Cris Cohen: Patty has a very distinct voice. What is the key to supporting her as a backing vocalist?
Dwight Baker of The Wind and The Wave: I got good at harmonies because someone had to do it and that person just became me. The key to harmonies is phrasing the same as the singer and hitting vowels sounds the same. If you're getting the vowel sounds and phrasing it the same, you can really disappear into a vocal, which is what I'm looking for on a harmony. So I have sung higher than I've ever sung in my life to support Patty often.
And you know, I'm a giant man. I'm six foot four. I'm a big boy. And for some reason I can sing higher than a girl sometimes. So it just kind of naturally works with us the way we sing together. Our timbres seem to work well together.
But I did have to learn to (match her pronunciation). Especially early on in her career, she is saying really weird vowels. And she does have a unique voice. So much so that, in the last seven years, I hear the newer bands (with female vocalists) and I'm like, “They were fans of Patty.”
She's the most self-deprecating, humble person in the world. She would be like, “No one would ever copy my style.”
But they do. People do.
Cris Cohen: How come you go higher when you harmonize? Because you can be lower than the lead and harmonize.
Dwight Baker: Yeah. Occasionally I do that. But the problem with our music is, where Patty likes to sit in the vocal, which is not -- except for a few songs -- very high for a girl. She's more in the mid-range for a girl and sometimes low. It just kind of bottoms out. It makes a song sound heavier than it needs to be. So it made sense to me to be above her more.
Cris Cohen: And her different pronunciations, is she conscious of that or is it just what comes out?
Dwight Baker: She wasn't (conscious of it) until I would say record three. She was like, “Have you listened to record one in a while, ‘From The Wreckage’? I said words really weird.”
I was like, “Yeah, you do. You did.”
And she's like, “I don't think I do that much anymore.”
And then I started to notice and no, she doesn't. It has changed. And if you really listen to Robert Plant at the beginning and listen to Robert Plant now, great singers who can sing anything -- which Patty is one of those singers -- they just evolve. They just change the way they're approaching stuff. You don't know if they get bored or their voice just matures or changes, but they change.