R&B / Boy soprano Jack Vidgen : Yes I am

 

jack-vidgenWhen you hear the vocals on this album, you will realize what a phenomenon a boy soprano like Jack Vidgen is.  This short-lived stage before and during puberty, when a boy’s voice has the capability to soar as high as a woman’s, was used in past days by clergy and musical theatre to replace women at a time when it was unheard of that they should sing in front of an audience.  For example, J.S. Bach was a boy soprano until the ripe old age of 16. In musical terms, the actual difference between a TREBLE singer (many of whom sing with choirs) and a BOY-SOPRANO is that, on a musical scale, trebles range from “A” below middle “C” to “F” above middle “C”.  On the other hand, sopranos can extend to a high “C” in the modal register.

But Jack Vidgen is no choirboy. One shouldn’t be deceived by his bright blond, peach fuzz cheeked appearance.  Jack is a full-blooded R+B artist who’s talent is no coincidence, but rather the result of his vocal training, mostly gained at the Sydney (Australia) Vocal Arts Centre. Even before his recent spectacular win at the Australia’s Got Talent contest, Sony Music had signed him. What we hear from Jack  is a rare, unique, rich tone which develops for a few short years before the larynx lowers (voice break) and other vocal ranges develop.

Track List & Review

In the title song, Yes I Am, with which Jack won the Australia’s Got Talent contest, he powerfully asserts: “I’m gonna make it alright. Yes I am!” His voice soars like an aerial acrobat doing stunts. The music builds up into new dimensions with a background chorus that pushes the singer ever higher into a gospel type peak. Whether or not Jack wrote all the lyrics becomes unimportant, because it’s a brilliant  piece worthy of the AGT first place prize!!

Jack Vidgen - Yes I Am coverAnd I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going is a song from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, about a singer in a girl group who refuses to leave her manager/ex-lover behind. Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for her film role in 2006, when this song became a Top 20 R+B single and a #1 dance hit.  Jack’s version of the song is vocal dynamite!  It’s uncanny to hear a boy sing with this range and power, with both a male energy and  a feminine precision.  Some complex passages at full capacity are astounding.

Adele‘s Set Fire to the Rain is a recent chart hit, which many singers have covered. What I found notable here was the vocal exactness, the careful styling.  Jack’s voice has a surprising masculine quality here. We hear a kind of rough pavement on the vowels, which gives this cover his personal touch.

The 1960 Motown song by Smoky Robinson Who’s Loving You? is next. Possibly the most famous version of this tune was by The Jackson 5, but it’s been sung by many well-known artists like The Miracles, The Supremes and The Temptations. This ex-lover’s lament challenges Jack with some very high notes and complex vocal flurries. There are bang-on soulful passages.

Because You Loved Me is a Celine Dione cover in which Jack demonstrates his ability to hold high tones at near perfection.  In fact, it seems like a few notes are up in the “whistle register” here, but I’m not an expert on that.  I do have a tiny problem with the mixing balance near the end, where the background instrumentals are a touch too strong.  Regardless, this is a fine, sensitive cover.

In 1966 Ike and Tina Turner had a hit single called River Deep, Mountain High — a song with a big swinging beat.  Jack throttles this out like a seasoned artist, confident of his abilities. The lyrics have been amended slightly, of course, to suit a male singer. There’s a big crescendo at the end and, again, I find Jack gets muffled a tad by the instrumentals.

Still another famous R+B hit follows with Aretha Franklin‘s 1968 hit Think.  This song is a kind of feminist anthem and Aretha lip-synced it in the 1980 film Blues Brothers. Again,  the lyrics have been changed in places to fit Jack.  He simply brilliantly roars through this song, making it sound like an uncanny anthem of boyish freedom.

Mariah Carey‘s Hero is maybe her best known hit, re-recorded after the 9/11 attack.  Jack does it extremely well, even though in my opinion it’s impossible to match the Mariah version.  Fine lilting vibrato facets are impressive here in the crystal clear lyrics!

Glitter in the Air is a more contemporary piece by Pink, which presents Jack with a less strenuous assignment. This song is in a more Pop-Rock style, but I would rather hear Jack’s voice dominate than the piano.

Whitney Houston‘s 1993 powerful ballad about commitment to one’s lover, entitled I Have Nothing,  is another excellent R+B cover. In this song, we hear the fullness of Jack’s voice.  There is a richness, a sweetness, but also a gutsy masculine boy sound.

A mixture of R+B, Hip Hop and Pop — that’s Jack Vidgen’s original song  Fly.  With an almost effortless, clear  and powerful voice,  Jack shows us why he’s chosen to be a stylish young R+B artist.  With his special voice, its a smashing original-my five star song on the album

In 1975, Minnie Riperton did a song called Loving You, in which she hit the “whistle register” at the end.  In his version, Jack does not duplicate that, but sings it with a charming clarity. It’s a fitting song to end the album.

Yes I Am is an impressive album which showcases Jack Vidgen’s extraordinary singing talent. It’s no wonder his rapid rise to popularity has followed.  I highly recommend the album.  My personal wish is for some softer ballads from Jack in the future.

We are proud to have been amongst the first media to play Jack Vidgens`s music at TheSkyKid.com Radio

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi ! I am a french people,I Love Jack Vidgen! I am sad because jack live in australia and i can’t see him.Jack is a realy realy good singer! I love his voice! We can’t bye his album in my country ! You can say: jack have a french fan!

    Sorry ,my english is bad:)

    • Hey je suis française aussi :D Heureuse de voir une autre fan française, c’est vraiment dommage qu’il soit peu connu en Europe…
      Que dire d’autre.. XD * Et non tu peux acheter ses albums (buy pas bye au passage ^^) sur iTunes (Yes I Am = 9,99€ ; Inspire = 9,99€ & Fiding You = 0,99€), ou juste écouter sur Youtube :)
      Voilà voilà

      Hey I’m French too: D Happy to see another French fan, it’s a shame it is little known in Europe …
      What else to say .. XD * And you can not buy his albums (buy not bye the way ^ ^) on iTunes (Yes I Am = € 9.99, € 9.99 = & Inspire You Fiding = € 0.99), or just listen on Youtube :)
      That this is

  2. Terrific album.   Have it here in the US, purchased from an aussie vendor.    The kid is terrific.    Some say Justin Beiber.    I say, Wayne Newton

  3. The guy got the goods but the album is made for a old audience and that will hurt him. RnB is not popular with 12 to 18 year old girls. He needs to get moving a little bit more with a pop oriented music and bring out 1 or 2 kick butt ballads per CD. He has two years at the most to be a self promoter or it will be the next AGT group that will make the media and he will be forgotten.

  4. I have never trough of the difference between a boy soprano and a treble…I guess due to the fact that I use the term treble music and/or performer more frequently that anything else when discussing music.  I first found about Jack from an article at Stars2Come.com – the same one that is linked to at the end of the review. Then I received few recordings for TheSkyKid.com radio – that was about a year ago, about the same time Tommy conducted an interview with Jack .

    Having the album now – I am noting the power in Jack`s voice – its overwhelming . My favorite song from the album is his cover of Hero – may be its because I love the song so much , or may be because his voice in it really touches me. Because You Loved Me is another favorite of mine …its the music of choice when I am home or at some place where I want to close my eyes and leave the music to carry me away…not easy to put in words – but I do agree with rj that the high tonality of Jack in the song are near perfection .

    I admit that I am not a fan of the R&B genre – which is why most of the songs I really like from the album are not belonging to that stile . Thankfully there is enough of them to justify the purchase of the album.

    Finally I am glad that the album was not an artificially delayed as I suspect is the case with the album of another singer`s whose album I am also expecting – Ronan Parke.

    Thank you RJ for the excellent review. I for one learned a great deal from it.

  5. I have been a fan of Jack for some time. He is amazing vocalist and a great person. It is not surprising that Jack made it on AGT, and now with a album. He has so much to offer as a artist….and I do wish him all the best, he does deserve it…

     

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