Are you covering a song and want to make it your own? Congrats on even thinking of coming up with your own style for a cover because a lot of singers try to imitate the original too much and don't add anything fresh to their performance!
The first question you need to ask yourself is if you've developed your own style yet. If you have, then the first few tips below should be things you've already achieved. If you haven't found your desired style yet, take some time to develop your own flavor with these recommendations.
To get a feel for what style(s) of singing draws you in the most, you should first just listen to all the styles of singing. Play some pop, try out some folk, play some jazz, tune into all types of rock, play some gospel, play a metal band, go to some opera, throw in some rap, and finish it all off with some throat-singing samples.
What stands out to you the most? What can you see fitting your voice the best? Keep your answer in mind, then go to the next step.
Study the way the singers in these genres interpret their songs. What is their range? Do they do runs and riffs? What emotional levels do you feel from their singing? Do they sing lightly, heavily, or a mix of both? Is their voice more thin and light, or full and resonant?
These are the ideas for your singing style that you want to start playing around with to find your own style.
Figure out the story, the creation process, and the lyrical meaning of your song if you can. How does the singer relate to the lyrics? What do they do physically during a performance? How do the fans of the song relate to it, and what do they enjoy the most about it?
Depending on these answers, you can start to formulate an idea of what song elements you want to tweak and make different from the original. Your spin on the song can come from your own personal experiences.
Depending on what stands out to you about the song and what you've found in your song research process, you can begin changing how the song is performed. If you're having any gut feelings that come naturally when you first start to practice the cover, go with those changes since they are likely to be the most genuine.
If you find yourself still sounding too much like the original song, consider changing elements of the song that you found in your studies. Also, consider adding your favorite genres and singing styles in that genre, especially if it's a genre different from the song you're covering.
Try out different runs and riffs, different volume levels, and a different angle of the lyrical meaning. With enough trial and error, you will be able to develop your own sound when singing the cover song!
If you're still not able to come up with something that you feel works, try listening to covers of that song or similar songs on Youtube. The variety of singers will likely give you a fresh perspective on how to approach the song.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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