Vocal Range: C3 to E5 to C6 (D6)
Vocal Type: Mezzo-Soprano (3 octaves)
So you’ve listened to Adele’s songs, and you’ve felt the angst and emotions of her voice. You could only wonder how she could deliver such powerful renditions of her songs that made her one of the present-day most successful singers and highest-paid artists. Could it be because she is a mezzo-soprano? Could it be because she writes her songs?
Well, I have carefully studied the singing styles and vocal range of Adele, and in this article, I will let you have a more objective view of Adele as a singer.
No doubt, Adele is gifted with a huge voice, and she is a singing powerhouse. Had she trained for the opera, she would have also excelled in singing in an opera. And she could have projected her voice over a stage, sans any amplification. Of course, her voice is full of color and depth. Moreover, she could project her voice up to E5 without flinching.
If you would listen, for example, to her famous songs like the Hometown Glory, I Can’t Make You Love Again, or Someone Like You, you would feel that there is something exceptional in the way she delivers her songs.
Vocal Characteristics of Adele
The lower range of Adele is solid and dark. It is also weighty and full. Moreover, you will notice that she is quite comfortable within that register. She could also perfectly replicate the notes within this range when she does live rendition of her songs.
On the other hand, her mid-range is medium weight and sweet. It is also very feminine and characterized by effortless and straightforward quality. Once she’s on her midrange, her voice appears to be very lyrical, emotive, and versatile.
Within this range, she could infuse a kaleidoscope of emotions into her rendition of a song. Just look at the Rolling in the Deep or Rumour Has It; the former piece is imbued with attitude, while the latter is characterized by coolness and clearness in its confidence.
Yet, there is a considerable loss when her voice ascends to the belting register. This loss of power gives the impression that her lower belts are more potent than her upper notes.
Moreover, she doesn’t use her falsettos more often, yet, when she uses it, she delivers it with a keen expression like in Someone Like You. Her head voice, on the other hand, comes with a natural vibrato that is quite excellent.
Adele’s Singing Styles and Techniques
When you hear Adele’s name, two things will come to your mind—vocal power and emotion. Though, as mentioned above, her belts are not phenomenal, though compared to many competitors, her belts tower above many of them when it comes to sheer power.
The emotions she pumps into her songs are remarkably moving and exceptional. Well, given the types of songs she sings, it is but fitting that she pumps in enough angst and emotions into those songs.
Her Vocal Tone and Colors
One outstanding aspect of Adele’s voice is her vocal tone and colors. Compared to other artists like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, her voice doesn’t have that more comprehensive vocal range. But what exemplifies her voice is her remarkable ability to manipulate her voice color and timbre. This ability allows her to render exquisite expression to her voice and the lyrics she sings.
This ability also enables her to deliver the roles that the songs portray. Examples include a scornful ex in the Rolling in The Deep, a repentant ex in Hello, and a brokenhearted lover in Someone Like You.
Her Belting Technique
As mentioned above, Adele’s belting range is bright and clear at its lower belting range. Moreover, it bears a remarkable resonance and weight. Characterized by a certain edginess and earthiness, her voice at this range carries a cumbersome quality, imbued with a certain coarseness in some instances.
As she moves up to the higher belting range, she tentatively loses some forcefulness and clearness somewhere in the fifth octave, but she could push her voice further with a significant loss in weight and soulfulness.
As an expert view on this matter, it is right to say that Adele is using a damaging and improper technique in her desire to bring in the same level of resonance on her upper belts. Besides, instead of using her falsetto or head voice when she belts, she goes on with her straightforward voice, which could spell damage to her voice.
Adele might have opted for this style in her live renditions of songs as an artistic decision. She tries to achieve fuller-sounding belts and those soulful grunts using questionable techniques, which may prove disastrous to her singing voice.
What Makes Adele’s Singing Voice Unique?
Some songs fit well the voice of Adele, and I think she is the only one who could sing those songs with so much angst and emotions. She is exceptional in that sense. Moreover, an extraordinary athleticism characterizes her voice, given the fact that she was influenced early on by singers like Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Gabrielle, and Lauryn Hill.
The vocal range of Adele, as mentioned above, is not remarkable compared to other singers. Her mezzo-soprano vocal type and vocal range of 2 octaves and 3 notes from C3 to F5 is nothing exceptional. Nevertheless, it is the strength and power of her delivery and faithfulness to the melody that makes her stand out.
She could hold notes, sing nicely, and move from one octave to another with ease. Yet, she opts to use bluesy and more uncomplicated vocal styling that makes her lyrics understandable.
It is a fact that there is a big difference between recorded songs and live performances. Okay, Adele sometimes started a performance not in the best way, just like in her performance in the Grammy Awards, given that she had just recently recovered from microsurgery. But some singers sometimes begin in the wrong footing likewise. But from a musical perspective, Adele has a great voice and excellent control of it.
But what distinguishes Adele from others is that she brings in the angst and emotions needed in the rendition of the songs. Whenever you hear a song that is sung by Adele, you will likewise immediately recognize that she is the one who is singing it because she has a distinctive voice and a unique singing style that only she could do. In that sense, she has her brand, which is truly hers.
Among the new girls in the block, Adele seems to separate herself from the others because of her voice’s enigmatic quality, which makes her audience involuntary emotional and tearful. Her voice seethes, rasps, sobs, swoops, and even belts to make you feel its angst and beauty.
It also seems that Adelle is not interested in going with the flow or popular trends in music. Instead, she wants to carve a niche for herself that is truly hers.
Adele is also a bold and old-fashioned voice that seems to be anachronistic to the present-day music trend. Plus, she writes her songs, and for these reasons, she could empathize with the lyrics of the songs and deliver the right emotions and angst that the songs want to relay.
Vocal Problems that Tested Adele’s Resiliency as a Singer
With popularity comes abusive schedules and tours. Thus, Adele embarked on Live Tours in 2011, which sold out for its North American leg. Nevertheless, she did cancel two of her tours due to a vocal-cord hemorrhage that required an extended rest to prevent permanent damage to her vocal cord.
Microsurgery was performed on her throat to remove a somewhat benign polyp. Afterward, she was sidelined from touring until her comeback on February 2012 Grammy Awards, wherein she got awards in six categories.
The Grammy performance wasn’t her best performance, and she said it was a relief that her voice came out during the performance, considering that she had just microsurgery. Fair enough, her voice came out cleaner after recovering from the surgery.
But she needs to train, and not leave her vocal cords to do the thing. If she doesn’t train her vocal cords, she may experience the problem again. However, her vocal cord problem isn’t a unique and isolated case. Many contemporary singers are also beset with such vocal problems, given their challenging schedules.
Conclusion: Is Adele A Good Singer?
Many critics and even those who are merely curious about whether Adele is a great singer ask themselves this question: “Is her voice exceptional?” Well, it depends upon how you would look at it. If you consider the range of Adele’s voice, it is not unusual for many singers to have almost the same tessitura and range.
If you classify her voice based on the universally accepted Fach System, Adele’s voice belongs to the mezzo-soprano. Yet, at the onset, you may mistake her voice to lie somewhere in the contralto range.
As you listen to the rest of the songs she sings, you will discover that her voice is most clear between the middle C and C5. Besides, as you consider her rich tone, you might as well conclude that she is a mezzo-soprano.
One thing that is questionable about Adele’s voice is its stamina, which separates opera singers from the rest of the so-called singers. Opera singers train for more incredible stamina.
If Adele trains and tries to improve her stamina, we could be looking soon for this age’s most defining voice. Adele is, of course, gifted with a beautiful voice, and she is a good singer. With that gift, all she needs to do is enhance that gift further to make it flourish.