We all know about the Adeles, Maraiahs and Whitneys out there. Female musicians whose huge voices act as their instrument. They have incredible range, which is why they have all been at the top of the charts throughout their careers. But what about some of those other female singers – whose voices aren’t so traditionally perfect? They have that raspiness, and are a little more rough around the edges. Here’s a look at a few of my faves (note: this is by no means a complete list.)

6. Linda Perry


Lead singer of late 80s-early 90s band 4 Non Blondes, Perry’s voice was perfectly flawed, but she owned every part of it. Hailing from San Francisco, these girls only released one studio album, 1992’s Bigger, Better, Faster, More! It was all they needed because of the #1 track “What’s Up.” You know you’ve heard it.

5. Alannah Myles

The first of two Canadian entries on this list, Myles graced the stage in 1989 with her self-titled debut album. Still rocking 80s hair and glamour, she blew everyone away with her Grammy-winning single “Black Velvet.” It has a rock-country vibe to it, but it’s Myles’ vocals that tear through the whole song and make it stand out.


4. Melissa Etheridge

Etheridge began her music career in the late 80s. It wasn’t until her 1993 release, Yes I Am, that she really gained commercial success. She rocked hard, rocked loud, and had just right amount of scruff and twang in her voice to separate her from the rest.

3. Amanda Marshall

The second and final Canadian contribution to this list, Marshall starting making waves in the mid-90s with her self-titled debut album. Her tremendous voice, which she was also able to make vulnerable, really gave her a unique quality, putting her in a different league than other pop princesses around at that time. Plus she has amazing hair.

2. Amy Lee

Best known as lead singer for rock band Evanescence, Lee has many dimensions to her voice. Sometimes all rock ‘n roll, screaming out lyrics which sounded flawless. Yet she also has an emotive quality in her voice, capable of making you really feel things, as exemplified through this 2004 track which will only leave you with goosebumps.

1. Brittany Howard

Lead singer of funk/folk-rock group Alabama Shakes, Howard’s voice is more of a force of nature than anything. She can soften it up, screech it out, and take over any song she’s in charge of: a true artist in every sense of the word. They recently released their second album, Sound & Colour, fronted by “Don’t Wanna Fight,” a track sure to make you wonder why you haven’t tuned into them yet.




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