I was walking to work the other day listening to my iPod when a recent purchase came on– “Ready for The Weekend” by Calvin Harris. It’s a decent little party anthem but it really gets a much-needed kick from the guest vocalist–Mary Pearce (a British singer who has worked with powerhouses like Chaka Khan and Lionel Richie previously.)
This familiar and dancey delight led me to realize that it’s a common trick really…a very good trick…and today’s great thing:
109. Nerdy white dance musicians employing black female vocalists to make their songs better
Here, let me show you what I mean.
It’s a pretty good song already. Calvin Harris is a clever little Scottish dance music maestro. He’s recently written some ace tracks for Kylie Minogue and Dizzee Rascal. You’re happily toe-tapping along to this ditty…but once Mary Pearce’s vocals come in? Zoom! So much better…
Another good example of this music-boosting technique is Basement Jaxx’s “Good Luck”. Felix and Simon of Basement Jaxx have pretty much mastered this technique as a matter of fact. When considering their catalogue of dance classics, you’re really spoiled for choice if you’re looking for strong black female vocals. You could go with “Red Alert” or “Right Here’s The Spot” or certainly “Oh My Gosh”, but, Lisa Kekaula’s vocals on “Good Luck” are spine-tinglingly good.
Perhaps no conversation about dance hit vocals could be complete without discussing C + C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”. It’s, sadly, not unusual for music video directors to cast lip-synching hotties in place of the actual vocalists for the video shoot. But, one infamous case of this was when Zelma Davis lipsynched to Martha Walsh’s vocals on C + C Music Factory’s hit. There was no need for this trickery really and the group only admitted the truth of who the vocals in this terrific track belonged to after it leaked to the press. (Though to be fair, Davis WAS indeed one of several vocalists that C + C Music Factory employed, just not the one that sang the following vocals.)
Thinking on this, we really do put unreal expectations on folks. I mean, sure, it would be great if we all had exactly the same measures of talent and were all exactly the same level of smoking hot-it-tude, but Botox and college are expensive.
I feel like Moby should be included in this little compilation except for the fact that I can’t think of a song of his with female vocals. I feel like all the music he’s co-opted into his electronica is from black males…cool old blues tunes and spirituals, etc…
So, swim on White Whale. Whilst you certainly qualify as a white nerd, you have escaped my clutches for now.
Three quickies to close out the proceedings here.
Shapeshifters’ “Lola’s Theme”, which features a gospel singer from the UK called Cookie (yay).
Junior Jack’s “Stupid disco” IS basically the Pointer Sisters track “Dare Me” set to different beats:
Armand Van Helden’s “My My My”…to be fair, Van Helden not so white and geeky. It is a good excuse for me to watch this video, however.
Any more for any more?