- Phyllis Hyman, esp. "You know How to Love Me". If I knew how to embed the YouTube thingy I would, but I don't so do yourself a favor and find it.
- Gladys Knight owns.
Bow down, bitches.
- Freddie Mercury, who could credibly sing in any genre from soul ("Somebody to Love") to rockabilly ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love") to rock ("We Will Rock You") and so on...
- Karen Carpenter
- R1 YES. Phyllis had such a stunning voice and could do so much with it. Her phrasing, tone and just everything were amazing.
- Phyllis is everything
- Aretha, followed by Barbara Streisand
- The divine Sarah Vaughn
- Who was the lead singer for The Hollies? I've always loved his voice:
- Aretha, Patti, Gladys, Chaka, Whitney, Anita, Toni, Brandy, Mary J, Donna, Phyllis, Jennifer Holiday, Aaliyah, Beyonce, Patrice, Natalie, Diana.
- r3 nails it.
- Cyndi Lauper. She has the range and genre switching ability of Freddie Mercury.
- Dusty Springfield in her prime. Compare "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" to "In The Land of Make Believe".
- I can't believe no one has mentioned Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray.
- My fav singers are Cat Power and Neko case, both have extremely charismatic voices, as does Nina Simone, but add flawless technical ability and vocal charisma and you Sarah Vaughan.
What is so heartbreaking is, if Cowell and his bunch of low brow brain dead hangers-on heard this they'd think it's almost underwhelming, but Vaughan is widely considered to have the greatest voice of the 20th century.
- Cleo Laine
- I always thought Annie Lenox was a great vocalist.
- Kate Bush, Shirley Bassey, Donna Summer.
- Peggy Lee had a crystal clear voice, so beautiful.
Tracy Thorn, has such a hypnotic subdued vocal.
- Peggy Lee had a small voice, not very dynamic.
- Adam Lambert. Hear him live. Range. Control. Heart. Fearlessness.
- Ella belongs on any list of great singers. Power is not everything in a voice -- phrasing is also important. Listen to her Songbooks series (Porter, Arlen, Rogers, etc) and be dazzled by her clarity, phrasing and the effortlessness of her voice.
Dinah Washington is another from a similar era who could sing the classics, jazz, pop, and cabaret.
- For pop music it would almost just have to be Freddie Mercury. I can't think of anyone else who has his range.
- Connie Francis. Appealed to teens and adults and had worldwide audiences.
- i have always said george michael has a great voice, jim morrison (baritone :) ) and lastly, bono. i know we tend to think of women in this case but lets not overlook the boys. oh and bobby darin!
- Vikki Carr!!
- Yma Sumac!
- I enjoy Yma Sumac as well.
- Annie Lennox was fun but has very little voice left now.
- Patsy Cline!!!
- You "know nothing about singing," OP?
You don't have to know about bullfighting to recognize a great bullfighter.
Esther Blodgett. Thread closed.
- Well, you have Ella Fitzgerald, who was very melodic, and Sarah Vaughan who was very stylistic, and they are classics. On a gloomy Sunday there is no one like Sarah singing Gershwin.
I love Judy. She is in a class all by herself for sheer ability to convey emotion and just get right inside you.Aretha in her prime was also like that. Amazing. You ever hear Aretha sing a ballad with strings for accompaniment and you will not believe how good she was.
But no matter how you may feel about them, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, & Whitney are the shit! Whitney's range and her control are beyond compare. No one comes close except for the Babs & Celine.So for me, it's Whitney, but the other two are close.
What all these women have in common are that their voices are musical instruments. Sinatra and Al Jarreau are the only two men I can think of who used their voices so well.
- Whitney & Celine are completely soulless.
- I really like Ella Fitzgerald, but she never brought any drama to a song, she always sounded way too happy, which can be great but sometimes I want top wallow in my sadness, for those times it's Chan Marshall or Billie or Morrissey's vocals on How Soon is Now.
- Yes but no one sings Cole Porter like Ella does. She was a big band singer and she shines. I like to have her music on as I work or at dinner parties. And no, I don't consider myself and "eldergay." I am 46.
- I agree about Adam Lambert & Freddie Mercury. Definitely put them on the list.
- I prefer Rosemary Clooney singing Cole Porter. She got the lyrics.
- Sandy Denny has one of the best voices ever. Like Drake her music has not aged one day. A 21 year old could release her music and probably win the Mercury.
- Phyllis! She could do r&b, soul, gospel, jazz, disco, commercial jingles...and her voice would have been fine for rock or even country. She could adapt to anything.
- Phyllis didn't have a wide vocal range, though.
- My favorites are Chaka Khan and Michael Jackson if we are talking strictly pop. The others Aretha, Patti, Whitney etc are great, but those two put me on another planet with how they can convey a feeling through their voices. IMO being a great vocalist is not all about the acrobatics of what you can do, but how well you can translate an exact feeling from lyrics to sound that people can relate to.
There are a lot of vocalists that are/were not technically pop artists that have a similar effect for me- Jeffrey Osborne, Stephanie Mills, Ronald Isley, David Ruffin, Anita Baker. Some of the even newer artists, Faith Evans, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Sam Sparro.
- Eddi Reader
- Melissa Cross claims that Tom Jones had the best voice in popular music.
- I would put Mariah at #1 for pop. Her voice is the most versatile and no one could pull off all the variations that she did.
Vision of Love (amazing notes)
Dreamlover (laid back pop but incredible vocals)
Fantasy (Pop R&B)
All of her other ballads, plus she can pull off uptempo and slow R&B. She has sung with everyone from Pavarotti to Jay Z. That about sums it up.
- kd lang
- I hate the vocal gymnastic style that is now so prevalent in music, it's just so vulgar. Totally unlistenable. The voice has become so narcissistic and has no regard for the melody or emotional heart of the song.
why don't they just sing, LISTEN HOW GREAT MY VOICE IS, IT'S ALL ME ME ME ME MY VOICE IS AWESOME, FUCK THE SONG, IT'S ALL ABOUT MY VOICE!!!
- Kelly Clarkson can sing any fucking thing and make it sound really good. She doesn't get the recognition she deserves.
- I agree completely about today's popular "vocal gymnastic style" ... it is indeed vulgar.
And it all started with Whitney Huston's version of "I Will Always Love You".
That recording was the end of good singing. It started the trend.
- Kelly Clarkson has the most versatile and powerful voice in the industry right now.
We'd like to clear our throats now.
Is that alright?
Hope you don't mind.
- For pop singing - not jazz or soul- Judy and Frank. And Barbra.
There are lots of other great singers in all categories but for classic pop - those are the champs.
Cleo ! I had all of her albums, went to many of her concerts, met her and John several times. I know I was just one of her fans but got a Christmas card from Cleo and John every Christmas.
- Like, Becky Black is so, like, totally, the best singer who, like, sings today.
- r50, while I agree that the vocal gymnastics that exist today are truly abysmal, I disagree that Whitney's "I Will Always Love You" is that bad -- Whitney could do the vocal gymanistics (the technical term is melisma) but used it in reserve and judiciously. The real blame lies with Mariah Carey, a vocalist with considerable range but no control whatsoever, who has always caterwauled her way through every song -- today's singers (and not just the women, the men do it too) are practically competing to "out-sing" each other. It's disgraceful.
- Dusty Springfield
- Dorothy Squires is underrated in the States. Shirley Bassey has said she owes a lot of her vocal style to her.
- Barbra Streisand
- Kate Bush? wtf that wack and weirdo bitch went off-key and had pitch problems in plenty of her songs and does not belong in this thread.
- I thought Whitney used the vocal gymnastics perfectly on All the Man I Need, but urn on X-Factor or Idol and the true negative effects of vocal gymnastics are really highlighted. Thankfully Adele is fighting the trend.
- R45 She is the Zen of Screaming woman.
- I agree 100% with [r50] ~ Huge culprit is Celine Dion who is basically a mimic when she sings in English, e.g. If You Asked Me To. Sometimes she sounds more like Streisand than Streisand does. I wonder who she would sound like had she listened to male Anglophone singers.
- Nina Simone had a style of her own, same with Billie Holiday. But, Nina sounded too much like a man.
I understand the tributes to Whitney, but Donna Summer was just a great singer too, and didn't abuse drugs. Donna should get a tribute too.
- No Mariah? I feel that Mariah ruined other singers by starting that awful yodeling that every male and female singer tries to do.
- A lot of elder gay opera/jazz elitists on this thread. Nina Simone called...oh wait, she's dead.
- So, if who had the biggest range among the greats?
- Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra could do just about anything very well but sing opera--big band, jazz, pop.
Most important, they made the lyrics sound as if they had lived what was happening in the song.
- R64 Donna most certainly did abuse drugs but cleaned up in the 80s and was clean from then on until her death. There's an infamous story that a very high Donna passed out while she and Barbra were recording "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)".
- roy orbison
- Skeeter Davis
- Lea Michelle puts them all to shame.
- The late Teena Marie was criminally underrated. She had a fantastic voice, and so many great songs (she wrote and produced all of her own material) and she should've been a huge pop star in the 80s. Unfortunately, she never really crossed over into the mainstream.
- R69 is correct. Donna Summer was a drug user and a cigarette smoker in the 70s but quit everything when she had her religious freak-out in the early 80s and stayed clean for the rest of her life.
Donna could sing beautifully in any genre. She was so much more than just disco.
- I love Roy Orbison, and will add Jackie (Lonely Teardrops) Wilson to the mix. Awesome voice.
- George Michael
- Phyllis Hyman-Living All Alone.
This song will give you goosebumps. She was a stellar interpreter of song. She was Clive's ''Whitney'' before Whitney.
The whistling at the end of the song is genius.
- Boys: Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Robin Zander, Steve Perry, Glen Campbell, Eric Carmen, Glenn Tilbrook, Ric Ocasek
Girls: all the ones you guys mentioned
- Out of the 90's vocal ''trinity'' (Whitney, Mariah, & Celine), Whitney was the best vocally.
Another person who is somewhat underrated is Stephanie Mills. Stephanie Mills, Teena Marie, Sade, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, & Phyllis Hyman were all overshadowed by Whitney.
Speaking of Whitney, what about Dionne ''Newports'' Warwick. She was pretty good in her day as well.
- Luther Vandross.
- We had a big Phyllis Hyman thread not too long ago and the consensus was that she was a better singer than Whitney, deserved to be a big star because of her undeniable talent, and got royally fucked over by Clive Davis and Arista.
Oh yeah, and that she was a closeted lesbian.
I agree about Linda.
- To say those who engage in melisma like Mariah Carey, have no control is absolutely indicative of your inability to understand what they're doing R56.
Moving from one note to a later one in a song is like moving from one side of a room to another. Some choose to do it simply and elegantly in a straight line while others, who can, do so like an Olympic gymnast with calculated, artistic loops and flourishes. It doesn't make one way right and the other wrong. You are definitely entitled to your taste and preference, but don't bash what you can't understand. It's not caterwhauling. It's skill.
Except for Christina Aguilera. That's caterwhauling. Aish, my ears.
- ITA on George Michael
HUGE talent, and so fucked up.
- Linda Ronstadt & Cher, both very strong in concert, I've seen them many times.
- Mavis Staples has a pretty amazing voice. Go over to youtube and find I'll Take You There.
I'm stunned to see no mention of Smokey Robinson, either, or Otis Redding.
- I always loved Jennifer Warnes. Famous Blue Raincoat is one of my favorites, the combo of her gorgeous voice and Leonard Cohen's songs is near perfect.
Its hard to think but despite all her talent she'd never make it today. Too plain looking, wore glasses on stage etc. No one would sign her she wouldnt be "video-ready"or photogenic enough.
- I have never been a fan of Jewel. She has been singing on a skating program this afternoon, I ignored it all UNTIL she sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow.........I was blown away, lovely
- r88, so many singers from past decades would never make it in the contemporary music scene. When you think about it, the list is quite staggering.
- I had a huge debate with my friend over this. I said that Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Britney Spears are better singers than Beyonce.
Beyonce cannot connect to a song musically at all. Janet,Madonna, & Britney do not have stellar voices but they can emote incredibly well.
- Ladies and germs! The one and only Miss Kate Smith.
- I remember a casual friend of mine, who is a gifted, trained singer, said that Whitney's genius was in her ability to (and I'm gonna fuck up the terminology) go from a low register to a high register with almost no effort. You didn't hear her "strain" to move through the notes like you do most other singers, even other great singers.
I have no idea of this is remotely true but it seemed to make sense at the time.
- R73 Teena had a great voice but she was very guilty of oversinging quite often and also, except for "Lovergirl" she never crossed over. That was because white people will always look at other white people who try to "act black" in a funny way. I know a lot of people say Teena was an "honorary sista" but I still believe she was forcing that persona. She didn't grow up that way-on her "Unsung" episode they interviewed her parents and they sounded like ordinary white people. She didn't need to talk or dress a certain way just because she sang r&b music.
My vote is still Phyllis Hyman. She had a 3 octave and 1 note range, but was a master of control. She had a smooth voice and could sing any genre. The fact that she KNEW what she was doing when she sang and recorded songs is a big plus. Many talented singers are good at mimicking what they hear, while Phyllis was good at creating sounds without being told what to do.
- Whitney Houston hands down was the best overall singer.
- R94, can you explain what an "octave" is exactly? I've heard of it, of course, but don't know what it actually means.
Ditto for "1 note range".
No love for Harry Nilsson? Or the criminally under rated Annie Haslam ( lead singer of '70's prog group Renaissance ) ?
- I love early pre-Schmilsson Harry Nilsson
- SHE OWNS THIS THREAD!
- Robin Gibb. After he died, Roger Daltrey said that he sung like he wore his heart on the outside and I agree.
- R66, the adults are talking. Go back to your sandbox and bury your head. Or go walk into traffic.
- Whitney Huston like most of the modern "divas" from the 1980's on, sang mostly crap music. Disposable throw-away stuff that will not endure. Did she ever even attempt to sing a classic from the great american song-book? Nope... just crap.
"I Will Always Love You" was one of the few well written songs in her repertoire.
She was best when she started out in her career with the light pop stuff ("Dance with Somebody")
- I agree some R91. Beyonce's voice is best suited to power ballads (Christina's voice as well) so when she sings traditional pop songs her voice doesn't fit the music very well. Definitely have to disagree that Britney is a better singer though; I would say she is the weakest of the three you mentioned.
- Frnak Sinatra. He was a pop star in his time. And then his voice passed the test of time
And yes, I know he was a real son of a bitch
- Doris Day had a voice of great dynamic.
Edie Gorme is also an exceptional voice not given near enough credit.
- Whitney Houston had the best overall voice.
- Melba Moore
- Frank Sinatra had pitch problems.
- I think Jennifer Hudson deserves mention here. I prefer her to both Mariah and Celine.
- Eydie Gorme
- Who are these people are they from the 1920's?
Do you understand what pop is? The answer is Nicki Minaj
- Of course no one here will know who she is or ever heard of her or any of her songs, but Cat Power has such an amazing voice, if you are talking about dynamic voices, then Cat Power has an awesome dynamic voice.
- What cultured person doesn't know who Cat Power is, R113? She's not exactly Thelia Zeda.
- You mean Thalia Zedek.
- R108 whatever happened to Melba? Pearlie Pearlie
- That's so weird. I spelled Thalia wrong by mistake, but I definitely spelled Zedek right because I LOVE that name and have used it in writing. Odd...
- Dynamic has a technical and casual meaning when it comes to voices and singing.
Dynamics have to do with the range and power of the voice, and the technical control of it. (vibrato, crescendo, volume, pitch and placement) breath.
From low tones, to chest voice to head voice, with completely fluid effortless change between, Whitney Houston was the master of vocal dynamics in her good days.
Peggy Lee is not a good example of a dynamic singer as she had a cool soft constant voice, nuanced only with phrasing and subtle tone inflections. Great stylist.
Garland, Sinatra, Aretha and Freddie Mercury all displayed a dynamic voice. Many more too.
Ella Fitzgerald was more an instrumental singer, with incredible tone and pitch, more a part of the music than separate from it. Ditto Billie Holiday, etc.
Sarah Vaughn is lumped in with them but had the most dynamic voice and was way in front of the band.
Tone is what most makes us like a singer or not, depending on what sounds good to our ears.
(brain, heart, nerves)
Clear bell tones, slightly nasal, take Streisand and Celine. Resonant deep tone with slow vibrato, Karen Carpenter or Gladys Knight.
Thin, clean natural tones and breath. Diana Ross or James Taylor.
Pure voices with round tones but not overly dynamic - Jennifer Warnes and Johnny Cash.
Soaring tones, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and Fantasia. Very few people have this voice naturally, a lot try to imitate it as a "style' of singing. (mariah carey is the victim of this contrived style, and there are too many others.)
Rasp tones. Springsteen, Melissa Etheridge, Joplin, Rod Stuart, Norah Jones. Again a natural tone of voice often faked by others.
Kelly Clarkson is a good example of a current singer with a "dymamic" vocal range and style, who makes a lot of improvisational choices.
Adele's voice is so popular because of her tone, straightforward dynamics and lack of bad influences. Bonnie Raitt is similar. The voice is moving purely from the sound, without ornamentation.
I sound like a pretentious ass, but I do know a bit about a bit. I am a fan of everyone I have mentioned.
I am not a big Celine fan, but I appreciate her full dynamic vocal ability. Link.
- Thank you R118. That was awesome! I'm the OP and that is exactly what I was looking for when I started the thread. I can't sing at all but am fascinated by those that can and the mechanisms that make them so great.
- OP, you are welcome.
Now if only I knew how to properly embed or link a link ? It seems I did not do it right.
Any advice ?
- R120, after the "message" box, scroll down. See where it says "URL:?" Copy the link and paste it into that box.
- Thank you. 121
Ok, so I don't know where the square brackets are either, but I can now post a link !
- So R122, Whitney is really as good as the hype?
- (112) you DO realize that word "Pop" was used before 2012?
- Whitney, Aretha, Gladys are basically "mezzo-soprano" voices. The voices are BIG voices and They have great warmth, depth, and are capable of great dramatic expression. Mariah is like a coloratura soprano..smallish voice,but with a penetrating center, lightweight, so as to be able to scale great heights, but not with a lot of emotion..all those flights of fancy are just that.. flights of fancy.
- So, R125, how do you "rate" Whitney vs Aretha vs Gladys? And, assuming you have an order, what distinguishes #1 from #3?
- Phllyis Hyman had such mastery and knowledge of her voice. Every song was filled with emotion. She always sounded so full and rich.
- Morten Harkett of A-ha had a wonderful voice, though it's pretty shot now. I love Florence Welch's voice.
- Stacey Q had a powerful and dynamic voice.
- Phyllis with the hymen appears on every freaking page. Enough already.
- R (122)
Ha, don't bait me. But yes, she was that good. I was in my twenties in the eighties and did not like Whitney Houston's music at all. I went to the Royal Conservatory and was more into punk in my free time.
But her voice yes, it was a thrill. When I started watching her live performances on you tube some years ago and saw how she brought life and soul and variation to her mostly mundane pop hits, I was converted. I know a bit about music, and of course always knew that her voice was a phenom. The misses are better than the hits.
Do you hear what I hear? Hear how she sings and indeed "belts" in all her registers, without the big breath histrionics, in perfect pitch and without strain or reaching for the notes. All parts of her voice are without marks here and in many of her performances. She sings effortlessly through her registers, making some movements only to make it look a bit harder. Ha
Her head voice, has not a break, it is not a falsetto or a whistle voice like mariah carey, or a screeching howl like Aguilera or a scratch scream like Jennifer Hudson, but a transition that only mezzo sopranos do well and not all of them. She is completely lyrical with a beautiful clear tone even in the upper most of her register.
Her low tones and chest belt don't really need much explanation. She simply sang so well that it was sometimes deceiving how easily she moved through a song. The tone of her voice cannot make up for the bad songs, but NO one sings like this.
I yi yi will always love you, oo, oo kind of made things worse, but she tried in concert to do other things too. I never said she had class or taste. But yes her voice lives up to the hype, then and now.
This is a Christmas song, see what you think.
- R131, I'm a total jock who'd rather be watching a Lakers game than doing just about anything, but I can sit and read you all day long. I sort of have a mad crush on you.
- R (132)
Well, gee thanks.
I am going to accept your mad crush on me, even if you do love basketball and I live in Canada, the land of pucks.
Hockey is cancelled. Raptors, eh ?
I am good at sports from the couch,,,,,
- For the music expert here who was in his 20s in the 80s, what are your thoughts on Phyllis Hyman? I read she was the woman who other stars would come to see live. Even before she was famous, you could catch stars such as Gladys and others watching Phyllis perform at a high-end club in NYC. That says something about your talent if big names want to watch you.
- Has anyone ever listened to Phyllis Hymen sing? Let's not forget about Phyllis
- Under50 / Under Attack,
Great posts. I agree with a lot of what you say. Whitney's voice was a phenomenon, like Garland's. I love listening to both of them. However, they both tended to SHOUT sometimes, more than belt. I think it was hard for them to have all that natural power, hard to be able to reign it in. For example, Whitney at the end of "I Will Always Love You." I find it had to listen to.
That's one thing about La Babs: I think she has much more variety to her voice, to the way she sings, and to the kind of song she puts over.
Karen's voice didn't have all that much variety or power, but it is so rich, so deep, pure and mellow, that you never get tired of it -- at least in the slow, melancholy ballads.
- I liked the Phyllis Hymen
- Great musical geniuses: Billie Holidsy, Louis Armstrong, Sinatra, Aretha, Mahalia Jackson, Bessie Smith, Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day never gets the credit she deserves. Ella Fitzgerald belongs on this list, of course, but she was often just much too smooth.
- Ella was first and foremost a jazz musician. Her instrument was her voice but the music came first, the singing came second.
Has anyone mentioned Rosemary Clooney? Carmen McCrae?
I mentioned Rosie.
Though, really, Phyllis Hyman deserves a mention. Also Patty Duke.
- (R 131)
Excellent analysis! Enjoyed reading that.
With such a stellar "instrument",
I think she would have excelled in ANY Genre she chose? There is a clip of her and the late Pavarotti, where she uses her 'Opera'voice to GREAT effect.
I'd have a hard time picking which order.
Aretha for the exciting way she sang the text.
Whitney for flat out having the most beautiful natural instrument, and Gladys for having the most honest way of delivering the story.
- Define dynamic and then we'll talk otherwise this thread is Babel.
- There are nubies in this thread that are driving me crazy.
IF YOU REFERENCE A PRIOR POST DO IT BY USING THE FORMAT R(CAP OR SMALL)NO SPACE, AND POST NUMBER;E.FUCKING G.:
NOT R 142
NOT r 142
NOT R (142)
Trol-dar is not your friend.
- How about Harry Chapin in his signature songs Cat's in the Cradle and Taxi, and Harry Nillson's Without You, and Everybody's Talkin.'
- Sharon Redd ("BEat the Street"),
- Gayle McCormick, she got caught up in the hippie drug scene and there was a lot of great music and bands and singers during that period and she got lost in the shuffle.
- R144E.FUCKING G Better?
- Tanya Tucker
- I tried to explain vocal dynamics in a previous post in non technical way, with I hoped were relate-able examples. Many people think it means simply how loud or soft one sings, or plays an instrument. I attempted to elucidate and not to bore.
Now I am gonna bore you and explain it all better with my accompanist Wikipedia. So here goes.
"In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic (staccato, legato etc.) or functional (velocity). The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics. Dynamics are relative and do not indicate specific volume levels."
Words/phrases indicating changes of dynamics.
(In Italian unless otherwise indicated)
al niente: to nothing; fade to silence. Sometimes written as "n"
calando: decreasing; becoming smaller
calmando: becoming calmer
crescendo: becoming stronger
dal niente: from nothing; out of silence
decrescendo or diminuendo: becoming softer
fortepiano: loud and then immediately soft
fortissimo piano: very loud and then immediately soft
in rilievo: in relief (French en dehors: outwards); indicates that a particular instrument or part is to play louder than the others so as to stand out over the ensemble. In the circle of Arnold Schoenberg, this expression had been replaced by the letter "H" (for German, "Hauptstimme"), with an added horizontal line at the letter's top, pointing to the right, the end of this passage to be marked by the symbol " ┐ ".
perdendo or perdendosi: losing volume, fading into nothing, dying away
mezzoforte piano: moderately strong and then immediately soft
morendo: dying away (may also indicate a tempo change)
marcato: stressed, pronounced
pianoforte: soft and then immediately strong
sforzando piano: with marked emphasis, then immediately soft
sotto voce: in an undertone (whispered or unvoiced)
smorzando: becoming muffled or toned down
- Love the smackdown R150!
- [quote]I remember a casual friend of mine, who is a gifted, trained singer, said that Whitney's genius was in her ability to (and I'm gonna fuck up the terminology) go from a low register to a high register with almost no effort.
That was her secret weapon. That's what makes her songs technically difficult. She could also reverse it and go from her lowest register to her highest register on a dime.
With that being said I think Freddie Mercury owns this thread, he and Yma Sumac really.
- Ok. Whitney Houston had an arsenal of weapons and she could go all rambo with them sometimes.
She had a truly gorgeous voice with power and control over every aspect of it until, well you know, x number of years after becoming a drug addict.
If Whitney and Garland were like race horses, with sometimes too restless a power, Streisand is more like a unicorn. Not really in the race. In the land of purity and light, but one of the least "musical" singers ever. Is she on the beat, behind the beat, in front of? Her rhythm is terrible. For someone who is known for her Broadway experience and full orchestras she might as well hum. Memories, la,la,lalala. Yes she has a lovely and very unusual voice, but except for several broadway standards recordings, she leaves me cold. Streisand is kind of the Meryl Streep of singers, - close your eyes and try to picture her from neck down. Can't do it. All up in her head. Unicorn.
So back to dynamics. Basically colouring in the song using the "italian" tools of singing whether a singer can name them or not, plus the intangibles of ones own sound and style(s)and the luck of what god put in your voice box arsenal.
Gladys Knight colours in "The Way We Were" with more nuanced dynamics and meaning than the song deserves while Streisand is busy checking out the colour of the rug and her highlights. I am starting to sound bitchy and gay so I'm a gonna stop.
Honestly my favourite singers are none of these people, I just like to entertain the OP. Ha.
One last Houston storm. Singing this good is kind of like.....? You can tell she likes it.
- For your sake, my Canadian friend, I hope to god charlie never comes on this thread and reads your Barbra-is-anything-but-a-deity comments...
Okay, I now love Whitney and just spent an hour on a Whitney youtube spiral watching her various live performances. My god.
- R150, can you give us your take on the non-singers like Janet Jackson and Madonna?
will you go away now?
- Fuck off, R156, I love R150.
- BOW DOWN
- again, Phyllis Hyman had all kinds of vocal techniques, both flashy and subtle. She was just a master of her voice. Definitely up there with the greats.
- I don't think most on my list are popstars, but here you go:
Male: Tom Jones, Robert Plant, Peter Hammill (virtually unknown in the US and not very popular even in his own country, but amazing nonetheless), Freddie Mercury, Jack White, Sting, Chris Cornell
Female: Janis Joplin, Ann Wilson, Grace Slick, Cleo Laine, Whitney Houston, Sandy Denny, Cyndi Lauper
There are many more, but I'm too tired to remember!
I don't think many here know what 'dynamics' mean re singing, sure it has something to do with having a powerful voice, but it's not all about singing loud and caterwauling.
To simplify it, going from very loud and then switching to soft without the voice cracking is basically what dynamics is about. The aforementioned Peter Hammill is a perfect example of this type of dynamic singing. I'd recommend his early solo albums released in the 1970s and his work with Van Der Graff Generator.
R150 had to cut and paste instead of explaining it himself in simpler terms, sometimes posters don't need, or want, to read a novel.
- I apologize to Charlie and all others who love Streisand. I am an opinionated guy, with some musical knowledge and talent maybe, but no desire to offend.
I am new to DL, apparently a surprise to one.
My posts are too long and too know it all. I am Canadian, also Italian so politely arrogant.
Madonna is technically known as a HappyBirthday singer. Ha. She has some good songs and producers, and not a terrible lower register. She is brilliant, just not as a singer.
Janet Jackson can sing. Small dynamic and range but really nice tone and texture, on pitch. She has used her voice and breath to good advantage. She wanted a larger success than her natural gifts would likely bring her, so image and production manipulations overshadow her enhanced vocals.
Don't ask me to comment on all the others that have followed in her footsteps.
I like you too, OP.
But I think I best stop talking bout singing.
- Jesus, why is DL being invaded by the Phyllis Hyman trolls?
- "There is a clip of her and the late Pavarotti, where she uses her 'Opera' voice to GREAT effect."
I was at that benefit show, Whiney and a host of others for one of Sting's Rainforest benefit shows at Carnegie Hall. It was a fun entertaining concert.
- R162 it's not trolling it's just many here only know Whitney WHitney or Barbra Barbra. Those of us in the know want to spread the word about how great Phyllis was. Phyllis was someone who all the great singers enjoyed watching. She could convey such emotion with her voice and had such a style of singing.
If you read my post at R118 you will see that I did explain dynamics in my own words.
I later cut and paste in frustrated response to someone else.
We appreciate some of the same vocalists.
Sorry if you don't like my style.
- Sorry R165, I didn't read your post at R118.
DL is not filled with Rhodes Scholars, I'm figuring the 'less is more' approach is best as far as explanations.
Trying to get a typical DL poster to listen to someone like Peter Hammill would be futile, because Hammill is no longer 'hot'. Time has not been very kind.
If a male singer doesn't look like a 16 year old twink, the average DL poster is not interested because it's always about style over substance.
Hammill is now in his 60s but LOOKS like he's in his 80s! Brits don't age well, but his pipes still work. I saw VdGG in NYC a few years ago, it was an amazing show.
I'm of Italian/French descent, Madonna is an embarrassment. I can't understand how and why anyone can call her a singer. My dog's howls sound better than Madonna's 'voice'!
- Let's not mention those nonsingers Vadge and Janet in here, OK? this thread is for talented vocalists.
Phyllis Hyman, Whitney, Gladys, Mariah all greats
- Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis.
Where were you cnuts when I was releasing records and flopping saleswise?
- Yma Sumac really should be the patron saint of DLdergays. Take a look at these vivid creations.
- If this thread really was for talented vocalists and not just anyone's diva crush, Elvis Presley would have been mentioned already.
- Elvis is OVARATED!
- Another vote Whitney, spectacular singer of crap material.
[quote]Did she ever even attempt to sing a classic from the great american song-book? Nope... just crap
Whitney does a short medley of standards before going on to one of her own songs.
- Here's Whitney, past her peak (the vocal decline had started) singing a show tune on the Rosie O' Donnell show in 1998. What a singer.
- Comparing Streisand to Streep is apposite. Like Streep, Streisand adapted herself to many different "roles" or genres: she did Vaudeville, she did rock, she did regular Broadway, she did Sondheim, she did big band -- she was very versatile.
I agree she never had the *passion* of Garland or Houston, but she had more variety. And a purer sound, IMO. It's hard to rank the top talents.
If you bitches haven't seen this, well... surrender your cards!
And bow down.
- I guess there is a difference with having a dynamic voice and having a charismatic vocal.
Sometimes people that undoubtedly posses a dynamic voice like Whitney, Mariah, Aretha, Cline and the ilk can be technically great but emotionally cold and sorta bland.
While someone that has a charismatic vocal like Chavela Vargas, Louis Armstrong, Cat Power, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Kristen Hersh or Sinead O'Connor can get the emotional impact of the song across much more successfully and can have a much more dramatic, thrilling, affecting and memorable performance.
- Screw all of this crap and give me some Tom Waitts and some Alabama Shakes, Muddy Waters, Taj Majal, Bonnie Raitt.
- On Rolling Stones Magazines list of the 100 greatest singers of all time, among the women are Gladys Knight, Karen Carpenter, Joni Mitchell, Joplin, MJ Blige, Mariah, Bonnie Raitt, Whitney, Tina Turner, Dusty Springfield, Patsy Cline, Etta James, Nina Simone and even Christina Aguilera. The number one singer on their list, male or female is Aretha.
Neither Celine Dion or Barbra Streisand are on the list! Maybe it does take more than a pretty voice or a large vocal range to be a great singer of popular music. Dynamic yes and with all the huge sales and hardware, but no cigar. Streisand is not very musical, instantly square, and Celine is her mimic. Musical anodynes and adenoids.
Rolling Stone is not too relevant and the great singers of the thirties,forties and fifties are not there at all. Must be on some other list!
Still it is hard to argue with who they did include.
- Nobody can compare to Whitney for her screaming, yelling and stupendous swooping.
- I offer this.
- And this.
- Mahalia Jackson had a powerful voice but her phrasing was an absolute hoot. You can't listing to her "Silent Night" without laughing at the "hehvun leepeace."
- How do you make a youtube link show as clickable link when you post?
- Oleta Adams deserves a shout out in this thread.
- R182, below the youtube video click on share > options > long link > copy/paste that link in URL space in your post
Hope that helps.
- R181, you are a philistine.
- [quote]Mahalia Jackson had a powerful voice but her phrasing was an absolute hoot. You can't listing to her "Silent Night" without laughing at the "hehvun leepeace."
Bitch please! Nothing comes even close to my thrilling rendition of "My Cunt ry, 'tis of thee" at the first Obama inauguration.
- First Laura Nyro gets ripped to shreds in the David Geffen thread, and now we're taking shots at Mahalia Jackson and Aretha.
Are there any gays left on DL?
- Mahalia and Aretha are both magnificent deities. If there were a God, they would be proof.
- [quote]If there were a God, they would be proof.
Of what? The pudding? Mmm, did someone say pudding?
- Donna Summer had an enormous voice. Elvis Presley was good too. Cindy Lauper, David Bowie, Celine Dion, Peabo Bryson Steve Perry - all great voices. Aretha was not a pop star.
- Aretha was totally a pop star, what are you talking about? Was and is. "Who's Zoomin' Who?" Hello?
- Lauren Hill
- I think Neko Case has the best voice in music today. Vastly superior to the hideous vocal gymnastics of today's r+b wailers.
- Potential future divas Amber Riley and Naya Rivera. Love it when these girls sing together on Glee and wish they would do an album together. Both have the potential to be great if they don't get full of themselves.
- Of course no one here will have ever hard of her, but Alison Krauss's voice is just stunningly gorgeous, her voice is like the supermodel of music.
- Ella Fitzgerald was constantly scatting with her thin voice.I hate scat. It annoys me. Just sing the words and melody bitch!
- Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons when he sang in his falsetto. Or maybe Tiny Tim....bwaaahahahahahahaha....Yer not gonna bring back Tiny Tim are yuh!?
I've never been hard for her, but then, I'm gay.
- R194 anything out of Glee is suspect. All of their singing is auto-tuned to death.
One thing you can say about American Idol is that those bitches can sing for real without needing auto-tune.
Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert are the best singers from that show with Clay being the most dynamic. He has an incredible range from ultra high to thrillingly low. Adam Lambert only has the high notes while Kelly is best when she is singing soulful ballads.
- Too many people are naming favorite singers who can sing passably well but that isn't the topic. OP is looking for the best, not the most famous or popular.
- Bobby McFerrin. This man is a true musical genius.
- R201, but he wasn't a great singer with a dynamic voice.
- I absolutely hate Adam Lambert's screechiness when he hits his high notes. Totally unlistenable.
- Actually R202, he does have a fantastic voice he can seemingly do anything with.
Check out this clip where he does a condensed "Wizard of Oz".
- R204, that was entertaining but not really great. He even used the choir to sing the notes he couldn't.
- Listen to the range and control. From his PBS special.
- K.D. Lang
- r199 I agree with you that the one good thing to come out of American Idol is some balance to all the auto tuned pop stars. They are like reliable work horses if you want a decent live National Anthem.
I disagree about Clay having a wider range or more dynamic voice than Lambert. Clay has a good voice and range but anyone with a knowledge of singing will tell you that Adam's range, power, control and breath support is a freak of nature. The screeching thing with Adam using his top register so much pretty much got under control after the first few weeks of idol.
He's a little like Whitney Houston in that his original material often doesn't serve as a good showcase.
It was interesting to watch some of his show with Queen, whose music suits him better than his own. I prefer Freddie in both tone and execution but technically Adam is even better than him live if only in the ability to sing the songs in the recorded range.
Here's a video example of dynamic vocals from that show.
- Sorry, you are wrong. I understand being a crazy fan with blinders on but you are not being objective.
Clay has a wider vocal range and superior control and he is free of the nasal whine so prevalent in Lambert's singing.
- R195 no way is Krauss among the greats. Her voice can go off-key in some songs. She does sound beautiful in others though.
- r209, just on a hunch when I saw the Clay Christmas thread I used troll-dar. Wow, you're a big fan.
Enjoy the show. I'm glad you enjoy Clay but I think I'll listen to other more objective critics for this discussion.
- Hey there Glambert. That trolldar really is a treat. So you have no objectivity at all yet you dare point fingers? At least I'm honest and I give other singers their due.
- Well then r200, the answer is Sarah Vaughan. Best vocalist in "pop" music ever. If one was looking outside just the borders of "pop" music, then it's probably Leontyne Price, no pop singers voice can match any Operatic voice.
WHO 'KILLED' THE PAUL NEWMAN THREAD? I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION. THIS THREAD DOES NOT LONGER EXIST. WHO DID THAT AND WHY?
- [quote] I prefer Freddie in both tone and execution but technically Adam is even better than him live if only in the ability to sing the songs in the recorded range.
Mercury kicked ass live. Watch any portion of the "Queen Live At Wembley" YouTube upload I am linking to.
Mercury's range started at a much lower octave than Lambert's, his work on the "Barcelona" album showcases that.
Lambert and I would dare say Mika are the only two singers I know of who can sing the Queen songbook. But, Mercury knew what he was doing live and Queen did as well, that is why Mercury always maintained his voice...he knew just how far to go without harming his voice while on tour.
Kudos to Lambert to working with Queen live and lip sync free no differently than Mercury. But, Mercury live was a sight to behold and Lambert is just plainly not as good (yet) as Mercury was live.
- Constantine Maroulis could sing Adam Lambert under the table. So could Clay Aiken. Just because Adam did sing Queen doesn't mean he was good or certainly not the best. Mika doesn't have the lower range any more than Adam does. Why pick two high pitched screechers? .
- Roberta Flack. Very underrated vocalist. She sings with subtlety without all the vocal gymnastics.
Minnie Ripperton. Another underappreciated talent. Mariah copied her whistle register but Minnie did it effortlessly without the banshee screaming. Just listen to a song called "Only When I'm Dreaming".
Deniece Williams. Vocal style similar to Minnie. She has a beautiful soothing voice. Just listen to "Black Butterfly", "Free" and "It's Going To Take A Maricle".
Michael Jackson. Rare unusual vocals that is a unique mixture of feminine and masculine. No one has a voice like him. Too bad he never tried to branch out and do something different like singing jazz.
Eddie Kendricks. Greatest falsetto singer ever. Phillip Bailey comes a close second.
George Michael. Another unique vocalist but took himself way to seriously making crap.
Freddy Mercury. Another great singer who wasted his vocals with crap songs.
- Adam Lambert - the American idol contestant, seriously? LOL, he doesn't sing he screams. Hideous.
Freddy Mercury, well, I have to say, Queen where an atrocious band, Bohemian Rhapsody is not listen-able and one of the most over rated songs ever.
- I attempted in a previous post, R118 to explain what dymanics mean when singing.
Range has little to do with it. Christina Aguilera has a much larger range than Streisand or Garland, but few would think her the best singer among them.
Aguilera even has a higher range than Streisand but because of the tone or timbre of her voice, it would seem lower.
Contraltos like Garland and Gladys Knight and Sarah Vaughn all have wonderfully dynamic vocal abilities. It has nothing to do with how "high" you sing.
Mezzo sopranos Whitney Houston and Linda Ronstadt are again very dynamic singers. It has to do with the volume and breath, changing in sound even within one note and within their full registers. Not the "take a deep breath and go for the high note", even if they do that as well. (Mariah Carey has a zillion registers, but little in dynamic abilities)
Streisand is not a very dynamic singer, yet has a very unique instrument. He high notes are quite thin, often nasal and without much volume, but her tone is so pure and she uses her vibrato and perfect placement of notes (pitch)to leave an impression of being a belter. She is not a belter.
Celine Dion has a five octave range and is a true Soprano, with a darker timber. She can display dynamics very well. But her singing "style" drives me crazy in a bad way. I would call her a Kitchen sink singer, as in she throws it all in.
Regarding Freddie Mercury. I love him and he has a very large range, about 3.5 octaves. But his voice is not trained and is falsely thought classical. He could have sung more "gorgeously" but was after all an out and out anthemic rock singer. Nothing wrong with that. But again a wide range and high notes are not really what determine what makes a singer dynamic, in the technical sense. If that were true, everyone would answer the deplorable Patti Labelle.
I don't know all the American Idol kids, but Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia each have dynamic vocal styles and abilities. I am not kidding. Clarkson can whisper to belt, in all her range, and has a shimmering soprano when she chooses to use it. Her songs are again, unworthy.
Fantasia could have been one of the greats. Not sure what happened. Bad material, bad attitude, bad guidance ? Bad R&B.
Check out this link for an example of beautiful dynamics in a male voice. It is believe it or not - Johnny Mathis! The fast vibrato is tiresome but his singing is fantastic. As I said what makes us like a voice is often different from great singing. I don't love his voice but he is very good at singing. Listen to it for that looooooonnng sustained note if nothing else, no loss of volume, pitch or tone.
If this was a favourite voices or songs thread, my answers would be shorter and different.
Jerking off on your own thread again? How tiresome can one poster be?
Give me some Macy Gray and the rest of you can eat shit.......
- It's not my thread, man.
Take a step up and listen to Sarah Vaughan.
- [quote] often nasal and without much volume, but her tone is so pure
Pure AND Nasal?
- Why the shade for underfifty? He makes some great points.
Underfifty, where do you put La Winehouse?
- R222 Ha, well you did kind of bust me. I have rather inconsistent thoughts on Streisand, but I do know what I speak of musically is all I will say. She used to be more nasal in her higher register than now, and the notes ARE thin up there, but she has a special technique, difficult to explain, that give her thin (sometimes) nasal high notes a piercing and soaring into space kind of sound. People suspected she was "autotuned" decades before there was such a thing. Hell no, it really is a unique vocal ability she has. Her lower and middle registers are more tonally pure.
I still contend that she is not the most musical or dynamic singer, but she is very gifted and quite unusual - a singer with no training, who never practices, doesn't even like to sing, and never even warms up. A bit of a freak. Yeah and sometimes nasal. OK ?
- [quote] Fantasia could have been one of the greats
You lost me right there. She's as awful as Patti LaBelle and the rest of that sorority of hysterical shriekers.
[quote]...but she has a special technique, difficult to explain, that give her thin (sometimes) nasal high notes a piercing and soaring into space kind of sound.
I read somewhere that she has a fair amount of cantors in her family tree and so that might be a technique a cantor uses. One of her grandfathers was a cantor, actually, and she grew up listening to him sometimes.
Linking to a description of what a cantor is in case anyone is interested.
- R224, why is it that voices of pop and R&B belters detiorate earlier than that of Broadway belters? Is it just a different technique that damages the vocal chords?
I suspect that Whitney suffered from this, too. The drugs and smoking only added to her voices decline.
- Yeah, underman, would you include Winehouse on any best of list?
- Phyllis Hyman, again. It's surprising the "experts" here aren't mentioning her when all the best singers in the world used to watch her perform.
- Phyllis Hyman was and is overrated. Most of her "singing" was just shouting and screaming.
- And Hyman was as bad as Whitney for recoding shit material.
- Today is the 21st anniversary of Freddie's passing. November 24, 1991.
A great loss in the music world and everytime I see a clip of him in concert or in a video (a format they helped pioneered in the rock world) it is a reminder of how much fun music was back in the day.
Queen, for the idiot who thinks it was an "atrocious band", was comprised of 4 incredibly talented musicians who wrote some wonderful songs. Brian May is still a premiere guitarist. Roger Taylor and John Deacon also excellent musicians.
For fun here's Queen doing Somebody To Love - think it's 1981 Montreal.
- R231 no one is talking about opera. This is about mainstream singers. Hyman was underrated. A true master of her craft.
R232 you better not be a Streisand or Dion stan. Phyllis sang while those 2 scream.
- Whitney did have dynamic voice for a short period before she was overtaken by drugs- but never sang good music. Very limited song book and not great musicianship.
- Thanks for that insightful addition to the thread, charlie!
- Misty-Smooth as Buttah
- Pia Zadora
- Thank you everyone for weighing in on my vanity thread, where I instruct you about Phyllis Hyman and the four songs she recorded.
- [quote]Whitney did have dynamic voice for a short period before she was overtaken by drugs- but never sang good music. Very limited song book and not great musicianship.
I'd say Whitney was the best singer in popular music between 1985 - 2000, which isn't a "short period" (check links upthread). Only in the last 12 years of her life did the voice start to fail her.
- What about Phyllis Hyman?
- Phyllis Hyman was a hysterical wreck whose craziness seemed to spill over into her music. She had no subtlety, no sense of interpretation, nothing. Every goddamned song was like a nervous breakdown for her.
- Connie Francis owns this thread.
- R241 Amen.
I have posted a lot on this thread, about a lot of singers, but it begins and ends with Whitney. For me, she is the most dynamic pop singer.
Here she is in 1994, her tone a bit deeper than when she was 20, but at the top of her game and power, with a long way to fall.
Ten minutes of bliss. She does not shout, but she is loud and sings in a gospel influenced style, with the greatest mezzo soprano pop voice probably ever. Gorgeous crescendos, the lovely head voice, a growl thrown in for emphasis, and the best and most tasteful use of runs, with her trademark unique endings of phrases, using head voice and trills or soulful moans. Yeah, she belts it too. Oversinging to some. Not to me. Let's leave that to her many imitators.
This is a medley of Gershwin, Dream Girls and If I Don't have you. She looks and sounds on top of the world.
- Her Am I Telling You is UNDERwhelming.
- UNDERwhelming is a compliment for that song......
- Holy fuck that link at R245 was astounding.
You are right, great voice but damn, it becomes noise about half way through.
Going to need some Bonnie Raitt after that
- R140 I'm surprised that Rosemary Clooney hasn't been mentioned more, her phrasing was perfection.
And not one mention of Eydie Gorme?
- Get yourself a look at the band Alabama Shakes with Brttany Howard.
- [quote]You are right, great voice but damn, it becomes noise about half way through.
I did recently see the Shakes on TV and watched some of their videos. So good, so real, so authentic, such good music you forget all of the diva stuff.
Brittany is an original.
Agreed, it is like having a poet shout his poems at the audience.
- Kate Bush - is a truly dynamic singer, I'm surprised no here has mentioned her yet, but I guess none of you know her, she isn't the usually low brow r'n'b pop signer the gays fall over.
She is an awesome UK singer and her voice is just amazing, you guys should get familiar with her music, It's not the typical trash shallow shit the agy usually go for, but seriously guys, do yourselves a favor check out her awesome music.
Here is a brilliant, uber cool classy vid for the tilted track of her album: The Sensual World
- What about Marie Osmond? Sings like an angel.
- Kylie Minogue deserves a mention. She recently released a cover album of her own hits redone as ballads. I think she's got a great, jazzy style. And unlike Madonna, Kylie can actually sing live.
- R245, Not a fan of hunt and peck singing.
- R250, please see R106 & R111
- Kylie Minoque is just terrible a twat of the first order.
- I'm a big fan pf Kate Bush, but like say PJ Harvey and Cat Power she isn't a "gay artist" like say Lady Gaga or Mariah or 90% of other signers on this thread, Freddie, Whitney ect, so she pretty much gets ignored by gay men.
Gay men in general have the worst taste in music.
- Gee thanks, R255, for letting us know about "underground" Kate Bush! However did you find such a diamond in the rough?? What a beacon of taste and indie cred you represent. I hail you!
- The thing about Whitney is, she's one of the few singers who sounded even better live than on record. Take one of her most common songs, for example. I have never been able to listen to the studio recording after hearing this live version which, thankfully, was used as the official video. What I considered a sappy song became so beautiful and emotional.
- This thread has made me such a Whitney fan.
- Lisa Stansfield, who seems to have disappeared. She hasn't recorded anything in ages, but I just love her voice.
- Dakota Staton
- Same here r264. And as for the link at 173, I don't think she's past her peak at all as that song showcases just how dynamic her voice was. It's richer, fuller and I like it better than the younger Whitney of the 80s. Also, I'm a musical theatre fan and that was right up my street. I never knew she sang that.
- [quote]What about Marie Osmond? Sings like an angel.
I do actually agree (whether you were joking or not) that Marie and Donny are both really talented singers underneath it all, but I wouldn't describe her style as "dynamic."
- Lisa Stansfield always sings under the note.
- And she ain't a good live performer, either, lacks the It Factor.
- Linda Ronstadt
- "Let the times roll, let the love grow, let the rain shower, let the rose flower. Love it seeks and love it finds, love it conquers, love it binds!"
Theme from "Angie" - "Different Worlds"
- Thanks R121 from R120
- Connie Francis, Sings In any style,from Rock To Country & everything inbetween.Sings in more than 7 languages, several languges,both her hits & original material for said Country. A Powerhouse Vocalist
- Learn the alphabet bitches; ABBA
- Not all of my favourites "shout."
It was fun to be part of the conversation, controversy and conversion of the OP, regarding Whitney Houston.
This is Sarah Vaughan with a cold, that a trained ear can hear. All singers should have such an affliction. Dynamic vocal Poet. (I won't analyze her voice:)
This is for you R251, R253, R254.
I am digging the Alabama Shakes, and Bonnie Raitt is the balm.
- Sarah Vaughan just made this gay guy hard.
- R277, when I was watching that Sarah Vaughan link, I clicked on a Susan Boyle youtube clip. Is she just an example of hype? Too musical theater-y? Or an actual great find?
yes, yes and no.
Say what you want about Fantasia, she is a very dynamic singer. She is extremely versatile, and Fantasia is a storyteller when she sings.
Here is a video of Fantasia singing "I'M HERE" at the Tony Awards:
- Hell yeah,
Fantasia CAN sing. She is not a "cool" stylist and can sound a bit rough, but I am surprised that so many don't like her.
Elton John, classic.
- Whitney Houston
This Day, the gospel song.
Not a musician? She sure the fuck knew something about singing a song............
The video quality is not great and this was a rehearsal, so it is partly sung in half-voice, as classical singers do.
She was feeling her way through, and knew what she wanted. Musician. Great singer. Something.
- Fantasia can SANG! Folks who don't like her are white people who prefer their music to be stolen from black people and then water it down completely to a lame, white bread version. Fuck them.
- Flames & Freaks the racist at r284. Fantasia is an illiterate vulgarian, she's not a good singer as she oversings everything like Xtina and she's too dumb to undertand the lyrics.
- Fantasia is one of *the* best interpreters of songs in music today, R285. Her talent is respected by musical legends like Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and the list goes on. Her personal life is a mess, but she is extremely talented.
Above everything else, Fantasia has phenomenal stage presence!
Watch her energetic tribute of "Lady Marmalade" to Patti LaBelle:
- [quote] so it is partly sung in half-voice, as classical singers do.
- Here is Fantasia singing several songs in tribute to Aretha Franklin:
- I had never heard of Fantasia until this thread (I don't live in the States).
So I watched the videos posted above. She certainly has the right stuff but she, like most of those American Idol singers, needs direction...they just don't understand how to interpret a song. It's all full blast from start to end. They don't understand subtlety. It's crap.
You can see that they've had no time to hone their craft...or they're just too stupid to care otherwise.
I will say this: the girl sure knows how to pick out the dresses.... she looks fabulous. In that Tony Award clip....the dress, the hair, the jewellery.... all fabulous and in excellent taste.
Below is a link to Aretha Franklin singing Natural Woman. She drives home every word. She understands gesture. She acts the lyrics. Everything is done for the right effect. And after she's through, you want to hear more. Not so with this Fantasia chick.
Thanks for that. Long time ago, we sometimes forget how great she was. Makes you forget about the rest.
- "Of course no one here will have ever hard of her, but Alison Krauss's voice is just stunningly gorgeous, her voice is like the supermodel of music."
I know who Alison is, I LOVED her version of The Foundations, "Baby Now That I've Found You"!
At The Grammys, Alison and Robert Plant won album of the year a few years ago.
- [quote] Of course no one here will have ever hard of her, but Alison Krauss
Yes, like no one here has heard of Kate Bush... All these obscure names, I just can't deal!
- 289 watching that clip after seeing the one of Whitney I am making the connection that Whitney must have payed close attention to Aretha because I feel like her phrasing is very similar. Both women knew their way around a song.
Both of their vocal styles came from the church
- R286 "Her talent is respected by musical legends like Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and the list goes on."
Well then it would be nice if she learned from Gladys Knight.
This is how to deliver a song. THIS is stage presence. "Neither One of Us".
(Oh... and those Pips in those suits with those moves... gives me a hard-on)
- Good thing you said more than one OP because it's silly to pick just one voice.
- Fantasia can sing, but she is so coarse and ghetto in both manner and appearance that she'll only be a niche performer and never break into the mainstream.
- There is so much subtle and blatant racism and misogyny on DL. It is a bit of a shock. American fags have so much in common with the inherent ignorance of the `repug` thugs that they love to go on about. They give all gay people a bad name.
- No one has as much emotion, even in a single gasp or syllable, as Maria McKee. Her live version of "Wheels" gives goosebumps every time.
- No Emmylou's version of Gram Parsons' "Wheels" absolutely kills! I wanted to say Donna Summer had a very dynamic voice.
- Karen Carpenter!
- Irish folk singer Mary Black has one of the best vocals. Pitch perfect and crystal clear.
- I just listened to the youtubes linked of Fantasia. She may be able to hit notes and she has what I'd call a strong voice but I don't LIKE her voice.
I'm not a singer or an expert in voice but listening to Gladys Knight at the link you can see how beautiful her voice is and how beautifully she puts across a song whether it' during a soft section or where she belts it compared to Fantasia. There's almost no comparison.
Whatever it is I can't call Fantasia's voice beautiful or particularly lyrical - it is loud and she can hit some impressive notes so maybe that's the rough stuff that can be turned into a fabulous voice. Something about her timber or tenor - I don't know what it's called - is not appealing to me. But from what I heard she is not that impressive to me.
I suppose it's all about taste.
- annie lennox
- I am kind of reluctant to post a Judy Garland song. But she had a dynamic voice in the truest sense.
This is a relatively modest performance by her, but her variation of volume, texture and phrasing demonstrate the true meaning of dynamics in song.
Even in her softest voice there is fullness of sound, and within a note or a phrase she varies her vocals subtly and masterfully. The tone of voice is what we love or not in the end. She sang beautifully.
There are many small and one large crescendos in this song, moving from one note to the next with increased volume, on the same breath.
Not many pop singers do this as well. Sinatra, Houston, Aretha, Sarah Vaughan and sometimes Gladys Knight.
She is way before my time, but belongs on this thread. The song is corny. The singer is not.
- I was listening to my Andre Bocelli Xmas CD in my car today. Among several others he does a duet with Natalie Cole. This idiot has always thought she was a superb vocalist especially her work with David Foster who also produced the last American song book CD with Rod Stewart.
- Fantasia's voice gets too screechy, like Lambert's, when she sings high and loud. Not pleasing at all to listen to.
Whitney at her best has been the best vocalist of in generations for me.
- Whitney Houston, on a bad day...
Abraham, Martin and John.
Some kind of reverential protest song. Soul.
- The girls from Abba had astounding voices. Crystal clear, technically perfect and depth of emotional expression without going overboard. Unlike these idiots today, they never screamed/shouted the lyrics either.
- Celine Dion has one of the most spectacular voices around. She has wonderful control and takes very good care of her voice. No talking, always warming up, and avoiding all the bad stuff. She is robotic, but dynamic.
In most things this makes her a bore, but no one is more interested in sounding good than she. She is sincere. Ha. You would have to be Canadian to even begin to understand her image.
I am a big fan of Christmas recordings and covers by singers, because it often illuminates how much better they can be.
Her vocal fluidity and upper register are more thrilling than Streisand could ever hope to achieve. She is a bit nasal in mid register, but her voice is a great instrument.
O Holy Night.
- R311, I think you've really taught me things about singing. I listened to your Celine link and then listened to Mariah and JHud singing the same song. Celine's version was rich, full bodied, each note seemed perfect and thought out. But she definitely lacks phrasing or something. She sings perfectly, but also like awkwardly, somehow. Mariah's mid and lower register (new terms!) seemed incredibly banal, but that upper register thing she has going is pretty damn cool. And JHud has all the power in the world, but I was bored the whole way through.
Whitney is still my favorite. Celine would be second, but Whitney seemed to sing so much easier and with more fluidity than Celine.
Celine does lack in phrasing and is very good at placing every note but at the expense of the meaning of the lyrics. Her voice is superb. She gets it better in french. You get it.
Mariah has a freak fine "whistle" register that is beyond lower, mid and upper.
I don't like her much, but here is a good show of how well she can sing, and stardom corrupts?
Mariah, Celine and Jhud have made no secret that Whitney is their biggest influence. Whitney had a voice like the trumpets of Jericho, and could sing from her soul, not having to worry much about the notes. Show off.
Vision of love.
- You're so right about Whitney not having to think about hitting those notes. Most other singers, you can see them concentrating. And that's great! They should. But it just pours out of Whitney. And I agree that judging Celine on her English phrasing isn't really fair.
- oh, fuck,
don't piss off M. Carey....
sorry, my mistake.
- I wish Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds had stayed together. ...they were pure magic.
- I like this.
Celine in Paris, in English.
- r250, you missed the one earlier reference to Eydie Gorme. I agree, for power, range, emotion, clarity and dynamics she is truly among the best and most underrated today. I also think Connie Francis belongs near the very top. Her remarkable voice lacks a certain warmth, which is why I think people forget how amazing she often was.
The divas are not possible to beat, for power and control, and singing in perfect pitch with some kind of personal electricity. Rare. Listen to them too long and everyone else sounds out of tune and hobbled, or humanly soothing.
IMO Sarah Barellis is one of the best singers out there now. Nothing like a diva, but the girl can sing and is a very good musician.
Bonnie Raitt is classic, not pushing her voice ever, but her tone, taste and phrasing in rock, blues, soul and pop is as good as it gets.
I am going to post Bernadette Peters too. Of Broadway singers, she has the most interesting voice, far from a powerhouse, but with a sweet range and texture, presence and electricity. She knows what she is working with.
- Bonnie Raitt
- Song of Bernadette
- Nonsense! The two singers with powerful dynamic voices are Springsteen and Cher. They can sing without mics and their voices will still carry. Even at their ages, their voices are incredibly powerful live.
- Anyone a fan of Cassandra Wilson's?
- Yes, r324 I am a big fan of Cassandra Wilson. I have posted all over this thread, but didn't mention her because I am not sure if she is falls in the pop genre, but her smoky rich and strong voice is beautiful, and she sure can sing. She is more a jazz stylist, I would say, but she covers a lot of popular songs.
I listen to her all the time.
- Roger Daltrey. Still singing. Needs to keep his shirt on.
She is not a pop singer though she has tried. Her voice is near perfect. A classically trained soprano who sings with freaky capability and not a bad spot in her range or any big flaw in her style. She hits high F's too.....
I am a classical musician, sometime singer and teacher. Kristen has a voice that is too broadway to some and too classical for others. Her gorgeous soprano head voice is not wanted in pop music, but she has the feel for it. She tried country. Can't escape her pure sound.
I am posting this for some Laker's jockstrap Whitney loving guy who also LUVs smart sexy Italian Canadians. I hope he is listening. This is also great singing.
Her voice is beautiful and she is a fun woman to work with.
A lot to say about a little song.....
- Cleo Lane
During on of her concert tours in the US the song she sings at the intermission as she leaves the stage and microphone is "Will You Still Talk About Me When I'm Gone".
- I wasn't a Whitney fan until you made, Montreal Spanker! And yes, I do sort of have a DL crush on you...
Ok, sweet and funny that, I am glad you got my shot in the dark. My bf says I can have you as a DL crush cuz I was very new to this sort of thing and you were real kind to me, and he knows I love to spank.
Plus you are smart, cookie wise and read books and play sports and stuff and are teachable. So you are my DL crush too.
My jock knee recovered from surgery while telling you bout Whitney and stuff. I am back on my game and at the piano. Can't say for the Lakers.
yeah, um, how bout that Edie Gorme ? This can't be cool, but I had to say hey, before I ditch the DL. Too many mean people......
I think yur swell.
- Tony Martin
One of my teachers at the Royal Conservatory swore and still swears that Shirley Bassey is a great singer. He insists I post her.
She is for sure dynamic with that great deep resonant Welsh tinged voice and a fine range. Born above a brothel. She loves only gold.
I chose the song - you cannot avoid the histrionics with her, so at least a good song.
The Party's Over.
- I thought I had a quick reply to this thread until I read all the replies and was reminded of SO many great voices over the years! Guys, there is no easy answer as we are all (obviously) very passionate about our faves.
Passion is good. Back to my (personal) best.
Miss Dusty Springfield. To name but one.
- This is Whitney Houston live in Santiago, Chile back in '94. The variations are nothing short of spectacular, no amount of training can produce this kind of unrestrained performance and talent. It all came so effortlessly to her which explains why she didn't care so much for it as much as the rest of the world did. God, she was in good voice that night.
- Linda Ronstadt
- Judy Garland in her prime (1954-60). No one comes even close.
- For that California guy....
I was about twelve when this song came out by Donna Summer and never went to the disco.
This video, with full orchestra and freaked out sound proves that Donna was a very good singer, even in her fifties. Dynamic, rhythmic, better than some people think. Under appreciated.
She scrapes a couple high notes, but the range and tone of her voice is fucking hard to resist. The bridge in this song is beautiful and her last operatic note is bliss. Move your ass and enjoy.
- I've been reduced to "that California guy"?
Alas, the pain!
You have been treated well so far.
It gets tougher.
Don't lie, California guy.
I have been an angel to you.
I found your cake in the rain.
- Tiny Tim.
Linda Ronstadt. "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress."
Beautiful song, beautiful voice, beautiful woman.
- Gayle McCormick
- Björk. Watch Robyn (who is normally a pretty damn good vocalist) butcher Hyperballad and you realize just how good Björk is.
Also, watch Björk's underwhelmed reaction to the performance. That's DL respect for its cuntiness.
- I can not been said too many times: Ella.
- Fantasia's voice can be annoying, but it is dynamic. She shines when she controls her voice, as she does on her new song, "Lose to Win".
Fantasia is one of the few well-known American female singers under 40 who can tell a story beautifully via phrasing.
At this link, her phrasing at 0:33 and 1:46 is stellar:
- Teena Marie
- For the new generation coming up (born the same year as me!):
Seriously she has the highs, the lows, genre switching, jazzy, experimental, and sounds fucking better live (best voice I heard last year!)
- Freddie Mercury. There aren't enough words to describe his voice and style. Brian and Roger have great voices as well. Once the heard Freddie sing, they knew he had to be the one out front.
I have posted all over this thread so I am not posting Kelly Clarkson in response to Fantasia. They are both the best that AI has found.
I love Kelly's voice, she can sing rock, standards, the prettiest trills and R@B riffs. Beautiful range, dynamics and plain old heart.
Is she a great artist? I dunno, but she has one of the best voices out there now. No shoes, no fake tits, no fake nose, not much artifice. She just knows how to sing.
- I like Kimbra's voice as well...it's distinct, when can't be said for many current pop stars.
- Ray Charles
- Whitney Houston, Easter.
Stick with it, it goes to live footage.
"Don't Cry for Me"
Houston singing at an AIDS fundraiser, heart and soul.
- Someone upthread mentioned Kate Smith. This clip, from her mid-'60s London Palladium TV special, has been posted before, but it really is good. She tears it up at the end!
- To my Canadian papa bear:
What do you think of this article? I listened to the Oprah "Believe" duet, and, maybe because of your influence, I just don't get how anyone could think Mariah's voice is on the same level as Whitney's.
- Sandra Bernhart....Bernhardt..Bearn. Whatever.
- The woman known as Ann Tennille.
- Patti Lupone singing, "Ernie, From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania".
I ain't no bear but ok bad boy. Mariah is not a better singer than Whitney. Not on her best day.
I have a lot more to say and not enough time, so I am posting Whitney singing "Run to You", probably her most airy and Mariah like vocal.
Whitney hits numerous E's above middle C in this song, and so she is in the rare air of real vocalists. Mariah can do it too with a different effort and tone. Whitney's singing was always more pure in tone and in style. She gets the bad rap of being the one who invented endless runs and oversinging, but that honor belongs to sister Mariah.
I have some kinder things to say bout Mariah, but not now. Mariah had a very special voice, and a freakish range as we all know, but her overuse of melisma is like listening to someone singing into a fan. Her voice quavers and ripples so much on each note that she has a hard time creating excitement. She is a very breathy singer, with bright but eeking high notes and she mixes her vocals in every register but not smoothly so it very much lessons her emotional impact. Her singing does not flow well except in the studio...but she came out of the box far more fully formed and unique in her style than Whitney did.
The overuse of melisma also can make Carey sound like she can't find the note. She could but she can't anymore? In classical music, this is simply labelled as too much "ornamentation." Speaks for itself, Laker fans. It is impressive to some, but overuse makes for a very tiring sound. Literally.
Whitney's voice sounds like bells pealing, not high pitched bells either, but the ones that hit you in your gut and make you want to look up. Her vocals are a march toward something, with sweet trills and gospel inflections, some soulful tricks but most always in service of the song and the emotional territory she is guiding us through. Mariah sings more for herself and the sound she wants to produce, if that makes sense.
Houston's singing is technically stunning but emotionally organic and for 15 to 20 years she had confidence in what she could do. Great vocalists can use their gift to grow better through live performances and to please and thrill people as it happens. Whitney really did sing from her heart and was more impressive, powerful and lyrical at thirty than she was at twenty. (This can't be said for Carey)
Run to you is the only studio "video" I have posted. It is to illustrate that Whitney could do Mariah type songs with airy vocals and in her highest range, and still know how and when to inflect feeling into the lyric and when to sing more simply. Whitney could sing like Mariah, but Mariah could never sing like Whitney.
That is a once in a lifetime tone, power and magically elegant voice, Ms. Houston had.
"Run to You"
yeah, fucked up,
Whitney in white....
- Roger Daltrey and Colin Blunstone
- Tina Turner
- Most of these "great" singers are still the products of studio trickery. That "airy" vocal Mariah is known for is created by having her sing the song straight about 100 times, combining the tracks together and then having her do about 50 "whisper" tracks where she basically whispers the song. When you carefully combine all those tracks together, you get that beautiful, angelic vocal...but don't be under the impression that that voice ever came out of her mouth sounding like that.
- Michael Jackson during the Jackson 5 years.
- Phoebe Snow
- Whitney, effortlessly, and forever.
Just Surrender, there is no question.
Trust me I am no fan of Mariah Carey, but to say that she could not do all her vocal tricks live is not true. At first and for a while she was phenomenal if you like that sort of thing.
Mariah, like Whitney, was carefully groomed, spit and polished in the studio and in demeanor, and then grandly presented to the world and became an instant star.
I am a musician and don't care for Mariah's vocal tone and her limitations, but she wowed people with her incredible range and her whistle register. She cannot interpret a lyric, so she emotes with her sound and her hair.
Mariah got lazy and rebellious quick, shed the princess image and her svengali husband and started wearing invisible crowns. She also lost many of her freakish abilities and was left with her breathy voice and breaks in registers, and retreated to the studio and a more urban sound and some diva delusions.
This is from the listening party for Mariah's first album. All of her strengths and weaknesses are on display. She was something. I don't like her sound or technique. No doubt that she was exceptional though.
"Love takes Time"
- Roberta Flack
- Sue Thompson
The great Tina Turner and the great Robert Cray.
Sex and soul and R@B, the pain all real.
"A Change gonna Come"
Mariah Carey, tearing it up on SNL. Watch for Randy Jackson on bass.
You can't say that chick couldn't sang - even her background singers are impressed.
"If it's Over"
- Freddy Curci is not heard from much but he has a great voice. He was the lead singer for Alias and Sheriff.
- Jackie Wilson.
- Marvin Gaye and Dusty Springfield from yesteryear. Currently, Kelly Clarkson and Mika.
- R367, why has Mariah's voice deteriorated the way it has? It's puzzling because she's not a smoker, doesn't do drugs, and has never toured extensively. She doesn't get called out for lipsyncing in concert, but that's a different thread I guess.
- [R367] Simply aging and normal scaring of her vocal chords. Also alcohol factors in.
Whitney had an appointment with the world renown voice surgeon Dr Steven Zeitels., Smoking was her reason for delaying her procedure. The man works miracles and there was a fascinating profile about his procedures in New Yorker recently. including a gel replacement substance to rebuild the chords themselves,
Had things turned out differently for Ms Houston it is easy to imagine her dominating music still today. No doubt Mariah has had or will be scheduling,
apt with the good Doctor,
- Kate Bush people!Go listen now go!
A bit rude but it is time for Janis Joplin. She is before my time but not outside my admiration.
Her voice is dynamic and back in some day this was almost popular music.
"Kozmic Blues" in Toronto 1970. My wonderful parents were there. Very fucking cool.
It makes no difference babe.....
"Little Girl Blue"
- Freddie Mercury (Queen)
Rob Halford (Judas Priest)
Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Dio)
Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)
Ian Gillan (Deep Purple)
Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
- [quote]I'm a big fan pf Kate Bush, but like say PJ Harvey and Cat Power she isn't a "gay artist" like say Lady Gaga or Mariah or 90% of other signers on this thread, Freddie, Whitney ect, so she pretty much gets ignored by gay men. Gay men in general have the worst taste in music.
No R261, that really isn't true. If you'd mentioned more obscure artists then yes but gay men have a big thing in particular for female angst artists, some more menstrual than others like Alanis, Sarah, Fiona. Tori especially has a huge gay following as does Kate. PJ too. Cat Power less so, but enough would like her. Regina is another one as is Bat For Lashes, so there's a whole slew of anti-divas out there.
I generally agree with your gay taste generalisation, but on here if you check the 80s random song thread you'll see gay men can be interchangeable from your average straight guy taste wise. I like both worlds - trash pop, to the more serious stuff. I'm very much a music snob but can't shake my love for sugar pop.
I'm not a big fan of Queen and find them tacky, but no denying Freddie had an all time great voice and he was as a frontman, more commanding than most of his straight peers. He's one we should be proud of. Alongside him, the genius George Michael had one of the greatest of all voices and rivalled Prince as a one man band. Morrissey has one of the great "acquired taste" voices, much like Patti Smith.
But since you were the one that mentioned her here, I'll put my vote in for PJ Harvey. One of the few geniuses in music today and best female voice in rock. I'd put her ahead of Kate, another genius.
- I love Montreal Man so much.
- Aretha Franklin
"The Ballad of the Runaway Horse"
For the boy who gets every word. Listen. This is a vocal only - as perfect a vocal as you can get. Every breath and inflection propel the meaning. Leonard Cohen song. Len and Jen.
Get "Famous Blue Raincoat", by Jennifer Warnes, remastered.
I love you too.
- Connie Francis
- Valerie Carter
- Jo Stafford