The Singers Talk: The Greatest Singers of Our Time Discuss the One Thing They’re Never Asked About—Their Voices

Permuted. Sept. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9781637586990. pap. $32. MUSIC
Screenwriter and Kingsize lead singer/drummer Gordon’s compendium of interviews with singers is a fascinating and often revelatory look at the art of singing. The author, who’s also the Music Gives to St. Jude Kids creator and the grandson of entertainer Danny Thomas, spoke with an impressive, wide-ranging breadth of artists: Bruce Springsteen, Roger Daltrey, Mavis Staples, Chrissie Hynde, Michael Stipe, Tony Bennett, Lionel Richie, Emmylou Harris, and many more. He also interviewed producers and artists about deceased singers, including Nile Rodgers on David Bowie and Clive Davis on Whitney Houston. The book begins with a framework of about 20 questions, such as “Who first exposed you to singing?” and “How did you find your voice?” The interviews progress as Gordon, displaying deep knowledge and understanding, adds specific questions and comments tailored to each individual’s work. By turns eloquent, funny, reflective, and technical, all these conversations enlighten and illuminate the art of being a vocalist.
VERDICT Readers will come away with an insider’s view of what it means to be a singer with regard to technique and inspiration. The book will be of interest to fans of popular music of all genres.
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