I watched American Idol for the first time all season this week, just in time for the final performances. When JLo said Phillip-squared was doing something that wasn’t on the radio right now, it bothered me. She might be right, but there are people out there doing what he does (whether it be that kind of bluegrassy dude with a guitar thing or the gravelly voice thing) and doing it a lot better, even if they aren’t getting a ton of radio airplay.
I’m not saying that I am a fount of musical knowledge (and I’m pretty sure my music geek card is about to expire), but here are 5 people or bands that I think are doing what P-squared does and doing it BETTER.
1. Mumford & Sons. C’mon, they performed at the Grammy’s. They were all over the radio with Little Lion Man. There are guys wearing marching band outfits in the video for The Cave.
2. Ray Lamontagne. Gravelly voice, check. Songwriting chops, check. Grammy award, check.
3. James Morrison.
4. Josh Ritter.
5. Ryan Bingham.
I’m sure there are plenty more, but I’m tired.
Here’s the thing – there are so many reality competitions focused on singers now that it’s hard to find a niche. There isn’t anyone that’s doing something truly unique (in the ONE OF A KIND sense of the word) anymore*. You might change a little something here or there, but just like adding a beat to Under Pressure does not make it yours**, having a guitar and rearranging a known song doesn’t make you unique.
*And yes, I watched the Voice and wanted to smack the judges every time they said someone had a unique quality to their voice. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
**Vanilla Ice reference, in case you didn’t get that.