Vocal Range: Bb2 – A5 – B6
Vocal Rating: Singer-Vocalist
Analysis: The lead singer of Pop-Rock band Paramore and now a solo artist in her own right, Hayley Williams is one of the leading women vocalists in her section of the music industry. Her wide vocal range, expressive and idiosyncratic delivery, and incredible performance stamina have made her one of the most idolized women in rock. Beginning her career in her teens and receiving vocal training both in high school choir and privately afterward, Williams displays solid vocal technique and care for her instrument, made all the more important given her diagnosis of vocal nodes.She was diagnosed with a polyp/nodule on her right vocal cord during the Brand New Eyes tour in 2009, as she said in a testimonial about one of her vocal coaches.
Williams’ bright, girlish tone and light vocal weight contribute to her fach as a light lyric soprano, with her mixed “belting” register revealing a soprano tessitura. Her fach has been hotly contested amongst fans and critics, primarily because of her strong lower register and her tendency to pull chest voice early in her career and limit her belting range. Since learning how to better blend her voice, however, she has revealed the true soprano nature of her instrument. Despite being a lyric soprano, her lower register is strong and has been improving with time, maintaining tonality down to B2 in a tenor’s range in her studio performances but is understandably less consistent live. As Williams ascends, however, she cuts the weight found in this register in favor of her naturally youthful, feminine timbre.
Williams has a voice that is well connected and blended throughout all of its registers. Her middle register in particular is well projected and contains an original “twang” thanks to her crisp diction. Her sharp tone and “crying” onset allow her to be heard over her band’s roaring instrumentation and give her voice its distinctive character. She can also control voice breaks as a way to convey emotions (“Still Into You”). Her wide, rolling vibrato is one of her strongest vocal qualities: she can reliably apply it to the wide majority of her vocal range and give the notes a mystical feel (See the chorus of “Decode”). Her stamina and breath control are also strong, allowing her to move her head and body dramatically without the pitch suffering, or sounding out of breath. Finally, Williams uses her voice like a percussive instrument at times (“Still Into You”), a part of her unique performance style but also a somewhat taxing vocal task.
Her upper belts are cutting and resonant, and as she ascends, her mixed voice becomes headier, although overall her sound is still chest-dominant. Her versatility here shines, projecting a much bolder and edgier sound in some instances (“Decode”) while being smoother in others (“Renegade”). While her mix is strong, she does occasionally introduce small amounts of tension in her throat and jaw, but the concurrent strength of her breath support is usually enough to sustain the note.Sam Johnson, Voice Teacher Reacts To Paramore: Still Into You Studio Vocals Williams can also sound shouty and unsupported when singing above her tessitura, and she has also exhibited a tendency to shout or drop support when tired or emotionally invested in the delivery of a song. However, she generally avoids venturing above E5 in her belting voice except for brief instances. Her head voice, although underutilized and underdeveloped, is bright and full up to G5 (“Miracle)”, and connected to the rest of the voice. The whistle register, also underutilized, is light, piercing, and fluttering.
Overall Williams is a strong vocalist with many notable and admirable vocal traits. While she perhaps has a tendency to push her voice too far, she also compensates for this by dialing back performances just as often. She seems to have developed an approach that allows her to pursue demanding repertoire and sounds but preserve her artistic vision and voice.
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Hayley Williams’ vocal range is approximately four octaves, spanning Bb2 – A5 – B6.
Hayley William is a light lyric soprano.
|↑1||She was diagnosed with a polyp/nodule on her right vocal cord during the Brand New Eyes tour in 2009, as she said in a testimonial about one of her vocal coaches.|
|↑2||Sam Johnson, Voice Teacher Reacts To Paramore: Still Into You Studio Vocals|