Vocal Range:3 octaves 1 note and a semitone G#2-B5
Vocal Pluses: Fiery, earthy voice that though known for its gritty growl, was in fact a versatile and multifaceted instrument.
With a solid, thick and comfortable low and midrange, it was possible for Etta James to manipulate the tone and timbre in these registers to suit a variety of styles and genres. She could make it soft and soulful [ Misty Blue], fierce and sassy [Something's Got a Hold of Me] or create a timbre that entirely omitted its trademark growl [I Sing The Blues].
The coarse tone, and the grunts and growls were usually associated with the singer's belting range, and they're often what is most remembered about Etta James' voice. These vocal traits were noted for their power, rawness and ability to convey emotion. However, being a versatile singer, it was also possible for Etta to produce a clearer, smoother tone in her belting range by mixing with her head voice [At Last].
Etta James was an emotive, honest and smart singer that could turn her voice to any number of genres. Her voice was dexterous enough to sing melisma, and had the power to hold notes, but her real strength lay in her ability to interpret the music she was singing: expertly varying her tone, timbre, and delivery accordingly.
Vocal Negatives:Questionable technique used to achieve trademark grunts and growls.
Thanks to Serendipity for the negative and pointing me to the video!