Since the dawn of music history, alto singers have graced our ears with easy-listening melodies and sing-along quality songs. Located between the tenor and soprano voice ranges, the alto voice type is in the middle of the road.
Alto singers are mostly women, although they come from all musical genres and backgrounds. They are still among the best singers on the market today.
In this post, we're going to take a look at the lives and careers of 15 of the best and most famous alto singers of all time.
1. Gladys Caballero
Popularly known as the "Empress of Soul",Caballero GladysHe wasn't always the powerful R&B singer we all know and love. There was a time when young Knight was just a kid, singing in the church choir and competing on amateur television shows.
Knight quickly honed his talent and developed his alto voice. In 1955, he helped form a singing group called The Pips, and they were touring all over Atlanta, winning talent shows and enjoying success.
Gladys Knight and The Pips are best known for their release of "Every Beat Of My Heart", which peaked at #6 on the charts.billboardCaliente 100.
In 1966, Knight and his vocal group signed with Motown Records and quickly became one of that label's top groups.
Cherilyn Sarkisian was born in El Centro, California.CherShe started out as part of the famous duo Sonny & Cher with her husband Sonny Bono. They sold 40 million records together before splitting from the group and getting married.
Cher wasn't just famous for her alto voice on the song. Working in television, her style was quickly revered and hailed as the standard.
Known as the "goddess of pop", Cher's reputation only grew as she released chart-topping singles like "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves" and "Dark Lady".
She even ventured onto Broadway and Hollywood, earning critical acclaim for her acting skills.
3. Ella Fitzgerald
If there was a first lady of music, it would beElla Fitzgerald🇧🇷 Her other nicknames were "Queen of Jazz" and "Lady Ella", and they all suited her perfectly.
Fitzgerald began singing with the Chick Webb Orchestra, mostly in Harlem. She became the leader of the band when Webb died, but ended up giving it all up to pursue a solo career.
His success as a solo artist was largely due to his beautiful, powerful and unique contralto voice. Songs like "Dream A Little Dream of Me" and "Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall" were brought to life by her backing vocals.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential singers of the 20th century,Patsy ClineVirginia Patterson Hensley was born in Winchester, Virginia. Although her career went on hiatus, she hit hit after hit and continued to top the country charts.
Cline started singing on a local radio station as a teenager. She then started singing with a local band and soon appeared on television shows.
She was best known for her bold contralto voice, able to "show" emotion with just her voice.
His first hit single came when he sang "Walkin' After Midnight". More hits followed, including "She's Got You", "I Fall To Pieces", and "Crazy".
5. Bonnie Raitt
A woman of many different talents,Bonnie RaittYou can play the guitar, write songs, produce music, and play a role in political activism.
Raitt dabbled in different genres, incorporating elements of country, blues and rock into his sound. his albumOn the right timebecame a huge hit in 1989 and he released a string of hits.
Raitt is more than a good singer. Known for singles such as "Something To Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me", Raitt is considered one of the greatest high-pitched singers.
Born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins in London, England,adelastarted in 2008 with their debut album19🇧🇷 The album was an instant hit with memorable songs like "Chasing Pavements", and her career took off from there.
Adele is one of the best-selling female music artists of all time. Each album spawns new hits, and his unique variety allows him to make music that appeals to people of all ages.
They arebillboardrecord proves its place in music history is well secured. With hits like 'Rolling In The Deep', 'Skyfall' and 'Hello', Adele continues to produce soulful and thought-provoking music.
7. Liza Minnelli
As for the elderlyLisa MinelliHe is one of those few who is undeniably talented. Born Liza May Minnelli in Los Angeles, Minnelli is the daughter of superstar Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli.
Minnelli began singing in nightclubs and as a musical theater performer. An award-winning actress, Minnelli's acting and singing career has been equally successful over the years.
Minnelli released famous covers of American standards and received critical acclaim for his excellent renditions of American classics.
8. Norah Jones
Nacido Geethali Norah Jones Shankar in Manhattan,Norah JonesRegarded as one of the best-selling jazz artists of the early 2000s, his smooth alto voice makes him a favorite in low-key settings and cafes.
Jones started singing with her mother at church after she moved to Texas. He took music lessons and had a natural talent for it. He always knew that music was his path, and he followed it with vigor and dedication.
Jones is known for several albums that have gone platinum and sold over a million copies. Her singles like "Come Away With Me" and "Don't Know Why" made her an instant hit.
9. Toni Braxton
Toni Michele Braxton was born in Severn, Maryland. Known for her powerful contralto voice and her ability as a composer, actress and pianist,Braxtonis a multi-talented, award-winning entertainment powerhouse.
Started making musical appearances with The Braxtons, signed to Arista Records. In 1993, Braxton went solo and released his debut studio album. It reached No. 1 in several categories and launched Braxton's career.
With popular singles such as "Another Sad Love Song" and "Breathe Again", Braxton gained international recognition and several Grammy Awards.
Their success continued for decades, including multiple collaborations with other artists and the release ofsoletre meu nomeem 2020.
10. Annie Lennox
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland,Anne LennoxHe is a renowned pianist, singer, songwriter and philanthropist. His career began after a successful tour with the Tourists and Eurythmics.
Com Eurythmics, Lennox escreveu elogios às canções "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)", "There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)" e "Here Comes The Rain Again".
Lennox eventually went solo in the early 1990s and has continued to receive critical acclaim for his solo albums. The hit singles from her first album launched her into a whole new world of solo performance with songs like "Why" and "Walking On Broken Glass".
11. Mariah Carey
Born in Huntington, New York,Mariah CareyHis parents were a retired opera singer and an engineer. She spent her childhood practicing opera and learning to sing alto with a wide range.
Known for her five-octave vocal range, Carey's first five singles reached number one on the charts.billboardHot 100. No other artist had achieved this level of success before Carey took the stage.
With hits like "Vision Of Love", "Emotion" and "Always Be My Baby", Carey quickly rose through the ranks of alto singers to become one of the most popular voices of the 20th century.
12. Etta James
Born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles,Etta JamesHe is one of the most famous singers in American history. His songs are easily recognizable and his rich contralto voice has earned him multiple Grammy and Blues Music Awards.
James hung around foster homes not knowing who his father was and barely seeing his mother. She started singing when she was five years old and working with a music director who was physically abusive to her.
However, James overcame all obstacles in his path and became one of the most influential singers of his time.
With hits like "The Wallflower" and "At Last", few people have managed to do what James has achieved throughout his career.
13. Tracy Chapman
Born in Cleveland, Ohio,Tracy ChapmanI loved music from a very young age. He learned to play the ukulele and guitar and started writing his songs before he was ten years old. His unique alto voice developed with his musical talent.
After a debut in 1985, Chapman was spotted and signed by Elektra Records. He had great success with Elektra, with his song "Fast Car" reaching the top of the Rolling Stone charts. 500 greatest songs of all time.
Chapman is now a multi-platinum recording artist with a string of hit albums and singles, making her one of the most recognizable artists of her time.
In addition to her music, Chapman is also known worldwide for her activism, philanthropy and charity work. He works with organizations such as Amnesty International and Make Poverty History, from concerts to financial commitments.
14. Tina Turner
Nascida Anna Mae Bullock em Brownsville, Tennessee,Tina Turneris a world famous alto singer, popularly known as the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll".
After gaining recognition as the lead singer of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Turner continued with her successful solo career.
His hit "What's Love Got To Do With It" won him a Grammy and #1billboardHot 100. She released hit singles and became one of the best-selling female artists of all time.
Turner retired in 2009, but his relevance in the music industry remains stable.
We have completed our list of well-known singers
The women on our list are some of the most distinguished names in music history. From Etta James to Adele, her influence spans decades. Whatever the genre, their smooth contraltos continue to grace our ears and hearts.
And you, do you have a great favorite singer that we couldn't record? Inform us!
What famous singer has a alto voice? ›
Adele is possibly the most famous of the powerhouse alto singers. What makes Adele special in my opinion is not just simply her vocal characteristics, but also her emotion is so palpable. Her voice is also timeless; in this particular performance, she captivates us in the first phrase she sings.Is Lady Gaga a soprano or alto? ›
Lady Gaga is a great example of a mezzo-soprano. Her timbre is feminine, but slightly darker and more sensitive and mature than a typical lyric soprano. Despite her good technique, Gaga rarely enters the upper 5th octave.Is Billie Eilish an alto singer? ›
However, Billie Eilish's voice is unique - as a soprano, she sits above the standard female pop alto, something which gives her music an immediate dream-like quality, allowing her to create an atmospheric listening experience.Who is a female alto? ›
Alto – A low female (or boy's) voice. Tenor – A high (adult) male voice.Is Taylor Swift an alto? ›
Taylor Swift is an extremely popular alto (AKA mezzo) singer that has a very impressive lower range and upper range for a pop star. She has a unique mix of rich dark notes and a bright upper range, which is why many people classify her as a light lyric soprano that has the capability of an alto.Is Ariana Grande alto or soprano? ›
What's Ariana Grande's Voice Type? Ariana is what we like to call a lyric coloratura soprano. Coloratura means she has a lot of agility with her vocal runs and trills, while lyric means that her high notes have a lot of power in them.Is Katy Perry alto or soprano? ›
Katy is indeed a light-lyric soprano. However, she is not your typical soprano. Her tessitura sits lower than the usual soprano. Working on her technique would allow her to have more comfort in the upper 5th octave and expose her true soprano voice.Is Kelly Clarkson alto or soprano? ›
Kelly Clarkson is a Light-Lyric Soprano. She will often push her voice to the point of distortion in order to get the larger, rougher sound that she desires, which demonstrates her voice's relatively small weight.Is Mary J Blige an alto or soprano? ›
Blige's vocal range registers from alto to mezzo-soprano, but mostly performs in the mezzo-soprano range. Blige cites Anita Baker and Aretha Franklin as two of the most influential vocalists in her life.Is Mariah Carey alto? ›
Regarding her voice type, Carey said that she is an alto, though several critics have described her as a soprano. However, within contemporary forms of music, singers are classified by the style of music they sing. There is currently no authoritative voice classification system within non-classical music.
Is Adele a alto? ›
While Adele might sing an alto part in a choir, “alto” is not a true vocal fach. The equivalent fach is a contralto, but Adele lacks the truly androgynous character and weight of one. Instead, she is a lyric mezzo-soprano, as her voice demonstrates the womanly character, weight, timbre, and tessitura of one.Is MIley Cyrus alto? ›
Is MIley Cyrus an alto? Miley Cyrus is a Mezzo-Soprano. Contraltos are exceptionally rare because of their androgynous vocal quality, and Cyrus's timbre is womanly, lacking a true androgynous character even in her lower register, and she still naturally shines in a mezzo's tessitura.Who is a famous alto? ›
As far as alto powerhouses go, Liza Minnelli is one of these precious few that is undeniably gifted. Born Liza May Minnelli in Los Angeles, Minnelli is the daughter of superstar Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli. Minnelli got her start singing in nightclubs and as a musical theater performer.Do altos sing high? ›
alto, (Italian: “high”), in vocal music the register approximately between the F below middle C to the second D above—the second highest part in four-part music. The word alto originally referred to the highest male voice, singing falsetto (see countertenor).Who is the most famous alto? ›
1. Gladys Knight. You can't have a list of the best alto singers of all time without Gladys Knight. She's easily one of the most famous alto singers to ever record and, speaking of records, she's one of the few alto vocalists with seven Grammy Awards!Is Bruno Mars an alto? ›
Bruno Mars is a light lyric tenor.Is Celine Dion A alto? ›
Celine Dion is a mezzo soprano.What voice type is Adele? ›
As a mezzo-soprano, Adele's songs sit in a range that suits most listeners, singing along. Adele can mix her chest voice up quite high (E5, 10 notes above middle C) but she is not taken to the range extremes of early Mariah or Celine.Is Justin Bieber an alto or soprano? ›
His early recordings are expectedly that of a boy soprano; thereafter he settled into a tenor's range, as evidenced by his naturally bright, boyish timbre. Given his small vocal output and size, Bieber fits the definition of a light lyric tenor.Is Celine Dion a soprano or alto? ›
Although she once identified herself as a mezzo-soprano, Dion is certainly a lyric soprano, with the weight, range, and power to justify a full-lyric classification.
What voice type is Beyonce? ›
Beyoncé is basically an operatic mezzo-soprano in disguise – and she proved it in this impressive clip.Is Jennifer Hudson alto or soprano? ›
What is Jennifer Hudson's vocal range? My vocal range is first soprano. That is my vocal range. That's as far as I know, but yes.Was Amy Winehouse alto or soprano? ›
Famous Singers with Alto Vocal Ranges:
Amy Winehouse, D3 - Eb6. Cher, C3 - E5 - F6. Fiona Apple, D3 - E5. Tina Turner, D#3 - F#5.
Ariana is famous for her four-octave soprano and whistle tone vocal range.What is Celine Dion octave range? ›
The French Canadian diva Celine Dion has a beautiful resonant belt across 3-octaves with a lovely lower range. She has quite a nasal quality which adds to her distinctiveness but isn't to everyone's taste.Is Kelly Rowland a alto? ›
Rowland, who turns 40 today, has applied her powerful vocals to memorable tracks in the R&B, pop, and EDM genres, making her the beauty to go to when you need a strong alto to belt out a few notes or take your harmony to the next level.What vocal range is Katy Perry? ›
Katy Perry's vocal range is approximately three octaves, spanning D3 – A5 – E6. What is Katy Perry's voice type or vocal fach? Katy Perry is a light lyric soprano.Is Avril Lavigne a soprano or alto? ›
She's an alto. Not much of a mezzo.Does Lady Gaga sing alto? ›
Is Lady Gaga an alto? While Lady Gaga may be given alto parts if she were in a choir, she is certainly a mezzo-soprano.Is Camila Cabello alto or soprano? ›
The voice is agile and capable of melisma (more so at the top of the range than anywhere else) [Sledgehammer (live)]. Despite being a soprano, Camila has a comfortable lower register.
Is Rihanna contralto? ›
What's Rihanna's Voice Type? Rihanna is a powerful alto singer that has a lot of richness to her tone and power behind her chest voice. Technically, she can be considered a lyric contralto since she has a very great low range with a light head voice that can also reach some great high notes.Is Ed Sheeran an alto? ›
Ed Sheeran is a light lyric tenor.Is Dolly Parton alto? ›
Dolly Parton's Range and Timbre. According to this interview, Dolly considers herself a soprano. This is tough for me as an alto – I found when trying to imitate her that I couldn't keep her light, airy tone on her higher notes.What is a true alto? ›
A true alto, in operatic singing, would be classed as a contralto. This very rare voice type is the lowest female voice. Their low notes are luscious and full of volume. Singers in this group can have an androgynous, distinctive sound. Think of memorable performers such as Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, or Cher.Can you belt as an alto? ›
The alto female voice is different from soprano voices. Altos usually have to belt or sing mostly in full voice if they are auditioning for a musical production or pop music performance. Choosing the right audition songs is important to impress the judges and get the roles you want.What is a higher alto called? ›
Soprano: C4-A5. Mezzo soprano: A3-F5. Alto: F3-D5. Tenor: B2-G4. Baritone: G2-E4.How do I know if I'm an alto? ›
"If you have something like a piano – or can download a piano app, there are so many available, some of them free, then start with middle C and work your way up, see how high you can go. If you can go up eight or nine notes, that's the alto range. If you can go much higher than that, you're likely to be a soprano.Is alto high voice? ›
Nowadays, the word “alto” is a general term used to describe a lower female voice rather than a specific vocal category. Chorus music usually calls for an “alto” part for voices with a strong middle and lower register, but there's no real separate alto voice type in Western music.Are there any famous alto singers? ›
She's easily one of the most famous alto singers to ever record and, speaking of records, she's one of the few alto vocalists with seven Grammy Awards!
While Adele might sing an alto part in a choir, “alto” is not a true vocal fach. The equivalent fach is a contralto, but Adele lacks the truly androgynous character and weight of one. Instead, she is a lyric mezzo-soprano, as her voice demonstrates the womanly character, weight, timbre, and tessitura of one.
Is Mariah Carey a soprano or alto? ›
Mariah Carey has a very impressive soprano vocal range that has a lot of versatility. In classical range terms, she is a lyric coloratura soprano, which is a fancy way of saying that she has a very agile and light upper range that allows her to perform vocal leaps and trills almost effortlessly.Who is the best singer of alto? ›
- Gladys Knight.
- Ella Fitzgerald.
- Patsy Cline.
- Bonnie Raitt.
- Liza Minnelli.
- Norah Jones.
In SATB four-part mixed chorus, the alto is the second highest vocal range, above the tenor and bass and below the soprano. The alto range in choral music is approximately from F3 (the F below middle C) to F5 (the second F above middle C).Is MIley Cyrus alto or soprano? ›
Is MIley Cyrus an alto? Miley Cyrus is a Mezzo-Soprano. Contraltos are exceptionally rare because of their androgynous vocal quality, and Cyrus's timbre is womanly, lacking a true androgynous character even in her lower register, and she still naturally shines in a mezzo's tessitura.