Thursday, August 31, 2006

Clay For The Ages



Yesterday we got the first change to hear Without You on the radio! What an incredible treat that was. I was almost out the door to do some shopping for dinner when I heard that WSRS in Worcester, MA was playing Clay at 5:45pm. AND THEY STREAM!!!! So naturally, chores had to wait while I listened. And man . . . did that sound wonderful. Plus, the DJ, Tom Holt, gave a terrific plug for the CD Release Parties planned all over the country and Canada. It's fantastic how many fans are gathering to celebrate Clay's new album, A Thousand Different Ways . . . we're up to 83 parties!

So hearing Clay's voice on the radio got me thinking. And that's always dangerous. But I remember a time when I listened to the radio and in addition to great rhythms, tempos, orchestration, lyrics -- there were voices that could truly sing. Great rock bands didn't necessarily mean mediocre singing.

The Who? Roger Daltry? He could sing.



Traffic? Steve Winwood? He could sing.



Queen? Freddy Mercury? He could sing.



Voices I've talked about in previous blogs - like Tim Buckley in Haunting Voices.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - beautiful voices, beautiful singing, beautiful harmonies.

Interesting voices - like Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison.

Smooth voices - like Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye.

It's rare now when I try to listen to Top 40 stations that I really hear a VOICE I want to hear again. Christina Aguilera's - yes. It's hard for me to find others. The women seem to all sound like over-processed girls and hard to tell apart. The men sound so indistinguishable and ordinary. Hip-hop and rap are not voice-centric. Their appeal is in beats and words.

I've been listening to Clay's voice and wondering . . . just where does it fit? Then it hit me -- maybe I'm looking at Clay with ordinary eyes. And that's my mistake.

I believe that Clay Aiken is an exceptional talent that will take time to mature. It feels like he's a bridge from the past to the future. That he's an entertainer that will bring back the sparkling brilliance of Bobby Darin. I just know he will be a part of the musical landscape for a very long time. My husband listens to him and says Clay uses his voice as others use an instrument. He hears Clay's phrasings, his way of holding a note and doing something unexpected with a rhythm and says "this is Clay's artistry". He thinks Clay will someday involve himself with producing music. I truly believe that we will see Clay explore theater, film and television.

I know that I want so much for Clay's career and I can be very impatient. But, again, I think that's my mistake. Sometimes when someone has so much - I believe it takes longer to nourish it, to stretch it, to explore it. There's nothing fluffy about Clay. He may have achieved instant stardom - but I don't think Clay has yet tapped into all that he can eventually produce. I firmly believe that Clay will garner great respect in the music industry but, again, I believe it's going to take time. Patience is something not well practiced in the Clay Nation. But I'm trying not to hurry things along. I'm trying not to view Clay's career through the eyes of what others are doing. When something is out of the ordinary - sometimes you just have to have faith. When Clay is in his mid-30's - I have no doubt that he will be a musical force to be reckoned with.

I looked back at Clay's lovely rendition of Proud Of Your Boy. His whole being is committed to the character of Aladdin - his face, his body, his voice - HIS EYES. It's an amazing performance and gave me a hint of what he is capable of achieving.



And then he delights me with his charming personality and sings a modern song like Tears Run Dry - and still . . . it's the voice that grabs me.



So . . . for now . . . I'm parking myself in the Wherever You Take Me car . . . strapping myself in . . . and preparing myself for a joyous ride.


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2 comments:

Pink Armchair said...

Boy, reading this, and watching the videos, reminded me of how addicted I was to top 40 radio...nowadays when the clock radio goes on in the morning, I can't switch it off fast enough. Yeccch! I wish there were more voices like Clay's on there...actually, I wish CLAY were on there (not yet in Chicago, but I have my hopes up this time). "Proud of Your Boy" never fails to choke me up, and I mourned "Tears Run Dry" not being on this upcoming CD. Hopefully on the next one...

Vox Vixen said...

"So hearing Clay's voice on the radio got me thinking. And that's always dangerous. But I remember a time when I listened to the radio and in addition to great rhythms, tempos, orchestration, lyrics -- there were voices that could truly sing. Great rock bands didn't necessarily mean mediocre singing."

I just wanted to quote you. I so agree with this. I think technology is the worst thing to happen to the music industry in many ways. The minute "singers" could protool their voices it opened the floodgates for vocal mediocrity. I am a fan of voice, so I am not thrilled with the techno sound. My favorite singers have always had either great voices (Ann Wilson, Pat Benetar), unique voices (Springsteen, Jewel, Stevie Nicks, rock voices (David Gilmour, Roger Daughtry, Mick Jagger, Bono) or timeless voices (Presley, Groban, Streisand). I just don't hear those voices in today's music, not often enough anyway. To me Clay is like a cool puddle of water in a sun-drenched desert. Hopefully that puddle can turn into a lake.

VV/EE