Now That’s A Falsetto! Male Singers Whose Voices Get Them Confused For Women
Ever listened to a song and thought you were listening to a woman until someone made it clear that you’re actually jamming to a very vocally gifted man? Hey, I know I’ve been there. Some men can do a falsetto so good that it could have your ears and your mind quite confused. Here are a few examples.
NOTE: As always, this is all in light fun. I respect all of the vocal abilities of the men on this list, but you know you’ve thought about it before too…
Three words: “I Like It.” Especially when El breaks it all the way down near the end (“I LIKE IT, LIKE IT, LIKE IT!”). Nobody was doing falsetto like El DeBarge in the ’80s (except for his other family members), and if you walked into the room when one of his songs was playing in the middle, you might think you were listening to one of his sisters. That’s talent!
The Bee Gees have classics for days, and all three of the Brit brothers hit notes that my mind can’t comprehend (shout out to Barry!). If you’re looking for an awesome example of this, one of my favorites from them is “More Than A Woman.”
Hey, if you’re not a big reggae follower, you probably heard this song (either on its own or through French Montana and Nicki Minaj’s sample of it for their collabo, “Freaks”) and thought it was a woman doing her thing on the track. Blame it on the fact that at the time the song was done, Lil Vicious was only 14 when he made the song, and basically a prepubescent little kid.
An alternative R&B group comprised of Canadian crooner Milosh and Danish instrumentalist, Robin Hannibal, Rhye definitely has some groove-worthy jams. What stands out big time though is Milosh’s voice, which kind of reminds me of Lisa Stanfield’s vocals (the woman who sings “All Around The World”). There’s not even a falsetto being shown off, just a breathy, light voice that totally had me fooled. Check him out for yourself with their hit song, “Open.”
Freddie Mercury of Queen
The late Freddie Mercury always had a crazy vocal range (“We Are The Champions” anyone?). When he hit those super high notes, it was enough to put some of women claiming to be divas nowadays to shame. “Bohemian Rhapsody” has great examples of his fantastic falsetto, as does the song “Take My Breath Away.”
Before El and Chico started singing on the scene, the original lineup of Switch (which included Bobby and Tommy DeBarge, older brothers to El and Chico) had the falsetto game on lock. For instance, check out “There’ll Never Be” or “I Call Your Name.” Before there was “Throw Some D’s” the intro to “I Call Your Name” alone had me thinking I was listening to a woman–until I heard Bobby DeBarge say, “I’m a man now, baby, a GROWN man!”
I live for “The Reasons.” And it’s such an amazing song because of the falsetto register we know and love Philip Bailey for. Of course, his vocal range was stellar enough that he could sing just about anything, but when he hit those high notes? Goosebumps!
Prince can sing super high when he wants to, and he can sing super low as well. But when he sings high, he can really have your mind all f’d up. Good examples include “Kiss,” and “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” where his voice was altered due to a technical error that made him sound more feminine. While it was an error, Prince loved the effect and released the song as a B-side (below is the song, but not the recorded version–which you need to hear in order to hear the effect).
According to my coworkers, in some of Abel Tesfaye (aka, The Weeknd)’s early tracks from his mixtapes, his voice sounded a bit on the feminine side. See his first mixtape, House of Balloons for examples of this, including the track “What You Need” and “Wicked Games.”
Russell Thompkins, Jr. of The Stylistics
I’m a huge Stylistics fan, and in songs like “People Make The World Go Round,” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” Thompkins’ falsetto shines. No crack in his voice, just smooth high notes. Now that’s talent.
While he might have a random appreciation for rapping all of a sudden, Lloyd got on singing jams like “Southside,” “You,” and “Get It Shawty.” But I couldn’t help but notice that his voice is a mix of baby and teenage girl all rolled into one. It all works obviously because the man has hits, but it definitely makes for an interesting listening experience. “One For Me” is still my jam though!