Blog, three days ago I turned 60, as the Americans would say. I uploaded a post here 6 years ago (at the tender age of 54) in which I noted, and lamented, the lightning speed at which Father Time travels. This is strange because you wouldn’t expect an aged, white haired bloke carrying a scythe to be in any way fast moving. And, even though I began that post with the words ‘I’m 54, but I won’t be for long,’ I didn’t think that 60 was, in fact, just around the corner. And, it’s a privilege to be 60, of course it is. My singing teacher (twenty years behind me) reminded me of this during my online lesson yesterday, when I whinged that I’d approached the ‘big’ 6 0 with dread; with almost an abject fear, knowing that now I can no longer make believe that I’m still in any way young and, besides, it’s most definitely all downhill from hereon in.
But enough. Yesterday my teacher and I listened to my latest recording, in which I had consciously tried to use breath control and dynamics. I tend to sing at the same volume throughout a song, there’s not much loudness and softness going on. I had wanted to remedy this and have been given breathing exercises etc. A couple of weeks ago my teacher had asked me who my favourite singer was and I couldn’t think of anyone – how alarming! This could be the nature of the zoom lessons, in that when asked any kind of question I sort of freeze, as though I’m taking part in a job interview, and not a friendly singing lesson (the rest of the time I don’t stop jabbering.) Of course, my stammer doesn’t help at all. Having had time to think, I suddenly realised that K D Lang (who I hadn’t thought of in years and who happens to be my age) was, and probably still is, the best female singer on the planet, or any other inhabited planet in the solar system. I told my teacher and she said how about singing one of her songs. Despite the fact that trying to emulate Ms Lang is a fools errand, and probably heresy too (since K D is a Goddess of Song) I decided to give Hallelujah a go, it also being a good vehicle on which to try and employ dynamics and breath control.
Hallelujah is one of those songs that’s been covered ad nauseum, but Ms Lang’s version remains the absolute pinnacle of perfection cover-wise and is the backing track I went with.
5 thoughts on “Hallelujah”
Very good – do you have virtual choir meetings where you can sing these songs?
The ‘go to’ for that song is not K D Lang for me but ‘slit your wrists’ Cohen who penned it. He’s my favourite singer if I was ever to be asked – broken, dark and depressive – speaks to everything in me!
Both my choirs do zoom once a week, I’ve never joined due to the stammer, too nerve wracking to try to speak to many people on zoom, most of whom I don’t know that well. Just me and my singing teacher is fine. I don’t like Cohen’s voice and his original recording wasn’t that popular apparently until Jeff Buckley covered it years later and it hit the mainstream and has been covered ever since. K D Lang’s voice is sublime and I’m pleased to see that she looks as old (and non-fashion conscious) as I do! No plastic surgery for her.
Happy birthday! Bit late, but genuine none-the-less. You really do have a lovely voice. This is a great song too. And just so we have everyone represented in the comments, the version of this song I’m most familiar with is the Jeff Buckley one.
Not sure if it’s any use, but a long time ago, a friend of mine had a spare ticket and dragged me along to an Eddie Reader gig at Union Chapel – an actual chapel in Islington. To be honest, I mostly knew who she was because of Fairground Attraction, and wasn’t wildly bothered about them, but I had a free evening so I went along. She was amazing. She has a fantastic voice. It just made me want her voice really – to be able to sing that well is such a gift. (It would be to my poor neighbours too, to be honest).
She wasn’t at my usual gig of choice, but I loved it. If you’re looking for songs to sing she could be worth a wee look.
Also, if the zoom call is that big, for your choir, it’s unlikely they’ll want you to say anything – if you’re there to sing and there’s that many people you could probably get away with saying nothing and no one would notice. Or you could join late? Or you could tell whoever is in charge ‘I don’t feel comfortable talking on zoom, but I’d love to join to sing. Could you make sure you don’t ask me any direct questions?’ And if the person who runs the choir is a normal human being, they’ll hopefully say ‘oh sure – no problem. Will be nice to have you join us’. I reckon they’d be really sad if they thought you weren’t joining when actually you sort of wanted to…
Checked out Eddie Reader, just a bit older than me and still singing; gives me hope 🙂 Found Fairground Attraction, remember the single ‘Perfect’ clearly, also happened to be the year I had my first child. Re: choirs. Many Covid moons ago I emailed both choir leaders and told them I didn’t want to do zoom. They both said I needn’t speak at all but I was so panicked about Covid (still am) that I didn’t feel I’d get anything out of it and would see it as a further thing to be anxious about. Turns out it wasn’t just me zoom-wise. Both choirs have 50-60 members and only an average of 12 members joined the zooms. The singing lessons suit me better being one-to-one (my comfort zone) and she can listen to me whereas you have to mute yourself when you sing with other people in choir zooms. One leader links us to the zooms so we can watch them back, which I’ve done as a more relaxing way to do it. I do realise that for me to talk about anxieties during a pandemic (a person who doesn’t work, is able to stay home safely)
accidentally posted previous comment too soon! Was going to add that it’s a bit ‘rich’ of me to talk about anxieties during Covid when so many key workers have to carry on.