Adele: Voice and Vocal Range

Published Categorized as Singers

Adele is one of the most known singers to come from the UK due to her powerful voice and emotive songwriting. It is hard to name how many hits Adele has had, with each hit showing off Adele’s voice more and more. 

In this article, we will explore what makes Adele’s raw and expressive voice sound so unique and how you can make your voice sound like Adele.

Table of Contents

Who Is Adele?

Adele is a London born pop singer and songwriter who is one of the biggest names in the industry. Adele is known for her soulful voice and emotive songs that are often written about heartbreak. Adele has gone on to sell out large arenas such as Wembley stadium and has released eight albums that have been well received.

Adele began her musical career at a young age and was sign to an  independent record label called XL Recordings. With XL Recordings, Adele went on to record her first intimate studio album exploring her voice, 19 in 2008.

What Type of Singer Is Adele?

When comparing Adele’s raw and expressive voice type to other singers, Adele has a pretty common voice type for a well known pop star. Adele has a voice type called mezzo-soprano, which is the same as pop star Christina Aguilera.

Mezzo-soprano is a very common voice type to have which makes Adele’s songs sit very relatable and an audience can easily sing along to them. Even though Adele is classed as mezzo-soprano, as she is a skilled singer she can still reach notes above a mezzo-soprano range.

For example, Adele can use her chest voice to reach notes like E5 which is 10 notes above a middle C. This is still pretty low in comparison to other pop stars like Mariah Carey, Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande and Christina Aguilera.

Even though Adele cna reach notes that are outside of the mezzo-soprano range, this is where Adele’s voice is the most comfortable and sounds the best. The notes sound bent in the middle of Adele’s range are decibels as being powerful and have a rich tone to them.

Within her vocal range, Adele is able to produce a breathy tone to her vocals and also sing her notes belted. This shows great skill as a singer and shows that she is vocally strong with her vocal range. 

If you are best suited to singing in one register and you use your chest voice to reach another register, this could harm your brave album voices change. Pressure is applied to the vocal folds when the chest voice is applied on higher notes. These techniques could have contributed to the vocal issues that Adele has faced during her musical career which led to her having to undergo two throat surgeries.

What Is Adele’s Vocal Range?

From studying Adele’s light touch vocals, we can hear that she can sing three octaves comfortably. Adele’s lowest note ranges from a C3, with her highest note ranging from a C6 to a D6. 

This range is impressive but other pop stars have a larger vocal range. Although this may be the case, Adele still has one of the most emotive and powerful voices in the industry. This could be because of the topics of her songs and her use of belting, but her vocal range helps the expression of each song. 

In every song that Adele has recorded, her low notes in her vocal range do not sound weak or wobbly but rather full of color and rich in tone. Most vocalists are not able to hold their lowest notes for long, but Adele can project these notes with confidence. An example of some of her lower notes is in her song Hometown Glory.

You can listen to Hometown Glory by Adele here:

What Is Adele’s Highest Note?

The highest note that Adele has recorded is a D6. This is not very high compared to other pop operatic singers, but Adele’s tone of powerfully emotive voice and skills compensate for this. Adele is an example that you can be a fantastic, show-stopping singer without having to reach four octaves and produce skilled vocal runs. 

Even if we define Adele’s lighter head voice, it is smaller in comparison to other vocalists. Adele is able to sing each note in her vocal range with strength and is even able to belt most notes.

If you would like to sing like Adele, the lucky news is that you may not need to focus on your vocal range and widen that as much as possible. When learning to sing like Adele, you will need to focus on other vocal techniques like changing the tone of your voice throughout a song and belting notes.

These skills can be learned fairly quickly compared to widening your vocal range as widening your vocal range takes time and daily practice.

What Makes Adele’s Singing Voice Unique?

Adele is one of the most loved singers across the globe. From her heartfelt songwriting to her warm but powerful voice, she is one of the most memorable performances you will see. Define Adele’s voice, they can help you learn more about vocal techniques and what makes a voice stand out from the crowd.

Here is a list of reasons why Adele’s singing voice is unique:

  • Lower tones
  • Confidence when performing
  • Feminine sound
  • Emotional
  • Vocal power
  • Belting vocal technique

Lower Tones

When looking at Adele’s lower range, you will notice that her lower notes are particularly noticeable and unique. Adele’s lower register is sung comfortably and strongly and has dark tones. When most singers start exploring their lower register and some of the lower notes in their range, often the notes sound airy or wobbly as they are not that strong in comparison to the notes they normally sing in their middle range.

This is not the case for Adele as she can sing her lower notes with weight and the notes sound full and not particularly wobbly or airy. 

If you are trying to tell if a singer is as good as they portray themselves on their recordings, the best thing to do is watch recorded live performances of that singer performing their tracks. In Adele’s case, Adele is just as strong vocally when she is performing live as she sounds in her studio-recorded songs. 

Adele does not use her floaty head voice like other pop and broadway singers, who add showstopping riffs to their songs. Unlike other pop stars, what makes Adele’s powerfully emotive voice unique is that she is able to change the color and timbre of her voice. The effects can add emotion to her floated head voice and allows her to communicate the meaning of her songs musically as well as through performance.

Adele has several hits that portray this skill such as Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You. Here is the official video for Rolling In The Deep by Adele:

Confidence When Performing

There is no doubt that Adele has condensed when performing her songs. When adele starts to perform a song, you are mesmerized by the performance as she is feeling each and every lyric. This display of emotion and powerful voice that can overpower a room is one of the reasons she is one of the best performers in the business.

Having confidence when singing every note gives strength to that note and makes her floaty head voice sound unique to other pop stars. Adele is also able to replicate very similar vocal performances to her recorded performance.

This can be heard when she is performing live, as there are countless recorded videos of Adele being able to reach the same notes as she did on the recorded versions of her songs. The live performance videos also show that Adele is able to carry her floaty head voice and belt notes for long periods of time, similar to the recorded version of her guitar based pop songs.

Even though Adele appears to be largely confident and comfortable on the stage while she is performing her own material, Adele has said herself that she suffers from performance anxiety.

What Is Performance Anxiety?

Performance anxiety or ‘stage fright’ happens to musicians often. Stage fright is described as being a fear of either speaking or performing publicly or in front of a large crowd. This stage fright can present itself as anxiety in the body, with the sufferer often feeling breathless, sick, and experiencing panic attacks before an event.

Stage fright can prevent some performers from performing well and can even prevent performers from getting on the stage at all. Stage fright can knock a performer’s self-confidence down as many musicians feel they have no control over it or know how to cope with it. 

Stage fright is linked with new performers and younger musicians, but this is not the case. Musicians that have been performing in large areas can suffer from stage fright all of their careers and sometimes it is not obvious.

Anxiety when performing is a very common thing to experience amongst a large majority of professional musicians. Adele has said in interviews that she suffers from anxiety when she is about to perform.

Adele has been quoted stating “One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit”. She goes on to say, “With my stage fright, I just don’t want to let people down”.

Feminine Sound

Another factor that makes Adele’s floaty head voice sound unique is that her voice sounds very feminine due to her vocal tone. The middle of Adele’s vocal range has a lovely weight to it and is often sung to be soft and sweet. This creates a feminine feel to her vocals and adds character to her songs. Adele samples voice recordings that are very expressive, especially in the middle of her vocal range rather than the higher end of the lower end of her vocal range.

The character of Adele’s middle vocal range appears to be applied very effortlessly which makes Adele seem even more skilled as a songwriter and a performer. This kind of skill is in a singer, especially a vocalist that fits within the pop genre rather than the soul music genre of blues music.

This may have something to do with where Adele got her inspiration from when learning how to sing and write songs. Adele found inspiration from vocalists such as Mary J. Blige, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, and Alicia Keys. Adele even states that Lauryn Hill’s intimate studio album exploring herself, which is called The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, was life-defining.

All of the singers that Adele was inspired by have soul and blues colors, they are vocalists that have character in their voices for each line of their songs.

Emotional

When you think of Adele, you think of emotion. Every song of Adele’s hits hard when discussing heartbreak and feelings of sadness. This emotion is not only in her songwriting, but it is in her voice as well. Adele’s vocal tone is full of emotional characteristics which make her voice shine out from the crowd.

Adele’s songs tend to be written in the mezzo-soprano voice range. Each song has a different character, for example, Adele’s song Rumor Has It features a vocal performance that seems to be calm and slightly cold in emotion whereas Adele’s song Rolling in the Deep has a vocal performance that is feisty and powerful.

Without the emotion in Adele’s tone of voice and her performance, her songs may not be as popular as they have been.

Vocal Power

Adele has one of the most powerful voices in the quality music industry to date. The way Adele is able to carry her voice and make sure she can achieve long notes make her performances and songs stand out from the crowd. The way Adele is able to do this is by having great breath control techniques and carrying for her overall vocal tone. 

If you want to sing like Adele then you will want to make sure that your breath control is strong. The best way to do this is to learn how to sing from your diaphragm. Using your diaphragm while singing will help support the voice, especially if the note you are holding on to lasts longer than others and you want to make it belt.

Using the diaphragm can also help you release all the air at once making the note louder. This is a common technique used by pop stars to make their voices sound strong. If you are wanting to learn how to make your voice more powerful like Adele there are some simple exercises you can do to get you started.

Here are some simple tips to make sure that your voice is powerful like Adele’s:

Start Practicing Breathing Exercises

Try practicing holding a note for a very long time while engaging your diaphragm. Making sure to spend 10 minutes per day breathing in and out deeply will help strengthen the diaphragm muscles. Once the diaphragm muscles are strengthened then this will support the voice and allow the vocal to be stronger when you are singing.

Relax the Body

If the body is tense, then that means that the muscles themselves are tense. If your muscles are tense, then your body will not be able to move as easily and this will restrict your voice.

Making sure that you keep your body moving while practicing will help your voice to become more energized and open when you are practicing. Simply quickly massaging the face muscles before you practice will help you warm up and relax easier.

Get Rid of Nasality

Singing through your nose rather than using your throat is a common bad habit picked up by beginner singers or singers that have self-taught. Creating a sound that uses your nose is an attempt at a stylistic choice, but unfortunately, it does not allow the voice to sound powerful. Making sure to implement exercises targeting this issue will help your voice become more powerful.

Belting Vocal Technique

The emotion of Adele’s voice and the power she gives to all deeply personal lyrics is both captivating and show a real passion for the music Adele is releasing and writing. Adele’s belting technique is one of the most impressive vocal techniques she has and belting notes tend to feature in most of her songs, especially the hit singles.

Adele has a wide belting range that she can perform clearly. Adele’s belts tend to have a bright tone instead of a rich tone. With her belting notes being strong and bright sounding, they do not lack any weight and have the fantastic resonance that gives her vocal a certain edginess and individuality.

When Adele sings some of her high vocal range in the belting style, the forcefulness of her voice does lack which is very natural. Higher notes are much harder to belt for a lot of singers as they require a different type of vocal register.

When a vocalist is singing a higher note, they tend to need to use their head voice rather than their chest voice. The chest voice is more suitable for the kiddle range of a vocals. To belt a note, the chest voice is needed therefore when Adele is belting her high notes, she is still using her chest voice.

Higher notes can be belted and achieved but it is common with all singers that some of the character and strength in the note will be lost.

If you are wanting to learn how to sing like Adele, copying Adele belting technique for high notes may not be advised. This is due to this technique being damaging if used for long periods of time or repeated as it can put the voice under strain.

The damaging technique will bring resonance to the higher-pitched belts but may not be worth it in the long run. Learning how to belt using your head voice would be advised if you are trying to either replicate an Adele song or if you want to learn how to sing like Adele.

A lot of the pop star singers that we admire all have gained bad habits or bad techniques along the way. This is very normal as no singer will sing perfectly, especially if they have been self-taught at home.

Did Adele’s Voice Change?

If you read other articles on the internet and social media, there are a lot of rumors that Adele’s voice has slightly changed ever since her weight loss journey began. When studying Adele’s voice, these rumors do not seem to be linked to any facts and we can’t hear a difference in her voice.

The voice always develops with age and it has been six years since Adele last dropped her album titled 25. Adele has recently released an album titled 30 and this is where her voice has been noted to sound slightly different. This is most likely due to aging and the voice developing over time rather than any link to weight loss or change in health.

In 2011, Adele had trouble with her vocal cords when she suffered from a hemorrhage of her vocal cords. This occurred after singing live on the radio. To repair this injury to her vocal cords, Adele had to undergo vocal cord microsurgery.

This issue with Adele’s vocal cords could also be caused by years of either being overworked or singing for large periods of time. Adele has had to cancel shows due to issues with her voice. If Adele had performed when she had issues with the hemorrhage to her vocal cords, she could have caused more injury that may not have been able to heal as fast.

What Happened to Adele’s Voice

There have been times when Adele has had to cancel an array of shows again due to issues with her vocals. This is very common for singers to do due to overwork, over-exhaustion, and their vocal cords becoming inflamed. Adele has worked with vocal coaches that have pushed her voice too hard when practicing, leading to more exhaustion of the vocal cords.

When canceling a show, Adele has been quoted to say “I had to push a lot harder than I normally do. I felt like I constantly had to clear my throat, especially last night. I went to see my throat doctor this evening because my voice didn’t open up at all today and it turns out I have damaged my vocal cords. And on medical advice, I simply am unable to perform over the weekend. To say I’m heartbroken would be a complete understatement.”

When a vocalist either falls ill or loses their voice it can be very upsetting. Not only will the performers have to delay work and projects, but it takes time for the voice to fully heal and be itself again.

Adele Vocal Training

If you would like your voice to have power and emotion like adele, then here are some simple exercises to try with a vocal coach or by yourself, when you are training your vocal:

  • Breathing exercise
  • Trills
  • Scales

Breathing Exercise

Incorporating breathing exercises into your daily singing routine is vital if you want to learn how to sing like Adele. Breathing exercises will help you not only control your vocal better, but they will help you sing long notes and have vocal power just like Adele.

To sing correctly, you will need to sing using your diaphragm. The diaphragm is below your lungs and you should be able to locate it by breathing deeply and seeing where your stomach moves. There are plenty of breathing exercises you can try.

One of the best breathing exercises is to lie on the floor and breathe deeply in, hold it for 8 seconds and then breathe out. Repeat this for a minute or two each day and you will see that your breathing technique will improve.

Trills

Practicing lip trills will help you vocally with creating a balanced tone. Not only will the lip trills help you have a balanced tone but they are also important when developing your breath control. This is because performing a lip trill will provide back pressure on the vocal folds.

Due to the lip trills activating the vocal folds, you can also use a lip trill as part of your daily exercise to help extend your vocal range.

Here is how to practice a lip trill:

  • Step one: Wet your lips
  • Step two: Close and purse your lips
  • Step three: Breathe in and blow the air out while producing sound

Scales

Practicing scales during your vocal warm-up can help your strength, your vocal range, and your confidence in singing each note. To be able to sing like Adele, you will need to have full control over the notes you sing and confidence that you can reach them fully.

Practicing scales can help with this. It is best to practice a range of major and minor scales so that you are making your vocal warm-up interesting and that you cover more notes.

Here is a video tutorial by Michael Mingoia Music showing how you can start singing like Adele:

To Replicate Adele’s Voice You Will Need Power and Tone Technique

After assessing Adele’s voice, it is clear what makes her voice so unique and that is how powerful and strong it is. The other thing that makes Adele’s voice stand out from the crowd is how characterful it is, which allows her to story tell by using just her vocal tone as well as her songwriting.

If you are wanting to replicate Adele’s voice then you will need to work on making sure that you are comfortable within your own vocal range. Being confident in your own vocal range will help you create powerful notes. A Vocal coach can be a great help

Practicing breath control will make sure that your voice is supported and you are able to hold your notes for longer, just like adele. Knowing how to manipulate your vocal tone to sound sweet or cold will help you when performing the emotive side of Adele’s music.

Once you have made learning these skills part of your vocal journey, you will be one step closer to sounding like Adele. 

Here are more posts on the blog to check out:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does Adele have great voice?

Adele is considered to have a fantastic voice by not only millions of fans across the world but also by vocal coaches. Adele is able to create a breathy tone, making her voice sound like a fragile head voice. While also able to sing in a fragile tone, Adele can also switch things up and sing loudly and confidently which creates a powerful performance.

Is Adele’s voice permanently damaged?

Adele has had some major issues with her vocal health in the past and has even had to take breaks away from the music industry in order to care for her health. This is very common amongst famous singers as they are using their voice daily and often for long periods of time. Poor vocal health can occur if the singer is overworked, does not care for their voice in the best way possible, or has developed unhealthy vocal habits. In 2011 Adele suffered from a vocal cord hemorrhage which led to a lot of discomfort for Adele. This has since been helped by medical assistance.

What Vocal Is Adele?

Adele has a wide vocal range which is very common for well-known pop singers. Even though these singers are known to be classed as certain voice types because their vocal range is so wide they often can sing comfortably in two to three different types of voices such as alto, mezzo-soprano, and soprano. Adele is typically classed as being a mezzo-soprano voice type but she can sing comfortably in alto notes and soprano notes.

Is Adele A Soprano Or Alto?

Adele is considered to be a mezzo-soprano voice type rather than an alto voice type or a soprano voice type. Although Adele is considered to be an alto vocal part when placed within a choir, her common comfortable register would be considered to be a mezzo-soprano. Even though Adele is considered to be suited to a mezzo-soprano voice type, her vocal range is very wide and she can confidently use her chest voice on higher notes such as E5 which is ten notes above middle C.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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