Howdy people of the internet, well since I’m not going to be reviewing anything from the cinema any time soon, I thought I’d review something i watched on Netflix instead and today I’ll be talking about 20 Feet from Stardom. Now this is a documentary I really wanted to watch because of three things: 1) The concept behind the film. 2) Mark Kermode’s recommendation. And 3) My auntie’s recommendation. So with all that in mind let me review this thing.
To put it simply, 20 Feet from Stardom basically tells the stories of backgrounds singers who have worked in the music industry and documents the highs and lows of being in that profession.
This documentary like the best films in the genre is detailed, informative and emotional. This film not only gives you the personal stories of singers who have been part of the business but it also gives an insight into the way music industry worked with aspects like how there were unwritten rules, dodgy dealings, leading artists who appreciated their background singers and those who didn’t and a hierarchy system for lead and background singers, and that’s just a fraction of the topics covered. What I really appreciated about this film was the emotional element, some of these singers had the joys of working with some of the best people in the music industry, but for some they peaked too early and then ended up having to change professions, continue trying for a solo career or stayed as a backing singer for the rest of their career.
As for the singers involved, most of them I didn’t know of but my mum would probably know because it was from her generation. I have a lot of respect for Darlene Love and Merry Clayton for continuing to make music considering that down periods they had to endure. Táta Vega is another person who is another great singer who I’m surprised didn’t get more publicity considering all of the stuff that she’s done, and Judith Hill s someone I didn’t recognize until I saw her with Michael Jackson in the This is It archive footage, she is such a talented musician and considering who she’s worked with and the voice she has, I was very surprised to know that she’s not become a bigger presence in the industry. But the main person who really captivated me was Lisa Fischer, my god what a voice. Ms. Fischer comes across as such a kind and beautiful soul who lives and breathes music and only does it because she truly enjoys it. Fischer is incredibly versatile and has had one hell of a career with the solo work she’s done and the other famous artists she’s worked with, I was surprised that I’d never heard of her beforehand and not heard her gorgeous voice before. I think I fell in love with her voice (if that’s possible).
One other thing to note, considering the state of the music industry these days with some horrible musicians and songs, it is nice to see some good music and singers at work. Whether it is just singers harmonizing in the studio, watching live performances on stage or archive footage, hearing the famous sounds of The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Ray Charles among others was just delightful and obviously the background singers also have their moments in the sun which is also awesome.
In conclusion 20 Feet from Stardom is a very good documentary that covers a side of the music industry that not many people are aware of and presents the lives of background singers in a detailed, thoughtful and entertaining way. I would highly recommend this as it is a very good watch just to see such talented and underappreciated people at work.
So have you seen 20 Feet from Stardom and if so what did you think of it? Please be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀