DeAnna is the kind of singer that you can appreciate through her stylistic variation. Delicate and tender one moment and then voluptuous and booming the next, she excels at combining interesting phrasing with a mix of rich clarity and trembling vibrato.
I like all kinds of music, both current stuff from the past. The fun for me is when singers come out of nowhere and sound so unique, yet still remind me of singers from the past.
Part of the reason for this series of articles is to unravel the mystery of DeAnna's voice. As a hint to her influences, consider that DeAnna has said she is a fan of Florence and the Machine.
Being a fan of Florence makes sense to me because I find all sorts of interesting British accents in DeAnna's vocal phrasing. It's not full-blown or otherwise affected but restrained and focused on certain words that just sound right.
That subtle accent is perhaps surprising given that she's got that Georgian drawl. Before I present some examples of that English influence, take a look at this entertaining video clip explaining how southern and British accents aren't that far apart.
A Quick Lesson on Southern Linguistics
Here is a short audio clip of DeAnna's live cover of "All I Want". Listen to the way she pronounces the word "body" at the end of the verse. Trust me that I'm not the only one that gets seduced by this delivery :)
To demonstrate that this is a British inflection, listen to the singer Birdy from the UK covering Justin Bieber's Sorry (full video).
Birdy doesn't use her full British accent when singing but pronounces "body" just like DeAnna does. It sounds perfect, and that's what artistic singers strive for.
Here is another snippet of DeAnna, showing her British inflection. Listen for the words "door" and "more". It almost sounds like a bit of an Irish lilt to my ears.
In comparison, here is what I consider a classic and timeless example of the stately British accent by the singer Sandy Denny of the folk-rock band Fairport Convention.
Tam Lin by Fairport Convention
The song is set at a 13/8 beat and has the aural effect of galloping horses. If DeAnna wanted to go that route in her future singing endeavors, she could very well set herself apart by adding interesting vocal interpretations.
As for some more evidence of her ability to create the timeless sound with hints of a classic English delivery, here's one from left field. It's a nice coincidence that Bryan Ferry (very British) covered two songs that DeAnna has also covered -- Help Me Make it Through the Night (DeAnna vs Bryan) and You are My Sunshine (DeAnna vs Bryan). These are really country songs but you can see how they don't have to sound country.
DeAnna may be the female equivalent of Bryan Ferry in her style. Ferry is interesting vocally and quite the suave dude. For fun, I mashed-up excerpts from these two songs, putting Bryan in the left audio channel and DeAnna in the right channel.
There are no rules for how to use your voice. DeAnna is also a big fan of the now defunct Civil Wars musical duo. Even though she is American, the lead singer of that band obviously knows French and does a haunting performance on the song Sacred Heart. The key is that different languages and cultures add different flavors and spice to music, and to adapt those styles makes for interesting vocals.