Adele Laurie Blue Adkins born 5 May 1988 is an English singer and songwriter. Adele possesses a two-octave and a three-note mezzo-soprano vocal range. Rolling Stone reported that following throat surgery her voice had become "palpably bigger and purer-toned", and that she had added a further four notes to the top of her range. Initially, critics suggested that her vocals were more developed and intriguing than her songwriting, a sentiment with which Adele agreed. She has stated: "I taught myself how to sing by listening to Ella Fitzgerald for acrobatics and scales, Etta James for passion and Roberta Flack for control." Her voice has received acclaim from critics. In a review of 19, The Observer said, "The way she stretched the vowels, her wonderful soulful phrasing, the sheer unadulterated pleasure of her voice, stood out all the more; little doubt that she's a rare singer". BBC Music wrote, "Her melodies exude warmth, her singing is occasionally stunning and, ...she has tracks that make Lily Allen and Kate Nash sound every bit as ordinary as they are." For their reviews of 21, The New York Times ' chief music critic Jon Pareles commended the singer's emotive timbre, comparing her to Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Annie Lennox: " can seethe, sob, rasp, swoop, lilt and belt, in ways that draw more attention to the song than to the singer".Ryan Reed of Paste magazine regarded her voice as "a raspy, aged-beyond-its-years thing of full-blooded beauty", while MSN Music's Tom Townshend declared her "the finest singer of our generation".