2013 Cinetopia Audience Award winner! What would a pop song be without its backup vocalists? Although these singers are usually relegated to the margins, and few, if any, become household names, their work has defined countless songs that remain in our hearts and collective consciousness. Twenty Feet from Stardom juxtaposes interviews with industry legends (Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Mick Jagger, and others) and the relative unknowns who support them as they illuminate the art of melding their own distinct voices with lead vocals and reveal their desires for careers as solo artists. Twenty Feet from Stardom traces the backup singers’ history—from those Phil Spector–produced pop tunes and soul-inspired British Explosion acts (Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones) of the 1960s, to their reversal of fortune when the recording industry changed in the 1990s, and into today. It’s an unprecedented look at the moving personal journeys of these normally uncelebrated, but crucial, artists. –Sundance Film Festival
Listen to the Fresh Air interview with director Morgan Neville and singers from the film.
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Festivals: Sundance Film Festival 2013, SXSW 2013
Director: Morgan Neville