Ben Ratner's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Kelly Clarkson.
Ben Ratner's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Kelly Clarkson.

Singing Science, with Kelly Clarkson

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Kelly Clarkson sing a duet. Credit: Ben Ratner.

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About This Episode

Warm up those vocal cords, we’re getting ready to hit the high note. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with international pop star Kelly Clarkson to discuss the science of the singing voice. In studio, Neil is joined by comic co-host Chuck Nice and vocologist Dr. Brian Gill, who helps us find the science in song. To start, Neil and Kelly talk about Kelly’s new album, Meaning of Life, and how it’s sonically unlike any of her previous albums. Dr. Gill helps us explore the anatomy of human vocal cords and rank musical genres based on the demands of performance. You’ll also learn why he considers Kelly a “thoroughbred vocalist.” Kelly shares how she brings emotions and feelings into her songs. Discover how tonality factors into performance and how to strike the balance between technique and feel. You’ll also hear a debate about autotune and whether it’s necessary, problematic, or somewhere in between. As a special treat, Neil performs his favorite lullaby, and Neil and Kelly perform two micro-duets. Lastly, Neil and Kelly bond over their shared love of The Great American Eclipse. All that, plus, you’ll find about the children’s books Kelly’s authored, and hear Neil, Brian, and Chuck play us out with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” (Warning: Adult Language)

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Singing Science, with Kelly Clarkson.

You can get Kelly’s album Meaning of Life here. And don’t forget to listen to Kelly’s new single, “I Don’t Think About You” right now on YouTube.

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