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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Authenticity or Art: Must singers use their own accent?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

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Authenticity or Art title

Recently on Twitter, I opened up a debate about accents in music and whether people found singers using an accent other than their own, to be a help or hindrance to the enjoyment and engagement of their music.

For me, I see this debate as having two offshoots depending on your take on 1) authenticity (see Theodor Adorno or Martin Heidegger) and 2) art. Is a singer, singing in an accent other than their own, inauthentic or is the accent they use merely an extension of creativity and art? Deep, yes.

Since my late teens, I have always felt frustrated at English bands choosing to use American accents or dialect in their music. I always felt that while the band members may be heavily influenced by American bands (American music could be the only music they listen to), they should still use their own accent. Take influence from; not mimicry. Something regularly seen in the emo or alternative rock scene in particular.


  • Are accents important to the enjoyment of songs?
  • Must they use their own accent for the listener to fully accept them as authentic art?
  • Does authenticity matter?
Before I share what others said, I would love your comments below on the above questions and the overall discussion. Please leave a comment below, share on social media with friends and peers so we can further explore this idea.


As expected, most of those who got in touch opposed 'fake' accents, stating that it detracted from a band's identity...

Danny expressed how British alternative bands often use overly American accents despite its inauthenticity, something that is all too common in the UK music scene.

Emmy put a positive spin on the use of natural accents stating how Twin Atlantic's use of their strong Scottish accent added to their music; a layer of authenticity and perhaps individuality.

But Phoebe raised some interesting points that justify the alternative view.

Authenticity is always an interesting topic to discuss. It is plain to see that certain genres are more guilty of using artificial accents than others, but equally, the genre fanbase is more open to accepting them.

There is a fine line between influence and mimicry. Musicians can be heavily influenced by a particular band, or particular sound but take influence from it whilst adding in the authenticity of their own surroundings and accent. But who am I (or anyone for that matter) to question another's creativity or art? It is not the creation of the art but the acceptance and enjoyment of the art where authenticity has its impact.

Now it's your turn to add your opinion.

Comment below or tweet me @sunnynorwich to keep the conversation going.

Until next time...

Authenticity or Art: Must singers use their own accent? - Sunny Stuart Winter


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