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Five Great Live Acoustic Female Vocal Versions of Well-Known Songs

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Lyn grew up in a musical household and has a passion for popular music genres. Lyn has also studied Music at University in Britain.

Five Amazing Acoustic Female Vocal Performances

Acoustic versions are usually truer to the original written song, which would almost certainly have been written at a piano or guitar. Once a song is given the full studio treatment, with the inclusion of a host of instruments and amplifiers and so on, the song will have changed away from that original. Often the band will tweak and improve a song in the studio, trying a little difference here and there. It is not unusual for a songwriter to bring a song to the studio in a raw state for the band to add their nuances and the producer to do his or her stuff.

Acoustic performances reverse this by stripping the song back to little more than the vocals. The aural experience alters and the listener can really hear the vocal performance. This is especially true of real in time live performances, but hopefully these recordings are the next best thing.

This is a collection of five carefully handpicked acoustic performances by female artists. The collection is deliberately diverse, featuring songs from Leona Lewis, Nicole Scherzinger, The Corrs, Faith Hill, and Melissa Etherington. Notable by her absence is the wonderful Eva Cassidy and that is because acoustic performance is the norm for Eva. The foregoing have been chosen as live alternatives to the original hit or style of the artist. I hope you agree these are five amazing examples of brilliant live vocals.

1. "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis is a British R&B singer songwriter. This is a beautiful understated version of the hit song that really started it all for Leona, the first single from the ten times platinum album Spirit. Leona came to the attention of the public when she auditioned for and won the UK version of X Factor and Simon Cowell was later quoted as admitting that she was the only singer to gain the highest number of public votes every week.

A nice aspect of this scaled back version is Leona is casually dressed and she usually performs in evening dresses and high heels etc. Leona has a mezzo soprano vocal with an incredible range and is classically trained being known for her impressive control through fluctuations, various moderations and high notes.

2. "Purple Rain" by Nicole Scherzinger

This is probably the best, most heartfelt cover of the Prince classic you will ever see or hear.

Nicole was one of the Pussycat Dolls before going solo and joining first the USA X Factor for one season and then the UK X Factor as a judge, where her frank and from the heart comments endear her to the British public. Nicole has a natural soprano vocal and in common with Lewis is classically trained. Nicole however, is well known for her huge vocal range, sense of humor and try anything spontaneity. This video will blow you away.

Taken from the One for the Boys benefit concert, Samuel L Jackson requested Nicole sing this song. Nicole falls firmly into the Pop category.


I only want to see you

laughing in the purple rain

— Prince

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3. "Everybody Hurts" by The Corrs

This is a beautiful video that showcases the talented Corrs family performing a live and intimate concert that was recorded for the 1999 album The Corrs Unplugged.

The Corrs are an Irish family band, who grew up with music and the band comprises of lead singer Andrea who also performs the tin whistle on some tracks and is an accomplished piano player. Sharon who plays violin, Caroline the percussionist who also plays piano and the bodhrán an Irish percussion instrument being similar to a tambour and brother Jim who plays guitar, piano and keyboards. They all perform backing vocals. They are outstanding live and Andrea’s vocal has a unique tone that is instantly recognizable.

The genre attributed to the Corrs is Celtic pop rock fusion.

“We do it because we love to play music and that's what we're all about.”

— Corr C

4. "Breathe" by Faith Hill featuring Carlos Santana

Faith Hill is an American country singer and Breathe a hit single from her album of the same name. The song was written by Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar that was ironically held off the top of the Billboard chart by Santana’s Maria Maria.

Santana is a band led by guitarist Carlos Santana, Carlos being the constant in the band, it’s his band and is a hugely influential rock, pop-rock and blues band. Carlos is up there in most people’s top ten guitar players. This is an unusual and stunningly beautiful performance by these two artists and the sound quality really allows the listener to hear Carlos breathe life into his guitar.

This is a stunning performance showcasing the beauty of Hill’s vocal and versatility of Santana’s guitar playing in a crossover to country.

5. "The Wanting of You/Bring Me Some Water" by Melissa Etheridge

Melissa is an unusual singer who does not quite fit into any conventional musical genre. She’d be flattered to be referred to as a female Bruce Springsteen and Springsteen has heavily influenced her music. There is a raw rock quality to her vocal and a country style to a lot of her songs, the arrangements leaning towards country rock much of the time. It is live performing where Etheridge really comes to her own and who doesn’t remember her performing completely bald when recovering from breast cancer a tribute to Janis Joplin at the 2005 Grammys?

This quality recording was recorded live at the 96.5 TIC's Acoustic Cafe and gives a feel for the artist.


Selected as an enjoyable collection of female vocal live performances, each of the foregoing offers something unique in its own way. Each brings a little magic into the life of the viewer and listener, and I hope they leave you in a better place.

Surely it is impossible not to be awed by Scherzinger's emotional delivery of "Purple Rain" or inspired by The Corrs' perfect delivery and Andrea's haunting voice.

Of course, then there is the unusual collaboration of Carlos Santana beautifully playing guitar on Faith Hill's "Breathe," bringing something extra but somehow not overshadowing the original or the vocal. Or maybe you love Leona's stripped-back version of "Bleeding Love" or Melissa's cheerful live delivery.

© 2017 Lyn

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