Singer-songwriter authenticity, the unconscious and emotions (feat. Adele's "Someone Like You")

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study addresses how singer-songwriters engage with emotion, unconscious processes, and effect, and therefore embodiment, feelings, and experiences. It also considers reception and various forms of mediation. This involves a discussion of authenticity of various types, of inscribing and ascribing authentication. It questions the use of the term singer-songwriter, what it means to use this term to refer to popular music composition, and whether it relates to a set of practices or a genre. Adele’s song ‘Someone Like You’ is used as a case study that illustrates these issues. Additionally, this chapter will also draw upon interviews with successful musicians in order to answer these questions. While such an approach raises the issue of authorial intent as valuable to the study of texts, popular music, as a highly performative text, requires a differing approach. Even if one cannot be certain of the veracity of the opinions expressed by musicians in interviews, these reported opinions, as well as the other ways musicians present themselves to audiences, form an important element of their performativity, and greatly affect its reception. Whether or not addressing authorial intent is thought of as problematic or useful, it is in this situation certainly relevant, as it forms part of the artist’s field of activity, the artist acting as or constructing a frame around the music.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter
EditorsKatherine Williams, Justin A. Williams
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781316496664
ISBN (Print)9781107063648, 9781107680913
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Publication series

NameCambridge Companions to Music
PublisherCambridge University Press


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