One thing that really frustrates me about African pop music is the auto-tune. That’s not just used in Africa, but since this is the industry I’m part of, it annoys me more in African music. Auto-tune isn’t necessarily always a bad thing and when used correctly it can create some nice effects. But the way some producers and sound engineers are slapping it on today, you do start to wonder whether a lot of artists are capable of singing at all.
I know I’m harsh. But nothing saddens me more than hearing a great banger of a beat accompanying voices that are so auto-tuned and stripped of personality that they sound like singing screen reading software for the blind. And especially if I like the artist and know they can sing. Why do they accept sounding like that?
I don’t know how many times I switch off songs half way through because the auto-tune is making my ears hurt and how many times I’ve been on YouTube looking for accappella and acoustic performances of A-listers to see whether they actually can sing.
I have always admired African singers for their strong powerful voices and I myself learned a lot of good singing techniques when I sang with a majority black choir.
I know I’m not alone in my opinion of auto-tune. Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage is saying that “Auto-tune is destroying black African artists”. And apparently Jay Z has said that it destroys creativity…
Everyone who’s making music is responsible for the good sound. Artists who cannot sing have no business in the industry for starters. And if someone can sing well, it’s the producers and sound engineers job to make them sound as organic as possible. Or is it a whole trend that needs to change?
I’m not sure. But I really pray auto-tune usage, as heavy as it is today, will turn into a non-trend. Let’s instead focus on vocal training for artists and get those beautiful organic voices out there!