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The Songs That Make Thom Yorke Cry

The idea for Jason Thomas Gordon’s new book “The Singers Talk” — which features new interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Roger Daltrey, Chrissie Hynde, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Smith, Geddy Lee, Michael Stipe, Thom Yorke, Rod Stewart, Steve Perry, and many other superstar vocalists — came to him one night after meeting Eddie Vedder at a party.

“I went from being the drummer of my band to begrudgingly becoming the lead singer as well,” Gordon, who fronts the L.A. rock band Kingsize, tells Rolling Stone. “Once I started taking it serious, I realized that singing was really brutal. There was no resource to find out how great singers did their job night after night without damaging their voice.”

His chance meeting with Vedder sparked something in his brain. “I never asked him how he’d been screaming his head off for years and still kept his voice in shape,” Gordon says. “So, I set out to find some answers from as many of my heroes as I could.”

He managed to assemble an impressive list of interviews with many well-known singers. To learn about vocalists no longer among the living, he spoke with some of their closest collaborators. For example, Jimmy Iovine spoke about Tom Petty, and “Nevermind” producer Butch Vig shared memories of Kurt Cobain. (All proceeds from “The Singers Talk” will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through their Music Gives to St. Jude Kids campaign, which Gordon started in honor of his grandfather, St. Jude founder Danny Thomas.)

Gordon’s interview with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke was especially revealing. “I think some people view him as this intense artist, but he’s got a wicked sense of humor,” Gordon says. “He was self-deprecating, honest, vulnerable, and really lovely to speak with. And I dig that he doesn’t view himself as a ‘lead singer.’ It’s inspiring to hear how he approaches his vocals within the context of the entire sonic structure of a song, as opposed to a standout feature. And it’s nice to see someone in his position not taking his instrument for granted. He’s warming up, warming down, taking care of his health, and constantly exploring where to go next.”

Here’s an exclusive excerpt of Gordon’s conversation with Yorke.

Who first exposed you to singing?
How do you mean?

Who or what gave you the realization of, ‘This is something I want to do.’
I didn’t want to do it.

Welcome to the club! [Laughter.]
I always expected someone else would be doing it, because I didn’t see myself as the sort of character that could put myself in front of a microphone. When I was, like, eight years old, I decided to learn to play guitar, and I told my first guitar teacher that I was gonna be a rock star. I was really into Queen, but I never saw myself as Freddie Mercury. I was always Brian May in my head, surprisingly. And it sort of changed because I couldn’t really find anyone else to do it. [Laughs.] Couldn’t get anyone to fit the job description. Because I started writing my own songs, it sort of happened like that.

So when did that appear on the horizon?
Probably around the age of 13 or 14. I’m now at school, and I’m starting to write songs and record them using my own voice, and even passing tapes out. But even then, I was thinking, “I’ll find someone else to sing them.” And then, I started singing more because the band started forming. But my first proper, real experience of saying to myself, “OK, I’m a singer,” wasn’t really in that situation.

What was the situation?
I was well supported by the head of music at my school. I couldn’t read music, so, normally, I would’ve been dismissed, but he kind of saw something in me. He said, “You should take singing lessons just to protect your voice because you’re straining your voice,” which is what people do when they’ve never sung before.

So you had vocal lessons in school?
My singing teacher was like the cultural polar opposite. He made me sing Schubert, and I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. I mean, I could just about tell the notes were going up and down, but it’s in bloody German. But weirdly, I quite enjoyed the challenge of having to do something so structured and classical and the specific technique of how to use my body. I did a recital of a Schubert thing in front of about 20 people, and that’s the first time where I said, “OK, I guess I’m a singer,” because people really liked it, or rather I was surprised by the sound that was coming out. I didn’t really expect it.

When you started to sing your own stuff, were you emulating anyone else?
Oh yeah! [Chuckles.] For quite a few years, I would say. [Laughs more.] It was always mostly Michael Stipe, sometimes a little bit of Morrissey. I would emulate most of the singers who were quite low down. I was really into David Sylvian’s voice, but my register wasn’t there. It was much higher. It was sort of a comedy when I tried to sing like that.

How did you find your own voice?
It took me years. The hardest lesson to learn is to be yourself. It’s like you try all these different outfits on. There was no way I was gonna be Michael Stipe because my register wasn’t the same, I wasn’t from Georgia, but I really admired how he wrote lyrics. So I took a lot of that kind of thing from him. But I always felt that my register was uncomfortably high or awkward, or that my voice was too soft. When I was 18, I took a year and recorded music for most of it. Then I sent the tape off, and it won, like, “Demo of the Month” in this free music magazine, and this review said, “Who is this guy? He sounds just like Neil Young!” I went, “Who’s Neil Young?” [Laughter.] I’d never even heard Neil Young, so I went out and bought After the Gold Rush and was like, “Wow! It’s OK to sound like that?” Because he’s slightly higher than me, but there was a softness and a naiveté in the voice which I was always trying to hide. Then, it was like, “Oh, maybe I don’t need to hide it.”

Did that affect the way you started to approach your vocals?
It took me a few years after that, because starting off as a rock band, everything was all about force and energy. It took me a long time to go, “I don’t need to do that.” When we were doing the second record [The Bends], I went to see Jeff Buckley before he died. Again, that was one of those, “It’s OK to do that?” And it reminded me of this vulnerable part of me that I was choosing to hide. I remember I recorded “Fake Plastic Trees” on my own to begin with. Then, when we came together to listen to it, the others said, “We’ll use that!” and I was, “No, no, we can’t use that, it’s too vulnerable. That’s too much me.” [Laughs.]

Years ago, I read an article that said that when you were listening to the playback of that song, you just melted and started crying ’cause it was so vulnerable. Is that true?
Yeah, absolutely. Because when you record, you’re going through one set of feelings, but the one thing you’re not really aware of is you. You’re not aware of your own identity, so it’s like meditating. Even when you play, if you perform something well, you have a sort of feeling that goes beyond that. You’re not even aware of your own vulnerability, you’re just off somewhere, and then you come back. It’s like seeing yourself in the mirror for the first time, catching yourself unaware. It’s an odd feeling, but at the same time, that’s what recording vocals has become for me. When we were doing OK Computer, I had this whole thing about how I must be off my face in order to record the vocals so that I’m not self-conscious.
But, you know, it just sounds like a drunk bloke. Endless weeks of disastrous vocals until I sobered up. [Laughter.]

I’m down to hear that alternate record, of you drunk-singing OK Computer.
Not really! I remember being totally half-cocked, trying to sing “Let Down.” God. Awful.

That’s the one to sing drunk!
[Laughs.] It really isn’t! You gotta be so accurate! But you spend a lot of the time, probably like actors do, trying to achieve ways to not feel self-conscious so it just becomes about singing itself. Much like being an actor, in order for it to be believable, you have to remove yourself. The lack of consciousness about what you’re doing is really an important bit.

How do you remove that consciousness?
It’s this weird feeling. You have this whole preparation, like a physical thing that you must prepare and analyze, and then, by the time that you record it, you have to totally forget about it. That’s what athletes do. In order to get into the zone, you have to prepare for it, and then not think about it. I always get the feeling that the good takes from singers are the ones where they remove themselves identity-wise from what it is, Neil Young being a classic example. You have the sensation that on those records in the ’70s, that it was a moment [snaps his fingers] and then it’s passed. Maybe they did five, and then they chose one. That’s how we used to work all the time — five, maybe six, seven, top whack. I wouldn’t be aware of what’s in there, but Nigel [Godrich, producer] would be. Usually, an emotion will come through despite itself, despite all the practicalities. “Is this in tune?” “Is that the right intonation?” Something else will come through.

If it’s a little out of tune, but the emotion is there, how specific do you get?
I try not to bother about that. When we first started recording with Nigel, we made an agreement where you try to keep as much of the mistakes as you can bear, if it’s got that other thing. Occasionally, you might tune a note, one note, but that’s about it. Try and keep it as human and as real as you can get away with.

My guitar player and I call it “The thing.” I do a pass and go, “What do you think?” He’ll go, “Well, it was technically good, but it didn’t have the thing.”
That’s kind of what I mean, yeah. It’s not often in the first round of recording a vocal that I’ll get anything technically good. It’s like getting out the charcoal stick and going, “Well, it’s gonna look like this.” It’s like you have to walk the path of the vocal, and go away for a few weeks, then come back familiar with the path, and do it properly, because there is a technical level you’ve got to get to, but then, “If that’s what you call a mistake, then, yeah right!”

Did you ever have any vocal training outside of school?
No, that was it. Basically, the guy taught me how to pitch and open up my throat, and to sing to the crown of your head. That was kind of enough. One time, I went and stayed in Spain where Björk was recording and woke up the day we were supposed to do the session, and she was doing scales really, really loud, first thing in the morning. I came downstairs going, “What the fuck…is that?” I’d never done scales in my life. She’d lost her voice or something six months previous, so that made me think, “Oh. All right. Well, I know how to do scales.”

Do you do vocal warm-ups?
Not every day, but on tour, doing proper warm-ups and warm-downs, that’s super important. If you warm up, you know where your weaknesses are before you start. “OK, there’s something wrong here. I can’t push it today because of this.” You get a bit nervous, but at least you’re not surprised by it when you start singing onstage. A lot of the time, tension in the body will affect the voice, so I’m very fortunate that we have a chiropractor who comes on tour with me and goes [mimics the sound of bones cracking as they adjust] with my neck sometimes, and then [makes a wondrous sound of relief]. It’s quite an amazing feeling when your voice just opens up like that. It’s mental. But this is what happens when you’re touring a lot, you have to have someone fix you up if you throw yourself around like I do.

That’s a great thing to be able to have.
The funny thing is now that I’ve stopped heavily drinking or abusing myself, the healthiest I feel is on tour! [Laughter.] Because there’s someone looking after you! Hold on, I gotta let the cat in. [Opens a sliding glass door, says to the cat] “Don’t just stand there.”

Are you nervous or confident before you perform?
I started getting nervous later, when it started being something real, when we signed a record deal, and when we played Astoria, for example, in 1994 — just terrified. [Laughs.] Or when we did Arsenio Hall. That was a car crash. TV’s a nightmare. That makes you really super nervous. It’s live, you can’t do it again, something always goes wrong, it’s always over the top because you’re all really hyped up, and you make a mistake, and you walk off and go, “FUUUUCK! I WAS SHIIIIIT! FUUUUUUCK!” [Laughter.] And there’s nothing you can do about it. Yeah, that makes me nervous. I’d be worried if I wasn’t getting nervous, actually. I mean, sometimes you can walk on and be quite casual about it, but not often.

Tell me more about the vocal warm-ups before you perform?
I’m big on preparation before the show. I literally have my own space on tour, which I’m a bit embarrassed about sometimes, but I have to have my own room. I do yoga as well because, like I said, the body and the voice are all tied up so, if the body’s relaxed, the voice is relaxed. Also, the yoga helps with preparing you for when things go wrong onstage.

What kinds of things?
Working in high-pressurized situations like a festival when your entire headset goes dead or starts giving you white noise, you gotta be able to react in a way that’s not, “Holy shit!” You’ve gotta be calm mentally, not just vocally. They go together because if you’re tense, then your voice tenses up. And if your voice tenses up, then you push it too hard, and that has consequences. So, whatever it takes to stay open.

So, what’s your vocal warm-up before you go on?
About 10 to 15 minutes of scales. More than doing major and minor scales, I force myself to try and learn weird scales instead. Jonny Greenwood [guitarist] is the one who’s really into weird scales, so I kinda got that off him.

Do you have any other rituals before you hit the stage?
I meditate for about 20 minutes if I can. What else? Stand on me head.

Is that true?
Yeah. That’s for about three or four minutes. Then, there’s a mad dash at the end of all this. [Laughs.] I never allow myself quite enough time between doin’ all that nonsense, and then I’ve got, like, “Oh fuck, get changed! Shit! GO!” [Laughter.]

You mentioned you warm-down after the show. What’s that look like for you?
Pretty anti-social. You just sing softly to yourself. Scales, or if there’s a song in my head, doesn’t really matter. It’s just the act of singing softly and dropping it down, that’s what’s important. Then, resist the temptation to reach for the first drink that someone gives you. For at least the first 10 minutes.

What other ways do you take care of your voice on the road?
Try not to get fucked up. AC is another lethal one. Really lethal. AC on buses is a bad one. There’s no real way round that, because there’s certain times where you really don’t have any choice but to be in an AC environment. The only way to counteract that is to try and find a few hours in the day to make sure to spend a few hours out of AC. Even if it means walking around the block a few times. Otherwise, it’s weird how much you can end up being in AC and not even realize it.

When you start getting sick, what do you do?
Panic. I try and sleep as much as I can. I have these great pills called Vocalzone. I don’t know what’s in them, but they’re great. But only sort of as a low maintenance, [feels his throat] “Oh, it’s a bit rough.” [Waits a beat, then pantomimes chugging the entire box, breaking into laughter.] In terms of routine, you’re supposed to drink lots of hot fluids, don’t touch any dairy. Dairy’s lethal. FUCK ME, this is the most geeked out I’ve ever talked about my voice. [Cracks up.] All the things I don’t even bother taking to anybody else about, other than my tour manager. [Pretends to cry.] “I need some more Vocalzone!” By the way, I’ve always resisted taking steroids. Some singers I know seem to be on tour on steroids all the time. I really hate that shit.

Yeah, it’s really dangerous too.
It’s really dangerous. Luckily, things have kind of changed, but in America you’d have this situation where the promoter knows the doctor, and the doctor turns up and goes, “Oh yeah, you’re fine. Take these.” And it’d be like some fuck off, crazy steroid, and you’d take it and be jumping around the room and want to kill everybody. It makes you super aggressive. I stopped doing that because I don’t trust any of these fucking people.

“The promotor knows a doctor.” I’m sure it’s fine. [Laughs.]
If I can’t sing, I can’t sing, it’s bloody obvious. And say you do that show and you’re sick, you’re wiping out the next five shows. In fact, that is the worst thing about being a singer, full stop. Everything else about it I love, it does amazing things to you. But the one thing I fucking hate is having to cancel shows, or, even worse, think you can do a show, persuade yourself you can, and then lose your voice halfway through and have to walk off. It’s only happened to me, like, three times in my life. There is nothing worse.

Gimme a good one.
There was one in Australia in front of, like, 12,000 people. I had to walk off, and it was just the most horrendous thing. Eventually, you forgive yourself. You say, “You know what? You’re only human.” But at the time, some people don’t get it. Even when Ed O’Brien [guitarist] went back onstage and said, “We’re really sorry, but he can’t carry on,” people started fucking booing, and you’re like, “What? Seriously?”

Because they think it’s like some star trip or something.
Yeah, do we look like Guns N’ Roses to you? [Laughter.] Come on.

Are there songs where you wonder if your voice will be there that night?
There’s ones from the early years. What happens with voices is voices drop. One time I met Neil Young. He was talking about how the early songs for him are harder because they’re higher, and it’s the same for me now. “Creep” is an absolute bastard, the bit in the middle, although you can go falsetto, but I try not to. Anything that’s got like a high G, or higher than that, these days, starts to be a bit tough.

Are there songs where you have to adjust the key live?
No. I haven’t got to that stage yet. I hope not to because that would just be, in terms of the guitar playing, a total nightmare, so I hope that doesn’t happen.

What was your most embarrassing vocal mishap ever?
[Laughs.] There was one time we played in San Francisco in this really nice outdoor place, Shoreline. It was a great show, really, really fun. The audience were brilliant. Then, before the final encore, I smoked a blunt with Jonny. I went back on and started playing “Everything in Its Right Place” and got completely lost. I think I sang the second verse first, and then I was looking at the keyboard going, “What’s this?” [Laughter.] Then, I went to sing the next verse, and I realized, I’ve just sung that, and I looked at the others, and they were all going [makes a face] “Get us out of this one.” I’m just going around the riff, looking at the audience, and they’re all singing the words, and I’m going, “What?” [Tries reading their lips.] I was so high, I just got up from the piano and [puts his hands up in surrender] walked off. [Laughs hysterically.]

That’s incredible because the song only has, like, three lines in it!
Exactly! [More laughter.] It’s not fucking rocket science!

Do you remember a performance where you surprised yourself?
When we were doing “Paranoid Android,” I was having what could be loosely described as a bad day. I went AWOL, left the others and went off with [artist] Stanley Donwood, and we ended up in the pub for most the day. Then, we wobbled back on bicycles, up the hill to the studio, and they’d done a whole lot of the track, and it was really great. They were working on the end bit, and I was sitting, going, “It needs someone shouting,” and Nigel’s like, “OK.” I went in and shouted into this little Dictaphone. [Mimics himself screaming in gibberish.] I had no idea what I was saying. Then, I finished and went, “Well, that’s not gonna work.” And he’s like, “Wow, that’s great!” A lot of the time there’s that feeling where you say, “This isn’t gonna work. This is obviously shit.” And then you go in and go, “That’s really cool!”

How are you with hearing your own voice?
I probably should like the sound of my voice a bit more than I do. What tends to happen is the more emotionally attached I get to a song, the harder it is. Or the more I struggle to finish a song, the harder it is to listen to my voice because I spent months imagining how it should be. The longer I’m doing that, the tougher it is to listen back and accept that I’m actually only human, and it’s only going to be like that, because the longer you think about it, the more you think about the possibilities, especially with lyrics.

Do you have a favorite vocal performance you’re really proud of?
I really like “Bloom.” On the surface, that’s quite simple, but actually is a real bastard, which is what’s nice about it. You kind of have to sing it in this way that’s reeeeeally open. But when you do it live, it’s much harder because there’s a lot of technical shit going on, and you have to totally forget about the chaos and come in with this really open voice. It’s a bit like playing trumpet because you’re not thinking about the words, you’re making just this sound — Raaaaaaaa.

When I interviewed Tony Bennett, he said that his vocal coach told him to imitate other musicians, “piano players and trumpet players and saxophone players. But don’t imitate singers.” When he said that to me, I thought of you immediately.

Yeah, because to me, your voice sounds like a violin. Does that make sense?
As long as it’s not an oboe, mate, I don’t mind. [Laughter.]

But does that make sense to you, or is that a bizarre statement?
No, that makes sense. Most of the vocals I write are wordless for quite a long time except for maybe one key phrase. I work on it like that, and I think of it like that, but I totally agree. I think of my voice as an instrument, but it’s not like any normal instrument because, no matter what you do, you’re naked. I guess, maybe that’s why I’m sort of fascinated with effects on the voice. One of the things I enjoyed recently was watching Jonny experimenting with microtonal stuff where you’re moving between the notes. So, you have the almost semitone scale, and then you have all the notes in between. And I did this thing where I set up a modular synthesizer to go between all the notes, and then I copied it with my voice, and it’s like a 20-minute piece.

This is getting very Radiohead right now. What’s that sound like?
You have these slowly dropping and ascending lines, and I had to treat it like my voice is an instrument, as a violin or something, because I had to follow the shifts in the pitch, microshifts, bit by bit, so literally, breath by breath. I didn’t want to hear any of my breath. So, I sang each note, cut out the breaths, sang the next bit of the note, cut out breaths, sang the next bit of the note, cut out the breaths. Took me weeks. Weeks. It’s on the Suspiria soundtrack.

What’s the track called?
“A Choir of One.” I wanted it to feel like a choir, but it’s a choir of one voice, basically. Then, I did various different pitches. But all the notes are clashing and it makes you feel really, really uneasy. It was a horror film.

That’s fascinating because there’s a very orchestral component to a lot of your vocals, where you don’t just settle for the lead. You make the voice part of the atmosphere behind a track. “Present Tense” or “Judge, Jury, and Executioner” are two awesome examples of that.
It’s something I get quite anxious about, because a lot of the time, I will be really into a piece of music as it is, and the vocal is simply a punctuation for that. The core of the thing we’re working on is not necessarily the voice. Especially with Jonny, it may be something to do with the rhythm, or with the way the chords fall, or an arpeggiation he’s written. My job is to simply find my way to sit inside it, which I really, really enjoy!

But not a lot of singers do that. Marvin Gaye was the first time I noticed a lead singer on one track, and then behind that, there’s four or five other Marvin Gayes doing stuff.
Marvin Gaye’s an interesting example because if you’ve seen that documentary about the What’s Going On? record, he basically scatted all the lines and everybody scored it out. And that’s like my dream world. [Laughter.] I guess I don’t think in terms of “lead vocals” that often because I feel like it’s a trap. If you think, “Now I must do the lead vocal,” it’s like saying, “Now I must do something more important than what’s already there,” which, to me, is like, No, that doesn’t compute at all. In fact, I used to really fight that during the Kid A period where on “Pyramid Song,” all the music is in the music. I’m singing one fucking note all the way through, and there’s all this melody going around me. So I’m choosing to sort of frame the rest of the melodic action by being the human being. Does that make sense?

Yeah, because you really don’t approach singing as a lead singer. It’s almost like you approach it as a painter or something.
That’s literally how I do it sometimes because the method of painting, the stuff I did learn at college, was sometimes the only way to get where you need to go is to lay stuff down on top of itself until you have what you need. You don’t really know what’s gonna stick. Sometimes the most exciting thing to do with a piece of music is: it starts here, and then something happens here, and then something else happens, and we’re over there now! That’s the story. And that to me is painting. That’s not songwriting. Blood on the Tracks is one of my favorite records because Dylan takes the idea of storytelling and songwriting to the ultimate place. It doesn’t get any better than that, really. I’ve never been able to do that because I’m as excited about sounds, whether the sound of my voice or the sound of an instrument, as I am about the lyrics or the drum rhythm. They’re equally exciting to me.

I see what you’re saying, but you’re underselling yourself a bit as well. One of my favorite songs is the live version of “True Love Waits” off I Might Be Wrong, and that’s just you and an acoustic guitar, and that’s all you need.
That was one of those songs where it happened as an acoustic guitar song, and it was like, Well, that’s too easy, we can’t do that. Because it’s just on acoustic guitar and a voice. I’ve done that. Poor thing, it became a victim of its own simplicity.

But that song is perfect as is. Then, you went and re-recorded it with all this other stuff, and I always wondered why you felt you had to do that?
I don’t know. Unfortunately, there’s lots of songs like that. One of my mistakes is dismissing things because they’re simple. Nigel, more so than the others, would say to me, “You’re making a mistake because you want to see something in it that’s not there so, stop fucking trying to change it.” Things have fallen by the wayside that shouldn’t have for that reason, because I’d had some sort of belligerent agenda, which can smother a song and refuse to let it grow. “True Love Waits” was a bit like that. It was one of those things where it was almost made to be at the end of a show. It wasn’t even necessarily made to be recorded. It was made to say, “OK, guys, goodnight. Thanks.”

This happens to me a lot with your music: I’ll be listening to a new record for the first time, I’ll hear the music, and think, “How the hell is he gonna do this?” Then, you’ll come in with the vocal, and I’ll go, “This motherfucker! I can’t believe it!” You find a way to take music that almost doesn’t feel tethered to the ground, and you’ll rein it in with this incredible melody, and somehow it locks the song into place.
You and my band both, mate. [Laughter.]

“Backdrifts” is a perfect example. How you got there is crazy!
I had that piece of music for ages, and I was always playing it going, “Check this out, this is great,” and everybody’s like, “What the fuck is that, man?” I was like, “Fine, I’ll put the vocal down.” Then, everyone goes, “Ohhh, I get it!” See, I have this terrible habit where I can hear something in a piece of music, and I just assume everybody else can, because I can hear the melody that’s gonna go with it. It’s really obvious.

What’s changed the most about your voice since you started?
Just age. Your voice just changes naturally. It’s softened up a bit and got a bit more woody-sounding. Whatever it is, I definitely prefer the sound of my voice now than I did before because it’s open in a different way, and the register has slightly moved, tonally, down a bit, which I kind of like.

If you could duet with one singer — living or dead — who would it be?
John Lennon. It would sound awful though, awful, UGH. It wouldn’t mix well at all.

Who are your top five favorite singers of all time?
I’m obsessed with Ella Fitzgerald at the moment. There’s a performance you can find of Ella Fitzgerald playing with Duke Ellington. They’re on this famous TV show in the Sixties, a black-and-white show. She does two jazz standards, and her technical singing is fucking insane. In. Sane. She’s belting the crap out of it. She’s so loud, and she doesn’t miss one note. She does one super, super fast, jazz scat thing, which is just… I mean, it’s physically impossible. I’ve not seen anyone do anything like that. And then, obviously, there’s Nina Simone. And then there’s Scott Walker, and then there’s Michael Stipe. That’s four, right?


Yeah, you got one more.
Goddamn, that’s really hard. I wanna say Billie Holiday. Oh! Tom Waits! “Tom Traubert’s Blues.” That and “Simple Twist of Fate” by Bob Dylan are the two songs that are guaranteed to reduce me to tears every time I hear them. Guaranteed. I can’t get through either song without falling to pieces.

If you could ask any singer about their voice, who would it be and what would you ask?
It would be John Lennon. Lennon’s whole attitude to singing, I’m a little bit obsessed with, because, on the surface, he has this whole, raw, doesn’t give a fuck… just the way he sings is weirdly brutal. I’d want to talk to him about how he was always so incredibly accurate, but always sounding on the edge of like, He’s gonna miss it, he’s gonna miss it. And, specifically, all these ideas he had in his head about how his voice should be treated. I was like, How do you see it? Because what they did with his voice, they had pretty simple tools, but they did really interesting things. So having a conversation with him about that…or yoga.

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