Bobby McFerrin Inspired By His Father’s 1955 Recording On New Album Of Spirituals
July 29, 2013 - Supple-voiced, body-tapping, usually acappella singer Bobby McFerrin has a band with him today to play the music of his new album Spirityouall. The creator of the ubiquitous 1988 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was inspired to make the album by his father Robert McFerrin’s similar album of spirituals called Deep River.
Known for his distinct singing styles and vocal techniques, vocalist and conductor Bobby McFerrin literally creates all sounds for his music. He often goes back and forth between high falsetto and low modal registers, which he accompanies with both percussive effects and even multiphonic singing. McFerrin employed many of these tactics in his song "Don't Worry, Be Happy," which became a #1 U.S. pop hit in 1988 and won both Song of the Year and Record of the Year honors. A ten-time Grammy Award winner, largely for his jazz vocal performances and vocal arrangements, McFerrin has toured all over the U.S. and Canada as a guest conductor for symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many more.
His new album, "spirityouall" pays tribute to his Dad, opera singer Robert McFerrin Sr., the first African American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera Company. Bobby McFerrin has released 21 albums in his career, his most recent being spirityouall (a twist on "spiritual"), arrives May 14 on Sony Masterworks with seven classic spirituals, five originals and a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released."
Here's a great quote from USA Today, which sums up the essence of McFerrin: "I think we listen to music because we want to transcend the moment somehow. I know for myself it's true: I want to go to a performance and be changed. I want something to be different. Music is not solely for our entertainment. I think it's a divine instrument for healing in the body, mind, soul, spirit. I sincerely, truly believe that."
"Music has such tremendous power. To me, that's our job as artists. That's the job description. You must bring joy. Not happiness, not a groove, whatever. You must bring joy. I think that's the assignment. I think that's it. I have no doubt about it." ~ Bobby McFerrin (USA Today)