In a public function in Paro, a friend of mine appeared on the stage with a microphone in his hand as the MC announced his name and the title of the song he was going to sing. As usual, he tested his mike by lightly tapping on it with his finger and whispering “hello” a few times to ensure it was working. Then his karaoke track began to play from the CD and he began to sing. As he sang the song, the sweet melody of his voice perfectly melted into the musical effects of his track and like a charmer, he kept his entire audience spellbound. When he finished, all of us rose up to the top of our lungs to cheer him up and a big round of applause went off as a gesture of appreciation for his outstanding performance. Later when I met him personally, I congratulated him on his excellent performance and insisted that he should continue to sing. He thanked me and we departed.
After that, I continued to praise him whenever we met on WeChat or in person and I even requested him to send me that track. He had told me that it was his own track recorded as a tribute to the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. So he even shared the track with me and I kept listening to it for so many times. I had really fallen in love with his voice and his beautiful lyrics. But meanwhile, I think I praised him too much that he had begun to feel guilty. One day in a WeChat message, he confessed to me that actually he didn’t even turn on his mike when he performed during that function. He told me that he turned on his mike only to fake testing it and turned it off while singing and turned it back on only to say “Thank you” at the end. He was actually just lip-singing. He had his entire vocal track already recorded in the music track. This revelation made me feel awkward and uneasy because I had already praised him too much. This was a real technological cheating but nobody noticed it. I laughed thinking about how we were fooled during that function.
I had heard before that artists can deceive us like this but I had not realized that it can be so practical. Now whenever I see artists performing, I can’t help asking myself “is this really a live performance?” I know not all artists will do this but even if they do, there is no way we can find it out. Technology has become so advanced that it has made almost everything possible for a person to do if he or she wishes.
Until a few decades ago, there was a time when the stage used to be filled with so many musicians and singers entertaining people through live performances and there was no cheating. Everything was natural and original. Even the musicians had the opportunity to earn some money. But as time passed by, it became expensive for the singers and organizers to hire all the musicians every time they organized events. So the entire job of the musicians was taken over by a single CD track. The singers started carrying recorded karaoke tracks wherever they went to sing. But it was fine because the song was at least sung live. Now the story seems to be taking further twist with some of the artists carrying the entirely recorded track and just lip-singing the song. On a positive note, this is going to be more interesting as anybody can easily become a professional singer because when you record the original track, you can take as much time as you require and the computer programs would beautify your voice like magic. The only thing you should do is to learn lip-singing. LoL!
The views expressed in this article are totally based on my own opinions and do not represent the practices prevalent in Bhutanese music industry today. This is my small reflection based on only one single observation I have made so far.