ANN WILSON Says She Hates Auto-Tuned Vocals: It Sounds 'Robotic'

April 2, 2022

HEART singer Ann Wilson has criticized the pitch-correction technology Auto-Tune, saying it is the imperfections of the human voice that make music appealing.

Created by musician and geophysical scientist Dr. Andy Hildebrand in 1997, Auto-Tune is a software program that digitally corrects pitch, allowing singers who sing off key to produce perfectly tuned vocal tracks. Since its introduction, the plugin has become standard equipment in professional recording studios, but the anti-Auto-Tune movement is vocal.

In a new interview with "The Jasta Show", Wilson stated that it is natural flaws and imperfections that make a voice memorable and affecting. "I think the little rough places or a little out-of-tune soulful quirks about our vocal are the thing that makes it sound like you, like a human," she said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "When everything's all tuned to A440 exactly and robotic and everything, it's just like being anonymous; you just kind of fall into this robotic way of sounding, you sound exactly like everybody else. If that's what you want, then by all means, go for the Auto-Tune, but if you wanna sound like yourself, forget it. Sound real."

Ann went on to say that "remaining [her]self and remaining authentic" has always been important to her. "And then when some era like the '80s came along when I was being asked to sing a different way so I could be played on the radio, I was really uncomfortable with that and I could do it," she explained. "But I don't think it's my best singing, and it certainly doesn't sound like me. Back then, I remember they were saying, 'Don't go near politics. Why does everything have to be so dark?' Like, you should just be 'happy' all the time in your songs. And they were telling my sister Nancy [HEART guitarist], 'Well, acoustic guitars are just way out, and in fact, guitars are taking a backseat now. We're into synthesizers.' And those are her main instruments. So, yeah, that was a challenge at the time."

Proponents of Auto-Tune have compared the human voice to an instrument, and have argued that Auto-Tune is merely an effect like a vocodor, talk box or a wah-wah pedal.

According to Hildebrand's Antares Audio Technologies, more than 90 percent of its Auto-Tune units are in the hands of hobbyists; amateur musicians and looking to smooth out their latest basement recording.

Last year, Paul McCartney made headlines when he said he believes John Lennon would have loved using Auto-Tune, which was invented nearly two decades after Lennon's death in 1980. "I'd say that if John Lennon had had an opportunity, he would have been all over it," McCartney said. "Not so much to fix your voice, but just to play with it."

Ann's new solo album, "Fierce Bliss", will arrive on April 29 via Silver Lining Music.

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