Who cares if Beyonce mimed or not ?


Here’s what we know.

[Updated after press conference]

Beyonce sang live at the inauguration. We know this, because we can see and hear it in videos like the one above.

Beyonce’s mic was live. We know this, because we can see and hear it in videos !

Beyonce sang along with a backing track. We know this, because the band have said they were asked to mime she said so, in her press conference.

The backing track had a safety performance of Beyonce’s voice on it. This was to be used if there were technical problems, or for some reason she couldn’t perform – for example, illness. We know this because we’ve seen photos of it being recorded and we can actually hear it in at least one video.

But any musician will watch the video above and tell you she’s singing for real – even though we can hear the other “safety” recording playing in the background.

Her performance was great. We know this, because we can see and hear it ! So great, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to tell a difference between the live vocal and the safety recording, and we have to use clues to be sure which one we were hearing.

These clues also tell us that the live performance was made available for broadcasters, and used in many, if not all cases.

So, although she sang to a backing track, Beyonce did not mime.

And as if all of that isn’t enough, US Magazine quote a source in the Beyonce camp as saying:

“She did sing… There was a [pre-recorded] track, but Bey sang 100 percent.”

What we DON’T actually know

A representative from the band assumed that because the band were miming, so was Beyonce – but has since corrected himself, saying “no-one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded”. An “inauguration official” has said categorically that Beyonce didn’t sing live – but we know she did, because we can see and hear it for ourselves.

Why has the “official” said this ? My guess is it’s a simple misunderstanding. A backing track was used, therefore she didn’t sing, right ?


Who cares ?

This is all a storm in a tea-cup, right ? Media fluff, irrelevant ?

Well maybe, but it annoys the hell out of me.

This site is all about getting your music to sound great, and the place to start is with a great performance.

But the charts today are crammed with artists who can’t sing. They’re auto-tuned, they’re edited, they’re multi-tracked, they NEVER sing live…

And no-one bats an eyelid.

Beyonce is one of only a handful of artists on the planet who can sing live so well that it could actually be a studio recording we’re listening to.

This was an incredible performance !

But instead of celebrating that fact, the media has jumped onto the word of two “sources” who have no way of really knowing and are assuming she faked it.

The irony makes my teeth hurt.

Mike Doughty agrees that she sang live, and made my favourite comment on all of this nonsense:

“For me, the most compelling evidence that Beyoncé was doing it for real is the HELL YES smile on Joe Biden’s face [at the end of the song]. Now, that is, clearly, a dude standing two feet from an electrifying lady singing like a motherfucker.”

Right now we need more artists with Beyonce’s talent, fewer auto-tuned muppets – and a music press that knows the difference.

facebook comments:


  1. Kahlbert says

    When reading your previous post, my only thought was “who the hell cares?!?!?”

    Thanks for (sort of) clarifying with this one …

    [rolls eyes and leaves the room, shaking his head, wondering what kind of a place the world has become]

  2. William Erasmus says

    Who cares? Well, Beyonce and Beyonce fans, for starters! The fact is that singing is her career. As silly as it sounds, she could sue for defamation, because a damaged reputation in a job like this can stay with you for life – and could throw doubt on anyone looking to hire her for gigs like this in future. So yeah, it does matter…A lot!

    This is her job…her career…her reputation. It’s like someone saying “Ian didn’t actually master this track…he just put a limiter on it.” When someone hears a bad report, they don’t bother to verify it – as has been evidenced by the media here.

    I for one am glad Ian took the effort to write on all this. :)

  3. Kahlbert says

    Well, don’t get me wrong – I didn’t ask who cares if Beyonce does ever, or is even able to sing. We all know, don’t we? I was asking what does one stupid appearance matter that wasn’t even an actual Beyonce concert!

    I mean, from the footage alone only the completely clueless could think it was not live – but apart from that, is there a law that someone who can sing must actually sing live on any tiny occasion under any circumstances?

    Still shaking my head here, no offense … ;-)

  4. Larsson says

    The real problem I see is that people gets so used to hearing ‘perfect live’ performances.

    With full recordings with overlay live performances (like this one), and secondary lead singers (common in Eurovision Song Contest). The singer has a way out if they get into a part wrong – they can mime that part only, or sing just a bit quieter. And since there is a second voice the listener won’t really notice the errors.

    The few (pop)singers that actually sing fully live get bad reputation for small errors, puffs in the microphone, even breathing(sorry, I will stop doing that immediately).

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