Ariana Grande Defends Voice Pitch Changes

Bintano
11 Min Read

Ariana Grande again defend the wild fluctuations in vocal pitch that she displayed last month while recording a podcast.

During her June appearance on Podcrushed with Penn Badgley, the 31-year-old singer ignited social media intrigue after she dipped into a lower, huskier voice than she often uses in an unguarded moment, before suddenly pitching her voice considerably higher.

She later defended the rapid-fire changes on social media as a remnant of her time speaking in a higher register while filming the upcoming Wicked adaptation and her constant attempts to preserve her voice’s health.

And on Tuesday’s episode of the Shut Up Evan podcast, Ariana said that the changes in her voice were a ‘normal’ part of speaking, particularly for anyone with the kind of extensive singing range that she has.

Ariana previously set of speculation about her voice at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony when she used a particularly high-pitched murmur as she presented an award with her Wicked costar Cynthia Erivo.

Ariana Grande Defends Voice Pitch Changes

On Tuesday, Ariana Grande defended herself on the Shut Up Evan podcast in response to fans who were shocked after her vocal pitch changed drastically during a podcast from June; seen in May in NYC

During her June appearance on Podcrushed with Penn Badgley (pictured), the 31-year-old singer ignited social media intrigue after she dipped into a lower, huskier voice than she often uses in an unguarded moment, before suddenly pitching her voice considerably higher

During her June appearance on Podcrushed with Penn Badgley (pictured), the 31-year-old singer ignited social media intrigue after she dipped into a lower, huskier voice than she often uses in an unguarded moment, before suddenly pitching her voice considerably higher

While speaking on Tuesday’s episode, Ariana said the rapid lowering and then elevation of her vocal pitch was ‘a normal thing people do, especially if you have a large range.’

However, she added that playing Glinda the Good in Wicked may have affected how she speaks when she’s not on camera, as the witch speaks in a high, squeaky voice that’s a significant departure from the deeper pitch that Ariana has used in video interviews in past years.

‘I did just spend a long time playing a character every single day,’ she admitted.

Although some of her most suspicious fans were convinced that Ariana made a conscious decision to alter the pitch of her voice, she added that the switch can happen involuntarily.

‘[I trained] my voice to do different things for a long time before leaving for London and before any of this; muscle memory is a real thing,’ she explained.

In addition to explaining the mechanics of the pitch shift that listeners noticed, Ariana also attributed some of the uproar to sexism.

‘I mean you see male actors, sure people make jokes here and there as well, but it’s always after the fact “Oh wow, how dedicated to his craft! What an amazing transformation! He’s a brilliant performer!”‘ she claimed. 

‘But then it’s like, God forbid I sneeze like Glinda or something, [then] it’s just that I am crazy
 it’s the weirdest thing,’ she continued.

She admitted part of the change was likely due to the voice she adopted to star in Wicked, but she said it was 'a normal thing people do, especially if you have a large range'

She admitted part of the change was likely due to the voice she adopted to star in Wicked, but she said it was ‘a normal thing people do, especially if you have a large range’

She added that muscle memory likely played a part, and she called out sexism for giving male stars a supposed pass for similar lapses

She added that muscle memory likely played a part, and she called out sexism for giving male stars a supposed pass for similar lapses 

Although Ariana was pointing out a dynamic that other women in Hollywood and the entertainment industry have pointed out, male stars haven’t been completely given a pass over their transformative performances.

Following the release of his hit 2022 biopic Elvis, Austin Butler was widely mocked by social media critics after he appeared to retain much of the drawl he developed to portray Elvis Presley. 

However, the actor received more fawning praise from fans after his appearance in Dune: Part Two, in which he developed an accent that appeared to be heavily inspired by the voice of Stellan SkarsgÄrd, who played his uncle in the film.

Ultimately, Ariana didn’t seem too concerned about her shifting voice, which she previously partially attributed to her focus on vocal health, which she called ‘a full-time commitment’ and ‘a lifestyle’ during her latest podcast appearance.

‘It’s not something you can f*** around with. It’s your lifeline, it’s your instrument and it’s something that you can take out of a box and put back,’ she added. ‘This needs to be thought about 24/7.’

During her Podcrushed appearance last month, Ariana was speaking about her growth as a singer and her songwriting journey while delving into her latest album, Eternal Sunshine, when the surprise vocal change happened.

‘I went to the studio the day after the Met and I stayed for like 10 days and I was literally living there and I felt like I woke up today and I felt like Austin Powers being unfrozen,’ Ariana laughed, with Penn and his co-hosts, Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari, chuckling along. 

‘That’s how I felt,’ she continued. ‘I was like “what happened.”‘

‘But yeah I,’ she said, as her voice then gets dramatically higher and breathier, as she composes herself and continues. 

Ariana and Penn pictured on the set of her new music video, The Boy Is Mine

Ariana and Penn pictured on the set of her new music video, The Boy Is Mine

Many people theorized her change in voice may be because she is still using the voice she used while playing Glinda in Wicked, which she seemed to confirm; pictured with Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba

Many people theorized her change in voice may be because she is still using the voice she used while playing Glinda in Wicked, which she seemed to confirm; pictured with Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba

‘I would like to do a deluxe [album] at some point,’ she said.

And fans couldn’t believe the shift, taking to social media to express their concern – and disbelief. 

‘As a singer, she might be trying to talk in a less damaging part of her voice,’ one user speculated. 

‘Speaking higher like that without the vocal fry she had at the beginning is better for your voice, especially when your voice is fatigued,’ another user suggested.

 

Another questioned: ‘Ariana Grande is mad scary bc (because) why did she do a voice change like it was nothing in the middle of that interview?’

‘People must be delusional cuz it’s clear her [Glinda] voice is keeping her in the high register,’ someone else commented. 

They continued: ‘She even explained in the interview how she was operatically trained for months. She had to speak this way for over a year, that’s hard to just drop. Remember Austin Butler?’ 

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Some fans speculated she was trying to avoid using vocal fry, though it is likely a myth that vocal fry can damage a person's voice

Some fans speculated she was trying to avoid using vocal fry, though it is likely a myth that vocal fry can damage a person’s voice 

Ariana responded to the comments, saying she has ‘always’ changed her voice, depending on how much singing she is doing at that moment. 

In her response, which she posted in the comments to a TikTok video highlighting her rapid-fire vocal change, Ariana indicated that part of the issue was that she had gotten used to speaking in her higher voice for Wicked, in which she stars as Galinda Upland, later known as Glinda the Good.

‘habit (speaking like this for two years) and also vocal health :),’ she explained in her comment.

‘i intentionally change my vocal placement (high / low) often depending on how much singing i’m doing,’ she continued, adding an emoji with tears streaming down its face.

‘i’ve always done this BYE,’ she added to abruptly end the speculation.

While Ariana did not specifically mention it, several fans speculated that she switched back to her higher voice to avoid using vocal fry — a slightly croaky vocal tone that occurs when people speak in low, relaxed tones — as many people believe that vocal fry can damage a person’s vocal cords or singing voice.

However, that appears to be largely a myth, and vocal fry does not negatively affect one’s voice, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

However, speaking with vocal fry may make it more likely that someone will develop that habit over time, and the condition may be a sign of underlying voice injuries conditions that may require treatment.

Fans previously noted her unusually high voice when she presented an award in March at the Oscars with her Wicked costar Cynthia Erivo. Fans speculated at the time that she was still doing her Galinda voice from their film

Fans previously noted her unusually high voice when she presented an award in March at the Oscars with her Wicked costar Cynthia Erivo. Fans speculated at the time that she was still doing her Galinda voice from their film

The 30-year-old singer and actress appeared on Podcrushed with Penn Badgley when she went from a natural-sounding low, husky voice to the more recent high-pitched voice

The 30-year-old singer and actress appeared on Podcrushed with Penn Badgley when she went from a natural-sounding low, husky voice to the more recent high-pitched voice

In fact, negative opinions about vocal fry may be more related to sexism than a genuine health concern, as complaints about vocal fry are more often directed toward women than men, though some people genuinely find the sound of it to be discomforting. 

In March, Ariana was seen on stage at the Academy Awards with her Wicked costar Cynthia Erivo when she surprised her fans and viewers with her higher-pitched voice, which appears to be similar to the one she uses when playing Galinda.

‘That is NOT how she usually sounds!’ said one fan on Instagram, while another wondered, ‘What happened to her voice?’ 

‘Someone needs to make Ariana Grande stop speaking in her Glinda voice. It’s too soon for another Austin Butler situation,’ joked another user.

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