Vocal Range: Bb2 – F#5 – C#6 (G6)
Vocal Fach: Dugazon Mezzo-Soprano (3 octaves and a minor third)
Vocal Rating: Singer-Songwriter
Analysis: Lana Del Rey possesses an instantly recognizable but untrained voice that has become one of the most influential of her era. Her voice is naturally quite bright with a weak lower register. However, through practice, she has developed a lower extension due to her motivation to sing lower, not higher, than her contemporaries.Speaking to the Daily Star: “I actually used to sing much higher, but I felt people weren’t taking me very seriously, so I lowered my voice, believing that it would help me stand out. Now … Continue reading Her phrasing style is unique and pairs well with her style of music, but it can be perceived as “hollow” or “icy,” and her live performances are often approached with an attitude of indifference. Nevertheless, her aloof style has influenced works from the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde, and others.
Her low notes were perhaps her most identifiable feature early in her career, providing a strong contrast to her bright and feminine upper register. However, this part of her range is quite foggy and inconsistent, exemplifying her rather shallow breath support. In the studio, the sound quality is noticeably clearer and rests more on the breath as she focuses on reaching the notes (“Ride”), and seems to hit them with comfort. Live, however, these notes are often not centered in the center of the pitch and lose tone as a consequence. While she seems comfortable all the way down to C3, this part of her range is not as robust as one would expect from a true mezzo-soprano, which helps support her classification as a dugazon. She seemingly recognizes this and has focused more on the upper half of her voice in more recent projects and performances.
The dugazon describes an intermediary voice type between a mezzo-soprano and a soprano. They have a darker timbre than a soprano but a brighter timbre than a mezzo. Del Rey does not have the booming lower register one would expect from a mezzo-soprano, but a darker timbre than a soprano with a weaker upper register. While some consider the dugazon to be a type of soprano (or not even a voice type at all), we are choosing to classify her as a “dugazon mezzo-soprano” to remain consistent with Madame Dugazon Louise-Rosalie Lefebvre’s widely accepted reputation as a mezzo-soprano, and not a soprano.
Her midrange brightens as it ascends, with her natural, bright, and nasal tone cutting through compared to her more “womanly” lower register. She rarely uses her upper chest voice (B4-F5), but instead, she opts for her head voice or her falsetto. Her falsetto is light and airy, and Del Rey has no issues staying in this register for extensive periods even as she pushes it. Her use of her falsetto in the chorus of “White Dress” exemplifies an attitude that puts expression and emulation of lyrical ideas above technical perfection, allowing the sound to go in and out. The head voice, by contrast, is often used with a slightly operatic styling (“Brite Lites”) that is where she sounds her best. This range tops out around soprano c (C6), as she loses control of her clarity and picks up substantial grit. Though not utilized often, she blends her chest voice with her head voice well, demonstrating control of her passagio, although the sound is head dominant, which conveys a shy and unconfident sound.
Lana Del Rey is a decent vocalist, with her shortcomings stemming not from a lack of ability but rather an attitude of indifference and lack of confidence. The overwhelmingly nasal quality of her sound and inconsistent postureDel Rey often slouches while singing live instead of keeping a straightened back. and intonation suggests that she has not focused heavily on this aspect of her artistry. If she were to put more effort into honing her instrument, she would likely find it a worthwhile investment.
What do you think of Lana Del Rey’s voice? Would you add anything to our analysis? Let us know by commenting below!
Lana Del Rey’s vocal range is approximately 3 octaves and minor third, spanning Bb2 – F#5 – C#6.
We consider Lana Del Rey to be a dugazon mezzo-soprano, an intermediate voice type between a mezzo-soprano and a soprano. Her lower register is not as robust as one would expect from a mezzo, but her timbre is darker than a soubrette or soprano.
Dugazons take their name from the types of operatic parts French mezzo-soprano Louise-Rosalie Lefebvre (also known as Madam Dugazon) would often take, now given to dark-timbre sopranos and lighter-timbre mezzo-sopranos. A modern example of a dugazon would be Cora Canne Meijer. Given Del Rey’s timbre, range, and tessitura, as well as her lack of coloratura, she could likely take a dugazon operatic part.
No, she lacks the weight, timbre, and tessitura of one. However, she may be given an alto part if she sang in a chorus.
This article was originally posted May 26th, 2013. It was republished on March 22nd, 2021. It was last updated on May 3rd, 2022.
|↑1||Speaking to the Daily Star: “I actually used to sing much higher, but I felt people weren’t taking me very seriously, so I lowered my voice, believing that it would help me stand out. Now I sing quite low… well, for a female anyway.”|
|↑2||Del Rey often slouches while singing live instead of keeping a straightened back.|