The very first human voice most of us hear comes from our mothers, and maybe sooner than you think. After 24 weeks in the womb, it is believed that we begin to notice and react to sounds from the outside world.
So it’s understandable that when adults start talking to infants in the first few months, they are encouraged to raise their voices and make their phrases musical. The raw sound becomes soothing, inviting and somehow even more personal. It’s a voice that naturally attracts you and might even begin to trust you.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why whenever companies and government institutions present a difficult message to the general public, it is often delivered by a female spokesperson. Bad news is less bumpy and can be absorbed more easily without edges. For many listeners, this softer tone translates to kindness and caring.
One day I walked into the post office to get my mail and passed a woman addressing an envelope at the lobby table. Right behind her, clutching her winter coat, stood a little boy of about 18 months. He was still a little unsteady on his pins but very eager to use them. As Mom concentrated on her task, the young man stared at me curiously. With my hat, gloves and shoulder bag, I may have reminded him of a cowboy or a storybook character.
He started my way – about six feet or so. Her mother never turned her head or stopped writing. “Now, Everett,” she said softly, “you stay close.”
Everett stopped instantly and I believe he may have smiled slightly. He then performed the cleanest half pirouette I had ever seen at that age and brought it right back.
Keep in mind that Everette probably only got her name in that sentence and that was obviously more than enough. So, as we play these selections, the tone you’ll hear; soprano or alto may sound familiar even if you don’t know who is singing. In a few cases, you may not understand the words either, but since it’s his voice, you’ll know they’re meant for you.
Song, Artist, Album
Finally, Etta James, Essential
Crazy, Patsy Cline, Collection
Opus #1, Anita O’Day/Gene Krupa, Uptown
Let Me Go Uptown, Anita O’Day / Gene Krupa, Uptown
Trav’lin’ Light, Anita O’Day, Trav’lin’ Light
Just one of those things, Anita O’Day, An Evening With
Oh, Lady Be Good, Ella Fitzgerald, Best Of Songbooks – Ballads
A case of you, Joni Mitchell, blue
Guilty, Bonnie Raitt, I’m taking my time
Weren’t we fools, Susannah McCorkle, easy to love
I never loved a man, Aretha Franklin, 30 plus
Last Four Songs, Jessye Norman, Strauss – Last Four Songs