Sometimes the very thing you seek has been underneath your nose the entire time. There’s a popular expression along those lines, I think. Anyhow, my search for a musical partner has culminated in getting connected with a kid I have known for a few years. He went to my high school, plays music with some of my same friends, and is currently an undergrad at that hallowed institution of learning in Palo Alto. Very fitting.
I approached him over spring break about putting together a set list of R&B and soul songs, and we rehearsed for the first time last weekend. It’s amazing how much good accompaniment adds to singing. Not that I have anything against a cappella. I performed without instruments all through college, and loved every minute. But let’s be honest: the human voice is suited to be a voice and not a trumpet or a violin. Now, when you combine the voice with an instrument such as piano or guitar, you create a product which is greater than its separate parts. For some reason I sing so much better with keys or strings backing me up. I think I am able to better hone in on the individual notes and the overarching melody. I hear the song, or rather the song exists outside of my head in the form of instrumentation, before I have to start singing. Accompaniment is more than a crutch to lean on, though; it mixes with the voice to create an entirely unique, profound sound.
Anyway, our tentative set list:
Whenever Wherever Whatever – Maxwell
Walk Away From Love – Bitty McLean
Drown In My Own Tears – Ray Charles
Ordinary People – John Legend
I Forgot To Be Your Lover – William Bell
Black Night – Charles Brown
Fall For Your Type – Jamie Foxx
Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra
Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Time to practice!