Britney Spears
Britney Spears REUTERS

Many pop stars’ vocals are altered and edited by sound engineers before they hit the airwaves, so it’s very rare to hear a raw recording from a singer — unless, of course, you’re a producer.

It is unclear who leaked the track, but YouTube user “seekcover” posted Britney Spears’ song, “Alien,” without auto-tune last week. The leaked song from the pop star’s 2013 album, “Britney Jean,” starts off with Spears’ vocals quite shaky, to the shock of many.

“This recorded version of the jam is almost unrecognizable to our ears,” celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton wrote. “WHO IS THIS PERSON AND WHAT HAS SHE DONE WITH OUR POP PRINCESS? “

The track was produced by the famed William Orbit, who has also worked with Madonna.

Orbit issued a statement Monday following the track’s leak, explaining that singers do need to warm up. The Facebook post read:

“Dearest Music Lovers, I have heard that Britney vocal link that everybody’s been discussing. It has been impossible not to as there have been many comments directing my attention to it. [I won’t re-posting it here]. I'd like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up.

Warming up is essential if you’re a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I’ve heard all manner of sounds emitted during warmups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners.

A generous singer will put something down the mic to help the engineer get their systems warmed up and at the right level, maybe whilst having a cup of herb tea and checking through lyrics before the session really kicks off. It’s not expected to be a ‘take’.

I think that 99% of you reading this will totally understand.

Whomever put this on the internet must have done so in a spirit of unkindness, but it can in no way detract from the fact that Britney is and always will be beyond Stellar! She is magnificent! And that’s that.”

Below is the unedited version withouit auto-tune followed by the album version - which one do you prefer?