Alan: Pontus, I would like to introduce you to my friend. This is Bart and he’s from Ohio. We’re going to try and pick his brains and see what’s inside.
Pontus: Great! Hi Bart.
Bart: Hi Pontus and hi again Alan. Alan and I are great friends.
Alan: We Zoom around once a week and we shoot the breeze. It’s like being in the pub, having a chat over a pint and we talk about anything and everything. Even sometimes including Angelina Jordan. In fact, that’s how we first met.
Bart: Well, actually I saw Alan’s channel and was very impressed and we started corresponding by email. And then shortly after that, we set up, pretty much a weekly or even more often, a zoom meeting. I just love you Angelina. And I know you guys share that and I’m just so excited about her and what her future will be. What she’s already done will stand the test of time.
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Alan: So Bart, when did you first come across Angelina?
Bart: Well, actually Alan, I was looking at videos of one of my favorite songs, which is I Put a Spell on You.
Alan: Haha! In at the deep end!
Bart: Yes, yes! And, and I just love that song. And if I like something, I’ll see it done by all sorts of different artists. And I came across Angelina at 10, I believe. Oh no, she was younger, right?
Alan: Nine, She was nine.
Bart: Nine! Yeah, nine. And it was just an outstanding version. And what really impressed me about her right from the very first second was how masterful she was. You know, she was so confident. The level of her virtuosity and her understanding of music was evident right from the very outset. It was so outstanding and the energy she brought to it.
it was unprecedented and I was just totally blown away. I just couldn’t believe it. I actually watched it several times. I actually was crying. it struck me as incredible, a miracle really.
And then I heard Bohemian Rhapsody, which was on the America’s Got Talent. And I never liked that Bohemian Rhapsody when Queen did it. I mean, I just didn’t like it. I thought it was over the top. I didn’t understand the words. But when she saying the words, they had all this meaning. And suddenly I loved the song.
Alan: Let me steer you back to something that you said. Because when you heard, I Put a Spell on You, you cried.
Alan: Now two questions around that. One: why did you cry and, how were you feeling?
Bart: I was just in a state of wonderment and awe. I felt like, this is like something that was so unexplainable. Something so much a connection to me. It’s hard to put into words why I was crying. Because I was crying without even knowing it. And it hit me hard, because I had totally no expectation of it. It seems like every time… and every time after that, it’s like the first time. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s beyond words, as a lot of people have said.
Alan: You said something which really, really pricked up my ears. And it’s a wonderful thing. Crying without knowing. And I think that is so expressive and rich and unique, and it gets to like an emotional mystery. Crying without knowing it, it’s almost like a contradiction in terms. Because normally when people cry they have heightened emotion. But then, without knowing it means, but the emotions are amorphous and they cannot identify their emotions. It’s a contradiction of that phrase, which is so interesting.
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Bart: I’ve seen a lot of the reactors, and particularly the ones that kind of are professionals, like they’re professional voice coaches and, you know, instrumentalist or whatever, that you know, they start out with kind of presenting, “Oh, I’m going to, you know, explain to you something impart some knowledge to you, that is of universal application and this is one instance of it.”
And then they quickly depart from script, you know. Because, particularly when she was younger, it’s kind of like they’re as incredulous as anyone, you know. Because they’ve never seen it either. You know, they’ve never seen anyone with that level of virtuosity. Just that fundamental understanding of the music and the words. It’s just incredible. Yeah, and I think everybody who has seen her recognizes that, even if they’re not moved to the point that I moved, I think they recognize her virtuosity.
Pontus: Yeah, but some of them are greatly moved. I mean, there’s, one I watched today is like a really tough guy and, I think he’s a rapper. And they don’t cry. I mean, they don’t. But I could see him struggling and he had to pause and he had to laugh nervously to sort of hide the fact that he was on the verge of crying.
Alan: I think in the world of Angelina Jordan, tears are a badge of honor. When you have tears, it’s sort of like, then you understand her.
Pontus: Yeah, one of the rappers he even said, ”There’s no crying in this channel. My eyes are sweating, that’s the thing.”
Bart: Yeah, yeah. Just like Angelina can pretty much do any genre when you have a rapper talking about Angelina, I just love it. Because, you know, it’s just how universal her appeal is. And you know, how talented she is in all these different forms.
Alan and I are Shakespeare fans. And, if I had to think of an equivalent to Angelina, it would be Shakespeare. Because I think, like Shakespeare, you know, she draws on the past. You know, he borrowed liberally from his contemporaries and from just standard storylines, but he made it so much more profound. And I think that’s what she does with her music, because she has that understanding. And I think she was, you know, certainly born with tremendous gifts, but it’s how she’s been nurtured. How she relates with other people, and draws from that experience in a way that’s profound too. So it’s all of that. She’s the full package.
Alan: If we were Shakespearean scholars, which I’m certainly not and I don’t know if you are? But if we were, we would go through Shakespeare’s works and we would say, ”Actually he shows every single different type of human quality and human characteristic that there is in nature, throughout all of his plays.”
Maybe Angelina is doing the same. Maybe she is capturing a whole spectrum of human emotion throughout all of her songs. Maybe she has a stature of a Shakespeare, but just with song rather than literature.
Bart: I think that’s exactly where I’m at. You know, Shakespeare comes on one time in a millenia. And I think that’s the way Angelina is. Before she was even out of the womb, she probably was hearing all sorts of music. I just think that she’s so far ahead. It’s an extremely rare thing.
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Pontus: It’s interesting to sort of, dig a little deeper about this crying phenomena. Because, what is it that she can do with her singing, that is so profound that we actually feel that kind of connection?
Bart: I’m not a big crier. I’m kind of, not like the rapper – never cry. But, you know, I’m kind of, not always crying, either. You know, I’ve seen people that are pretty emotional. Guys more so than women, actually.
Alan: I once heard a priest say, ”What does a man do with his benevolence? What does he do with his goodness?” Just changing one word, ”What does a man do with his sensitivity?” Does he bury it and he leaves it underground? Does he have it deep inside of him, or is it on the surface and is it something he’s in touch with?
Unfortunately in our society, especially in the west, if you’re masculine, there is a degree of insensitivity that you have, and that’s really unfortunate.
Bart: Yeah, well, Jim Valvano, who was a coach at… You know, a college basketball coach, who died from cancer and gave this famous speech before he died. And he said, ”A well lived life, you at least cry once a day. You laugh once a day. And you exercise kindness once a day” And he’s this tough sports guy, the opposite kind of some of the prototype coaches that are so tough that they never acknowledged any kind of weakness.
And you know, here’s a guy who’s saying, if you’re not crying at least once a day, you’re not living life right.
Pontus: That’s beautiful. I think that one aspect of Angelina’s singing is her honesty. Because I think that is one of the factors that, sort of appeals to both fans of rap and fans of metal. Because both of those genres, they are very, very honest. There’s no fooling around with those type of…
Bart: You know, Pontus once again, totally! if I had to have a defining characteristic… I wrote truth. You know, in boxing, Alan and I were talking how this one boxer recently was saying, ”It’s right.” And he was talking about all his punches being right. And I’ve heard some boxers talk about the truth, you know, ”He’s the truth, he’s the real deal.”
And I think honesty is really the hallmark, and it’s the core of Angelina. But what allows her that honesty, I think, is she so well-versed. She could sing it exactly the same way as the original artist, if she chooses to. But what she does is she brings it to a different level of truth.
in other words, she takes the lyrics, and the notes, and all the pausing and she makes it her own in a way that is indescribable. I agree with you, but honesty to me or truth, that’s what she’s all about. Absolutely.
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Pontus: Bart, you said that you heard Bohemian Rhapsody, like you understood it for the first time when she performed it. And I’ve heard the same about the Michael Jackson cover of Billy Jean, yeah. People say they hear it for the first time and I’m one of those people. I mean, I hadn’t paid any attention to the lyrics in Billy Jean before I heard Angelina sing it. And that’s really sort of a powerful ability she has.
Bart: I think she doesn’t ever embellish through her personality. Angelina is always taking it seriously. What I told Alan long ago is, she’s a killer. She just kills these songs. I mean, in other words, it’s the truth. You know, that’s the way I feel about it. I don’t feel she’s ever reaching. She’s always just right on point. She’s doing exactly what she wants to do. She knows what she’s doing and she’s so young. And I have no concern about her being co-opted by anyone. She is her own person. She was probably born a lot that way, but certainly she’s been developed. I have absolutely no concerns about her. I know a lot of people comment, right? And you see, ”I just hope they don’t destroy her.” And I’m going: ”She’s indestructable.”
Pontus: Yeah, in that way she’s a little bit like Madonna.
Bart: Yes! Yes!
Pontus: Because she had her vision and nobody’s going to mess with that. She just went straight for it.
Bart: You got it! That’s who I was looking for. Madonna! Absolutely! You know, what Madonna was able to really create her own brand. And I think that’s what Angelina needs to do. And I think she’s in the right place, it looks like.
Alan: The difference between Madonna and Angelina is, Madonna had extremely good marketing, much better than her talent. Whereas Angelina has much better talent than she has Marketing.
Bart: She wanted to build her brand. And I think that’s what Madonna’s main goal was. The actual artistry was secondary. And I think with Angelina it’s the reverse. Absolutely, yeah. I think it diminishes Angelina markedly to compare it to Madonna in that way, because Madonna was mostly hype. She had a nice voice, but it was mostly, you know, the whole image thing.
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Alan: Some very highly evolved Yogis who’ve been meditating for 30 or 50 years, they can be in the normal everyday world, but whenever they wish they can slip back into a deep meditative world, as they’re talking in a normal conversation. So they have access at all times to both worlds. They have the best of both worlds literally. And in a way, Angelina is the same because she can go deeply into her amazing world, in and out almost as if she goes from speaking Norwegian to speaking English. It’s a certain type of inter fluency between them.
Pontus: There’s a video where she’s singing My Way, which starts with her just giggling and laughing at something. We don’t know what, but something is funny and she is giggling and laughing and all of a sudden the music starts and she just snaps into it like that. She’s so calm as a person. She’s so secure in herself and in her abilities to find that world and do her thing, that she can do it like that.
Bart: It’s because she loves it so much. You’re able to concentrate like that partly because I think she’s evolved, you know, she’s a highly evolved person, her brain is. But you know, I think it comes with what did she does habitually. How she lives her life. But I also think it’s because she absolutely loves what she does. And so when you’re doing what you love to do, I know, people with Tourette’s they have a hard time controlling their mind and their bodies usually. They move much faster. They think much faster, and it’s hard for them to slow down. And people with Tourette’s when they’re doing what they really like to do, they slow down. And I think, you know, with Angelina, I think she’s generally a very calm person, very together. But I think when she’s singing, it just takes it to another level. You know, she’s just totally in her element, totally. And I think it’s because she loves it.
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Alan: One of the most amazing things is, why you and I, and many, many other people will cry on the 5th time and the 10th time and the 20th time. Because we don’t get numb to it. And to me, that’s one of the things which struck me early on as really, really phenomenal.
Bart: Yeah, I think it’s partly, I’m surprised every time. It’s kind of like, positively surprised. Particularly if I haven’t heard it for a while. You know, like if I hear five in a row, well, probably it’s not the same, although sometimes I can cry five times in a row. I think there’s an element of shock almost. You know, that it’s so good.
Alan: 90 – 95% of singers are totally, totally focused and dependent on their voice and how the voice carries and the timbre of the voice, et cetera, et cetera. That’s true with Angelina, but that is secondary to something else. And I’m not sure what that something else is. Whether it’s the emotional content or she softens her voice. And when she softens it, it is more expressive. Because most singers, they belt out a song, they show the power of their voice and they show the intensity, but she realizes that less is more. And by softening it, she reaches the soft places in us.
Pontus: Yeah, I mean, that’s very apparent in her cover of Billy Jean, where there are certain parts, certain words that she has chosen. And I would love to get an insight in her, sort of process. Which phrases and which words, how does she sort of the select them? ”This is the word I want to pronounce this way.” I mean, there’s for instance, the word ”Advice”, which she very, very strongly emphasizes with how she sings it. And also she is like whispering even some words. So she has some kind of idea how to portray the story really because she such a good storyteller. So she works that into how she sings the words really, I think.
Alan: She’s a jazz singer. If you ask a jazz musician, why did you choose this note rather than that, they would just smile at you. Because the nature of jazz is the fluid interpretation without really thinking. It’s just like, when you’re fluent in a language, you don’t actually need to choose the word. It just comes naturally. And that is also the nature of jazz. And that is very much her relationship with music. I think a lot of her decisions are even deeper than intuitive.
Pontus: Yeah. that may be one of the sort of explanations, why we feel so much. Why we cry so much. Because like you said, it’s deeper than intuition.
Bart: Yeah guys, I agree with you a hundred percent. She has an understanding of each note and shaping of each note. I mean, it’s like words can be broken down into syllables. And I think she breaks down a note into like five parts. But I’ll say it’s beyond intuition. Because you can’t do what she did on Norway’s Got Talent at the age that she was at. I remember her singing Bang, Bang, and the way she did it. That’s the first one that I really, really appreciated. Cause I knew the song so well and she did it her own way. I mean the, the choices she made… And maybe Alan you’re right, that it was all spontaneous. But I think that it’s such a deep understanding of the whole thing. Just the pausing that she made. It was brilliant! That’s what I think. And you’re right, it’s beyond intuition. I don’t know what it is either, but that’s, that’s the distinction. I think any true artists for me, to get me to cry, there’s gotta be more to it than just… It’s gotta be more than just…
Alan: …than just tears. It’s more than just tears!
Bart: Yes! Yeah, there’s something else going on there. It’s beyond the words, it’s beyond… It’s an experience that’s indefinable, really.
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