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"Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails cover!

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AndIWonder
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This is a song that means quite a lot to me, for a few reasons and because of this it's one that I really love singing along to. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an instrumental version of the song, so Trent Reznor's vocals are still faintly audible in the background. Anyway give it a listen, if you want to, and any feedback will be greatly appreciated;)

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Woah, no replies? We had a thing going recently with a bunch of singers on here doing their own version of "Hurt" (mainly the Johnny Cash version) so I figured they would be equally responsive to this. Huh...well let me help you out.

Listening to it right now it sounds fantastic so far. You sing with a lot of emotion which is exactly what this song needs more than anything. Good pitch, timing, and tone too...all the fundamentals are in place.

The only critique I have is I would like to hear you try the higher octave in the choruses. You are nailing the soft, intense dynamic Trent is so good at. But then it isn't going anywhere, you are remaining there for the whole song expect maybe the very end. Some more contrast would be nice.

Try belting the chorus in the higher octave, maybe replacing that high A on "let" with the F# (same note as "have") instead if you can't sing the A. If the higher octave sort of working but you are not quite getting the notes yet, give it a few weeks of practice, maybe even months of practice, and you will get better. Just because you are struggling with the notes now doesn't mean you can't stretch your range a little higher and develop an ability to sing them in the same octave as the original. Give it time.

If that still doesn't work, or you want to record or perform this seriously in the near future and your high range isn't developed yet, you can create the same kind of contrast by staying in the lower octave but singing a lot louder and heavier in the choruses. Sort of like you did in the last chorus but give it even more. Don't be afraid to sing almost as loud as you can at those points.

But overall I really liked it and enjoyed listening to it. I can tell by the passion you are putting into it that the song means a lot to you. And that's what singing is about. It's so easy to forget that and just go through the motions of singing lyrics on pitches. But you really put in those emotional subtleties and gave your singing meaning and that's what moves listeners. I would recommend finding some sort of accompaniment and performing this song live, because I think the way you sing it will really hit audiences in a special way.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to reply Owen!

I can definitely see where you're coming from with your criticism of the chorus, and I think you make a very good point. I have very little experience with different singing techniques and have had no vocal lessons yet, but as you said, I'll keep practicing and hopefully improve on it!

I wasn't too sure about it myself, but I'm very glad to hear that I managed to get the passion and emotion of the song across in my cover because, exactly as you said, it's what singing is about. To be compared to Trent in that sense in any way is just amazing, and very motivating for me. I'm not sure about performing live just yet, but maybe at some point in the future

Again, thank you for your kind words & advice, and I'm delighted that you enjoyed it :)

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I really did. It actually inspired me to consider performing the NIN version in the future.

Back when I put up my cover of Johnny Cash's version of hurt for critique I was told I sounded kinda like Trent. So maybe I'd be better off doing the NIN version. I was playing around with the NIN version the other day after hearing your cover and apparently I can do both the NIN and the Cash versions. So now I just have to decide which one, or do both, or combine the two...

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If you can do both, I definitely think you should! If you're performing live, it'd always be great to have that unpredictability and freedom to go for either depending on your mood, the crowd etc. A combination of both versions would sound incredible though, if done right.

I'd really like to hear your take on the NIN version, if you ever put it up!

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Although this song does have soft dynamics it sounded as if you were whispering most of the time. The emotion did come through and that is good. Singing soft and airy is a little different than whispering. I agree with everything else that Owen said.

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Yeah, Owen, your cover was way more Trent than Johnny. You might think you are a baritone but you weren't using it. Funny, because I am a tenor but I think I captured the Johnny feel.

Trent's is certainly a post industrial feel, like And I Wonders' version and his cover reminded me so much of Trent. Kind of a heroin-chic sound.

As opposed to Johnny, an old guy with a wide path of hurt and pain behind him. Like me.

That is, Trent's version sounds like a warning. Johnny's version is more like remorse. And I found expression in the latter.

Anyway, well done, And.

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Well that cover was years ago, I was maybe 16 years old or something? So I might have not had my full baritonal beef yet.

And lately I'm also starting to think maybe I am becoming more of a high baritone. When I'm really warmed up I'm able to belt up to Ab4 or even A4 if necessary. Haven't done it live yet but in the practice room it has happened with decent consistency. On those same days I may try to sing a F#2 for the heck of it and it's extremely weak. Go figure. I think you can really raise your vocal fach with a good warm up.

Conveniently the highest note in the NIN version is an A4. If I give a little extra push of effort I hit it and get a little bit of natural distortion in with it. I find singing like Trent quite taxing on my voice but actually not because of that note. It's from the super breathy verses. And maybe I'm squeezing too hard on the chorus. Two extremes, no middle ground.

I am currently good at imitating Trent and bad at doing so in a manner that works better for my own voice. Here's a classic case where I have to intentionally un-imitate the original singer a bit, so I don't blow out my voice. I found that to be true with singing Meatloaf songs as well. Both breathy singers. I think my issue is when I sing breathy I do it too heavy. I believe CVT mentions that singing breathy is only healthy in neutral mode, the quietest, lightest vocal mode. That's probably what I should be doing. Combined with not getting too breathy, just the bare minimum.

You know MDEW, sometimes, in order to sound whispery, it's best to really kinda whisper.

And Ron, you are right about the vibes. The way I'd describe it, I associate the Cash one with sadness and the Trent one with anger. And that's a huge oversimplification. Each one is a mixture of a few emotions, but they are not all the same emotions as each other.

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I didn't like it.

Although the song is not challenging for dynamics, I agree with Owen.. Sounded like you were just whispering for most of it, and I thought you were just a step above talking the verses. Almost like you are in a room of sleeping people, and trying not to wake them -- not just the volume, but the tone...

When you hold a word, you fall off pitch for the most part as well...

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And Ron, you are right about the vibes. The way I'd describe it, I associate the Cash one with sadness and the Trent one with anger. And that's a huge oversimplification. Each one is a mixture of a few emotions, but they are not all the same emotions as each other.

AKA, subtext. It informs the performance.

Cash's version seems to evoke the regret of pain one has caused others. Something that rings true for me, the unforgiven. More than anger, which may inspire others.

For example, "I will make you hurt." You're right, the Trent version sounds kind of threatening. The Cash version is more like a warning.

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