Genres

DeAnna's voice is flexible enough that she is able to try out different musical genres. So far she has attempted pop songs, various country styles, rock songs, folk, soul, americana, and the gospel and inspirational songs that she first started singing in church. All her recorded songs are indexed according to style here.

Certainly other singers fit the mold of being able to effortlessly cross genres, and one of my favorite is Joan Armatrading, who shares the same contralto range as DeAnna.

DeAnna's voice is distinctive so that it adds a fresh element to each style she tries. This montage goes through highlights of all her videos.



Rock. DeAnna projects her voice really well and so is able to emerge from a rock backing. Check out Somebody to Love, or some of the short snippets from concert recordings included in the montage. Her voice emerges from her rock band backing clear as a bell.

Soul. No doubt the best example of her soul stylings is her home-brewed cover of Sam Smith's Like I Can. This is a great example of her voice mixed way-up front with a simple acoustic guitar and drum backing. Every nuance in her phrasing comes across.

Country. In the last installment of The Tone of De (Part 6) we talked about how DeAnna can channel the tone of Patsy Cline with her version of Help Me Make it Through the Night. I think she can do country songs like Dolly Parton's Jolene in her sleep, shading it differently in the various live versions that have been recorded.

Pop. The comparisons to Cher are frequent. What DeAnna brings to a popular song is unique phrasing and tone. Her entrance in songs where others initiate the singing, such as Diamonds and Listen to Your Heart, really highlights the contrast in her voice.

Folk. Although this is a country tune, DeAnna gave Miley Cyrus's dad's song Some Gave All the folk treatment. She adopted a kind of Joan Baez vibrato and reminded me a little of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", with the protagonist Virgil Kane turning into the war hero Sandy Kane.

Americana. There is a difference between a folk treatment and an Americana treatment and DeAnna beautifully captures it with her cover of the traditional song Down to the River to Pray. The key to Americana is to evoke the voice and sound as if one was transported back in time. In this case, the song is thought to have been written by an African-American slave and DeAnna does an incredible job of adopting a simple cadence complementing the beautiful textures in her voice. The next time I listen to it, I will imagine it as an escaping-from-slavery song instead of having a purely religious context.

Inspirational. This is not the Leonard Cohen song popularized by Jeff Buckley, but her cover of a tune also called Hallelujah is amazing for her pure tone on the chorus. Even though the musical backing is a corny karaoke track she nails it over and over.



I can imagine a bunch of genre styles that I would love DeAnna to try, including reggae and country-soul, but one area that she would really excel is at soundtrack recording. Her voice would fit perfectly at the end-credits of any movie. I was thinking of this early video of hers covering Black Roses. This is Twin Peaks soundtrack level of evoking a mood.