Who was the greatest American singer?How could the answer not be Frank Sinatra? Some of the criteria would be: quality of repertoire (standards as opposed to pop songs), vocal quality, great versions of recorded tunes, duration of career, and impact of recorded legacy.
It is doubtful that one can name any recording artist that has had more imitators than Sinatra. He sang with orchestras, big bands, and smaller groups, all with excellence.He was also, not just a studio musician. He had almost no competition in a concert hall. He usually sounded as good, live, as he did in the studio. Difficult for most. Not for Sinatra. Tremendous!
What is the difference between yourself and the other entertainers that perform this kind of music?
I think among other things, the vast majority of singers that "do" Rat Pack material are essentially karaoke singers. Their background and experience comes from singing to background tracks (note-for-note transcriptions) of the recorded songs of Frank and Dean. If they in fact have a rare opportunity to sing with live musicians, they do what they do best, which is to sing as if singing along with a record. That is where things often go awry. There is an enormous difference between singing with a band (that is not playing like the musicians on the records) and copying Sinatra's phrasing to a replicate one of his arrangements. He's singing one thing, they are playing another. It doesn't mesh. It is amateur, plain and simple. I started out singing a few songs with bands when I was given the rare opportunity. I had no knowledge of key signature, so when I called "Can't Help Falling In Love" (the Elvis number) and the keyboardist asked me the key, I would amateurishly start singing, in hope he would accurately play it in Elvis' key. Often the song would be intentionally put into a key that better accomodated (easier to play) the band but that left me figuratively, standing on my tiptoes attempting to hit notes that were just out of my range (as well as Elvis' range). I then had a stint singing at several karaoke bars. I even ran one, three nights a week. The real experience came from immersing myself with piano players and piano trios, which I did for several years before emabrking on my own.
Difference? There are good band singers and there are guys with decent voices that sing karaoke. They are not the same. The karaoke singers sound like...well, a guy at a karaoke bar. There are some solid band singers out there though. These singers have an original vocal sound, unique phrasing, great time, and can handle adversity; they are few though.
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