Mark Ronson is one of the most accomplished musicians and producers of the past couple decades, and throughout his career, he’s worked with some of the best vocalists we have. Now, he has made his picks for which of them he thinks are the most naturally gifted when it comes to singing.
“Yebba, definitely. Adele, Amy [Winehouse], Bruno [Mars], [Lady] Gaga — I’m not just listing them because they’re the famous ones. They all have this gift, whether it’s intentional or not, this precipice in their voice where it’s just breaking and they know how much it brings you in. Like, obviously I haven’t worked with Bruno on every song, but he knows how to write a song on this part of his voice where it’s gonna break, where there’s that urgency. When I worked with Adele, she was so happy to do 16, 17, 18 takes — not because she didn’t sing it perfectly the first time, but she knew there’s a part where her voice starts to get worn in a little bit, and then there’s that pain in it that makes us all just melt, you know? They’re all fantastic.”
He also explained why, as a producer, he likes to take bits and pieces from multiple vocal takes to use in a song:
“One of the things I really love doing is comping a vocal. I will sit and go through 15 takes of the same vocal, most of them near-perfect, and sometimes just steal an ad-lib from this one or a breath from that one — the idiosyncrasies and the nuances of those moments, where the voice breaks, or where instead of singing that word at the end of the phrase, they decided to speak it instead. And then that’s a whole other level of intimacy.
It’s this wonderful process of, yes, they sang it perfectly 40 times, but now I get to make this ransom note-type [collage] of bringing this beautiful performance that will sit as the definitive performance of this song. It’s not an ego thing on my part — I just love that people trust me to do it. I love laboring over these things, because for one person or maybe a thousand people, that one little take is gonna be their favorite moment of the song.”
Check out the full interview here.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.