Monday, March 20, 2017

Unwanted duet partners...

At the risk of sounding like a primadonna bitch, I'm going to rant one more time about duets on SingSnap...  This time, it's about people who turn solo songs into duets and then expect me to be excited about their efforts.

Look, I'm going to be very honest.  I know what I'm about to write is going to sound petty and mean, but it's how I actually feel.  And while I do always value being kind, I also think that sometimes people need to know the truth.  Music is very important to me.  I know SingSnap is a karaoke site, but it's my one musical outlet.  To me, this stuff matters a lot more than it really should.

So here goes.  I don't like it when people turn my solos into duets.  No, scratch that.  I don't like it when they turn my solos into duets without asking me first.  Now, you may think this is because I'm "full of myself". Maybe, to some extent, that's true.  I would argue that if I were really full of myself and a snob about singing with people, I would never post open duets.  I have had many people join me on open duets.  Some are very good singers.  Some don't come within a mile of the proper pitch.  But if I post an open duet, I'm okay with all comers, regardless of their ability... as long as they don't play an instrument over my vocals.  ;-)

I don't feel the same way about solo songs.

Here's the thing.  A song recorded as a solo was intended to be a solo.  A duet typically has parts open for one singer to do their thing and other parts where they harmonize or otherwise collaborate.  Solo songs don't.  

Moreover, a lot of times, the songs people want to duet on are not really suitable as duets.  This morning, someone decided to duet with me on two Alison Krauss songs, neither of which were really intended to be collaborative efforts.  One song the guy did was "Baby Mine", which is a sweet lullaby a mother sings to her child.  The other was "A Living Prayer"... again, an intimate song for one person.  It's not a duet.  Or, at least I don't think it is.  

This guy left me comments with links to the duets.  I inwardly groaned.  Nine times out of ten, people who turn solos into duets can't actually sing.  I was just going to ignore the comments, but then decided to go listen.  In this case, it wasn't a bad thing that I listened.  To my surprise, the guy was a good singer.  He actually knew how to harmonize, which is a very welcome and apparently rare ability.

However, I was still irritated that he hijacked my solos and apparently expected me to be excited about what he did.  Actually... I think the expectation that I'm going to be excited is probably the biggest reason why this practice annoys me.  Because I really don't like being fake, but I also don't enjoy making other people feel bad.  There is a part of me that is a little blunt and, frankly, too honest.  I am this way especially when it comes to music.  I was the kid who used to put her fingers in her ears when her dad sang solos in the church choir.  I own it.  

On SingSnap, if you aren't unfailingly sweet, fawning, and polite, people relegate you into the total bitch pile.  So I feel compelled to be complimentary and nice even when people do things that annoy me and even if I think something sucks or am actually offended by it.  If I don't, I get accused of having a big head, being a diva, being full of myself, or not appreciating other people's talents (or lack thereof).

What I'd like to say to the people who duet on my solos is, "I'm flattered that you enjoyed my singing and decided to join me.  I wish you had sent me a message beforehand.  I would have liked to have worked with you to make this an actual duet.  Unfortunately, this song was not intended to be a duet.  Maybe we could have made it a duet.  Or we could have chosen a duet to do together.  I would have been happy to make an actual collaboration.  I hope if there is a next time you want to sing with me on a solo, you'll consider sending me a note first."

Unfortunately, I know that if I write a comment like this, the person will most likely take it as a total dis and word will get out that I'm a bitch.  I'm not really a bitch.  I just don't like it when people do this kind of stuff and I am expected to love it.  99% of the time, I don't love it... although I will admit there have been a couple of rare exceptions to that rule.  

Now... SingSnap does have a function that allows people to turn off the ability to duet with others.  Unfortunately, that function turns off duets for all future songs.  So, if I did want to post an open duet and forgot I'd hit the "no duets" switch, then I would get no takers on the songs I actually want people to duet on.  Moreover, if you turn off the ability to do duets, many people will still think you're "antisocial" or "big-headed".   Because apparently, some of them think they should have the right to improve on your efforts, as it were.  Frankly, I would rather the person not send me a link when they duet on one of my solos.  If you feel compelled to join me, be my guest.  But please don't expect me to like it.  If I want to listen to it, I'll find it on my page and go there on my own accord.  If it's good, I'll say so.

I'm sure there will come a day when I can no longer make recordings that I can stand to listen to.  My voice will probably change before too much longer.  I'm getting older.  For now... I suppose I just have to remember that some people have war in their country.  Ah... it's Monday and I've already spilled coffee.  I guess the tone has already been set for the rest of the day.


  1. I think your 4th paragraph from the end, the :what you'd like to say," is actually reasonably diplomatic. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. And i'm not sure where anyone gets the idea that it's a good practice and that the original artist would be excited about someone having turned a solo into a duet. It also seems a flaw of the system to some degree that the artist cannot adjust the capability of turning a sing into a duet independently on each selection.

    1. I may just flip the switch and stop doing duets. They cause a lot of drama.


Comments on older posts will be moderated.