Singing with a non-American accent?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Patrick Sun, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I've read that the American style of singing is really just neutral English language singing. But a co-worker was convinced that almost all singers singing English language songs sing with a typical American accent, even if they have a non-American speaking accent (be it Scottish, English, Irish, Swedish, etc).

    I kick myself for not thinking of The Kinks at the time. I brought up The Beatles, but the co-worker didn't think so, though it's plain as day to my ears. Brought up the lead singer for The Cranberries, but that was dismiss as singing with a Irish lilt.

    So... who sings and retains most of their non-American accent while singing English language songs?
     
  2. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    The Pogues
    The Proclaimers
    are two I can think of off of the top of my head.
     
  3. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Rebecca St. James (Australian) is one I can think of off the top of my head. But even her accent doesn't come across nearly as strong when she sings as it does when she is 'singing' spoken dialogue.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I don't think it is intentional. It is just natural to sing "neutral" which happens to be roughly a middle American "accent". Yes, some singers sing with an accent, but I think it takes a conscious effort. I listen to a lot of European Metal. virtually all the groups are from non English speaking countries, but most of the vocals are in English and the singers generally sound like they are from Iowa, when in fact English isn't their main language and they speak with heavy accents. Take Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation, Netherlands) or Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil, Italy) for example. They sing with no accent.

    Country and Rockabilly is a major exception. Lots of southern drawl in those vocals.
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Peter Noone of the Herman's Hermits?

    I asked a simular question in a thread a few years ago (why do English/European performers sing with an American accent?) and the consensus was to attract the much larger American buying public. Not sure I completely agreed with that answer but I accepted it for lack of an alternative, even though I always thought it was just a natural way of singing. But there are exceptions. I'm surprised this topic doesn't come up more often.
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Galia Durant of Psapp has a noticeable accent when she sings. I think Dave Gilmour has a detectable accent, and Roger Waters certainly does.
     
  7. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Seiko Matsuda....

    [​IMG]

    The album featured Phil Ramone as producer and Billy Joel's band as the backing musicians. Songs were written by songwriters such as Dan Hartman, Michael Bolton, etc.

    Definite Japanese accent.
     
  8. KurtEP

    KurtEP Supporting Actor

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    Miho Hatori from the group Smokey & Miho had a noticeable accent. Nothing like Bossa Nova with a Japanese accent.
     
  9. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Chinese singers of English-language pop songs, no matter what era, always have a slight accent....

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    There's probably tons of examples - Bob Marley, Eleanor McEvoy, Fionn Regan a bit
     
  11. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    When I read the thread title, I immediately thought "and I would walk five hundred miles..." which is so obviously Scottish.

    I guess part of accents is not just the way one pronounces a word, but the rising and falling tone of each word in a sentence as well, and spoken tone is lost in music (or perhaps more accurately, superseded by the tune of the song)? If that makes sense...
     
  12. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    Ah also Flogging Molly. I think everyone should check this band out.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I think that is it. Once again saying that it takes a conscious effort to sing with an accent, though I think Asian languages may be the exception. I don't think marketing really has anything to do with it. There is no single "American" accent. They don't sing with a New York or southern accent. It is a middle America "accent" which I have always thought of as neutral, or not really any accent. Maybe it's just relative.
     
  14. Ralphie_B

    Ralphie_B Stunt Coordinator

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    I've always thought of a middle-american accent as being a lack thereof / neutral, too... but yet I couldn't help wondering if was just because I was born and raised in Iowa... [​IMG]
     
  15. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    Where ever you are from, no one has an accent there. [​IMG]
     
  16. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    How about American-born singers who purposely sing with a faux British accent, such as Billie Joe from Green Day? I think he's reduced it somewhat recently, but it was very noticeable early in his career, and many people talked about it.
     
  17. Walter C

    Walter C Cinematographer

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    I was about to start a thread, asking this question myself, but pertaining mainly to British performers sounding like Americans. I always hear from "there is no accent in singing" to "they were influenced heavily by American singers". But never both.

    Back to the original question of those who sing with non-American accent, there's:
    - Midnight Oil
    - Men At Work
    - Peter Gabriel

    I'm sure I can think of more.
     
  18. questrider

    questrider Second Unit
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  19. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    I can tell Dolores O'Riordan from the Cranberries is Irish from some of the songs I've heard.
     
  20. Walter C

    Walter C Cinematographer

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    Some more that sing with British accent...
    Duran Duran
    Human League
    George Michael (but only on some of his songs)
    Sheena Easton - strange thing is that she did some voice acting with an American accent, in a cartoon movie



    Come to think of it, I think it's like asking "How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?"

    The world may never know. [​IMG]
     

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