By Jess Fenton
17th November 2013

We've sung along with their "ooohs" and "ahhhs" for as long as we can remember. We've "answered" right along side them when an artist "calls", we've even deluded ourselves into thinking we can harmonise with the best of them (when the reality is we can't, we really really can't). Good backup singers are one in a million. Great backup singers are as rare as hen's teeth. It's a profession that is adored by real stars and musicians yet equally overlooked - and with today's industry practices, it's become more and more redundant as artists choose to record their own backing vocals as a cost-saving exercise.

The documentary '20 Feet From Stardom' delves into the world of backup singers from the 50s all the way through to today, following the lives and careers of four in particular - Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill. These women are just a few of the most prolific artists in their field. They've not only performed for the best of the best but they've also lent their vocal stylings to some of the most preeminent records in history, while all the while no one even knows their names.


The film tackles ghosting, solo careers, notoriety, race, the times and even Phil Spector on each of these women's remarkable journeys. Their voices, talents, attitudes and inner and out beauty is exquisite. The successes and blows they've been handed have left them with more character, humour, humility and passion than the artists they've worked for, combined.

Featuring interviews from Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bette Midler and Mick Jagger, the adoration these superstars show for the women that have helped make them who they are today is awe-inspiring. Using archive footage and recordings as well as one-on-one interviews and following these women through reunions and into studio itself, these truly remarkable lives are inspiring to an infinite degree.

And trust me, you'll be downloading the soundtrack before you even leave the theatre.

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