I mean… it’s a stupid question, right, but then I’m the guy who asked ‘is a hot dog a sandwich?’*. She’s a famous (even if you never heard of her ) singer, a fair amount of pop hits over the past few years…
So my daughter and I are driving to school when “Burn” is on the radio. Sophia says
“I don’t like her voice.”
“Really? Why - it seems just fine to me.”
“Yeah, she’s professional and all. But she doesn’t sound… I don’t know, all that good. I mean, Ariana would kick her ass in a singing competition.”
So I started listening and I admit my daughter might have a point - Ms. Goulding is a fine singer, far better than myself, obviously, but her voice… it seems a little weak, a little breathy, and maybe not all that much range. And, to Sophia’s point, she doesn’t compare to Ariana who has, imho, a fantastic voice with great range and volume. So we’re not comparing Ellie to ourselves, who would be laughably outmatched, but to other professional singers.
So, what say you during this lunch hour? Does Ellie Goulding have a good voice?
Public Poll. Because if you have to hide your opinion on this topic, you’re kinda sad.
I voted “yay” because it’s definitely better than “meh”. I think it’s not as technically good as an Ariana Grande type but it has a certain quality that is appealing. Though her style of music isn’t all that different from a lot of female singers today, her voice is unique. There’s a . . . soothing(?) smooth?) element that capture my attention, even on the songs I don’t particularly like, such as the examples in the OP. On the other hand,I never get tired of hearing Lights.
I think her voice often sounds childish which doesn’t really thrill me. But then she catches me off guard with a well-done melisma and that I really like.
Ariana Grande also doesn’t do much for me either, though. What are her two latest big hits? 7 Rings and Thank U, Next? Bleh. She tends to have a very laconic quality to her voice and I feel like, if she can’t bother to be excited about her songs, why should I?
I don’t tend to listen to pop music much, and judge based on what I know from being a vocal major in college (though I didn’t wind up finishing that degree).
It’s not easy to tell the actual quality of her voice with all the effects… What I can hear is that she is indeed breathy, but this can be an intentional effect. What leads me to think otherwise is that she gets breathier as she sings higher, to the point that there’s too much for the effect. I suspect she has trouble closing her chords appropriately, which is indeed a mark against her ability.
In general I’m not a fan of using range to determine the quality of a singer. It’s only really relevant when the range is really small. Beyond that, a lot of it is natural ability: Grande’s broad range isn’t an indicator that she is a better singer than someone with a more modest range. However, there’s a point where you unlock the rest of your natural range simply by singing correctly, and that point is right around where Goulding’s apparent range is–about an octave. Even with my nodule busted voice (from screaming too much), I can easily sing the national anthem in multiple keys. What gives me pause is that I’m not sure with pop singers if they don’t sometimes do this intentionally to have a range where most people can sing along.
Based on the information I have, I’d put her at most at untrained singer who has a particular style people like, and that, if she got some vocal training, she could probably greatly expand her voice without losing what she currently does. But, then again, maybe she has, and is just limiting her voice on purpose.
Grande, on the other hand, definitely sounds like someone with vocal training, even if I’m not a fan of those whistle tone notes which sound pinched off and potentially damaging. But a little of that with proper vocal care isn’t horrible.
I’m not really super familiar with Ellie Goulding. I skimmed through a couple of live performances, and she seems good enough. It does look like she has problems reaching the higher notes, since when it looks like she’s going to go higher in the chorus for “Love Me Like You Do” she actually ends up going lower and sort of whisper-y.
From a technical standpoint it’s pretty obvious Arianna Grande has had more formal training then Ellie Goulding. It’s not always about technical perfection as others with more credibility (Noted above) have noted. Distinct plays better than skilled in a lot of ways and if you don’t believe that then listen to Niel Young versus almost anyone who’s had a singing lesson.
To the point, I like Ellie Goulding’s singing and don’t find it too formulaic but I can see where the breathy thing can get annoying if overused. There’s a whole series of vids on YT that have had pop songs stripped down to their vocals; some have been quite surprising in how good they are a cappella.
I’d never heard of her before- booted up 5 songs with my best headphones and had a listen. It sounds like she is singing through a cardboard box. The breathy-ness fades after a while but it just sounds nasally, or soemthing. I find the voice distracting… more than the beeping of her instruments.