When is the last time you saw your favorite singers live? If you're like most of us, it's been awhile. Maybe that's why what you'll hear can shock you. You get tickets, jam into the venue and cheer as the drums start. But then they sing. And as they go along you...read more
Ok, Gaga haters. Stick with me because I live in your camp. Gaga lovers – don’t judge… just yet.
I’m not a Gaga fan and I honestly wasn’t planning to watch Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 Superbowl Half Time Show live. I just happened to walk in as she descended from the heavens and struck a pose.
I rolled my eyes and almost left but the vocal coach in me made me stay for the game. Not football. I mean a little game I play while watching live performances where I spot the non-singing ‘singers’ who are paid to not sing.
Let’s face it, many singers are not signed because they can (or can’t….Madonna..shhhhhh) sing. The lable just fixes it in the mix and runs the ‘fixed’ version over the live vocal on tour so that the ‘singer’ can sing as much, but usually as little as they want.
It’s been done that way longer than most people know. And now that you’re onto them, producers have gotten better at hiding the lip syning in live shows. But there are still ways to know if you’re really getting a ‘live’ show.
Maybe you’re ok with paying premium ticket fees for a not-really-live show. That’s ok too. It’s a bit tougher for the hundreds of genuinely good live singers out there. Singers who have spent years honing their skills, learning how to keep their pipes in shape on the road and doing the work of developing their own sound. Singers who are really worth hearing live.
For them, watching a sometimes 100% lip synced concert is like watching a robot take your job and do things not possible for a human. It’s kind of buzz kill.
Whether you relate or not, it’s handy to have a way to know if you’re getting what you thought you paid for.
Wanna learn how?
How to Spot a Fake Singer
Since I know a few of the tricks commonly used to fake a live show I like to look for the signs of a cover up. Educated guesses, let’s call them. If I can spot three or more incidents of any of them, it’s proooooobably not a real live vocal.
Here’s how you can spot a ‘faux’ singer (which appropriately means ‘fake’) next time you see a live show. Look for ‘faker flags’ like these:
- The singer is very physical on stage (lots of dancing, running, etc.) but you never hear breathing when you would expect to
- You don’t hear the singer breathe between phrases of the songs, only when speaking (or at the beginning and/or ending of songs for the sneaky ones)
- The singers mouth doesn’t line up exactly to the vocal you hear (there’s a reason there’s not a close up shot sometimes)
- You see 3 backup singers (and those dancers really are just lip syncing so they don’t count) but it sounds like there’s 10.
- There is any volume change when the singer moves between singing and talking. This one is harder to detect because live show arrangements are generally produced so this there’s more time to make the switch. But if the singer is talking to the crowd, starts to sing and they’re suddenly louder, you get the bonus point.
Keep in mind sometimes only parts of a song or just certain songs are not 100% live. This is usually due to a singer recovering from surgery or damage or because the singer can’t dance and sing at the same time without breathing like a creeper on a prank call.
I just call ’em like I see ’em.
So are you saying Lady Gaga did NOT sing LIVE at the SuperBowl?
As if I’m just going to give it away. Come on. I just told you how to find out.
So you tell me! Click the video above to watch it again.
Look for Faker Flags.
Tell me what you see in the comments below.
Next time, I’ll tell you exactly what I saw. AND I’ll spill an ‘industry insider tip’ that you can use to sound so good live, your audience may think you’re lip syncing.
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