This year’s Fall Concert starts off on a different note
In 1991, Whitney Houston kept a star-spangled secret. She performed her own rendition of the national anthem at that year’s Super Bowl. Houston not only changed the version of the anthem to a 4/4 meter, she also lip-synched the performance, according to ABC News.
Since then, artists such as Ashlee Simpson, Britney Spears, and Milli Vanilli, have all given lip-synched performances. And now Sammy Adams has allegedly jumped on the lip-synching bandwagon.
On Nov. 18, Sammy Adams performed in the Mabel Brown Room during Keene State College’s Fall Concert. But this isn’t Adams’ first time performing at KSC, he performed during the 2011 Spring Weekend concert. However, his performance this year is causing controversy among the student body.
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According to Jennifer Ferrell, director of student involvement, the concert came to a total of $37,000—a $25,000 performance fee, $8,000 in production costs, an approximate $1,000 in Keene Police Department and Campus Safety fees, $2,500 for agency fees, and $500 for requests.
However, ticket sales brought in an income of approximately $8,500, bringing the actual cost of the fall concert to $28,500, according to Ferrell. She said that the Social Activities Council (S.A.C.) planned to spend somewhere around $30,000 on this year’s Fall Concert. But some students think that this concert performance was not worth the expensive price tag.
Michael Graham, who helped with the tech setup of the concert, said, “We’re paying a guy to come here, lip sync and smoke [marijuana]? I think we may want to think about the message we are saying.”
As Graham was striking one set, which is when all of the lights and speakers are taken down and the cables are unplugged, during the middle of Adams’ set, he said he was able to smell marijuana smoke in the green room in the Young Student Center.
“I go through the green room so I can sneak back on-stage. I’m walking down just from the stretch from the stairs to the curtains and I hit the curtains and go through them. And I’m just hit with the thickest smell of marijuana smoke,” Graham said.
Graham is just one of the many students who voiced their concern that Sammy Adams was lip-synching during his performance.“Visually you could tell he was lip-synching. There were a lot of times where he was supposedly singing, but he wasn’t singing. Also vocally every now and then when he would talk to the audience you would hear his voice and it would be different singing and that isn’t something that should happen,” Graham said.
Junior Bri Knapp, who attended the Sammy Adams concert, said, “It reflects back on him. Is he [Adams] not talented enough to show us his real voice?”
Graham explained that Adams might have allegedly been able to lip-sync during the Fall Concert performance by using something called a half-track.
“If anything it was a half-track with spaces so he could tailor the verses to the school that he is in and still be able to pull off not singing so his lyrical work would go from all of the songs,” he said.
These half-tracks are incomplete vocal tracks that allow the artist to tailor their music according to the venue they are performing at, Graham explained. Graham said that these tailored songs are instant crowd-pleasers. “Artists have songs like that in their back pocket in order to provoke a reaction out of the audience,” he said.
And a reaction is what Adams roused out of the crowd. Junior Shea Daly said, “You could hear when he would go in and out of a song. There was a change in sound,” Daly said.
Graham said he believes that this change in sound is a result of the half-tracks that were used during the performance. “Setting up strike was pretty simple—almost too simple.” Graham explained that the equipment that Sammy Adams had during the performance consisted of two turntables that were connected to a mixer; that mixer was then connected to a mixer and two digital input boxers, which are preamplifiers.
Graham explained that these half-tracks could be played using equipment called Serato Scratch Live. “It’s a really famous DJ software that has all your tracks where you can set up cues,” he said.
This equipment makes it easy to mix more than one track simultaneously, and feature certain controls such as cues and loops, which allow you to repeat certain sections and create new intros and outros in mixes, according to Serato’s website.
“This program allows you to do a lot more as far as deejaying goes,” Graham said. Freshman Kayla Daurizio said, “There’d be parts where the music was still playing and he would yell to the audience. However, Graham argues that the answer to whether or not Adams was lip-synching during his performance is dependent upon who you ask.
“If people like Sammy Adams I don’t know if they’re going to be as flat out willing to admit that he was lip-synching,” he said.
Junior Jenn Zinka said that you either pay for a great vocal performance or a great presence on-stage, and she said she believes that Adams created an energetic stage persona. But now, pop culture has proven that more and more artists are lip-synching during performances. Even the greats such as Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, and Kanye West have all been accused of allegedly lip-synching during their performances.
Yet, some question, whether or not a lip-synching artist is worth $28,500. Daly said it was a waste of her money.
Sam Norton can be contacted at