Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
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21-06-2012, 11:27 PM
Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
George Michael talks like this:





and yet sings like this:







Likewise, Adele... who I thought was an American singer, sounds like this in reality:







Elton John and Eric Clapton are two others I can remember. Why do British folks Americanize themselves in their music? Is it for the money? Is the American music market that profitable that people will basically sell out their nationality to get a piece? I've heard people claim that there are no accents in music because you're trying to hit and maintain notes. But anyone who's ever heard any band like Oasis or The Clash knows that not true. I realize that as an American, I'm only subjected to British bands that have already been accepted in America, so there's a bias there. But I've never heard of an American musician that tries to sound British when they sing (give me examples if you know some).

I know country singers will fake southern accents (cough Shania Twain cough she's from Canada) to fit in with their genre, but "American" isn't a genre.

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22-06-2012, 06:00 AM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (as well as other "punk-ish" singers) will use a bad British affectation while singing, I guess to sound more Sex Pistols.

Maybe, like the fake redneck accents in country music, it is all about trying to emulate the images of the music genre you're going for, or to sound like your influences. Beats the hell outta me. The fake country accent is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, though.
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22-06-2012, 12:12 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
(21-06-2012 11:27 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  .....I've heard people claim that there are no accents in music because you're trying to hit and maintain notes.

....."American" isn't a genre.

I think that claim is viable. If you are regularly trying to hit and maintain notes, it's going to be hard to maintain accent without sacrificing pitch. The things that go into being a good singer and the things that make up an accent seem to go against each other.

American isn't a genre, but I think it's safe to say a lot of genres are pretty American. You can obviously point to certain cases where accents are used to intentionally to gain a certain sound to adhere to a specific genre, or specific genres where you won't sacrifice quality with an accent, but in genres like soul, R&B, gospel, jazz, and pop versions of those genres, you can't have people maintaining accents without hurting the quality of singing.

Amy Winehouse, for example, talked like this. If she maintained that type of accent throughout her singing, I'd be pissed.

This could just be my opinion on the quality of singing, but when you sing, it involves extending the vowel sounds to hit notes, and the "American accent", which I tend to view as no accent at all, which also could just be a bias because of where I grew up, is, in my opinion is the best.

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22-06-2012, 12:21 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
I think it's so we can understand them.

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22-06-2012, 12:36 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
I think it just happens to be the way some peoples voices go when they are singing, i don't think its put on.
Not all musicians do it though which is strange.
There are still plenty of artists that keep their own accents.
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22-06-2012, 12:45 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
Two words: Mon. Eeeeeeee

It's marketing. It's not even a question to me.

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22-06-2012, 01:21 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
(22-06-2012 12:12 PM)TrulyX Wrote:  If you are regularly trying to hit and maintain notes, it's going to be hard to maintain accent without sacrificing pitch. The things that go into being a good singer and the things that make up an accent seem to go against each other.

I would agree and it's a very fair assessment of singing, considering the voice is an instrument.

Often singers do not use the voice as an instrument alone, rather a mixture of atmospheric constructs -mood, emotion, rhythm, harmony, etc.,. If there is any "accent" of note it's probably because the singer was trying to get something different out of the instrument - possibly something more ... related to emotion, harmony, mood, lyricism, possibly just the rhythm.

Tom Waits and Chuck E Weiss did a song which pretty much turns into a riff on; "do you know what I idi amin?". A rhythm. becomes two voices. become a drum. become rhythm. become... ; instruments build upon instruments to build a song. By the time the song is finished, you don't even notice anyone singing, until they are done and Tom coughs because of the strain he's put on his voice.

Very satisfying. Makes me feel all funny inside. Blush

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22-06-2012, 04:18 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
Maybe it's just me.... but I have rarely heard any accents of any type in most songs or music -- I've just assumed that when singing, people might go to the "default" like speech patterns and sounds as it's a human trait.
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22-06-2012, 06:39 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
Well, your consonants are smoother, usually let explosive than in a British accent and some of the vowel sounds work better as notes. An American accent often just sounds better.

My original material is done in my own accent but I perform mostly covers so I pick up bits from the original singer's style wherever they're from. An American told me that my accent disappears when I sing which for me is backwards but a compliment on my mimicking. Not sure I could hold a conversation in convincing American.

I've also been complimented on my Dutch, French, German and Spanish accents. I don't even understand what I'm singing in some of those.

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22-06-2012, 07:10 PM
RE: Why do British musicians sing with American accents?
You can understand Ozzy when he sings...not so much when he talks. And that goes way back.

Back in the day when Paranoid came out, he sure didn't sound English.

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