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The singer not the song

Tuesday 13th February 2018

The photo for The singer not the song

Who does Joni Mitchell think she is? Why is Aretha the Queen Of Soul?

Can you remember what song was playing when you fell in love…and who was singing it? 

Food. Shelter. Warmth. Love. Voices. Other people’s voices, singing – it’s the fifth essential necessity of life.

Nick Coleman‘s new book, Voices, How A Great Singer can Change Your Life,  is an exploration of what singing means and how it works and he’ll be talking about it in conversation with music industry entrepreneur and manager Ian Blackaby here on 13 Feb at 7.30pm

Voices examines what does it does to listen hard and habitually to somebody else’s singing? And why is the singing of others so essential to human life? Why do we love it so? The book asks many other questions too. What was Roy Orbison‘s problem? Who does Joni Mitchell think she is? Why did Jagger and Lennon sing like that (and not like this)? What did Aretha Franklin do to deserve the title `Queen of Soul’? For that matter, what is ‘soul’? What is the point of crooning? What does it say about you if Frank Sinatra leaves you cold? Billie, Janis, Amy: must the voices of anguish always dissolve into spectacle?

The history of post-war popular music is traditionally told sociologically or in terms of musicological influence and innovation in style. Voices takes a different tack. In 10 essays Coleman tackles the arc of that history as if it were an emotional experience with real psychological consequences – as chaotic, random, challenging and unpredictable as life itself. It is the story of what it is to listen and learn. Above all, it is a story of what it means to feel.

If you’d like to join the conversation, or reserve a copy of the book to be signed by Nick, just call or email (0207 431 3770/