Christopher Tin

To what extent do you emphasize looking for native speakers to sing your songs?

Christopher Tin responded on 04/30/2014

I try really, really hard to work with native speakers--although I'm never willing to sacrifice musicality for it. There are some cases when the person who has the best voice for the job musically, happens to be the person you have the best access to AND speaks the language natively… like Dulce Pontes, for example. In those situations, it's a slam dunk. But there are other cases where there's a language that I want to have a singer sing in, but there are no singers who are both good and well-known who sing in that language. (I abandoned Yupik, for example, just because I couldn't find the right singer or text.) And there are some cases where the singers you want to work with (e.g. Frederica von Stade) just don't sing in whatever obscure language you're writing in (e.g. Polish), but they're the most amazing singer ever and you just try to make it work as best you can. But in general, I go to great lengths to work with the right singers who are authorities in their languages.

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