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How to sing songs with your own voice?

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rurokenji
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Hi guys,

Recently, i have been trying to sing covers of songs (acapella as i can't really play instruments. Not trying to sing covers professionally for performances lol). Whenever i try to sing the lyrics, i end up singing (unconsciously) in the same style (e.g.my voice tries to sing in the same way as the original artist). Does anyone know how i can develop a way of singing songs/lyrics in my own voice/style rather than unconsciously try and sing like the original artists when singing the cover? And also, does anyone know how i can still sing the song with the same original melody but with my own voice? That is one of my biggest problems

Thanks

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Hi guys,

Recently, i have been trying to sing covers of songs (acapella as i can't really play instruments. Not trying to sing covers professionally for performances lol). Whenever i try to sing the lyrics, i end up singing (unconsciously) in the same style (e.g.my voice tries to sing in the same way as the original artist). Does anyone know how i can develop a way of singing songs/lyrics in my own voice/style rather than unconsciously try and sing like the original artists when singing the cover? And also, does anyone know how i can still sing the song with the same original melody but with my own voice? That is one of my biggest problems

Thanks

Well first you have to find your own voice. This may require writing an original song or two, or just improvising. Once you know t your own voice is it's just a matter of resisting the temptation to imitate the singer you are covering. Here are some things to look out for:

If the singer is breathy you will tend to sing it breathy. If the singer is ringy you will tend to sing it ringy. If the singer is singing light you will tend to sing light. If the singer is singing heavy you will tend to sing heavy. If the singer has a deep tone you will try to take on a deep tone. If the singer has a bright tone you may try to sing brighter. Try doing the opposite of them and see if it sounds more like you.

Purposely sing different vowel shades than the original singer, wherever the way they are singing it feels unnatural to you.

Try changing the key to better sit in the sweet spot of your range and see if that brings out your unique tone better.

This is all easier to do over a karaoke track or a capella than singing along with the original singer. Get the original singer's version out of your head.

Another idea...try singing songs sung by the opposite gender...then it suddenly becomes really unnatural to imitate them. This will force you to develop you own tone in order to sing the same notes they do.

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I think about what the song is saying and how I would say it to someone else in the same situation. Confusing isn't it? :P

Take a song like "Dock of the bay" by Otis Redding. His emotion in this song is a deep sadness and depression. "Sittin in the mornin sun. I'll be sittin till the evening comes" He has nothing to do. nothing to live for. He sounds as if he is getting ready to jump in the bay.

Rod Stewart Same song. Same key. He sounds as if he would rather be watching those ships than doing anything else in the world. He is having a great time. He is happy.

The key to finding YOUR SOUND and YOUR VOICE is YOUR EMOTIONS and the way that you would express them.

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Good technical background + skill as a musician + experience within the style you want to do.

Technical background can and should enforce your voice natural qualities and strenghts, while the later will give you the tools to perform on the style you want.

For the later two, nothing better than aiming to get the same feel as the originals, you will learn a lot.

For the first... Teacher + Trainning.

There isnt a magical way to get your "unique voice", while untrainned, your voice is just as unique as the other billions of humans on the planet. Aiming to sound natural and aiming for comfort is the best that you can do alone. Also record yourself, it will help.

GL

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Most people will judge a cover based on the original song anyway so trying to imitate the original singer is not necessarily a bad thing. You usually need extra effort to impress someone with a cover than with a song of your own because of that comparison. Listen to a lot of your favorite music and then write your own songs if you want to develop your style.

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To me the difference is all about the reverse.

Geran speaking of something else, do you notice how you are always talking about other techniques having sound ideals and yet you are always the one talking about making sounds?

How come? Serious thing for you to consider ;)

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I had mentioned that the key to using your own voice in singing is your emotion. What I did not say is that the technique and the training is what gives us the ability to let our emotion and personality to come through.

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Well first you have to find your own voice. This may require writing an original song or two, or just improvising. Once you know t your own voice is it's just a matter of resisting the temptation to imitate the singer you are covering. Here are some things to look out for:

If the singer is breathy you will tend to sing it breathy. If the singer is ringy you will tend to sing it ringy. If the singer is singing light you will tend to sing light. If the singer is singing heavy you will tend to sing heavy. If the singer has a deep tone you will try to take on a deep tone. If the singer has a bright tone you may try to sing brighter. Try doing the opposite of them and see if it sounds more like you.

Purposely sing different vowel shades than the original singer, wherever the way they are singing it feels unnatural to you.

Try changing the key to better sit in the sweet spot of your range and see if that brings out your unique tone better.

This is all easier to do over a karaoke track or a capella than singing along with the original singer. Get the original singer's version out of your head.

Another idea...try singing songs sung by the opposite gender...then it suddenly becomes really unnatural to imitate them. This will force you to develop you own tone in order to sing the same notes they do.

Yeah, that's what i am thinking of doing now. Singing it with the opposite tone/emotion the original singer is singing with. Yeah, i am seeming to have more luck with singing females songs (i'm a male btw lol) as i just seem to sing automatically with my own voice as it's like my voice knows the original is by a female and thus, automatically stops me from singing like the female. I am currently working on norah jones - sunrise. Due to the fact that i am doing it all acapella based, shall i stick to singing it with the original melody?

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Yes but the reverse is not true. ;)

Hehe the special charm ;) can you show me a sound you havent heard in a song? it's actualy harder than one might think specialy since some genres find vomitsounds pigsquels and the abominable sopranovoice appealing

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I think about what the song is saying and how I would say it to someone else in the same situation. Confusing isn't it? :P

Take a song like "Dock of the bay" by Otis Redding. His emotion in this song is a deep sadness and depression. "Sittin in the mornin sun. I'll be sittin till the evening comes" He has nothing to do. nothing to live for. He sounds as if he is getting ready to jump in the bay.

Rod Stewart Same song. Same key. He sounds as if he would rather be watching those ships than doing anything else in the world. He is having a great time. He is happy.

The key to finding YOUR SOUND and YOUR VOICE is YOUR EMOTIONS and the way that you would express them.

That's a good approach. Taking a flip to it!

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Yeah, that's what i am thinking of doing now. Singing it with the opposite tone/emotion the original singer is singing with. Yeah, i am seeming to have more luck with singing females songs (i'm a male btw lol) as i just seem to sing automatically with my own voice as it's like my voice knows the original is by a female and thus, automatically stops me from singing like the female. I am currently working on norah jones - sunrise. Due to the fact that i am doing it all acapella based, shall i stick to singing it with the original melody?

I wouldn't recommend doing the opposite from the original singer as a rule, just a little temporary trick to get you out of imitation mode. Ultimately you should make the decision whether you want to sing something like the original singer or sing it in a very different manner. Sometimes imitating the original singer is good, sometimes not.

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Owen gave some good suggestions!

My list would be:

- Don't sing along to recordings.

- Sing songs by female artists.

- Sing popular songs that have been covered by many different singers.

- If you can read music. Learning a song from sheet music is a good exercise because the only information you get is the notes you have to sing and the lyrics. The rest you will have to make up yourself.

Nick

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I was going to post pretty much the same question here but thanks cloud90 for saving me the job. Some good advice here although, while a good tip, I'm not sure singing a song by someone of a different gender automatically makes you avoid imitation as there will still be the same stylistic points eg breathy, ringing etc. When I do Fast Car I am thinking of how Tracy Chapman sings it. When I do I Can't Make You Love Me I'm thinking of how Bonnie Raitt does it so I think there is always more work to do to try and sound original. A friend of mine listened to some of my recordings and said it sounded like I was trying too hard to sound like an ideal rather than just letting my own voice come through and at the back of my mind I knew this already so I know exactly what you mean cloud90. Let's hope we both figure this out and become true originals! Thanks all for the good tips.

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I agree with Phil. It's okay to be inspired by a singer. Feel what he feels. I feel it's also okay to aim for some of the same sounds, at least as a stretch. But a lot of my work has been to avoid singing just like the original and this sometimes does include changing the melody line, just a little bit, even.

As for singing along with a woman, that can help a lot of guys break from the imitation mode. Unless, like me, you sound like woman. :D

An old co-worker, Dennis, said he would get me a t-shirt that said "American Idol Reject." And I told him, if he would get it for me, I would wear it. He never did. I guess I need to get my shirt, then.

I am fan of singing something in your own voice. All the singers I have admired sing in their own voice. They may have imitated or mimicked early in their journey. But the eventually gelled into their own sounds and became known for that.

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Jens and geran, not worried about sounds, but control. About bringing your own qualities and defining them, it is not dependant on style. Here:

Independant of the huge differences of styles, its perfectly possible to identify who it is. The qualities that allow such are what make your voice individual, if its not enforced on technical trainning, then you will depend on "sounds" to have an identity, and these can be copied easily since it is usually achieved by adding more tensions than what is necessary. To enforce it is the easy part, just remove things instead of adding. The less you do, the less constrictions used, the less overall tensions, the more defined it becomes. To mimic it, you have to sound different :).

These "sounds" you guys refer to are just part of a style language, and its not even the sound, but the intention and the idea it gives that is important. Styles have to be studied, no matter how much you study the technique. My whole technical background is based on classical singing, I sing pop and rock, and I would completely ruin an aria, because I never studied the language present on classical pieces.

But support is support, independant of the style, it will only need different study if your preparation is incomplete. Same for all other fundaments.

And geran, restrictions are necessary on trainning if you want to develop control. However these are usually on movements rather than sounds.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys,

Sorry for the late reply! I must admit, i have been having much luck singing my own songs and also singing female songs!

Sounds like something that would fit in the "gains" thread. I, too, am redefining my sound, as well.

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one thing i have noticed is that whenever i try and sing a female's song, i end up unconciusly attempting to sing in the same key as the orginal singer, thus making it somewhat uncomfortable and not as natural sounding like it should ? Does anyone know how i can prevent this?

Thanks!

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