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Singing

  • She sings like she's got a secret, and if you listen long enough, she'll tell it to you — and only you.

  • Nothing is more beautifully and acceptably self-assertive than good singing.

  • The man sang as only birds and Italians sing.

  • As oil will find its way into crevices where water cannot penetrate, so song will find its way where speech can no longer enter.

  • All the intelligence and talent in the world can't make a singer. The voice is a wild thing. It can't be bred in captivity.

  • I dream of songs. I dream they fall down through the centuries, from my distant ancestors, and come to me. I dream of lullabies and sea shanties and keening cries and rhythms and stories and backbeats.

  • Oh, I am all for singing. If I had had children I should have hounded them into choirs & choral societies, and if they weren't good enough for that, I would have sent them out, to sing in the streets.

  • Singing is like going to a party at someone else's house. Acting is like having the party at your house.

    • Cher,
    • in Entertainment Weekly ()
  • I sat on a broad stone / And sang to the birds. / The tune was God's making / But I made the words.

  • Everybody wants to know about my style and how it came about. It's no big secret. It's the way I feel.

  • The only thing better than singing is more singing.

  • I like to sing when I have works to do — it does so help.

    • Opal Whiteley,
    • 1920, in Benjamin Hoff, ed., The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow ()
  • The adage is true that if you miss one day's singing you notice it yourself; if you miss two your coach notices it; and if you miss three your public knows it.

  • I've lived my songs.

    • Tammy Wynette,
    • in Dodson Rader, "Don't Tell Me I Can't Do Something," Parade ()
  • Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.

  • ... she has not even a natural good voice to excuse her miserable performance; on the contrary, it is a croak, a squeak, and Nature has been as little her friend as Art has been her assistant.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1777, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 2 ()
  • [On Helen Reddy:] She ought to be arrested for loitering in front of an orchestra.

  • Happy trails to you, until we meet again / Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.

  • [At age 14:] I wish I could describe the beautiful singing of the students! If one could imagine such a thing as a wood with leaves of thin steel — small singing leaves on long vibrating stems — and that there came, now a soft breeze, now a powerful storm, which set all the tiny leaves into motion, I wonder if it would be like the students' singing.

  • You are the vibrating instrument ...

    • Nancy Cox,
    • "Singing Alone," in Emilie Buchwald and Ruth Roston, eds., Mixed Voices ()
  • Singing is best, it gives right joy to speech.

  • [Advice to Bessie Smith:] Let your soul do the singin'.

    • Ma Rainey,
    • in Studs Terkel, Giants of Jazz ()
  • Only when I was singing did I feel loved.

    • Maria Callas,
    • in Arianna Stassinopoulos, Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend ()
  • To sing is an expression of your being, a being which is becoming.

    • Maria Callas,
    • in Arianna Stassinopoulos, Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend ()
  • Sugar! My voice is strong, smooth, and sweet. I will make you feel like dancing. Close your eyes and listen. My voice feels like feet skipping on cool wet sand, like running under a waterfall, like rolling down a hill. My voice climbs and rocks and dips and flips with the sounds of congas beating and trumpets blaring. Boom boom boom! Beat the congas. Clap clap clap! Go the hands. Shake shake shake! Go the hips. I am the Queen of Salsa and I invite you to come dance with me.

  • I do not know who sings my songs / Before they are sung by me.

    • Mary Austin,
    • "Whence," in Poetry, A Magazine of Verse ()
  • Not all songs are religious, but there is scarcely a task, light or grave, scarcely an event, great or small, but it has its fitting song.

  • Hymns, to Tobias, consisted of words alone. He could not follow the simplest tune, but like so many of the tone-deaf he loved to match his voice against the power of the organ.

  • ... the person who sings only the blues is like someone in a deep pit yelling for help ...

  • Blues are the songs of despair, but gospel songs are the songs of hope.

  • Her singing was mutiny on the high C's.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • Find your own voice & use it, / use your own voice & find it.

  • To sing is to love and to affirm, to fly and soar, to coast into the hearts of the people who listen, to tell them that life is to live, that love is there, that nothing is a promise, but that beauty exists, and must be hunted for and found. That death is a luxury, better to be romanticized and sung about than dwelt upon in the face of life.

  • The stuff they wrote about me in Europe made me feel alive. Over here some damn body is always trying to embalm me. I'm always making a comeback, but nobody ever tells me where I've been.

  • I can't stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ain't music, it's close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.

  • I've been told nobody sings the word 'hunger' like I do.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • in Jeanne L. Noble, Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters ()
  • I can only sing songs my way. I don't know any other way.

  • ... there are three things I was born with in this world, and there are three things I will have until the day I die: hope, determination, and song.

  • I'm not a politician; I am a singer. Long ago, they said, 'That one, she sings politics.' I don't sing politics; I merely sing the truth.

  • My voice had a long, nonstop career. It deserves to be put to bed with quiet and dignity, not yanked out every once in a while to see if it can still do what it used to do. It can't.

  • Captive people have a need for song.

  • A song to me is a very tangible thing. I can feel it with my hands and see it with my eyes ...

  • For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open — into the light, out of the darkness.

    • Reba McEntire,
    • in Michael McCall, Dave Hoekstra, and Janet Williams, Country Music Stars: The Legends and the New Breed ()
  • [They say I] can hold a note as long as the Chase Manhattan Bank.

  • I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.

  • I have never given all of myself, even vocally, to anyone. I was taught to sing on your interest, not your capital.

  • The songs of the singer / Are tones that repeat / The cry of the heart / 'Till it ceases to beat.

  • It doesn't take long to sum up the major theses of most popular music: he loves me; he left me; I need him; I needed him, but now I need his best friend. Rather limited scope.

    • Holly Near,
    • in Elaine Hedges and Ingrid Wendt, In Her Own Image: Women Working in the Arts ()
  • Whenever new ideas emerge, songs soon follow, and before long the songs are leading.

    • Holly Near,
    • in Holly Near, with Derk Richardson, Fire in the Rain...Singer in the Storm ()
  • My voice is my instrument. ... It is not in the throat, from where it appears to come. It is in my feet and how they touch the floor, in my legs and how they lift and sink with the rhythm of the song. It is in my hips and belly and lower back ...

    • Holly Near,
    • in Holly Near, with Derk Richardson, Fire in the Rain...Singer in the Storm ()
  • I am the first instrument. I am the voice. I do not imitate other instruments. Other instruments imitate me.

  • For me, singing is a way of escaping. It's another world. I'm no longer on earth.

  • Someone once asked me why people sing. I answered that they sing for many of the same reasons the birds sing. They sing for a mate, to claim their territory, or simply to give voice to the delight of being alive in the midst of a beautiful day. Perhaps more than the birds do, humans hold a grudge. They sing to complain of how grievously they have been wronged, and how to avoid it in the future. They sing to help themselves execute a job of work. They sing so the subsequent generations won't forget what the current generation endured, or dreamed, or delighted in.

  • The essential elements of singing are voice, musicianship, and story. It is the rare artist who has all three in abundance.

  • Bing Crosby sings like all people think they sing in the shower.

    • Dinah Shore,
    • in Leslie Halliwell, ed., The Filmgoer's Book of Quotes ()
  • In unison we rise and stand / And wish that we were sitting. / We listen to the music start, / And wish that it were quitting. / We pass our hymnal to a guest / or fake a smoker's cough; / We drop our pencils, lose our gloves, / Or take our glasses off. / We move our lips to keep in style, / Emitting awkward bleats, / And when the last 'Amen' is sung, / Sink gladly in our seats. / O Lord, who hearest every prayer / And saves us from our foes, / Deliver now Thy little flock / From hymns nobody knows.

  • Nobody can teach you how to sing the blues, you have to feel the blues.

  • If I ever had an album where all the songs sounded the same, I think I'd kill myself.

    • Cyndi Lauper,
    • in Jon Pareles, "The Return of Cyndi Lauper," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • ... with all the thinking I go through, the place I draw from best is that unconscious place. I think about what I am saying, but when I sing I try my best not to think at all and just to feel — that's the best way. And when I'm singing, I feel like Mighty Mouse.

    • Cyndi Lauper,
    • in Jon Pareles, "The Return of Cyndi Lauper," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • When I'm singing I'm not thinking. I'm just closing my eyes and feeling, feeling good.

  • I'd rather not sing than sing quiet.

  • Singing is better than any dope.