Memorable Voices

It is an honor and a pleasure to write in this space about such a rich and vast subject: the voice.

So rich and wide that I will base myself here only on my impressions and ideas that I gathered purely from personal experience.

Even as a child: the sounds of cartoons, with wonderful voices, but which for me were real – it was the characters themselves hammering each other on TV: Pica-Pau's voice was like that because it was a woodpecker and that's it.

My first memories of being really moved by the voices were, without a doubt, in the music. That's when I started to relate the voices with the emotional, and with people and their personas. When I was very young, the voice of Dorival Caymmi reminded me of my grandfather, who sang Praieiras Songs, with the same serious and contemplative tone when he arrived at the beach in Santos.

Tom Jobim, who despite not being a singer in the sense of the word, is one of the most moving voices I can think of. Close, warm, natural. It is known that nobody sings the word sea like Tom used to, opening the vowel ('the rest is maaaaar') like someone who is always facing the ocean.

The ethereal voice of Rita Lee on her 80s records. The Bee Gees and those falsettos that sounded like nothing else were totally original. Frank Sinatra always reminded me of my father, who he knows how to imitate, and very well, even today. Sinatra was the first to use dynamics and amplification to his advantage. He realized that with a good mic you don't have to sound like a tenor to be heard. You can sing softly and still clearly if you have the timbre, the spark, the control. Gift and technique he had without equal. At the time, women loved this: someone singing softly in their ears (Justin Bieber successfully did this again in 2015).

Later, in the gym, listening to Bon Scott growling like an angry mutt in AC/DC. The first time you listen to Joey Ramone and think: if he sings like that, so can I, and I can do that. Johnny Cash's "punch in the jaw" tone and interpretation: every word, a brick - you hear it all and there's no mistaking the message.

Later, already working at Fábrica, at DPZ and at Avant Garde, serving the advertising market, in addition to the singers, I went to meet and work with the announcers. It was impressive to meet a select group of people with talents and absurd voice techniques. Voices that were recorded and mixed without the need to turn down the track. Voices that, when they said that this was a great beer, left no doubt – this was a great beer. The very announcers who did those lines in the cartoons I watched as a kid. Sensational. The imitators, always full of humor and insights. Arriving at the studio always with an endless supply of jokes, parodies, crazy scripts.

Again: timbre, technique, talent. For me, it's a combination of qualities so rare that it gives the impression that there are more Formula 1 team players and drivers than announcers with this combination of voices and talents. Which, even today, when I have the pleasure of coming across a species like this around here, makes me want to ask for an autograph.

Paulo Calia

Partner at Ybmusic, sound producer and record label from São Paulo.


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