One of my pet hates is native English accented singers singing with American accents . In my opinion it’s fake. Why can’t they be original, be themselves?! Even Leona Lewis , who is an amazing singer, finds it necessary to do so. One might argue that, now she’s an international artist, she needs to be accessible to the massive American market which she has conquered, but the fact is that she was singing in an American accent during the competition!
When I’m singing with my jazz and swing band, I make a point of not singing with an American accent. The only exceptions are where the rhyming of the words are based on the American pronunciation/inflection. For example, in Moondance, by Van Morrison :
‘Can I just have one more moondance with …my love’
‘Can I just make some more romance with you…my love’
If you were to say ‘moondarnss‘ and ‘romarnss‘ with an English accent, you’d sound like a prize pillock!
Of course, most of the jazz standards and swing standards were written by American writers, just look at the Great American Songbook for example, or one of the real Jazz standards music books, but in most cases you don’t need to use a fake American drawl. The other challenge is when American colloquialisms are used, such as in Mack The Knife ‘On the sidewalk, on a Sunday morning don’t you know..’. Clearly, this would sound a bit strange if you sang it in the style of Mary Poppins !
The style of the genre does lend itself to a more relaxed and laid back style of presentation and, if you can get that relaxed, laid-back sound, losing the fake twang, and without sounding like Mary Poppins, you’ve achieved the style and won’t sound ridiculous!