Carol Forsloff – Yesterday, after wandering onto You Tube, a woman’s beautiful voice stood out among many others. What makes this noteworthy is that during the months Nancy Burridge has been singing on the site, relatively few people have listened to her material. Is this a small part of the Jackie Evancho – Susan Boyle social media phenomenon, just to a lesser degree?
Neither Susan Boyle nor Jackie Evancho won the top prize of the talent competition called Britains Got Talent or Americas Got Talent, despite the great notoriety both achieved by their spectacular performances. Boyle had been singing for many years in her Scottish region with a voice as beautiful then as now. Evancho, a child prodigy, had been demonstrating her amazing singing of classical music for years, despite the fact she was a very young child at the time of her presentation at Americas Got Talent. But when both of these great talents were eventually “discovered,” they did not win the ultimate prize because of an attitude that appears to pervade our culture coupled with millions of people with a cynicism that says either “I could do better” or the kind of statement made about Jackie Evancho that “she is too young to have that talent and that’s weird.”
In other words, if you are too good, there must be something wrong with either you or the formal judges. Or there is that other reason, of the democratization of everything driven by social media and popularity polls that does not seek the quality but the number of friends and others available to put someone at the front of the line.
Who has heard regularly about the young man, Michael Grimm, the “white soul singer who won the contest over Jackie Evancho? Is he frequently in the entertainment news front and center like Evancho, talented though he surely is but less unique than the classical voice of a child? Fortunately, there are those, who when discovered, sometimes quite accidentally as I found the woman’s talented singing yesterday, get noticed by music executives and get the recognition they deserve. Still too many languish on the back benches because of those two phenomena of social media popularity and the cynical attitude of a throw-away culture where 15 minutes of fame is driven by impulse.
Erika Van Peldt, who was interviewed on the Today show on March 27, had won accolades from the judges of the national competition. Yet she was screened out before being among the top few contestants for the first prize. Again she did not win the social media vote of American Idol. She was “discovered” after a fashion, and one can always point to a Jennifer Hudson as an example of a winner whose talent continues to charm. But again who wins may not be the most talented but the one with the most friends or viewers who get in to cast their vote.
It continues to be the vote patterns coupled with the attitudes that drive them that reduces art, and many artists, to the dust bin of entertainment. What is true of music is also true of visual art and writing, although the television presentations make the problems in music far more pronounced.
Nancy Burridge sings across a spectrum of music that displays her eloquent soprano, phrasing and expression. She takes the standards of today and expresses them originally. As a woman of mature years, she retains the youthful sounds that often leave singers bereft of their upper ranges. Hers is a voice that deserves attention, and her attractive appearance simply adds luster to the performances.
Have a listen. Discover the magic of that someone new and special, that undiscovered talent, the kind many people yearn for but are unable to find in the wilderness that has become entertainment. Discover Nancy Burridge.