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Non english speaking artists singing with American accents....
Old 28th January 2009
  #1
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lanyee's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Non english speaking artists singing with American accents....

I'm very curious why this happens. All of these metal bands from Europe sing in a perfect American accent, but I have a hard time understanding when the speak due to their accent.

Even classic bands Led Zep, Beatles, The Who, all have American accents when they sing. Is the American accent the natural singing accent? Or is it that many of these bands copy from American music as kids, and have grown to sing like their favorite bands? I've always wondered this.
Old 28th January 2009
  #2
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mdjice's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyee ➑️
I'm very curious why this happens. All of these metal bands from Europe sing in a perfect American accent, but I have a hard time understanding when the speak due to their accent.

Even classic bands Led Zep, Beatles, The Who, all have American accents when they sing. Is the American accent the natural singing accent? Or is it that many of these bands copy from American music as kids, and have grown to sing like their favorite bands? I've always wondered this.
I don't know it's just like that. If you hear me talk I definitely have an accent but when I sing not at all (for example listen to me on the song CYCLONE with baby bash I'm on the hook). Maybe i do a bit but much less then when I speak and I'm not even really trying...weird...it's like Celine Dion when She sings in French she has a perfect FRENCH accent but when she talks she definitaly sounds canadien!!
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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markus enochson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
well, alot of musical people sort of mimic their surroundings or influences in dialect or accent... in a sense an accent is just tonality and rythm and thats sort of what the whole thing is about... i have a disorder that makes me mimic my english on people i feel close to. for instance, if i'm working in the uk and and american guy calls me on the phone i would switch accents... cant control it, just happens (i'm not saying how good of and accent here, just that i do change them) and since i'm a swede living in paris now it gets worse. i sometimes even mimic my close french friends english (after a few glasses of red)... its kinda ********...

as far as celine goes, yes, but i doubt non french speakers would catch on to celines slow canadien french... for them french is french...
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by markus enochson ➑️
well, alot of musical people sort of mimic their surroundings or influences in dialect or accent... in a sense an accent is just tonality and rythm and thats sort of what the whole thing is about... i have a disorder that makes me mimic my english on people i feel close to. for instance, if i'm working in the uk and and american guy calls me on the phone i would switch accents... cant control it, just happens (i'm not saying how good of and accent here, just that i do change them) and since i'm a swede living in paris now it gets worse. i sometimes even mimic my close french friends english (after a few glasses of red)... its kinda ********...

as far as celine goes, yes, but i doubt non french speakers would catch on to celines slow canadien french... for them french is french...
hahaha... I do this all the time too. Some years ago I worked at a computer tech shop, and we wound up hiring this fellow from Russia. His English was not too bad, but of course he had a pretty thick Russian accent. Well every time I spoke with him, I would break into a "Checkov-from-StarTrek" accent without even realizing it... he would just grin heh
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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aclarson's Avatar
People sing like their influences. What are the two most prolific rock countries? USA and England, of course (no offense to any other countries). Chances are that these bands were heavily influenced by some American band. It's the same reason Billie Joe from Green Day sings with an English accent even though he's from California. He listened to the Sex Pistols, and voila!
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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dbjp's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarson ➑️
People sing like their influences. What are the two most prolific rock countries? USA and England, of course (no offense to any other countries). Chances are that these bands were heavily influenced by some American band. It's the same reason Billie Joe from Green Day sings with an English accent even though he's from California. He listened to the Sex Pistols, and voila!
Billie Joe Armstrong's singing has always sounded very american to me.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's also mainly because people growing up in non-native English speaking countries hear most of their English from tv, and the majority of tv with English language that is exported is American..

I'm forever putting people straight here in Denmark when they use Americanisms, I'm a bit of a fascist when it comes to English..

Also when people say 'I love your accent'.

I DON'T HAVE AN ACCENT!! I'M ENGLISH! IT'S EVERYONE ELSE THAT HAS THE ACCENT!!!
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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Barish's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Plus Billie Joe is a native English speaking artist. As they generally speak so over there in California.

Robert Plant once said he was a skinny blond bloke from West Brom who wished he was from California. I guess Billie Joe wished he was from Clapham Junction as well.

Also, the title of this thread contradicts the original post contents. All of the examples given there are native English speaking artists.

I don't know what non-English speaking artists have to do with The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

If the examples were around The Cardigans, A-Ha and ABBA and such, then I would have said yeah...

Anyway, I guess there are two reasons to non-English speakers adopting Yank accents:

1) It's easier to do American accent than British, and you can get away with an American accent but you can't do so easily with a British accent.

2) American accent sells more because Yanks don't understand it if it is not in their own accent, and won't buy it if they don't understand it. ("If English was good enough for Jesus, sure it is good enough for me" principle applies in their music shopping habits, and when they say English, they mean American.) And Yankland is 300 million as opposed to Britland's 58m. Bummer.

B.
Old 28th January 2009
  #9
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gwailoh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyee ➑️
Even classic bands Led Zep, Beatles, The Who, all have American accents when they sing. Is the American accent the natural singing accent? Or is it that many of these bands copy from American music as kids, and have grown to sing like their favorite bands? I've always wondered this.
The British blues and R&B bands of the '60s were explicitly trying to sound like the American blues records which they loved and which were their models. Jagger, Relf, Daltry, Plant etc. were doing this deliberately. They felt they weren't tough or authentic unless they mimic'd those accents.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey, we're over 60 million thank you very much! Well, minus 1 heh

It's unbelievable actually how many ex-pats there are - It's the same as if the entire population of Denmark just upped and moved out of the country - about 5.5 million Brits living permanently abroad.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Can I just be pedantic and say there is no such thing as a British accent - at least, I've never heard anyone speaking with a simultaneous English, Welsh and Scottish accent anyway heh
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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Barish's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
60 million?

Whole load-a shaggin' goin' on since I've left Glasgow last summer then, eh?

He he...

B.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwailoh ➑️
The British blues and R&B bands of the '60s were explicitly trying to sound like the American blues records which they loved and which were their models. Jagger, Relf, Daltry, Plant etc. were doing this deliberately. They felt they weren't tough or authentic unless they mimic'd those accents.
and yet to my young ear they still had a huge amount of London or Liverpool in their accents. The only one who really sounded like a southern black man to me was Paul Jones of Manfred Mann

I remember plenty of American bands in the 70's trying to sound more 'English' by imitating the Stones and the Who and Zep imitating American blues singers.



As far as non-English speakers are concerned, I would rather hear a song in German than the same song in English with a German accent.

Last on the list would be a bad American accent. i.e. one where it is painfully obvious that the singer is not really American.


So many people think they are capable of 'doing' an accent, but most of them have no idea how far off they really are.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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Fu Schnickens's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I don't think it really has to do with imitating an American or British accent. I think it has more to do with a natural smoothing of regional accents due to the unnatural process of conforming the spoken word to a musical melody. The very act of singing helps to partially erase even thick accents. My Dad, with master's degrees in English and Education, says this is a very common occurrence, even in other languages. For example, a singer from Argentina will sound much the same as a singer from the Dominican Republic, even though their spoken accents differ (in Spanish). (By the way, my Dad speaks flawless English and Spanish.) Another example is Jamaican and Carribean music. Many of the musicians have a barely distinguishable patois accent when singing, but in natural speech they are practically unintelligible, even though they're speaking English. Check out interviews with Bob Marley. He would turn his accent up or down depending on whether he was in the mood to talk.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Fu Schnickens's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's the same reason Billie Joe from Green Day sings with an English accent even though he's from California. He listened to the Sex Pistols, and voila![/quote]


He sounds like a snot-nosed punk from Orange County or the San Fernando Valley, only more so.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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taturana's Avatar
 
12 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Funny thing... i actually sing better in english than in my native idiom... because of all the records i listened to when growing up... my english isn't so bad either..
Old 29th January 2009
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyee ➑️
I'm very curious why this happens. All of these metal bands from Europe sing in a perfect American accent, but I have a hard time understanding when the speak due to their accent.

Even classic bands Led Zep, Beatles, The Who, all have American accents when they sing. Is the American accent the natural singing accent? Or is it that many of these bands copy from American music as kids, and have grown to sing like their favorite bands? I've always wondered this.
Yeah, it would make such beautiful sense if all the swedish lead singers sounded like Max von Sydow

Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
mrhenry76's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I avoided that problem with MEANINGLES VOCALIZING!
kinda skat, the melody is not improvised, but the sounds I sing are.

I found that this way is so much better:

- you'll never forget the words of a song on stage again

- you'll never say the wrong words on stage again

- you can make variations to the melody without vary the words

- you don't have to spend hours trying to write something good for a given melody. This is Music, Not Poetry!!!

- everyone can decide the matter of your songs, that's INTERACTIVE SONGWRITING, you give the people a song the people give the song a sense, everyone is happy!


Anyway I prefer American accent, English Accent, especially London accent is so bad to my ears ... but maybe I listened too much to old Blues and early Springsteen ...
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
What, you mean like this?

Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I believe FU is right on his take as to why there is a difference between spoken and sung accenting. My Father had an Oxford English accent but sounded like Eddy Arnold when he sang (my mother was a Yank).
For some reason the Irish accent has less a propensity for change during singing (except for Bono for some reason...LOL).
It's kind of odd how some local rock singer will sound almost American, but when he sings the regional traditional music of any given area, he carries the local accent into the vocal.

Mimicking could indeed be part of it sometimes. I remember flying into Manila in 1981 to help out with a concert gig, Spent three days there keeping an eye on things. I asked the locally hired load in/load out crew where was a good place to go to hear some local bands play a little rock and roll. They told me "Shakey's Pizza". I thought they were ****ting me.
I met up with them later on that night at Shakey's. It was a huge joint that was "live" energy wise. The local bands did mostly what would be considered Top 40 classic rock these days. I was absolutely amazed when the first band started up. The vocals sounded like they were lifted right off of the record. I mean the phrasing, timbre and sound of the lead vocal (and harmony/backups) was covered EXACTLY as it was on the album...ON EVERY SONG FROM THE DIFFERENT BANDS!!!!!

During the first band's break I went up to the lead singer to congratulate him on his uncanny ability to conform his vocal sound to the covered music. I was quite surprised to find out he couldn't speak a word of English, he only spoke Tagalog (Filipino). One of the guys with me explained how most of the good Filipino Bands all sounded like the album, with most of the singers not speaking English or very poor English at best. They were great mimickers. I mean even between Beatles songs kind of stuff you could tell it was John or Paul sound wise. I hung all night just to listen to them. I do believe they sounded better live than the real thing...LOL
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Basho, You made my night with that youtube video. I'm still pissing myself laughing. I watched it twice just to get my monthly sonic masochistic quota in a single dose .

Was that a "Gay Japan Idol" reject, or a really flat chested oriental chick singing that?
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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ArcCirDude's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwailoh ➑️
The British blues and R&B bands of the '60s were explicitly trying to sound like the American blues records which they loved and which were their models. Jagger, Relf, Daltry, Plant etc. were doing this deliberately. They felt they weren't tough or authentic unless they mimic'd those accents.
Bingo. I've read this, as well. If it were not the case than why do we have Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits and Ray Davies of The Kinks singing with their native accents?

Quote:
Originally Posted by imdok ➑️

Mimicking could indeed be part of it sometimes. I remember flying into Manila in 1981 to help out with a concert gig, Spent three days there keeping an eye on things. I asked the locally hired load in/load out crew where was a good place to go to hear some local bands play a little rock and roll. They told me "Shakey's Pizza". I thought they were ****ting me.
I met up with them later on that night at Shakey's. It was a huge joint that was "live" energy wise. The local bands did mostly what would be considered Top 40 classic rock these days. I was absolutely amazed when the first band started up. The vocals sounded like they were lifted right off of the record. I mean the phrasing, timbre and sound of the lead vocal (and harmony/backups) was covered EXACTLY as it was on the album...ON EVERY SONG FROM THE DIFFERENT BANDS!!!!!

During the first band's break I went up to the lead singer to congratulate him on his uncanny ability to conform his vocal sound to the covered music. I was quite surprised to find out he couldn't speak a word of English, he only spoke Tagalog (Filipino). One of the guys with me explained how most of the good Filipino Bands all sounded like the album, with most of the singers not speaking English or very poor English at best. They were great mimickers. I mean even between Beatles songs kind of stuff you could tell it was John or Paul sound wise. I hung all night just to listen to them. I do believe they sounded better live than the real thing...LOL
Yeah, the Filipino bands are amazing. I first heard this when I played a cruise ship gig in the '80's. They did Sergio Mendez's version of "Fool on the Hill" and nailed it. I talked to the leader later and told him how impressed I was.... via an interpreter.....

Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarson ➑️
People sing like their influences. What are the two most prolific rock countries? USA and England, of course (no offense to any other countries). Chances are that these bands were heavily influenced by some American band. It's the same reason Billie Joe from Green Day sings with an English accent even though he's from California. He listened to the Sex Pistols, and voila!
Hahahaha....um, yeah, he sounds really english to me too
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
The 't' is silen'!

We shouldn't underestimate the fact that rounding off the consonants in a way resembling an American accent minimizes issues with plosives, sibliance and the possible reverb wash. Blame the engineers?

The tomaahto vs. tomayto thing is probably down to influences.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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JoaT's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My pretty subjective take...

As a Finnish guy, I have noticed a trend here among the people who are involved in music publishing (eg. record company people, producers etc.).

When they think about exporting music sung in English, they are very cautious of accent issues. It seems that a neutral sounding "general english" is ok, but even better is if the singer sounds like he is from some English speaking country. Sounds like British or, more preferably, sounds like an American.

It has always struck me as kind of funny, since when listening to English or American acts, you hear a lot of accents that don't sound that pure at all.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu Schnickens ➑️
It's the same reason Billie Joe from Green Day sings with an English accent even though he's from California. He listened to the Sex Pistols, and voila!

He sounds like a snot-nosed punk from Orange County or the San Fernando Valley, only more so.[/QUOTE]

He does sound like he has a nose full of snot...like he has a cloths pin on it!!!
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by uosdwis ➑️
We shouldn't underestimate the fact that rounding off the consonants in a way resembling an American accent minimizes issues with plosives, sibliance and the possible reverb wash. Blame the engineers?

The tomaahto vs. tomayto thing is probably down to influences.
It's hip hop 101...change "th" to "fh"...Truth= Troofh, Booth= boofh..get it now.

Just kidding, take it easy!!!
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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Bratwurst's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
@basho: I have something for you-->

YouTube - Wishmaster - The Misheard Lyrics

Old 29th January 2009
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyee ➑️
I'm very curious why this happens. All of these metal bands from Europe sing in a perfect American accent, but I have a hard time understanding when the speak due to their accent.

Even classic bands Led Zep, Beatles

Sorry, I couldn't read the rest -- when did Beatles EVER sing in American?

German, yes; Italian, possibly... but AMERICAN?
Old 29th January 2009
  #30
N88
Gear Maniac
 
N88's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyee ➑️
Is the American accent the natural singing accent? Or is it that many of these bands copy from American music as kids, and have grown to sing like their favorite bands?
I'd say no to the first. I read a book by Caruso (I think) where he specified singing vowels with a particular European inflection. He stressed avoiding American enunciations, as they weren't natural. Of course, we must consider the source.

Most probably on the second. You're imitating sounds, what feels right to you. But many examples (like the Asian lad in the video above) are simply a person singing in a language. The accent is their own.
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