I don’t have any problems with who I am by any means, but if I could have that silky smooth voice that defined many soul and R&B singer careers, then I wouldn’t hesitate a second. I would literally sing-talk everything, possibly narrate everything I do just to hear my voice some more. So without further ado, here are my top 5 candidates to be my new voice. (Note: Morgan Freeman cannot be included, even though that would be beyond awesome.)
5. Otis Redding
Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was one of the greatest singers of the 1960’s era of soul/ R&B music and was an influence on other soul singers of the 1960s, as he helped to craft the lean and powerful style of R&B that provided a basis for many future careers. Crowned as the “King of Soul”, Otis Redding’s voice provided high energy, funk, and rawness. His voice and lyrics provided a high level of honesty and shyness that had style of “begging singing” that yearned for the audience to listen just a little more while simultaneous making it impossible to turn away from one more song.
Try a Little Tenderness (sample Kanye West and Jay-Z used on single “Otis”)
4. R. Kelly
For the most part, Robert Sylvester Kelly is never out of his stage character (is it even a character then?) and is constantly sing-talking everything. Just ask Aziz Ansari. But I digress, I chose R. Kelly because his voice oozes sex. Referred to as the “King of R&B” or “King of Pop-Soul”, his voice would be more fitting for hitting on the ladies when I go to the bar and clubs. Not looking for love, but trying to be smooth and suave.
3. Al Green
Albert Greene had a powerful and expressive voice that took the 1970’s by storm. In 2005, Rolling Stone named him #66 in their list of the ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’, stating that “people are born to do certain things, and Al was born to make us smile.” In 2008, they moved him to #14. Al Green towed the line between romance and sex and was the last dominant singer of the soul era, but sounded nothing like the ones before him. Instead of giving the audience everything that his voice had right away, he made us wait until the precise moment when the big payoff would be the greatest. A true master of using silence in music.
2. Sam Cooke
Samuel Cook is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music. He is commonly known as the “King of Soul” for his distinctive vocal abilities and influence on the modern world of music. His contribution in pioneering Soul music led to the rise of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and popularized the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown. He had a powerful voice that he used as an angelic instrument that caused men to sit up and women to swoon. Gospel, blues, pop – a voice of sex and soul that proved unstoppable to transcending barriers (both racial and musical) until that fateful day when he was shot at the young age of 33.
1. Marvin Gaye
There’s no sound like Marvin Gaye: the way he sang so softly, almost gently — but also with so much power. That came straight from the heart. Everything in his life — everything that he thought and felt — affected his singing. His music helped develop black music from raw rhythm and blues to sophisticated soul to the political awareness of the 1970’s. From there he provided increased concentration on personal and sexual politics. If Al Green towed the line between romance and sex, then Marvin Gaye stomped on it and blended love, sex, romance, and all other emotions into one. That’s what makes him immortal, the emotion that each of his songs evoke. A voice that influenced generations and various genres, Gaye’s voice has become the voice to measure all voices.
Honorable Mentions: David Ruffin (The Temptations), Usher, Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Smokey Robinson, Melvin Franklin (The Temptations), Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations), Ray Charles, Justin Timberlake, Bill Withers, John Legend, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury (Queen), Curtis Mayfield
Obviously, if I was a girl, this list wouldn’t consist of all guys. Simple reason, as a man I don’t want to sound like a girl. But if I did, here is a sample of who I would want to be (in no particular order).