I think for the next few days after reading what Clint Eastwood I’m going to have to wear the hat in the photo above around town. For those who may have missed Clint’s thoughts on one Beyoncé Knowles you can checkout the article from Shadow and Act right here. Also, special shout out to writer extraordinaire L. Michael Gipson for posting this article with accompanying epitaph on his FB wall ayer.

Basically, the gist of what Clint had to say was something in the neighborhood of Bey having the potential to become the next Sarah Vaughn or Ella Fitzgerald. Now, granted he did make this statement after also addressing the need to “introduce her to the fundamentals of jazz music.” Aye, there’s the rub don’t you think? While you’re at it why don’t we start with the biggest fundamental of all: singing in general. Now, I’m not suggesting that Beyoncé can’t sing, but if Mr. Eastwood wants her to be mentioned in the same breath as Sarah or Ella there are lots of issues that would need to be addressed in Ms. Knowles current vocal technique and overall musical acumen before one might consider uttering her name in the same breath without doing a spit-take.

Sarah and Ella were virtuosos at what they did, Beyoncé sings. There’s a difference. Beyoncé is popular and makes a lot of money for her record company and for most of the studios who have put out films that she has “starred” in (help me Nia Long, did I just say that?). So I get where Clint Eastwood is coming from in the sense that he is talking that bullish Hollyweird talk where popularity and visibility trumps actual talent seven days of the week.

I would love for Clint Eastwood to prove me wrong, I really would. But for Beyoncé to even come close to what Mr. Eastwood is suggesting she would have to almost forget everything she knows and start from scratch with a healthy diet of what Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald took in for their musical diet. Oh it can be done and there are fantastic singers out there who approach the Sarah and Ella level of virtuosity everyday you just don’t hear that much about them, but they do exist. I just think it’s a little disingenuous to suggest that Beyoncé is anywhere near approaching that level of musicianship as it currently stands. As I stated before she is popular, she sells a lot of records, there’s a difference. Money makes people say some really interesting things and I would expect a lot more from Clint Eastwood: the dude who got mad respect from me when he made a film about Bird when I was in high school and just starting to get into the music. I realize he’s trying to remake “A Star Is Born” and we all have a little P.T. Barnum in us, but you have to backup the hype.

I’ll leave you with two things: one is a performance of Ella Fitzgerald on “Take The A Train” and the other is a skit from SNL this past weekend that shows where we’ve been heading as a society for a while now. The SNL video relates to this post in the sense that I think Clint Eastwood and others make ridiculous statements like “Beyoncé could be the next Sarah or Ella” because we’ve arrived at a place where everyone thinks they can win at everything and sometimes you just need to tell people that this is not the game for you to play because you don’t have the right equipment and you can get hurt.

Check out this performance from Ella and at the 1:25 mark Ella begins a run that well, you’ve got to have the goods and the ears to pull off. I would love to hear Beyoncé sing this entire performance note for note, that’s how you learn this music and then you form your own style…

This right here… man, we need to stop lying to kids and adults too. You cannot do anything that you want to do. Yeah I said it. You should do those things that there is clear cut evidence that with a whole lot of practice, determination and sometimes luck you will have a chance at being successful. If someone can’t do something I think we do more harm by not telling them the truth and in most cases the truth is very, very obvious.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.