John Mellencamp Likes His Voice Now Because Of Smoking
via John Mellencamp / Youtube
Unlike other singers who quit smoking due to the effects it gives to their voices, John Mellencamp, on the other hand, like it.
Mellencamp sets his song “Gone So Soon” from the upcoming album Strictly a One-Eyed Jack as the best example of how smoking cigarettes have changed his natural voice over the years.
He tells Forbes:
“When we were making this record, it was like, ‘John, your voice has changed so much since you started.’ And I said, ‘Well, the cigarettes are starting to pay off.’ And I was happy when I heard me sing ‘Gone So Soon,’ that I sounded like Louis Armstrong.”
“it wasn’t anything I tried to do. It’s just that cigarettes take their fucking toll on your vocal cords. You can tell by just talking to me that my voice is raspy, and that’s all from smoking. Nothing that I wanted to do. It never dawned on me that it would happen, but I’m happy that I sound that way.”
Reflecting on his career, Mellencamp said:
“How do you get good at something? You just keep doing it. And most people quit too early, that’s what I’ve found. Courage is knowing you’re beat before you even start, but you start anyway, and you see it to the end, no matter what the result. And, that’s what we did on this record. That’s just the way it worked out. I learned 10, 15 years ago, you can’t control art. True art is when you let the art go where it wants to go.”
Mellencamp believes that Strictly a One-Eyed Jack was “not an easy record,” but the pay off was that it felt “honest and authentic.” Then he admits:
“I’m not for everyone anymore.”
He shared he recently ran into a stranger who said,
“You know, music is just not the same. And there’s not any good songwriters anymore.’”
When Mellencamp asked if the man had heard his last album, or Bruce Springsteen’s, Bob Dylan’s or Woodie Guthrie’s, the answer was “no.”
Mellencamp told him:
“Maybe there’s still music out there. You’re just not listening. You grew up. Too bad for you.”