Remember that time David Archuleta sang “Imagine”? I think most people liked it, but it mostly made me want to shoot myself in the face because the Beatles are the I Ching, and frankly no one should really be covering them, especially a kid like David Archuleta. Sorry if you were in love with it; I was not.
Or have you ever heard someone cover Christina Aguilera? And you think to yourself, “Wow that person sang pretty well, but it sure wasn’t half as good as Christina” (you may as well know right now that I have a major crush on Christina’s vocal chords, and she essentially can do no wrong aside from butcher the national anthem, and I think she’s the greatest female vocalist to ever live).
Another random factoid that will truly have something to do with the rest of this somewhat muddled post: This one time I was watching an interview with Steve Carell, rather early on in his career, and he was telling whichever talk show host about how he landed the iconic role of Michael Scott. He was really excited that his agent had quite the promising role till he watched a few episodes of the original “Office” with Ricky Gervais, and then suddenly he was petrified and really didn’t want to bother going into the interview.
I mean, the guy was kind of right.
The point is: When someone has perfected something in a way it seems as though no one else can, that’s a lot of pressure on anyone who wants to replicate it. Chances are everyone will be comparing you to the original, despite any differences you may have, despite the fact that you’re performing it with your own interpretation, etc. etc. And as you can probably tell, I’m a little nervous about this whole having the lead part in a musical business because AS IT TURNS OUT, Heather Headley is magnificent.
My fellow lead can rest really easy because Adam Pascal was terrible as Radames.
The other issue with which I’m really grappling is that Heather Headley has different vocal chords than I do. But seriously, Black people are biologically different in the voice department than the rest of us, and without boring you with anatomy or science, the bottom line is: they’re more better. They’ll always be more better. There will never be another more better set of vocal chords. This wasn’t really proving to be much of an issue till I listened to the full soundtrack and discovered a really great Gospel/Spiritual style song, sung, of course, by Aida.
To catch you up, I am literally the whitest non-white kid to ever walk the face of the earth. People are regularly baffled if they’ve met me over the phone first because they see me and wonder where the heck Mary is and why this random Asian chick is there in her place. I don’t speak any other languages. I don’t have any sort of distinguishing accent (unless you want to consider the lack of accent of Pacific Northwesterners to be an accent, in which case sure, fine, whatever). I can belt out the high notes just fine. But ain’t got no soul.
Forget about it. I throw in my towel now.
Most of my friends have been extremely encouraging, telling me how I’ll be great and to not worry, but I’m pleased (no, really, I’m genuinely pleased) that two of my friends and my voice teacher all admitted that my best will still lack soul and potentially fall a little flat. I mean, it just is what it is. You get some little Asian-American adoptee from suburban Oregon, and she’s only going to be able to do so much, man.