense of a story being told.

There’s this thing that happens once you know a song really well. Once you have played and played and played the song, the technical stuff moves out the way and you can focus on telling the story – imbuing the song with emotional labour and making a connection with the listener. This applies to much more than music, of course.

The thing that is interesting is that this authenticity (or lack of it) doesn’t really reflect technique, ability or skill. Even great technical singers can make a song sound empty. Instead, it’s about how well you know the song from every different angle. How convinced you are as the singer that the story needs to be told. By classical opera standards, Bob Dylan has a technically terrible voice but he is utterly compelling.

Rambling post – but I am convinced that the old adage that ‘practice makes perfect’ means that practice opens up a singer to perfectly tell a story the way they want to in order to connect to the audience.

Happy Thursday chimps.

Guests

In my early adventures in podcasting, I’ve learned something important: Guests need to be considered.

Guests are very important (obviously), but they don’t automatically know what you want from them. Already I have had guests who thought there would be videos of the chat posted on the internet (only audio btw), and who felt very uncomfortable with the whole idea of being recorded, right up to the point that I bullied them into a room to sit in front of a mic. I was oblivious to this. I thought they all wanted what I wanted and intrinsically knew my intentions – but why would they?

If you are going to interview people, you also need to work hard to line up a roster of interesting people. I have decided to start with a series of 4 interviews – one a week for a month. As a little teaser, let’s play have you ever.

Have you ever:

  • Devoted your life to art and wildlife?
  • Moved from Africa to Scandinavia?
  • Built a cabin in the wilderness?
  • Drawn cartoons for a living?

4 guests, 4 stories. Coming up on chimpwithcans.com

Embedding a track

Continuing with the podcast preparations, I am going to try and embed a Soundcloud track on this blog post.

This blog will be the primary place to go to hear my podcast. Therefore I want to be able to embed tracks so that they are playable without having to leave this site. This involves getting HTML code and pasting it into WordPress. I’ve never done this before, so here it goes with an old track I digitised from an LP a while ago:

Cute song. Radical embedding of audio!

One step closer to my podcast.

Types of podcast

Free form conversations. Structured research pieces. Reviews of products. Scientific discussions. Interviews. Creative stories. I want to create a podcast, but what sort of podcast should it be? I thought about this yesterday – I came up with a quick list of desirable characteristics:

  • I want it to be a long form conversation rather than a formal interview
  • I want it to be a weekly show if possible
  • I want to discuss in depth some ideas and stories that guests can bring with them
  • Topics of interest are as follows:
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Stories and narratives that affect our lives

After thinking about it for another day – I would stick with what i said, and I would focus on the stories as much as possible. Everyone has a story to tell, and humans relate to each other primarily through stories. Narratives. Archetypes.

I am going pretty well in lining up some guests. There are a few stories to tell already so we’re looking good. It’s an interesting exercise trying to find people to join you in a creative project like this. It forces you to look at your network of people around you, and to think of who might be interesting to listen to. It is the work that you have to go through to produce a series of podcasts. It is more intensive than i thought it would be.

I am already buzzing with my creative pursuit. It is happening alongside my office job career which is going just fine too. But the creativity is food for the soul.

Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire.

Podcast Plans

One of my goals is to be more creative – specifically I want to create a podcast. So far I have gotten all the equipment, I have created a proof of concept and then a first pilot episode with my friends. These can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/chimpwithcans (you’ll also see some early soundcloud recordings I uploaded as a favour to my mum 🙂 )

All of this was done with the creative process in mind rather than the end goal (ie. wanting to just create SOMETHING, rather than knowing what sort of thing do I want to create). It has been fun. There is a long way to go, though.

Now I am trying to line up some guests for the more formal Chimpwithcans podcast. It is not an easy process and it is making me think more about what the goal of the podcast is. I thought to write down here what exactly I want to achieve from the podcast.

  • I want it to be a long form conversation rather than a formal interview
  • I want it to be a weekly show if possible
  • I want to discuss in depth some ideas and stories that guests can bring with them
  • Topics of interest are as follows:
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Stories and narratives that affect our lives

It’s broad and will be whittled down. I’m really looking forward to being more creative. I’ll keep updates here as they happen.