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I’m a singer and as such, I am very discriminating when it comes to other female singers. I’ve noticed that while a preponderance of my favorite songwriters come from Canada, the female singers I grew up with and love best all seem to come out of the UK, Ireland and Australia.
In trying to find a non-geographic common denominator among them, besides being just plain good, I realized they were all altos, but mostly, it was their accents that I found so appealing.
I like a singer to sing like they speak; if you come from Britain, I want you to sound British, not like you were born and bred in Detroit – hence the reason I’ve left some amazing singers like Adele, Amy Winehouse, Dusty Springfield and Annie Lennox off this list. They’re wonderful, yes, but the female singers who’ve had the biggest influence on me have something in their accent and enunciation that make English lyrics sound elegant and delicious to me in a way that an American inflection never does.
Here are some of my favorites: