BY ELENA VALDEZ
With singer Fergie’s most recent performance of America’s national anthem during an NBA game, the argument has arisen that no artist should have creative freedom with the Star Spangled Banner, in order to prevent a wide-spread panned performance like that from ever happening again.
The exaggerated notes and constant change in pitch is being viewed as disrespectful and even as a sign of protest – understandable statements regarding the current protests amongst many Americans. Fergie’s performance was comic relief in being so awful. But should they take the many different renditions of the song away and make it mandatory for artists to stick to one because of one recent performance?
No. The artists is adding their own personal touch to the song. Any deviation from the original reflects the artist as an individual and as an American. The United States of America is a nation that seeks unity in diversity and being allowed to turn the anthem into what nationalistic pride means to them as an American is a part of that.
The United States of America is a nation that seeks unity in diversity and being allowed to turn the anthem into what nationalistic pride means to them as an American is a part of that.
The way a musician performs the Star Spangled Banner should not be the same set-in-stone, cookie-cutter performance at every sporting event American gatherings; that would be a bore. Artists should be able to sing the anthem any way they please, even if at times it is appalling to the point of humor.
The reactions were as funny as the performance itself, with players clearly struggling to contain themselves as Fergie continued her belting and exorbitant hand movements. Out of respect for the nation, Fergie has made a public apology in an interview with People magazine.
“I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone,” Fergie said. “I love this country and honestly tried my best.”
The failed sultry rendition has been tied back to Marvin Gaye’s 1993 national anthem performance for that years All Star game by many fans in a desperate search for explanation.
The Star Spangled Banner itself is an incredibly difficult song to sing and despite this fact being acknowledged, the artist is still receiving hate. Due to the wide range presented in the song, not all artists are able to hit the right notes. It is a vocal strain that even professional training cannot prevent. Lower pitched voices have a hard time reaching all the high notes and higher pitched voices struggle to reach the low ones.
Still, there seemed to be no correlation or meaning to her dragging certain parts out and neglecting others. According to her statement, she was just trying to show her American pride.
According to her statement, she was just trying to show her American pride.
The performance has brought creative freedom into public question, as the national anthem is so ingrained in traditional American pride. However, one bad version of the song does not mean everything needs to stay exactly the same out of fear for another Fergie-level auditory atrocity.
Photo courtesy of Getty/Juan Ocampo