While I was scrolling through my Instagram explore page the other day, I came across a video snippet of The Kelly Clarkson Show. In the highlighted part of this episode, Kelly Clarkson was sitting down with Selena Gomez, discussing Gomez’s musical career. Selena said, “I’ve constantly been trying to make my music better and better, because I know that people may not think I’m the greatest singer…but I really love writing and creating.” Kelly’s response to this was, “The best singer in the world is not the loudest…the best singers in the world move you, and that comes from all different sounds and styles.”
What Kelly said made me think about how we judge musicians. Oftentimes, we think of the great ones as the people with powerhouse voices. While vocals are a valid category in what we appreciate, it is just one out of several aspects of a song’s value. The volume and range of somebody’s voice is what people seem to talk about the most.
Kelly said that the way a song moves people can come from different sounds. One of those sounds for me is the poetic and emotional flow of lyrics. It is important to also draw focus to the emotional movement and delivery of the words in a song. I think of it like this: vocal range and the ability to carry emotion and tell a story with your voice are separate crafts.
So, am I telling you what kind of music you should and shouldn’t like to listen to? Of course not! As we all know, music is subjective; everybody’s ears have varying tastes in what they like to take in. Consider this article an invitation to interact with music in a different way. Taking time to think about the message within a song could create a new meaning for you. That is how I have found the music that personally impacts me today.
I think Kelly’s words to Selena are also a good reminder that it’s not always about being the best. It is very easy to compare our own skills in art making with those of Ariana Grande, Pablo Picasso, or any prolific person within a certain industry. However, we should not discredit or undermine ourselves, especially when it comes to the things we love doing or feel passionate about.