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This husky, drawl-y vocal style - is it learned technique or natural?

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What is this husky/raspy reed-like drawly vocal style every (female) singer has right now and how can I sound this way?!?!

It all started with Adele....

I can only describe it as that wide/open, husky and howl-y drawl and reed-like of sound that you hear particularly on the open vowels - "ah" or "I" (as in "aye"), "oh" or "ow" ("ouch")....

It seems to be a "thing" right now as I have been hearing with a lot of new singers (which makes me think it's an intentionally made sound) ....

I love this sound have been going over it for over a year trying to achieve it in my singing (I do have a bit of a raspy quality to my voice) but when I try it just sounds all wrong and contrived.

My singing teacher insists it's all down to keeping a low larynx - I do this and it's just not working.

So .... Is it even possible to achieve - or is it one of those things you just have to "have"? Is it tone? Is it technique? When I listen the these singers speak, I don't detect it as a tone and quite frankly their speaking voice is very similar to mine.

Clearly I've thought about this a LOT...hoping someone else out there has too or at least has some ideas ....?!?!

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i learned about it when i first heard fergie's "big girls don't cry."

i loved that song, and wanted to get that sound she got in the verses. i lowered the key and tried to emulate her.

it's much easier than you think, and that's why you might be having a hard time with it......perceive it as easy.

some do this and bend pitch way too much. it is speaking on pitch with some gentle fry and intermittent airy and adducted light fold phonation.

try doing an exercise that let's you get accustomed to fluctuating fold adduction from airy to adducted, adducted to airy...you need to able turn it off and on. you want this on the light side first.

you need to develop the ability to move in and out of various degrees of fold adduction so support is important as you compensate for the pressure differences this will cause.

the wiggle they get can you come when your voice is agile.

listen to fergie...i love that verse "like a little school mate...." from1:20 to 1:55

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I have a simpler answer, by way of the zen-like wisdom of Jens. It's all "contrived."

You are judging your use of this sound as "contrived." Stop that, right now. Make the sound, make it beautiful. So, sing something and let us hear how "contrived" you can sound.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts. I think what I'm talking about is probably the tone. Maybe it's just something you "have" or don't. :/ But I can appreciate the use of the vocal fry and some edge in the voice to create character.

I was trying to achieve this b/c I feel like my voice lacks character and emotion. And most people I play my songs to comment on the vocal - that it doesn't feel right to them. Apparently my pitch is OK, but they can't tell me what it is. I wasn't really given any specifics. I'm trying to work out all possibilities. But maybe you guys can hear the specifics....

Here is a snippet of something I've done. It's in the electronic music genre so it's not meant to be a "super" sung vocal, rather breathy and dreamy.... but apparently (according to some feedback I've had) - it needs work. Would be good to know what that is, b/c i'm not hearing it myself:

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You can't really tell much with all of the effects but your tone seems OK in this snippet. It may be just the type of song and the effects but your words sound garbled or unfinished.

If you could send something without all the effects it we would hear your voice better.

I think the tone you are talking about with Adele is closer to a vocal fry, a kind of Lazy/airy quality to it. It can also be harmful. Adele has had throat surgery. It MAY be from her style of singing.

I think it can be learned or developed because now you hear a lot of men singing like that also.

As with any STYLE once someone makes it popular you can hear it in a lot of different singers.

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Hi MDEW - thanks for your feedback! :)

I realise that this was not the best recording as the style of music lends itself to being heavily effected. After listening to loads of singers w/this style I think it may be a combination of technique (i.e. fry) and tone. Some of these sounds happen on vowels that don't have any "grip" (which I think is how you achieve vocal fry).... Sometimes it's really subtle and more on the open vowels. Ah well, I can keep trying or I can just embrace my own voice.

I recorded something else recently that shows my voice in it's "full" state. I haven't attempted this style here b/c it was just to difficult to achieve on this type of song but it's a truer recording of what the dynamics of my voice sound like;


Would be great to hear your thoughts on it. :)

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