People often wonder why famous pop singers like Adele and Ed Sheeran sound so American when they sing, although they are from the UK. Do the singers realize they are doing this? Is this a trick that our ears are playing on us Americans because we think that the world resolves around us? Turns out, there are four solid reasons why we hear so many singers performing with a seemingly Americanized accent. Most are aware of at least one reason, while some don't even notice it themselves!
One of the more likely reasons that singers mimic American accents when they perform is because many are taught to do so by their vocal teachers to encourage good vowel techniques. These long, neutral vowel techniques can often sound more like an American accent, and British vocal hints will be lost in the song. There are also many cases where rhymes are more accessible when using an American accent. For example, trying to rhyme "can't" with "chant" works with an American accent but not a British one.
The rhythm and blues genre has had a huge influence on the development of rock music worldwide, especially in the UK. In the 1960s, rock ballads were often called R&B anthems because British and American rock heavily influenced the general music culture. Bands like the Beatles were said to have a trans-Atlantic sound that was a mix of UK and US accents.
Since R&B and American music culture were a big influence all over the world, many other areas began promoting singers and bands that have a more marketable sound, meaning more in line with an American accent. This way, not only can the big booming music economy in America pay good money to hear American accents, but nearly every other country would as well.
This is especially true for pop, R&B, and dance music singers. Singing with Americanized vowels allows the performer to get through worlds fast and still clearly in comparison to other accents. For example, saying "what do you know" really fast would flow much more easily and clearly in an American accent since you can pronounce it more like "wadayuno".
While lyrics can seem to flow more smoothly for singers and rappers who are performing fast songs, not everybody is limiting themselves to American accents. The subgenre of rap by the name of Grime is increasingly growing in popularity, with artists like Skepta and Wiley proving that UK accents pair great with hip hop. And the heavy UK accents aren't just limited to hip hop. Rock bands like The Futureheads and Arctic Monkeys definitely sound British!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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