Film Review: 20 Feet From Stardom

20 Feet from Stardom

Morgan Neville’s Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom is a must-see for popular music fans.

Filmmaker Morgan Neville delves into the world of backup singers in 20 Feet from Stardom. Morgan talks to some of the most successful vocalists in the business; although they are not household names, they have lent their voices to some of the most popular songs of all time…

20 Feet from Stardom focuses on an area that most music fans would have thought about, but perhaps not spent too much time looking into. The realm of the backup singer is mostly an anonymous one, despite the fame of the records that they work on. 20 Feet from Stardom aims to shine a light on this world, by concentrating on some of the most successful vocalists in the business.

Morgan Neville’s film has a storytelling quality to it, going back to the early days of the popular use of backing singers and traversing through key moments to the present day. The film exemplifies how important a role these vocalists played on some of popular music most memorable songs. Neville speaks to some big-name lead singers in his film. Their perspective is an interesting one; with Sting’s words in particular rather poignant regarding making it in the music industry.

Integral to 20 Feet from Stardom are some key backing vocalists. Morgan speaks to a small group of singers who performed on key tracks over several decades. The film does pose the question of whether they tried to make it big in their own right. The answer to this is multi-faceted, as 20 Feet from Stardom illustrates. Morgan speaks to singers at various points in their career, who offer varying stories of success and working with well-know artists. There is not one singing who noticeably receives more screen time than the others. Like the backup vocalists themselves, this is a group effort.

20 Feet from Stardom is fantastic for its highlighting of these talented singers, and the different stories they have to tell. The film is most deserved of the praise it has received.

20 Feet from Stardom is out on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download from Monday 21st July 2014.