Accents and Enunciations: A Focus on the Vocalist


Photographer: Ken McKay

Often singing in a accentless vacuum, many vocalists mask their origins. Mei tells us why it’s so important they imbue their songs with their home.

I don’t know about you but the way the vocals of an artist or members of a band sound are pivotal in my choice of whether to continue listening to their music or else find my fingers wondering toward “Alt F4”. (I have the attention span of a fly so if you want to keep my attention, you have to pull out all the stops; throw a chicken at me, a full on high school band, and if all else fails David Tennant!

Janet Devlin, certainly caught my attention when she auditioned with Your Song on The X Factor. Her voice is full of personality and promise, colourful and intriguing, Irish flicks evident in the way she forms her words and the beautiful lilt carrying it forward.
Take a listen and you will understand me completely.

Enunciations, tone, depth and accents are some of the little things that make up the texture of the vocals of an artist, or singers in a band. Accents in particular can completely change the sound and feel of a singer, and therefore the overall sound of the band.

Not only this, but it can definitely differentiate the artist/band well apart from others – who can recognise the vocals of that guy from One Direction from that tall one from The Wanted? I certainly can’t.

So when I heard Twin Atlantic, my heart skipped a beat. I had to search for the band behind this peculiar but fantastic set of vocals, as well as the perfect mesh of perfect pop melodies and amazing riffs. Sam McTrusty was the person behind those wonderful sounding vowels that only someone of Scottish descent could provide, and this was the first song I heard;

What is Light, Where is Laughter?

Human After All and You’re Turning Into John Wayne both showcase the clear Glaswegian accent in the lead singer’s voice. Listen out especially for “lust” and “visceral” in Human After All, meshed between the gutsy riffs and urgent beats.

Time For You To Stand Up is a tuneful mesh of vocals, riffs and paint splatting fun. (Looks  a hell of a lot of fun, but imagine the cleaning up! Shocking.)

Their newest album Free is out now.

7 thoughts on “Accents and Enunciations: A Focus on the Vocalist

  1. Here’s an interesting accent/music based musical fact:

    At the beginning of their musical career, The Beatles imitated the accents of their (mostly) american heroes- whereas later on they discarded many of these accent features. For example their use of ‘post-vocalic /r/’ (i.e. a ‘ruh’ sound after a vowel) declined over time as can be seen below-

    This has been attributed to UK based rock music becoming ‘cool’ in its own right, rather than aping their transatlantic cousins- and thus solidifying its own identity.

    Linguistics and Phonetics FTW.

    • haha nice research there Rowan! knew you would be interested in this topic! XD
      lol I wanted to write tons more about this topic but didn’t have time or words to.
      Could have done with your research really! =P

  2. Mei: I totally agree. I like Diana Vickers for the exact same reason. This led to some severe ribbing from many of my mates, which I put down to their indie snobbery. On which point, I think that many otherwise excellent indie songs are spolied by an affected ‘indie drawl’ that masks an individual accent.

    • It’s just such a shame that she was ruined by the pop music that they insisted on matching her with. I expected an album full of acoustic, acapella type songs off her. =/
      I despair that they will do the same with Janet!
      Hah, ‘indie drawl’. Too true. Luke Pritchard is another good example; shows off his lovely Brighton accent well!

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