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Michael Jackson and the Expressive Power of Voice-produced Sound

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This article focuses on Michael Jackson's vocal style with a particular emphasis on his creative use of different voice colors or sounds. Mapping out some key features of his musicianship in terms of sound-making sets the stage for discussing the issues of subjectivity and agency in relation to Jackson's vocal signature seen as an aggregate of “different voices” displayed in dialogue with historically established types, roles, and styles in popular music. A concept of role-playing is employed to conceptualize Jackson's performativity with regard to 1) the contradictory generic coding in his music, 2) notions of authenticity in popular music, and 3) the sites of identity that bear upon his artistic persona (race, ethnicity, sex, gender).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012


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