Wednesday 11 April 2012

Annie Lennox: vocal Range/Profile [contralto/3 octaves]

Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range:3 Octaves  3 Notes G2-C6
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses: Powerful voice, that has a rich, weighty quality throughout its entirety.  Technically brilliant singer: able to switch between the different parts of her range with relative ease, and skill; able to sing melisma; and demonstrates excellent breath control that allows for well supported held notes, and long, uninterrupted ornamentation.

Incredible comfort in the lower extremes of the voice meaning notes can be hit in the second octave with relative ease. The notes produced are solid, dark and male like in timbre. It provides a strong foundation for Annie Lennox to create interesting layered and unique harmonies that though fit and blend well together, still manage to maintain the vocal integrity and character of each part of the harmony independently- hear the introduction of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen .

The midrange is versatile: able to shift between tones and timbres depending on what is called for artistically. From an androgynous, dominating, cool, almost robotic like tone- the backing vocals of Little Bird- to one with more warmth, slightly lighter weight and a more feminine colouring- A Thousand Beautiful Things- Annie Lennox's midrange is perhaps the strongest and most versatile part of her range.

The belting range is consistently weighty and thick, even up into the fifth octave, and has a strong resonance and dynamic. The impassioned tone and the way Annie Lennox can utilise this part of her range- melisma, held notes, masterful control of its dynamics - is one of the reasons she has been labelled by many as "soulful" and "emotive" as well as a great technical singer.

Annie Lennox's head voice has a duality to it: able to be either operatic or more contemporary in tone. When singing in an operatic style the head voice demonstrates a controlled and measured tone, a rounded and lighter sound and a warmer and softer timbre- There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart). It's use in a contemporary style produces a more biting tone, that is piercing, full and bright.

Vocal Negatives: The thickness and weight of the voice doesn't always lend itself to florid ornamentation or complex/quick melisma.

There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)

A Thousand Beautiful Things

Little Bird


  1. DD!!! My hero!! Thank youuuuuu! Perfect profile, I could not have asked for more!! Woooooo

  2. Oh FINALLY!
    I've waited for this foe so long!
    Thank you very much!

  3. :D  Her voice is awesome, listening to a lot of her stuff today reminded me of just how great it is.

  4. Indeed, I like how she is more about quality than quantity. She wont rush out and release just any old tripe, she will master a sound and deliver it with class, grace and heaps of substance!

    She is doing it for us Scots (and very well may one add)

  5. yeah , I only realised how little she's released as a solo artist when I wiki-ed her. Was sure it was a lot more, but was obviously wrong. Her Eurythmics stuff was brilliant too. She's been pushing that envelope for so long, without resorting to sex, and I admire her so much for that.

    Also aren't you forgetting another Diva, and thus reason, to be proud of Scotland.... Michelle Mcmanus!? Bless her.

  6. I know, and she could have so easily went down the sex sells route, she was extremely attractive in her day!

    Lol I am afraid Michelle might come out of the telly some day and start gnawing on my arm! All this time, weve come a long long way, I waited....shit I need a re-fill....McDonalds!!!!!

  7. Yes - she's not got a very flexible voice in the same way that so many of the newer singers have...but she has a wonderful selection of tones and colours to choose from. Great analysis DD.

  8. Love her so much, sorely underrated though.
    Thanks for using my some of my videos for the profiles on the females here!
    Love the Vocal pluses, most in depth description I've seen on here so far.
    Keep up the great work :)

  9. My favourite singer Annie Lennox has a new Diva Devotee! I love her contralto voice.

  10. She can hit a C2 but everything else is correct. Great profile 4 a great singer

  11. She is one of the few singers who you can truly say is as good as the day they first came onto the scene. 
    Time has barely touched her physically and vocally.

  12. Thank you so so so much!

  13. Damn...that was intense. I need to get into some of her music!


  15. I love the last minute of "Why". Some of the best lyrics I've seen delivered by any artist, male or female. And when she jumps up to those C5's on "And these are the years that we have spent, and this is what they represent", just a powerful moment. There's so much unspoken power and passion behind that voice of hers. I think that's why I probably love Annie so much aside from that gorgeous tone and vocal control, is that there's so much passion behind her voice.

  16. Diva Devotee I found a C2 by Annie :)


  18. lol, It's on "Take Me To The River", At around 3:00 on the word "come on" She goes down to a C2/D2. You'll need headphones to hear it because it's very hard to hear with speakers.

    I found it by accident, I was bored listening through her songs and I have this habit of singing things an octave lower and I was singing in like the B1-E2 range and suddenly I hear that note and it matched a note I was singing along with. And I played it back and studied the note for a bit and it sounds to be a C2 or D2 lol.

  19. Tessi Tessitura22 July 2012 at 09:33

    One word. Class.

    Ok that was 3 words.

  20. I was re-listening through her discography and It only verified my view that Lennox is the greatest contralto to ever enter pop music. Her vocal control and ability is up there amongst the greatest singers of all time, Annie is a truly overlooked vocal titan.

  21. *Claps hands* could not agree more!!

  22. Why thank you Stuey!
    Annie is just a treasure.

  23. I know right, there is very few people that not only know every single dynamic of their own voice but can use those dynamics to full effect, not only is she a gifted technical singer she is an honest one at that, you believe every word of what she is singing you. Great writer too! She gives us Scottish folks something to be extremely proud of :)

  24. Ugh I adore Annie. Such a flawless artist. Truly once a generation. :)

  25. One of my favorite singers for sure...a true talent, unlike most of the tripe that is forced upon us these days. She's simply astonishing. A rare example of a singer having a strong technique AND emoting through song. I can listen to her rendition of 'Love Song For A Vampire' all day long!!

  26. I hate her so much for the weighty tone she keeps even when she's up in the sixth octave. Fuck coloratura/melisma/whatthefuckever, she can hit soprano notes and still keep her contralto thickness.

  27. And by "hate", I mean that I'm incredibly jealous and love her. xD

  28. Thanks for posting this. I learned a lot.

  29. I just heard "Must be an Angel" for the first time a few weeks ago at work--Christ on a pancake. That is some high as fuck coloratura--it'd be impressive for a soprano, even.

  30. If i were a woman i would have wanted to have her voice

  31. This woman is successful!

    4 Grammys
    8 BRIT Awards
    1 AMA
    1 Oscar
    1 Golden Globe
    and over 29 other awards.

    Known in America and Britain as the most successful British artist.
    Listed at 22nd place as Rolling Stone's Greatest Woman in Music."
    She is amazing although she should get more awards for her amazing work and craft in the Music Industry.

  32. "The thickness and weight of the voice doesn't always lend itself to florid ornamentation or complex/quick melisma" - I disagree. There are plenty of examples where she her coloratura is beyond impressive by any standards, especially for a contralto and is most prominent in There Must Be An Angel (although I've yet to hear her perform that slide from a G#5 - I think - in head voice down to a C3 live)

  33. I don't think she's underrated really - she's definitely highly regarded as one of Britain's finest and most talented female artists - if not the most talented. She's like Beverley Knight - both are acclaimed for their exceptional voices but these days most people never hear much about them or their music (except Eurythmics stuff) because they're not "mainstream" enough.

  34. Also 93rd on Rolling Stones Greatest Singers list (not high enough imo) and she's an OBE - but should be made a Dame I think.

  35. This opinion won't make me popular but I don't like how Annie's voice sounds now that she's older. It's now very different from her 80s and 90s voice. Her voice isn't shot, but it hasn't matured to my tastes I suppose.

    I think Cher's an example of an alto whose voice has aged better.

  36. Ditto for Cher, she's got one of the most elegantly aging voices in music. And, as for Annie, her earlier material was probably better, as with many artists, but I don't think her voice has really changed all that dramatically from her earlier material. She still hits high notes just as well as before, like "Sing" for example. Right towards the end of the "This is a call for the national..." speech at the beginning, she sounds really solid there in that upper part of range before she sings the first refrain. But other parts do sound a little less crisp than they used to, I suppose. Either way, she's one of my favorite singers of all time.

  37. "Christ on a pancake." Lol! Can't say I've ever heard that one before, but that was funny AF.

  38. What's amazing is that her voice is actually extremely agile in every register. Her run in "There Must Be An Angel", from a solid A5 to a full-bodied C3, couldn't be executed by ANY coloratura canary.

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