Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is featured in the new book The Singers Talk, in which musician and writer Jason Thomas Gordon interviews different singers about their voices. In an excerpt from the book, which was posted by Rolling Stone, Yorke talks about his early vocal influences and how hearing Neil Young allowed him to come into his own as a singer.
“I always felt that my register was uncomfortably high or awkward, or that my voice was too soft,” Yorke shares. “When I was 18, I took a year and recorded music for most of it. Then I sent the tape off, and it won, like, ‘Demo of the Month’ in this free music magazine, and this review said, ‘Who is this guy? He sounds just like Neil Young!'”
“I went, ‘Who’s Neil Young?'”Yorke laughs. “I’d never even heard Neil Young, so I went out and bought After the Gold Rush and was like, ‘Wow! It’s OK to sound like that?’ Because he’s slightly higher than me, but there was a softness and a naiveté in the voice which I was always trying to hide. Then, it was like, ‘Oh, maybe I don’t need to hide it.'”
During the interview, Yorke also shares his favorite all-time singers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Scott Walker, Michael Stipe and Tom Waits, and picks his dream duet partner.
“John Lennon,” Yorke says. “It would sound awful though, awful, UGH. It wouldn’t mix well at all.”
The Singers Talk is out now. It also features interviews with Stipe, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson, Jane’s Addiction‘s Perry Farrell and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
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