There’s Actually a Good Reason Why Austin Butler Sounds Like That

He can’t shake the drawl.

Austin Butler’s voice is genuine despite what the critics think — and his voice coach is here to defend him (Thank you, thank you very much.) 

Austin Butler Golden Globes
Austin Butler attending Golden Globes Awards.

Irene Bartlett — who was hired as the Elvis actor’s singing coach in 2019 — told ABC News they spent years working to establish his natural voice and what his character would sound like. But it was Butler who strived to form a “connection” with the character he was expected to play. "Because of COVID shutdowns, he was working on it all the time, and it's difficult to switch off something you've spent so much focus time on," Bartlett said. 

Butler went beyond impersonating and copying the voice Elvis, and instead established an authentic voice of his own. 

"You know, when he came into his singing lessons, he was dressed in 50s-style gear," she continued. "He was never going to be — and [director] Baz Luhrmann didn't want him to be — an Elvis impersonator, that's the last thing they wanted him to be. What they wanted was a true connection with the personality of Elvis and his story and that's what Austin worked on.”

Following his arrival at the 80th annual Golden Globes Awards — where he accepted the award for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture — critics were quick to call Butler out as he continued to embrace the King of Rock N’ Roll’s voice. 

"What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that's him. It's genuine, it's not put on," Bartlett explained. As for how long will this last? Dr. Bartlett isn’t sure when or if he can shake it completely. "I feel sorry people are saying that you know, it's still acting [but] he's actually taken [the voice] on board,” she added. 

Despite fans accusing him of “putting on” the raspy drawl, Butler isn’t convinced he sounds like the King at all. "I don't think I sound like him still, but I guess I must because I hear it a lot," he said at the 2023 Golden Globes in the backstage press room. "I had three years where that was my only focus. So, I'm sure there's pieces of him in my DNA and I'll always be linked."

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