Be Honest: Famous Singers Whose Voices Have Only Gotten Better…And Worse

January 23, 2015  |  
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The age of the great singer has pretty much come and gone, but there are some very talented musicians who have managed to get better with time. On the flipside, there are also singers who started out with great voices, only to have them wane over time (blame it on age, hard living, etc.). Here are 10 examples on both sides of singers whose voices have improved greatly over the years, and a few who have lost their mojo for a variety of reasons.

Worse: Alicia Keys

A. Keys was never out here singing like Anita Baker, but as she got older and started writing and arranging more and more songs that pushed her voice past a limit she is really capable of (Yes, I’m talking about “Girl on Fire”), the change in her voice became more noticeable. These days, the talented writer and pianist does a lot more screaming than singing:

Better: Brandy

Thanks to vocal maturity, age and some practice, Brandy has managed to take an already strong voice (and a very unique one) and make it pretty friggin’ amazing:

Worse: Mariah Carey

Carey will always be known as one of the greatest to do it when it comes to vocal abilities (I mean, she was out here making her voice whistle for goodness sake), but times have changed (and gotten hard), and so has that voice:

Better: Keke Wyatt

Maybe Wyatt’s voice was always bananas and we hadn’t noticed (blame it on the antics she always putting on during “R&B Divas” Atlanta), but we don’t remember her voice sounding this good when she was singing “Nothing In This World” with Avant back in 2001. Here’s one of our favorite clips of her:

Worse: Lauryn Hill

All is not lost with L. Boogie, because she can clearly still rhyme (and write very meaningful stuff), but it’s pretty obvious that her voice has changed over the years. I can’t really put my finger on it, but she sounds more hoarse than before:

Better: Beyoncé

Compared to how she sounded when she was just a wee girl in the early Destiny’s Child days, it’s pretty evident that all that touring and singing has helped Beyoncé’s voice improve big time in the last few years. Need some proof? Be prepared to shiver:

Worse: Chris Brown

Chris Brown is still an amazing performer, and God willing, he always will be. However, over the last few years, what I’m assuming is partying too hard has distorted Brown’s once smooth and youthful vocals. Maybe if he leaves the cigarettes behind and catches up on rest now that he’s trying to get his life back on track, his voice will return to what we’re used to, or even get better:

Better: Rihanna

Cut this child some slack. Compared to what she was sounding like when she sang “Hero” at a talent show back in Barbados years ago, and what she sounded like when she was trying to get the DJ to “Pon de Replay,” Ri Ri has shown a lot of improvement:

Better: Lady Gaga

The more that Gaga leaves behind the gimmicks, the more she strips down (literally and figuratively) and showcases some pretty refreshing (with a side of Broadway) vocals:

Worse: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is and will always be the Queen of Soul, but ‘Reefa’s higher register is not what it used to be. Don’t get it twisted though, Franklin could still outsing most of the women you hear on the radio right now:

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