While there are countless quality singers that have impacted the world, not every voice can be defined as a “powerhouse.”
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The 10 acts featured on this list not only have glass-shattering voices, but they also have songs to back them up. Gospel greats, a rock god and soulful singers all appear on this well-rounded list of undeniably great vocalists.
1. Whitney Houston
There’s arguably no voice in music quite as powerful as Whitney Houston’s. Whether she was belting out “I Have Nothing” or lighting up the dance floor with “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” Houston’s voice is the very definition of a powerhouse.
It’s hard not to be gobsmacked listening to her sing songs like “I Will Always Love You,” which show off the depth and range of her incomparable voice. Houston is undeniably one of the best singers in history, earning her rightful place at the top of this list.
Music hasn’t been the same since Adele stepped onto the scene. She’s become one of the most famous artists in the world, and rightfully so. While her compelling songwriting is capable of making the listener feel every emotion, it’s the sheer power of her voice that’s earned her a global fanbase that keeps coming back for more. The name Adele is synonymous with her unreal voice that can fill both theaters and stadiums, leaving listeners in awe.
3. Aretha Franklin
It’s hard to imagine the world without Aretha Franklin’s voice. Songs like “Respect,” “Chain of Fools” and “Think” are not only integral to the canon of soul music, they also capture the versatility in Franklin’s voice. She defines powerhouse in that her voice is filled with pain, heartache, celebration and many other aspects of the human experience. She is easily one of the greatest singers to ever live.
4. Celine Dion
Long before she flooded radio airwaves with “My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion proved she was one of the greatest voices of her generation. Since the early 1980s, the Canadian-born powerhouse has lit up the charts with beloved songs like “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” “If You Asked Me To” and “Nothing Broken But My Heart.” Dion’s voice is passionate and spell-binding, working its way into the hearts of fans around the world, easily making her one of music’s powerhouse voices.
5. Carrie Underwood
When it comes to country music, there are few voices as big as Carrie Underwood’s. When the Oklahoma native first made her debut on American Idol in 2005, she quickly proved herself to be a jaw-dropping vocalist from nailing Bonnie Raitt’s tender “I Can’t Make You Love Me” to Heart’s “Alone.”
After being crowned victor of season four of American Idol, Underwood’s voice has only grown stronger. She consistently proves she has one of the best and most versatile voices in music today and possesses the power to stir your soul with each incredible note.
6. CeCe Winans
Powerhouse voices can be found aplenty in gospel music, but CeCe Winans’ stands out amongst the crowd. Her grand voice has a way of piercing one’s soul, making you believe every word she sings. Her voice has been a mainstay in the gospel community for decades, translating over to mainstream audiences, making her one of the best powerhouse voices in modern music.
7. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Being a powerhouse vocalist doesn’t merely have to do with volume, but depth. Known as the “Godmother of Rock and Roll,” Tharpe’s voice is ferocious and has a story to tell, carrying with it ages of wisdom. Masterfully blending gospel and rock, Tharpe doesn’t hold back when singing songs ranging from her hit cover of the traditional African American spiritual, “Strange Things Happening Every Day” to the jubilant “Didn’t it Rain?” The fierce power of her voice has made her an unforgettable talent for more than 80 years.
8. Axl Rose
Rock music would be a different place if Axl Rose’s voice wasn’t a part of it. As lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, Rose’s distinguishable voice is one that has helped define rock music for decades. With hits like “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Paradise City” and “Welcome to the Jungle,” Rose knows how to wail with the best of them. With its rugged grittiness, Rose is easily one of the best powerhouse voices rock music has to offer.
9. Mariah Carey
When considering powerhouse voices, it’s inevitable that Mariah Carey comes to mind. Carey’s signature high-pitched voice stems from her five-octave range and whistle register that gives it a distinct nature. Since rising to prominence in 1990, Carey’s voice has followed fans through decades with signature hits like “Visions of Love,” “Hero,” “Without You,” “We Belong Together” and more. Carey’s voice is responsible for her impact, making her a unique powerhouse singer.
10. Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli’s voice has brought the world of classical music into the mainstream. Though the Italian tenor started his career singing in his native language, he crossed over into pop and English-speaking songs, collaborating with the likes of Celine Dion and Broadway star Sarah Brightman. Between his delicate tone and emotive delivery, Bocelli’s voice has stunned audiences worldwide for nearly 30 years.
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