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Robert Lunte

Name Your Steps to Make a Cover Your Own!

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In order to make a cover "your own", it makes a big difference to first be very clear on the merits of your own voice and singing. This would include range, your ability to sing well above the vocal break, you ability to hear embellishments/melissimo, not just sing on pitch and your own sound color. 

Through good song coaching lessons and experience, you also have to have an innate, intuitive understanding of what the characters inside the song are singing about, what the message is that we can all relate to, and even the histories behind the artist, people, place and time that the song was first written. Understanding the real history behind the societal and personal conditions that the artist was experiencing at the time the song was written, can help a LOT to better interpret what it is about. This comes from having a great song coach that can help you to recognize interpretation nuances and elements that you would otherwise not recognize, due to lack of experience and understanding of popular musicology.

The "mechanics" of musicianship are valid ways to make a cover your own, but less obvious is understanding what a song is really about, where it came from, the life of the original artist that wrote it and then marrying that to your own unique interpretation and stylistic elements.

 

 

 

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When I want to make the song my own on stage, a lot depends on the song/singer.

I believe some songs have a built-in bias in people, that any major deviation might not be well accepted or tolerated.

Like Journey tunes, I don't think you can afford to deviate too much from the original.  If you don't have a Steve Perry type of voice, or range, I'd stay away from those tunes.  Look at how quickly Jeff Scott Soto lasted. JSS, although a great singer, (IMO) was not a good choice for a Steve Perry replacement.

But if it's a classic tune like Mustang Sally with a history of covers to it, for example, you have more chance of cooking up more originality AND getting that to be accepted by the audience.

The public has a preconceived bias for a lot of these iconic voices, regardless of what the TV singing shows might have you believe.

Here is a short list of singers that I believe are iconic voices.  They left an undelible mark on our subconscious, giving many of us a conceived bias.  To me, if you are going to cover their songs, it's in your best interest to be pretty close to their "sound or style" in terms of generating audience approval.

Steve Perry

Aretha Franklin

Elvis Presley

Ann Wilson

Freddie Mercury

Frank Sinatra

Robert Plant 

Whitney Houston

Michael Jackson

Brad Delp

Celene Dion

Christina Aquilera

Justin Timberlake

I'm sure there are more..

How do you folks feel? 

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