You just want to indicate that curious thing that we call ‘experience’ that you hear in the voice of Fats Domino, that you hear in the voice of Aretha Franklin. It’s something in the voice itself. It indicates that the person has been through a life, that they have lived their life on the front line. And that’s the sound we like — I like — to hear in a singer, and it includes a lot more than irony. It includes optimism. It includes despair. It includes regret. It includes so many things that you forget about all of them, and you just know that you’re listening to a voice — a voice of experience.
From Leonard Cohen’s Voice Of Experience on Listen Now at NPR: April 09, 1988.
The Other Village by Leonard Cohen
From Death of a Lady’s Man
When it comes to lamentations,
I prefer Aretha Franklin
to, let’s say, Leonard Cohen,
Needless to add, he hears a different drum
In the photo, Aretha Franklin sings “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee'” at the U.S. Capitol during the 56th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009.