Milli Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson. What do these two names have in common? If you answer lip syncing, your guess is as good as mine. Today on 31st January 2011, I would like to talk about one issue that always bothers many music fans and critics alike time and again: lip syncing. To those who have no idea what is lip syncing, also sometimes known as miming (and occasionally called “doing the Milli Vanilli” to some people), it is a technique for matching lip movements with voice which originally is used to make actors appear to have a musical ability. For example, the famous 1970s American show, The Partridge Family. Today, lip syncing is used just to eliminate bad notes and out-of-tune singing which would have flawed a performance on stage. Considered as a shortcut to a perfect live performance, lip syncing to me is not just considered as bad as committing fraud to music fans but also it is making a mockery out of true blue talented musicians who not only can perform live with confidence but also have worked hard day and night to improve their singing technique.
If you think Milli Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson are the only ones who got caught out for lip syncing in 1989/1990 and 2004 respectively, there are not the only ones who get caught out. Take a look at Britney Spears as an example. Since she started out, there are people who doubt her vocal abilities until her first comeback in 2007 at a so-called live performance of her song, Do Something, in the House of Blues, Orlando which revealed that she actually has no talent all thanks to a technical glitch which made a back-up track skip like what mentioned in this old article. Despite what happened, her fans still somewhat (blindly) backed her up. That was not until November 2009, when the world learnt that Australians walked out of her so-called live show during her Down Under tour like what was written in the Daily Mail. What was even more entertaining to hear was that her show is called a Mickey Mouse performance and how cool is it to know that there were some people and former Britney fans in Australia who did wake up knowing that so-called pop princess is talentless all along. Besides not going to any so-called singers’ concerts, I believe not buying their records is another way to show that we will not tolerate lip syncing when live means live.
Lip syncing is not just happening in Western entertainment, but also even in the Eastern music industry. Some Asian pop musicians lip sync while they are performing live which, again, which leaves us questioning their singing abilities and makes us wonder is it all that necessary to rely on backing tracks to give out an all-perfect performance for the fans. Here is a perfect example of what was written on the Asian Fanatics Forum around last year. I always believe that if a person wants to be a great singer who can perform live, is it difficult for them to spare some time to undergo some singing lessons to improve their singing and maintain their vocal abilities? If they think they can get away with lip syncing by relying on a backing track while gyrating away on stage and dressing up in eye-catching costumes to fool some fans, forget about being a singer. A real singer is about being able to sing his or heart out to an audience while maintaining his or her integrity without relying on lip syncing just to keep the fans. In the end, it is all about either you get caught out for lip syncing and see a singing career go down the drain or you have a bit of integrity left in your bone to back out from lip syncing rather than make a mockery out of yourself and other talented artistes.
Before I forget, lip syncing has also been referred in a few fictional movies such as Alvin and the Chipmunks the Movie (2007). Also, not forgetting dramas such as the critically acclaimed Filipino soap drama, Bituin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bituin and the final episode of a 2010 Korean drama series, I am Legend (Naneun Junseolida): http://www.dramabeans.com/2010/09/i-am-legend-episode-16-final/. Anyway, what says you about the issue of lip syncing done by musicians? All opinions are welcomed.