Janice Whaley’s The Smiths Project is a feat made possible by cheap technology, the Internet, and sheer willpower. I have a deep love and appreciation for DIY artists and projects, and this project is quite unique.
Unlike other artists who have endeavored to write and record a song a day for 365 days or a song a week for a year, Whaley’s decided to write and record vocal arrangements of every single song written and recorded by The Smiths. She started January 1st this year and purportedly has just another 20 tracks to record.
Words like “homage” and images like “cover band” are inevitably conjured up upon reading this, but Whaley’s the shit and she has the chops to prove it. Using a microphone and Pro Tools, Whaley’s arrangements are ridiculously complicated and intricate, each song comprised of 20-30 vocal and drum tracks and taking anywhere between 20-30 hours to record. Not to mention, she also holds down a job and is a mother to a toddler.
I’ve read a few articles who herald her talent above that of others who are presumably not so talented. I think along with Whaley’s talent, we should be proud of how the Internet has allowed countless people to record covers or other homages of countless artists, some of who we may have never been acquainted with prior to happening upon something like The Smiths Project or your run-of-the-mill YouTube song cover. A bad song cover is still a whole lot of flattery, and a project of the time and size like Whaley’s, we have to give more than just props. I really hope my man Morrissey intends on inviting her to tour with him – toddler in tow.
Here’s Janice Whaley’s cover of The Smiths’ “Panic” (there’s a mouthful!)