I’m still more comfortable with standards than with my own songs. –Carly Simon
One of my greatest joys is listening to Kat sing while she’s working. She tends to be a bit shy about that, you won’t catch her singing out in public any time soon, but when the office door is shut, no one but the cats are looking, she’ll start one of the playlists I have saved and begin singing along, perfectly, beautifully. She knows all the words to the Beatles catalog. She knows most the words to the standards. 70s and 80s rock, all the stuff written before she was born, she knows and enjoys. You’ll hear the clicking of the keys on her laptop, then soon, her soft, smooth, gentle voice makes its way out under the door, wanders casually down the hall, and massages my ear. Her voice makes me smile just as quickly as the sight of her face.
I am convinced that the quality of any voice can be found in how they sing the standards. With contemporary music relying so heavily on digital trickery, it’s telling when all the samples and tracks and background noise is removed leaving nothing but a gentle melody line and a haunting refrain. Many people were astonished when Lady Gaga paired with perennial standards hit man Tony Bennet and demonstrated that she could hit a hot jazz lick as well as anyone. Singing standards well isn’t as easy as it sounds. I listen to Kat as the playlist moves from Carly Simon to the BeeGees to Madonna and she rarely misses a beat. Hearing her lilting soprano accurately move between styles and rhythms is one of those things that makes even the worst of days feel better.
My romance doesn’t need a castle rising in Spain
Or a dance to a constantly surprising refrain
Wide awake I can make my most fantastic dreams come true
My romance doesn’t need one thing, but you
So I’m being a little sappy with today’s photo and song. You’re probably lucky I didn’t choose this route all week. Enjoy.
My Romance, a song by Carly Simon on Spotify