Your favorite vocal performance

Monday, December 26, 2011

I tend to like music that sounds organic and pure, bonus points if the singer's voice is rich. I like acoustic guitars, banjos, fiddles ... anything that sounds like music from the earth. Though that really has nothing to do with one's vocal performance, I feel that I can be swayed into enjoying a performance more because it's acoustic, or more because it's so bare bones.

I'm not going to think about all the recordings I've ever heard -- that would make this too difficult. I'll leave it to live performances, and I think in the end, it would have to boil down to a performance by either Eva Cassidy or David Archuleta. Maybe Nikki Yanofsky.

I've said it a dozen times and I'll say it again ... Eva Cassidy's version of "Fields of Gold" is my favorite song ever, especially sung the way she sings it. I think the album version of this song is a live version, as Eva never recorded a studio version before she passed.

Another all-time favorite performance for me is "Contigo en la Distancia" by David Archuleta, at the 2009 ALMA Awards. I can't really understand Spanish, so for this song to touch me the way it does says something, I think! His voice is so incredible on so many levels. The guitar helps this performance, too.

Nikki Yanofsky is a singer I don't think I've ever written about. She's a 17-year-old jazz-pop singer from Canada who I discovered watching the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Her voice is so dynamic: light and carefree for the intimate songs, loud and soaring for the bigger anthems. She sang the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada" so beautifully, but that wasn't my all-time favorite performance of hers.

My favorite performance of hers was one she did at a Japanese television station to promote her first single, "For Another Day," from her latest album. It was a kind of surreal appearance, as the entire performance was shot in a glowy (and kind of creepy) manner, but the way she performed it made me really fall in love with a song which I had previously thought was only mediocre for a voice like hers. Unfortunately, I can no longer find this performance on YouTube. I'll post another video of her performing "For Another Day," as well as a video of her singing at the Olympics, since they display different aspects of her amazing voice.

Starting at the 2:18 mark.

I remember I started tearing up while she sang the Canadian national anthem ... and I'm not even Canadian!

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