Ok, Full disclosure…
I am most certainly a fan of politics, and something of a citizen blogger. But above even these noble exploits, my first love is music. I am a singer. Throughout the years I’ve performed various styles of music, from classical and jazz, to gospel and pop. I’ve had the privlege of getting to also learn about different aspects of the music industry as well. Though I have certainly never attained celebrity status, or risen to the level of music mogul like Beyoncé or Jay-Z, I do know a thing or two about music, and stage performance.
Here’s me and my friend, American Idol quarter-finalist Wendy Taylor, singing a duet version of the song “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles…
This is one of my favorite songs, and considering that I got to work with a super-talented artist like Ms. Taylor, it turned out being one of my favorite videos to shoot as well. On the recording, you hear us singing. On the video you “see” us singing. But we’re not doing both at the same time. This video, like most music videos you’ll ever see, shows the artists lip-syncing. It’s industry standard now to never sing live while one is on film, especially if you’re trying to save that particular footage for re-use (to be played on MTV), or for posterity. As you can tell, I’m TERRIBLE at lip-syncing!! But I’m very glad for how the video turned out.
I share all of this because of the fascinating debates that we’ve had this week over lip-syncing. After Beyoncé’s performance at Monday’s 57th Inauguration, there have been no shortage of opinions on whether or not she lip-synced. Initially, everyone thought it was great. Commentators were left speechless about how beautiful and graceful the diva looked, and what a magnificent, and appropriate arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner she delivered. That was the news about Beyoncé before allegations of lip-syncing broke out.
The one question I have for everyone… are any of those comments no longer true? She DID look beautiful. She DID sing the Anthem. It WAS a great arrangement, and it WAS very appropriate for the occasion. Watching on that day, many people moved by it. The only question that could possibly remain… did Mrs. Knowles-Carter sing our Nation’s Anthem in real time?
The answer is… it doesn’t matter. Yes, Beyoncé is a singer, but she is also a major force in American popular culture. Out of 315 million citizens in the United States of America, President Barack Obama asked her to be the one and only American to step into recorded history, and deliver our nation’s National Anthem on January 21st, 2013. She was THE person to deliiver that Anthem to over 1 million pepople on the national mall, and now Billions of people that have watched it in the hours and days following. Pre-recording or not, that is what happened at the Inauguration.
Long after Mrs. Knowles-Carter, myself or anyone else reading this blog can utter even a sound from our voice box… long after the full history of Obama’s second-term Presidency is just notes on a page and files in a 22nd, 23rd or 24th Century version of Cloud data, and long after any sort of controversy over whether she lip-synced or not is a barely readable footnote, the Anthem heard that day will still stand, and the video of who sang it will too.
So before you judge the singer in the heat of the moment, take a second to go back and listen to that version of our National Anthem. If you listen closely, you can hear not only Beyoncé’s voice, but the immense care that she took to make every note and every sound just perfect. You can hear the full weight of responsibility that she felt preparing for one of our nation’s most public moments of time. You can hear her sheer patriotism, love for this country, and respect for our nation’s President in that recording. Maybe Beyoncé played it safe that day. But she still played it well.
There you go folks… history.