20 Feet From Stardom won Best Documentary at the 2014 Academy Awards. The documentary focuses on the art of background singing, and the struggle these artists experience in the music industry.
1. It showcases an incredible range of background singers from the 1950s up through the 2010s.
2. Background singers have a great impact on other artists.
3. They were requested by big names like Jackie Wilson, Bette Midler, Luther Vandross, and Tina Turner to sing on their records.
4. The songs they performed on are legendary.
Here is Clayton's isolated vocals on The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter."
5. The background singers' discography is mind blowing.
6. There are many positive experiences that come with this profession.
7. There are also many negative experiences.
8. Many singers from 20 Feet From Stardom developed their voices through church.
9. Even if you're a powerhouse of a vocalist, it doesn't always mean you'll be a solo success.
10. Background singing is a total community.
11. Rock and roll saved background singers in the 1960s and 1970s.
12. You gain an understanding of where these singers come from and their worth as artists.
13. Some background singers get the short end of the stick when it comes to recognition and royalties.
14. They are passionate about what they do.
15. Background singers are unfortunately not used as constantly in the music industry today.
16. Merry Clayton is an absolute force of nature.
17. Background singing can be a degrading experience for women.
18. You need some type of ego if you want to make that jump to the front of the stage.
19. But not everyone wants to be in the spotlight. Some are comfortable where they are.
20. If you can sing, don't let it go to waste. Take advantage of your gift.
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