Insomniac's Playlist

"The vocals I’m drawn to aren’t necessarily technically brilliant" – Ladytron’s Helen Marnie

Photo: Keir Laird

Helen Marnie, lead vocalist of synth-pop band Ladytron, shares a playlist of her all-time favourite female voices

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When I think about the music, in particular the voices, which have touched me in some way, I would say around 80% or more are woman. Perhaps it’s that I can just relate to the way a woman can use her voice, the way it gels with my brain, or maybe it’s that I feel how she feels. That I have, at some point, endured something she has, and that’s why the voice reaches out to me and triggers receptors and makes me emotionally involved. 

So, for this playlist, I wanted to share some of the female voices that have inspired me, from my youth through to what makes my ears tingle now. The vocals I’m drawn to aren’t necessarily technically brilliant. In fact, usually the opposite. All those power vocals make me yawn. It’s more the tone I’m interested in, or how technology is used to affect the voice. On Familiar, Agnes Obel takes her own voice down a register or two to create what sounds like a male voice dueting with her. The result is pretty awesome. Two of the artists I’ve chosen sing in both French and English, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Free Love. That is just a win-win in my book. Helen Marnie


Photo: Keir Laird
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