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This week's feature

Pop Divas Reign in La La Land

Let’s face it, “Divas” get a bad rap. Some strut the prima donna persona. Think “big ego, high maintenance, drama queen.” But the word used to simply mean: an opera singer of stupendous talent and vocal prowess. Mag90, Pop Divas Reign in La La Land, takes the word at face value, to designate a gifted singer with a divine voice. Mariah Carey, with her phenomenal range and crystal clarity is the diva gold standard.

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But move over Mariah. On 6 March, the Orange Group’s Foundation, with its 25th annual Night of the Voice concert, is showcasing once again that beautiful instrument: the vocal cord. We’re celebrating this festival of the human voice, broadcast from the foundation’s website, with:

  1. Céline Dion inspires artists the world over
  2. The 7 Steps Of Diva-Dom
  3. The creators of project D.I.V.A
  4. Can sopranos really shatter glass?
  5. The Super Bowl, the pop diva’s right-of-passage
  6. The diva of the African version of The Voice
  7. TOP 5 pop divas who can rap with the best
  8. CARMEN is changing the tune of acoustics technology
  9. A star is reborn with Lady Gaga
  10. Project DIVA introduces the very first digital diva
  11. The original diva steps down
  12. Eric Serra shares the secrets of The Fifth Element

Fasten your seatbelts, destination pop culture!

As the diva herself, Mariah Carey, said so memorably:

Butterflies are always following me, everywhere I go.

Céline Dion inspires artists the world over

Music - March 01, 2017

At the age of 12, Céline Dion’s career was already the stuff of dreams (Eurovision, Titanic, Las Vegas…). Her extraordinary voice was heard around the planet.

What makes her so special? She can sing anything – from folk (“Terre”), to pop (“Loved me Back to Life”), to rap (“Treat her Like a Lady”). Her range defies belief! With ease and brio, the Canadian diva can sing any genre – you name it.;)

Céline Dion – “Terre”

Her silky vibrato has inspired legions of legendary artists, young and old. Think Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani, to name just two of them. These two pop divas admire Céline’s phenomenal energy on stage and that satiny voice. Mika does Céline’s vocal exercises while on tour to keep his voice pitch-perfect! After all, if they can keep a voice like Céline’s purring, then hey, why not?;) But Beyoncé sums it up best: “I want to become a legend, like Céline Dion” – pretty high praise, coming from the Queen B herself!

And it isn’t only singers who are under her spell. Quebecker film director Xavier Dolan is a great example: he attends her concerts and includes her songs in his movies. Her “On ne change pas,” for example, anchors the soundtrack of his hit film Mommy. Yes, indeed, Céline Dion is way more than a magical voice, she’s a living legend!

Mommy – “On ne change pas” (complete scene)

 

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The 7 Steps Of Diva-Dom

The infographic - March 01, 2017

Divas are larger-than-life and live for the bright lights and big stage. The figures speak for themselves.

infographic-singer-divas-voice-performance-pop-culture

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Infographic: All I want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey (1994)

 

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3 questions to Flore Philis and Marie Menand, creators of project D.I.V.A

The 3 questions - March 01, 2017

Headlining the concert event Night of the Voice 2017, D.I.V.A is one of those rare and exceptional ensembles. We talked singing and song with its founders.

Orange Pop: Why did you choose the title DIVA?

Flore Philip & Marie Menand: For us, the word DIVA evokes the mythic opera singer at her absolute best, with all her complexity, excesses, and extravagances. It conjures up the spirit we wanted front and center!? Our group is made up of 5 operatic singers, each embodying a specific facet of the diva persona. The acronym D.I.V.A. offers each singer the choice of one of the characteristics: Driven, Irresistible, Vivacious and Amorous!

O. Pop: What makes a singer a diva?

FP & MM: A diva, the way we see it, is an artist who’s somewhere between a woman and a goddess, a stellar performer who is as rich and complex as she is fragile and insecure. Their 3 hallmarks are breathtaking talent, charisma and mystery. One of the greatest of them all was Maria Callas, opera singer extraordinaire, whose glorious career inspired us throughout the project. We also believe the diva figure isn’t limited to opera: they abound in cinema, fashion, and musical comedy, too. She’s a timeless symbol of liberty.

O. Pop: When did you realize that your voice was “exceptional?”

FP & MM: We began singing young, at the Paris Conservatory and at the Maîtrise de Radio-France; (a national choral program for ages 7 to 18) and we never slowed down. Song was our means of self-expression, and thanks to some wonderful teachers we became aware of just how blessed we are to have such a voice. They encouraged us and pushed us to become the singers we are today.

diva-groupe-musique-interview-orange-nuit-de-voix

The 5 divine voices of the group D.I.V.A ©Louis Decamps

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Can sopranos really shatter glass?

The killer question - March 01, 2017

Tintin sure was surprised. His glass exploded as famous fictional opera singer Madame Castafiore hit a high note. But is it really possible?

Turns out, the answer is Yes. It’s a question of the frequency of the sound waves your voice generates. The principle is simple: every object has a natural resonant frequency, the speed at which it will vibrate if struck by the same frequency. When the human voice matches that frequency, it sets glass vibrating, sometimes enough to explode. It happens extremely rarely, but it’s not a question of power, just of hitting the right frequency. With a little practice, you too can shatter glass and impress friends.;)

voix-casser-verre-question

La la la laaaaaa ! © Tiago Padua/Flickr

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The Super Bowl, the pop diva’s right-of-passage

A picture says it all - March 01, 2017

Every winter, America gears up for its biggest event, the Super Bowl, an XXL sporting and cultural extravaganza. But the perennial record-breaking audiences are just as drawn to the lavish halftime shows as the game itself.

The question on every American’s lips is, “Who’s going to play at halftime this year?” Past divas who’ve performed include Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera, Céline Dion, and Beyoncé. This year Lady Gaga did the honors, delivering what many hail as the best SB performance of all time. It was something of a comeback for a singer many felt was in a slump.

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Pamela Baketana, the diva of the African version of The Voice

Who's who - March 01, 2017

Every country or region has its own franchise of The Voice, the Dutch reality singing show that’s branched out all over the world. The Voice launched an African version of the show in October, covering much of French-language Central and West Africa. It’s fair to say that on its very first show it launched the career of a spell-binding diva!

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pamela Baketana started out singing in choral groups in Kinshasa, where she was spotted by veteran star Lokua Kanza, who took her under his wing. At the green age of 21, she stole the show with a riveting version of Toni Braxton’s Unbreak My Heart. Newly crowned, Africa has a new diva!

 

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TOP 5 pop divas who can rap with the best

Gimme 5 - March 01, 2017

1. Mariah Carey and YG: Nothing’s out of range for the incomparable Mariah Carey. She just released a single with California act YG, one of rap’s biggest names. Mariah’s always ahead of the curve.

2. Christina Aguilera and P. Diddy: When Christina Aguilera crosses paths with rap patron P. Diddy, you know magic’s going to happen. It’s no surprise, then, that their collaboration “Tell Me” was such a musical tour de force, pumping up the beat around the world. Divas in training take note; this is how it’s done 😉

3. Toni Braxton and Loon: A woman of many talents, Toni Braxton’s more than a powerhouse. After wowing the world with “Unbreak My Heart”, the pop diva took a different musical turn, teaming up with Bad Boy Records protégé Loon. Combining forces, the two put out the mythic “Hit The Freeway”, the track you need for hitting the road.

4. Alicia Keys and Asap Rocky: Always in the thick of things, Alicia Keys recently released a cut with young New York rapper Asap Rocky. It’s a sparkling gem and it’s selling like hotcakes.

5. Erykah Badu and The Roots: Everyone dreams of teaming up with Erykah Badu, the divine diva of neo soul. In the end it was rap master Black Thought and his group The Roots who landed her, convincing her to do a duo that’s smooth as silk.

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CARMEN is changing the tune of acoustics technology

Stories - March 01, 2017

Acoustics hitting a bum note? CARMEN can fine tune the experience!

Put to work on making the most out of concert hall acoustics, it was the team at CSTB (the scientific and technical centre for buildings) who cracked the case, creating the game changing CARMEN (Active Control of Reverberation by Natural Effect). The technology is simpler than you might think, using electro acoustic active cells to amplify and manipulate the reverb and echo produced in concert halls. Placed in every nook and cranny available, CARMEN can turn up the beat or mellow things out 😉

The CARMEN family is only getting bigger, too. Applying the same technology, the team at CSTB have brought CARMENCITA to life, the younger sibling used to kit out smaller spaces. It’s certainly taking off; from the Quinconces theatre in Mans to Norwich’s Theatre Royal, the technology is being picked up left, right and centre.

Warble no more; with CARMEN every diva will sound her best 😉

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A star is reborn with Lady Gaga

Stories - March 02, 2017

There’s no denying the fact that pop diva Lady Gaga is on the up; after her internet breaking Super Bowl performance, the singer is in higher demand than ever before. Set to star in the modern remake of “A Star Is Born”, the warbler will recreate ‘70s diva Barbra Streisand’s iconic role next year, bringing all of the original songs back to life.

As if that wasn’t enough, Gaga is aiming to go one better. Bringing her singular style to the soundtrack, the diva is planning to sing each of the film’s songs live on camera, as the shooting takes place. With an inimitable performance like Streisand’s to follow, the stakes couldn’t be higher 😉

Things just get better; to keep in the spirit of things, Gaga has requested that her band follow in her footsteps, performing live as the film is created. Her reasoning? “I don’t want it to feel like I’m singing to a playback track because it doesn’t feel right to me”.

Can’t wait until 2018 to hear Gaga sing? You’re in luck! The diva has taken the top spot for this year’s Coachella festival, stepping in to fill Beyoncé’s boots.

We take our hats off to you, Gaga 😉

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Project DIVA introduces the very first digital diva

Stories - March 03, 2017

What if you were put in the diva driving seat? With Project DIVA, it’s up to you to take the gears. 🙂

Using the vocal talents of vocaloid Hatsune Miku, video game Project DIVA gives you an insight into the real work of a diva, gearing you around a multi-musical world. With Hatsune to guide you, you’re set a number of musical challenges, each one harder than the rest. Want to progress to the next round? You’ve got to get Hatsune to hit all the right notes first!

With a huge fan base already hooked on the dulcet tones of Hatsune Miku, the game creators have gone one further with their digital diva creation. Upping the ante on the original musical game, Project DIVA: Future Tone includes a bumper catalogue of new songs for the digital diva to get her vocal chords around. The more you play, the more points you gain for your stash 😉

A diva made for our times, Hatsune Miku is leading the diva pack, behind your screens!

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The original diva steps down

Stories - March 06, 2017

Even if you’ve never seen Bridget Jones’ Diary, you probably know the scene in which she quits her job in blazing fashion, putting her boss in his place with diva-esque style. And just how did Bridget muster up all that courage? Aretha Franklin might have helped.  😉

Playing R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in our heads is something we probably all do when we need a little extra kick; Bridget wasn’t alone on that front. The diva to end all divas, Aretha Franklin is empowerment embodied, building morale with the strength of her voice alone. There’s bad news in store for dedicated fans, though; in recent days, Aretha released the bombshell that this year will be her final in concert.

To mark the event in true diva fashion, the singer plans to release a final album full of original material, ending her epic career with a real bang. Better yet, the singer announced she is teaming up with Stevie Wonder on the record because, in the words of Aretha, “there’s only one Stevie, right?”

We couldn’t agree more!  😉

 

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Eric Serra shares the secrets of The Fifth Element

Stories - March 07, 2017

2017 marks the twentieth anniversary of Luc Besson’s seminal film “The Fifth Element” and years after its release, we’ve still got the “Diva Dance” on our minds.  😉

Still boggled over just how alien diva Plavalaguna managed to traverse her way around the musical work? Musician and composer Eric Serra has shed a little light on the song.

Talking on the seminal scene in an interview, Serra revealed that the impossible range of his diva was actually due to a little technological interference. Purposefully writing passages he knew would be unsingable, Serra turned to his trusty computer to bring the music to life, manipulating the voice of soprano Inva Mula.

It turned out, though, his tricky treatment of the music wasn’t as off the mark as he had hoped. While she was still in the early part of her career, Mula managed to pull off more than 80% of the impossible passages, leaving Serra with much less to do on the track than he had imagined.

Proof, if it was ever needed, that you should never underestimate a diva.  😉

http://dai.ly/x2evae3

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See you next week!

To be continued - March 01, 2017

Next Wednesday, we’re putting Africa’s rising stars in the spotlight!

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