Top Ten Favourite British Female Vocalists
After my list of twenty favourite female vocalists, I have now completed a list that focuses on British females. Again, those on the list were chosen and ranked based on my own opinion and looks at the ladies’ timbre, vocal ability, power, versatility and live performances.
1) Beverley Knight
Type: Coloratura mezzo
She may be highly underrated but Beverley is an amazingly talented vocalist, whose style is rooted in gospel singing. She has an incredible range, great technique and is a very powerful belter, giving it her all in all her performances, and is very much like a younger, British version of Aretha Franklin. It’s such a shame she isn’t as widely recognised when she is far superior than the likes of Adele and Leona Lewis.
2) Annie Lennox
Type: Coloratura contralto
Annie Lennox’s musicality is astounding; classically trained with an almost operatic-like singing voice (she’s a contralto but has a phenomenal range for one), she is not only a very skilled technical singer but also an emotive one. She has a very rich and warm tone to her voice but her high notes are also very full and clear, and she could definitely show some of the younger generation how it’s done!
Type: Low lyric mezzo
What I liked about Gabrielle’s voice, which reminded me a lot of Mary J Blige and Macy Gray rolled into one – like a British version of both of them, was the sweet and soothing yet raspy tone to it, and the cool edge she had to her sound and music.
4) Heather Small
Type: Lyric contralto
Astonishingly deep and extremely rich, Heather Small’s powerful gospel-influnced voice is distinctive and full of soul. Her voice may not be to everyone’s taste but there’s something about her that makes me love the bombast way in which she sings.
5) Jessie J
Type: Spinto soprano
Jessie J is a vocal beast and definitely one of the best young singers in the UK out there today (well, there aren’t many to compare with… I mean, look at Ellie Goulding, for example). Sometimes her vocal styling isn’t to everyone’s taste and her upper belts can be rather screechy but overall she has a great technique and there is a lot of power in her voice.
Type: Low lyric mezzo
A deep, rich and soulful voice, Adele certainly knows how to deliver her songs well with a lot of emotion (even if they are all very similar and monotonous). Although I don’t think she’s as phenomenal as a lot of people seem to believe her to be, she’s certainly great at what she does, so let’s see if in the long run her recovery from vocal surgery and after quitting smoking she further improves.
7) Leona Lewis
Type: Light lyric soprano
A very sweet voice (almost too sweet perhaps, sometimes), Leona made a name for herself trying to impersonate her idols Whitney and Mariah on The X Factor. However, when she broke away and did her own thing and didn’t attempt iconic songs that were too big for her to handle, she really exceeded. She has a impressive range and the best parts of it are her pretty falsetto and head voice.
Type: Lyric soprano
Another underrated singer and of the last proper British female R&B singers, Jamelia deserves more recognition than she gets, especially when it comes to the ballads she recorded, where her real talent for singing and her and gorgeous tone shone through.
9) Joss Stone
Type: Lyric mezzo
I could never tell whether the way Joss Stone sings is actually her real voice or just totally fake, which was slightly annoying, but either way she is good singer and an emotive one at that and one of the first pioneers of British blue-eyed soul singers since 2000 onwards.
10) Amy Winehouse
Type: Contralto/low lyric mezzo? (debated)
The thing about Amy Winehouse’s voice is that you could never tell if she was drunk or sober or not at the time of singing, whether it was in the studio or live, yet at the same time she had a very compelling voice that told the story of her songs with a lot of emotion. She was far off from being a great vocalist, especially when she definitely wasn’t in the best of health due to alcohol, smoking, drugs and other illnesses, but there was certainly something about her that was interesting, particularly her rich, almost sickly sweet lower register and drawl.