Throughout the build-up to the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, one issue was constantly discussed amongst the Eurovision community. This issue was how Norway’s JOWST would replicate their so-called “pre-recorded backing vocals” live. As it turned out, the EBU allowed the Norwegian delegation to have these sounds on the backing track for their live performance. Last night, JOWST called for this rule change to be made permanent.
“It is a song competition, not a singing competition”
In a lengthy and insightful Facebook post posted overnight, JOWST answered many of the questions that surrounded his and Aleksander’s use of “vocal samples” in their song both in its studio version and during their live performance in Kyiv.
“I am very happy that we got to change the rule [regarding “pre-recorded vocals”] for this year, and hopefully it will stay that way for as long as it is a song competition, and not a singing/vocal competition”
Vocal samples are the sound of modern music
The Norwegian producer went on to talk about the song’s Spotify success. Indeed, Grab The Moment is the fourth most streamed Eurovision song following the final taking place. JOWST believes this is due to Grab The Moment being one of the more “modern” songs and that “modern” songs of today do make use of voice samples to sound that way. For example, just listen to his countryman Kygo’s collaboration with Selena Gomez. It Ain’t Me is one of the highest-selling songs of the year worldwide.
“We did not use pre-recorded backing vocals”
JOWST also adds that these “vocal samples” are not “pre-recorded backing vocals” which is a criticism some have aimed at the duo. The fact that all vocals must be performed live at Eurovision is a key issue for many traditional fans of the contest. Instead, he explains that the sounds are just “digital instruments”. After all, synthesised sounds are the “most used” lead instruments in modern popular music besides vocals.
“One way to sound modern is to use voice samples. It has many names. Just be sure not to call it “pre-recorded backing vocals”. They are pre-recorded. But they are not backing vocals. In fact, they are no longer vocals. They are now a digital instrument. The most used lead instrument beside lead vocals in modern/popular music.”
Read JOWST’s fascinating Facebook post in full
To read JOWST’s full Facebook post about all things vocal samples and Grab The Moment, head to his Facebook page!
EBU: Sounds cannot be made by a human voice
According to a fascinating article over at ESC Insight, an EBU representative stated the following regarding the allowance of Norway to have their “vocal samples” recorded onto their backing track for Eurovision:
“The sounds in question are not vocal samples but made using a synthesiser and cannot be made by a human voice. These sounds are not there to support or replace the real voices of the vocalist or the backing vocalists but added as an effect. This song, therefore, does not break the rules of the competition.”
Norway grabbed their Eurovision moment!
Grab The Moment went on to finish in 10th place at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with 158 points. This means that Norway now has the fantastic record of four top ten finishes in the previous 5 contests!
Do you think the EBU were correct to allow the use of Norway’s vocal samples? In addition, do you agree that such sounds are the sound of modern music? Should Eurovision should aspire to reflect today’s music trends? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and via our social media pages @ESCXTRA!