To the Artists We Love: Please Don’t Use Auto-Tune On Your Next Album

FTT.jpgNow that our beloved Mary J. Blige has dropped "The One" which is Auto-Tuned within an inch of its life, we can't help but fear for the rest of our faves. Many of them, we can't imagine selling their souls to the devil to satisfy a ubiquitous trend. But anything is possible these days. And, yes, we're aware that pitch correction has always been a part of music production and will continue to be. We just don't want the following artists "T-Paining it", as it were.

  • Faith Evans. I can't imagine Faith doing this at this stage in her career, but I'm cautious.
  • Toni Braxton. Wouldn't put it past her.
  • Mariah Carey. As was clarified to me earlier, it was T-Pain that used it on "Migraine," not her.
  • Whitney Houston. But you know she will. Didn't she have some horrible song with Akon? Wasn't he, like, born with Auto-Tune?
  • Amy Winehouse. Who knows with this girl?
  • Janet Jackson. There was a bit of it on her last album, mostly in "Feedback," but now it's time to move on.
  • Tamia. I will raise seven different Hells if Tamia does this.
  • Darien Brockington. I'm not necessarily worried about him (he's surrounded by enough people that won't allow him to do it), but as a pre-emptive strike--please don't, D-Brock.
  • Teedra Moses. Same deal as with Tamia, I will raise Hell(s).
  • Alicia Keys. I can see some dumb rapper talking her into this.
  • Usher. I won't front, I still dig Usher a lot. I grew up on him, and his talent far exceeds that of the company he keeps. Stay out of the kiddie pool, Ursh. Don't use auto-tune.
  • Babyface, anyone associated with Babyface or with the last name Edmonds. I am so serious.

Who would you add to this list? Is there anyone you would remove? Let us know in the comments!

(P.S. I also petition the aforementioned R&B artists not to use the words "swagger" or "hater" in their music. It's corny and played out.)


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24 Responses

  1. You know what's worse than an artist using Auto-Tune? Someone who talks about how much they hate Auto-Tune to anyone who'll listen.

  2. I swear 'fo God I better not ever hear the following people use Auto-Tune, or I may have to put a contract hit out on them:
    Jill Scott
    Angie Stone
    Rahsaan Patterson

  3. Erykah Badu and Amel Larrieux. If they do, I will just pull up a chair to the welcome table...

  4. If Erro uses it or (wait for it. . . . . . .) MAXWELL - Armageddon has officially begun.

  5. Avatar

    Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, Lupe Fiasco..everyone else on my list is mentioned or already sold their souls to the auto-tune devil..LOL @ Tamia..I truly can't see her going there though ::crossing fingers::

  6. First, let me say that I love Auto-Tune and I absolutely respect and admire T-Pain. I've witnessed him in the studio and he is REAL. He can also spit when he's in the mood so he'll be straight. Other than that, most everyone else needs to stop, put the controller (a/k/a "the mic") down and push reset... GAME OVER! Additionally, I bet' not catch the following artists fall to the peer pressure:
    Stevie Wonder - Now don't y'all start gasping like it won't happen because Stevie absolutely digs technology from way back in the day (See The Cosby Show episode when he and Theo was... "Jammin On The One.... J-J-Jammin on the One" in the studio). I can see Stevie saying, "I paid my dues, screw y'all!" ...and I will burn my records if this happens (j/k)
    EnVogue - I know y'all haven't had a hit record in awhile but if I hear a remix to "Never Gonna Get It" featuring Auto-Tune, or featuring a rapper using Auto-Tune, I'm GONNA GET... YOU! Make it stop by not starting.
    C'mon... say it with me... MICHAEL JACKSON - The King of Pop had to, at least, ponder dabbling in Antares' Auto-Tune given the trend and current of state pop music. Although I think he could get away with it.... wait... nope!
    That's all for now.

  7. I love how T-Pain is always cited by his fans as having a great voice and could "sing without Auto-Tune if he really wanted to."
    I'm still waiting for this feat of wonder to occur in a more public forum so that I can witness it. Until then, he'll just be the heir apparent to Flava Flav's wardrobe of court jester wear.

  8. I agree with you about Tamia, Amy, Faith...
    Also, if Jill Scott, Maxwell, or Amel Larrieux use auto-tune, I will just avoid music altogther & climb into a hole somewhere. *cringes at the thought*

  9. Avatar

    LOL @ ill mami

  10. @illmami
    To clarify, I meant T-Pain can spit - as in RAP. I didn't mean he had a "voice" as in the ability to sing. His choice to produce mainstream songs and poor fashion choices is his business but I respected the day I saw him work in the studio (even though I don't play his records). I guess that wouldn't make me die-hard now fan, would it?
    Anyway, I was only trying to make a point in that vocal effects can be cool, if used in a creative way (see Roger Troutman and yes... T-Pain). On the other hand, it's over-use is annoying and I agree with most people who would like to see artists fall back from using it.
    I think I can make clear which types of artists I support if you check my previous mixes on my IMEEM page (below). Yeah... I'm a T-Pain fan... LOL & SMH!

  11. @muse
    have you seen the Stevie Wonder "Live At Last" DVD? he does "People Make the World Go 'Round" using an auto-tune like sound. it's the only one i skip past...

  12. @Muse
    I feel you. We all have closeted and not-so-closeted fascinations with things that we damn well know are laughable. I have quite a few myself 😉
    I do agree with you on the MJac use of Auto-Tune will likely occur if he ever gets his mind right enough to actually record something new.
    I would not be opposed to the reemergence of the Talk Box à la Roger Troutman. This Auto-Tune mess is like listening to music in a hall of smoke & mirrors.

  13. Prince is nuts, but I hope he's not that nuts.

  14. If Raphael Saadiq used auto-tune, I would go off.

  15. I just wish people would use Auto-Tune for what it was designed: minimal pitch correction. Who would've thought something Cher tripped over by accident over 10 years ago would become a staple in hip-hop/R&B?! To me, when I hear guys "T-Paining it," It's a red flag on their true vocal ability. Do better & bring back artistry.

  16. @fatblkboy
    Stevie was using a talk box 35+ years ago.

  17. ha @miss concrete jungle
    I heard some new, low-quality recording of a Lupe track a week ago...there was a definite dabble with the auto-tune. It broke my heart. =(
    *Bubble burst*

  18. you've already mentioned most of mine... except Erykah Badu, Dwele, Ne-Yo I think has avoided it thus far (Thank GOD), Musiq Soulchild (I can forgive him for "Radio" but not for Auto-Tune.)
    Has Ryan Leslie used auto-tune yet? I don't have any tracks of his that make extensive use of it, though there's a clip of him in the studio with Fabulous playing with a talkbox, and it actually sounded pretty tight. he didn't use it in the song, though.
    And random question: What happened to Deborah Cox???

  19. Avatar

    To late for Mr. Stevland sadly, as he used it on his most recent song dedicated to the Obama's "All about the Love Again", You tube it up and have a listen, its actually not half bad. Although I can’t wait until his gospel tinged album coming sooner than later.
    Mr. McKnight’s nearly done with his new album, and even though he used it in the past on his album Back At One on the song “You Could Be The One”, I'm hoping he's done with it.
    But judging from his Kids ->( ) use of it on their music (which should probably be featured on this site if it has not already, as they sound like little Brian clones but actually can sing their little faces off), I’m not very optimistic.
    Let’s see… Let’s hope Robin Gaye Thicke does not get “tune” happy on his new album. From what I’ve read most of it is being produced by “others”, so I’m not that optimistic.
    And.. Hmmm Glen Lewis, I’m still holding out hope for a new opus of Stevie Clonage, but I hope he does not get with the “tune” either.

  20. Speaking of Edmonds, doesn't Kevon Edmonds have a cd coming out soon? Can someone let me know if this is true and when? I love Tamia, Toni, and Teedra! And I'm with u, if any of these 3 were to use autotune I'll raise all kinds of hell!!

  21. Oh, and I hear Jill Scott is starting to write. If she uses autotune I will most definitely without a doubt raise hell!!!!!!! She better not dare!

  22. Jill Scott
    Erykah Badu - is crazily hilarious I think she could make a Hilarious song about Auto_tune...
    Dwele - i'd jump in a hole
    Ginuwine ...???? Has he resorted to this matter yet????

  23. @ angie o
    ryan leslie already did it. the song is called gibberish and it's quite alright.

  24. Producer weighing in here.
    The term "Auto-Tune" has become the focus, just like when you need a tissue you say "I need a Kleenex". It's so ubiquitous, but lest we forget, there are plenty of other pitch-correction devices that people use.
    I personally prefer Celemony's Melodyne software.
    But that's neither here nor there. I wanted to just share my two cents on the issue.
    First off, Jill Scott has already (technically) used Auto-Tune: listen to the end of "Golden". It's pitch-quantized and it's awesome, although I don't think that's Jill singing that part.
    Cher's producers painstakingly edited her vocal tracks and ran them through a Digitech Talker for the effect on "Believe". It's different.
    Do I hate this current trend of "Auto-Tune" on everything? YES I DO!
    Do I use software to correct singers' pitch? Yes I do. If you take your time, and the singer was 90% there already, it can sound natural enough that only a producer with attuned ears could notice it.
    It's funny to me that this thing is as big in the industry as it is today...I stopped using blatant "Auto-Tune" pitch-quantized vocals years ago because I thought it was played out. Now look at it. Beating that dead horse into the ground.
    Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge proponent of the Talkbox, a la Roger Troutman. It's a physical instrument, requires TONS of skill to use well, and it gets a bad rap today, and very little legit recognition. I point the blame squarely at T-Pain.
    Keep it real, people...that's all I'm a say about that.


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