If I was to ask you what sounds Michael Jackson and Prince make frequently when they sing you would know exactly what I mean. Michael used to do this heeeeheeeheee thing. And Prince does this high pitched falsetto thing like someone ran over his foot or he’s just climaxed or something. LOLOL!!! You know what I mean. Those noises are iconic.
Even before Venus and Serena came on the scene, we became familiar with deep guttural releases and grunts and sometimes screams emitted as tennis players lunged forward to serve, volley and connect with the ball. Every single sound is made in an effort towards a journey to victory. Bruce Lee and many master Martial artists make sounds when they practiced as well. Imagine a Kung Fu flick without human noise. No really, think about it.
One of things i love about the way Bjork makes music is that she relishes the primal sounds in nature and is always finding ways to incorporate them in her work. When she starts to scream or yell and let her voice take her, she’s not looking for a polished, finished sound, though she is a perfectionist about arranging everything that supports that sound. She lives for the raw, for the visceral, for the groan that it is emitted from an organic, unpracticed, yet purposeful place.
Drake is another artists who incorporates noises in his voice this way. He uses his yeahs, and uhs and other noises minimally and effectively to create this unconscious feeling of connection to his vulnerability even as he brags in various ways that he’s a Legend. That and he’s ALWAYS up in his feelings on every track. LOL!! But I’m a Drake addict for that reason so there’s no reasoning with me. His emo approach is on fleek.
When we are babies, before we grasp the art of language, we communicate through noises, through different pitch levels, through gurgles, laughters, scream, shouts, indecipherable streams of phonics meant to draw attention to our need to connect, communicate, get our needs met, be held, fed, touched, taken to the bathroom, shown the way, told stories, be instructed on what to do and what not to do and also to share what we ourselves are discovering. Before we can “talk” we react to everything we discover, feel, sense, taste, hear, with noises.
The noises we make are primal and are the first language we know as human beings. Mammals and many other life forms use noises primarily to communicate effectively. Anthropomorphic characteristics only occur based on the level of integration into human life. Otherwise, animals speak the same language all their lives. They’re not like, hey do I write a letter, compose a tune, draft an email. sing a song, telegraph or draw a chart in order to greet someone this morning?
As humans we find ourselves in a world where communicating verbally can take on a myriad of forms, many of them meant to manipulate, deceive, falsify, hide, and self sabotage but very rarely do we communicate clearly, directly intimately. This is why forms of communion and art that allow people to make noises are so important. Noises bring the art of communication back to basics. When we first were taught the alphabet we had to sound out everything. We had to learn the sounds of each letter in order to understand the role they played in forming words, then sentences, paragraphs, stories, conversations. I read at high a level at a very young age because I was completely enthralled with the power of words, particularly in writing and books. I was lost happily in the world of books for years as a young girl. It was the way that a shy introvert learned to navigate the social circles of my peers. But there is a deep communication beyond words that occurs in noises and in silences, in a baby’s eyes, in Serena Williams yells, in Drakes, uhs, in Bjorks piercing Icelandic shrill.
Some noises we make effect us on an unconscious level we never fully understand or are aware of. Others we understand are necessary of our sanity and peace of mind. The sound a and tone of someone’s voice for me can often be just as important if not more than what they are saying. It tells me much more about the true intent than the actual words. Once I can trust the sound, then I can listen or rather I should say, I can hear.
It’s so important to really hear.