Otis Redding Influence

Superior Essays
Otis Redding is regarded as one of soul music’s great because of his show stopping performances and gritty voice. His influences include Sam Cooke and Little Richard, who are both distinct acts of their time (cite). Little Richard is widely known for his outrageous acts and Sam Cooke is easily one of the most recognizable voices of his time. The performances of Little Richard were controversial for his time and would have been even unusual by today’s standard. His performances included him wearing mascara, androgynous outfits, and exciting performances that were easily defining the pop genre (cite). Further, Redding would perform with Little Richard’s backing band and would gain valuable experience during this time to help him further his …show more content…
Redding did cover many of Cooke’s songs during the early part of his career and the difference between the two can be heard, but Redding is clearly restraining his voice during the recording. Redding had a commanding voice that demanded attention from his audience that was nothing like Cooke, who drew attention because of the soft nature of his voice. Redding was also able to mature as a soul singer because of the freedom his label granted him, while Cooke was forced to record pop records during the early part of his career (cite). His label Stax Record was giving him freedom not experience by other for his, or during any other period in his music, which allowed him to mature and develop as an artist. He would become one of the biggest, if not the biggest artist for Stax Records, and would easily sustain their business during his tenure with the label. Early on he would write some of his own hits, such as “These Arms of Mine” (cite). These early hits would prove that Redding was a capable artist and was the beginning of his stardom. Complementing the voice of Redding during his career was the musical abilities of Steve …show more content…
Soul music was just beginning to come onto its own, and popular artists during this time would become legends. It was also during the time of the Civil Rights movement, and the close collaborations of Redding and Cropper were breaking down barriers. Their music was defining a genre and establishing a respect that was not universal in the world at the time. People were looking for their voices, and often they would turn to music to be heard or identified. At the time, popular media was limited to the radio and the occasional television, and music was an important form of communication of the masses. Further, African Americans were stuck without a genre that contained their voice and were alienated from other genres, which was not present in soul music. Soul is heavily influenced by African American gospel music and culture. African American artists had a genre that was born from their culture, and the message behind the music was relatable for them. Additionally, African Americans were just barely beginning to reach national fandom, but still had many barriers ahead. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix were breaking down barriers by playing primary in genres predominantly dominated by white people. This era was part of the first wave of African Americans celebrities, and Redding was one of the many trailblazers.

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