Being a big Adele fan, I can't help but getting emotionally attached to what's going on with her. And as a voice teacher, especially what's going on with her voice.
In my crash course Learn from the Best I included Adele as one of the top singers of today. I thought her singing was fantastic, and I showed what she did technically to achieve her beautiful singing. Only later did I learn that some had criticism over her vocal technique, and I understood why - but she was still awesome. Is this still the case today, after she had her second vocal cord surgery?
What I heard in Adele's singing
While listening to her latest album - 30 - I already heard some extra airiness in Adele's voice. It sounded a bit like this was her all along, which is a good thing, actually. It didn't bother me artistically. It made sense and it sounded good. Even sexy.
But you can hear it. Her voice is not the same. It sounds like the breathiness in her voice is no longer a choice.
It raised my curiosity when I saw her perform at the Brit awards 2022. Immediately I wanted to check if the breathiness is still there, and if so, what is she doing on stage to deal with it.
I wasn't disappointed. Adele delivered a very good song. She sang "I Drink Wine" (which has quickly became an ear worm, my kids get angry that I stopped singing their nursery rhymes and sing only this instead), looked absolutely stunning, and she sang.
It was good, but...
All the notes where in place, all the expression was there. The iconic vibrato showed up regularly. On the surface all is well. But there is was - the leak of air. The sexy "I got a bit of a cold" voice, where some notes come out whispered and some of the more powerful are pushed out by force.
It pains me to say that, but then again, it also pained me to hear it. Adele sounded good, she has a voice that's only hers, it's wonderful. But it was hoarse. And the hoarseness came back for a visit again, and again.
Here is my reaction to Adele singing I Drink Wine. YouTube blocked it initially, even though I stayed within the rules of Fair Use. Hopefully this will be solved soon, in the meantime here it is right here:
I wonder if I stressed enough times how much I love and admire Adele and think she's amazing. I did say that a few times in the video, and in this article as well. And here comes the but...
You know what this reminds me of? That show was the good singer version of this:
I'm kidding, it's a joke! Sorry, I needed to lighten up.
Adele is Adele, she's fantastic. She's a great artist and she has the ability to pull it off, no matter what. I rarely heard her tanking it. So she can get away with it. However, seeing that she needed surgery in the past, this is serious. Personally, I am worried that she will cause more damage to her voice if she keeps performing while her vocal cords are not fully closing.
I do believe she can work through it and recover, and I really want her to. Because she is too valuable. If you ever hear anyone say anything, Adele, please hear this: you are too valuable to go on stage in spite of having a bad voice day/month.
What I don't want is for others who learn how to sing to listen and watch her and get the message that this is good singing, and go on to copy what she's doing. Because most people won't get away with this level of airiness and strain. It won't sound good for most. And even if it does - your throat will pay the price.
Admire her, enjoy her, but also acknowledge what's going on. For what it is. And that's all I have to say about that...