Thursday, September 29, 2011

Famous for Four Notes- Madonna endures despite her vocal challenges...

Madonna in Sex Book
Famous for Four Notes- Madonna endures despite her vocal challenges 

It has been argued over time that Madonna is not so much a singer but a phenomenon. She is a force that has changed the face of music and reinvented marketing strategies for business in general.  She used her voice as an advocate rather than focus her time with achieving notes and great singing.  

She entertains and challenges our beliefs while defying the expectations set for women, singers or a whatever label you try to put on her.

It has been joked and proven true that Madonna sings at about an octave, her songs live in the four notes area.  (Test this theory!!! Sing any Madonna song and listen. There will only be the same four notes for any phrase from any song she has sang.)

Madonna is not a perfect voice, but not every star has to be a great singer.  

Looking back at her career, in 1982 when Madonna released her Burning Up Lp which was an instant sensation on MTV.   Madonna was sassy and full of life; she even showed some promise as a singer. In fact, her "Everybody" rack was released without a picture so that black radio would play the track.  Many people thought Madonna was black since she had an urban sound.

From the early days, Madonna sang with a true grit and sensual nature that can be likened to an R&B soul singer.  Her backing vocals are typically done by N'dea Davenport, Nikki and  Donna in the early days.  These ladies provided a soulful edge to Madonna's girlie whimsical voice.  It wasn't until True Blue LP that Madonna started sharing the more mature side of her voice.

I think Madonna has only connected to the fringe music like Urban music, dance and club music. She also enjoys the stories that songs tell as she has always taken an active role in writing her own music.


At the peak of her new found fame, Madonna embodies the new woman.

The infamous cone bra.

One thing that about Madonna that very few people seem to connect is her constant use and love for R&B music.  Her first albums had an R&B edge as well as the last such as Music, Hard Candy, and Bedtime Stories. Over and over again, she has used soulful top selling producers to give her that street edge and soul to her music.   She has worked with artists and producers from Babyface to Dallas Austin to Missy Elliott to Timberland to Justine Timberlake to the Neptunes.

I think Madonna is smart to connect to soulful music because her true vocal talent is limited. Not only does she package the music well.  But when you listen to it, she tells you the story as only she can.

However, as much as i respect her as an artist, the truth is her talent is limited vocally and about four notes is all she is actually able to produce.  Sure, Evita can along and she was smart to take voice lessons and practice more with her voice.  And yes, a few of the songs she worked very hard to shed the image of "not a singer" just a brand.

But, I dare you take the test and sing any Madonna song.  You will find that every phrase in every song surrounds four notes.  Try Like a Virgin, Try any song and you get the same result. Four notes.

But the great thing about Madonna is she has never claimed to be a quality vocalist. But what she does offer is the package as a singer.  She connects to the audience in a highly emotional way.  This is an amazing trait to have a singer, but Madonna proves that range does not outweigh heart.

Madonna still has a sexy body. 

Madonna is always regal.

Only time will tell if Madonna the singer will endure but we know the phenomenon will.

She entertains and challenges our beliefs while defying the expectations. She has broken millions of records as an artist and made billions of dollars as a brand.  In 2009, her tour grossed 409 million dollars.  And live, well let's just say Madonna is not the best live artist vocally.

But she connects to the audience, we feel her music is coming from her soul.  Madonna is giving it her best.  When she sings she becomes one with the words and the hope that the music sets her and us free.  And for a moment it does.

The truth is every vocalist is not a great singer but with heart you can feel their message as if it is from a great soul singer.

Madonna is not perfect, but there isn't a greater star than her.