A Woman Singing (Music Thoughts: Guess Who I Saw Today, Kinga)

FolderKinga Hemming was born in Poland but spent her formative years in Toronto. I am listening to her album ‘Guess Who I Saw Today’ and can safely say she is a good singer – she has the vocal chops, she has a good sense of swing, and she can effectively essay a ballad. But, I am strangely unmoved by her record. Is it because I am jaded? Is it because I ask for too much? Then I did a personal excitement. I listened to my favorite version of ‘Guess Who I Saw Today,’ which is by Nancy Wilson. And then I listened to Hemming’s take. And then I realized the one thing that Hemming lacked: her own personality. In Wilson’s version, you not only felt the anguish of the woman singing, but you also felt the soul of the woman in the song, and for a minute or two, the singer wasn’t Nancy Wilson but the woman at the restaurant. Perhaps I am being unfair by comparing both of them. but Hemming could have brought something of herself to the song, but I felt she did not. Singers nowadays spend a lot of them trying to make their sound ‘pretty’ that they sometimes forget to put themselves into the song. I remember that American Idol episode when Harry Connick Jr was scolding the contestants singing these standards and he was telling them they need to understand the lyrics and feel them in order to interpret them. I thought to myself then, these kids have barely experienced life – how can they feel the emotions that evoke these songs? I don’t know where Kinga Hemming is with her life – she looks fairly young based on her album cover – but I feel a little more life experience and she can interpret these songs better.

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