So recently I’ve been getting to know ‘Ghost: The Musical’ quite a bit. And I have completely fallen in love with the song ‘With You’.
However, I listened to Sarah Harding’s version of ‘With You’ on Youtube and it’s really illustrated how bad decisions and bad vocal technique can destroy a song. I’m not normally one to try and pick out mistakes in a particular individuals performance. However, I feel like this would be a good opportunity to reflect on what I have learnt over the years and think about how I would have done it differently.
Firstly, if I could reach a specific note but just wasn’t getting the melody then I would have take recordings and memorised the note progression. I noticed that on the line “everyone says that it’s all in my head” she sang a steady upwards progression of notes. This left it feeling emotionless and the song didn’t reach the emotional climax like it should have. Especially in a musical like this, emotion is so so important. The audience want you to open your heart and soul up to them and deliver an excellent performance; a heart breaking performance. Which is what it should have been.
Secondly, I would do less whining. Seriously. Every word she sang was whiney; she’d slide through almost every note apart from ‘took’. And she totally over-emphasised the word ‘took’. Which was very hard to listen to. Personally, when I get a new song to work on for myself, I mark out good places to take a breath, what words to emphasise, and what emotion the character would be feeling.
That way I can clearly map out a plan for each song. This way even if I change the emotions from pain to anger for example, I still have a clear document with good places to breathe and a good structure of emphasis and depreciation. Knowing what to emphasise to tell a good story is, in my opinion, very important in theatre. People flood from near and far for the story; not the person (in most cases) as Sarah Harding’s case has proven.
Personally, I think employing a girls aloud singer was a bad move as the singer is used to auto tune and getting to choose the best out of 20 tracks to use. The theatre is live, and unforgiving. Good technique is a basic requirement. Put it this way, if she wasn’t in girls aloud she would not have been considered for the role at all. So I think it’s a massive error on the casting teams behalf. The idea of having a famous name is all well and good but when they don’t deliver, and often they don’t, (in my opinion, David Walliams, for example, in ‘A Mid Summer Nights Dream’ was just poor), it can become a major problem for a production. This has been highlighted with Harding’s case as, after some of the reviews, theatre goers decided to not even show up, and many many more were disappointed.
Considering people pay good money to come and see a show, and tickets aren’t cheap, a certain standard is expected. This standard clearly wasn’t fulfilled and this situation could have been prevented.
I dread to think about the rest of the performance and what it was like.