Definition ‘Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose andsing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies.As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the folk- acoustic tradition.’
HistoryThe sub genre of singer/songwriter can be traced back to ancient Bardicculture, which has existed all over the world. It started when poemswere performed as chant or song, sometimes accompanied by a harp orother similar instruments, this eventually developed into the singer-song writing traditions of folk culture.
Singer/Songwriter origins;This genre can be traced back to American blues and folk style singers in the mid-20thcentaury, these include;• Jimmie Rodgers• Robert Leroy Johnson• Blind Lemon JeffersonAnd many more from this time period.From the 1930s to 1950s many jazz and blues singer-songwriters emerged, these includedbig names such as;• Billie Holiday• Ray Charles• Nina SimoneThe first popular recognition of the singer-songwriter in Great Britain occurred in the1960s and early 1970s, this was when a number of blues, folk and country style singer-songwriters became popular. These singers included some of todays legends such as;• Bob Dylan• Johnny Cash• Jackie DeShannon Billie Holiday Johnny Cash Ray Charles Bob Dylan
Early years The singer songwriter genre was associated with folk music, this mad the sub genre increasingly more popular as folk groups started writingand singing there own songs. An example of these groups would be The Weavers.
Generic features of Singer/ Songwriters• The ability to write and produce memorable and likeable lyrics to a song, these writing skills along with other things are what makes a record enjoyable. There have been many iconic singer songwriters over the years including Bob Dylan and Garry Barlow.• Fantastic stage and performance ability, singer songwriters have the power to catch an audience’s eye even if they are not doing a dance performance, many singer songwriters will just simply sit or stand with a an instrument and a microphone. Ed Sheeran is a great example of this, he will often just sing with his guitar and microphone with no background performance.
Robert Leroy JohnsonJohnson was an American Blue singer and musician, his peek career was from1936-37 just a year before his death. Johnson is a huge icon and inspiration inthe singer songwriter genre and is seen as one of the originals within thegenre.Johnson was put in to the Rock and Roll hall of fame as an ‘early influence’ hewas also ranked 5th in Rolling Stones list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Key Artists. • Tom Jones • Kate Bush • Bonnie Tyler • Billy Joel • Brian May • Willie Nelson • Michael Jackson • Tina Turner • Etta James • Elton John
Key Current ArtistsThis genre is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that audiences aremore interested in an artist being original and not another Talent show winner.Audiences like an artist to write, compose and sing there own songs and many artistsnow do.These artists include; • Adele • Ed Sheeran • Gary Barlow • Ben Howard • Amy Winehouse • Katy Perry
Instruments Typical instruments of a singer songwriter would be Voice, Guitar and Piano. Mostartists will perform with these on stage, Elton John is a classic example of this as nearly all of his performances are simply him sitting at a piano performing to thousands of people.