I like NPR, but their journalists, like any other media outlets’, shouldn’t talk about singing ability. They think they know, I guess, because so many people instantly judge singing these days.
Linda Holmes covered the Rally to Restore Sanity (which of course I DVRed). I mostly agree with her, except when she got to talking technical about music. She said, “Jon Stewart should theoretically never sing in public if we’re going by ability.”
It’s not about ability! I, or someone with similar pedagogical and musical training, could have made him and Stephen Colbert sound much better quite simply. I bet New York city and Washington D.C. are chock full of vocal coaches and arrangers who could have fixed the song in a snap. It’s just about tessitura: the song was too low for Jon to reach down the octave and even Stephen was pushing a little to reach down there, but too high for Stephen to reach up the octave or for Jon to sing with any lyricism.
I think it was in the key of C. Transpose the thing to G and they both would have sounded much, much better. Maybe F, maybe A, but G is my best guess.
You get the point.
It wasn’t your fault, Jon! You perform better than a lot of trained singers I know; you just need someone who will make songs fit your voice–like any other actor who isn’t a trained singer.
Don’t give up, Jon! Songs are even funnier than speech, so you should keep them in your arsenal. Just find someone to make the songs work for you.
p.s. I volunteer. 🙂