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3 Ways to Make a Song Your Own

Sep 30, 2020

We all know it’s a lot of fun to sing the songs we love,  it it’s something really special to be able to change that song to make it your own. Put your own spin on it, if you like.


I’ve always been a fan of covers - but only really particular ones. You see, if a cover sounds the same as the original, I don’t see a reason to listen to it. But a cover that changes the song completely, or even just conveys a different emotion or story... That I love.


It’s also something I get asked about from time to time - how do you make a song your own - especially if you only have your voice! Doing an acoustic version of a song is great and all, but what if you don’t have the ability to do that yourself? Can you just use an instrumental track and make it your own?


Of course you can! Here’s three different ways to mix things up when you’re singing.


1 - Change your Lyrics or Melody


A very simple way to make a song your own is to change up the lyrics - the technqiue most often used in song parodies (Weird Al Yankovic, anyone?). Another great way to do this is changing the melody to something more your own. Madilyn Bailey does this really well here by creating an entire new melody for the rap section of 'Thrift Shop.'


2 - Switch up the Technique


Just because the original singer uses a specific technique doesn’t mean that you have to. You could turn a big, belted song into a softer song. Or you could turn a softer song into a big, belty song. There’s even artists out there who take pop songs and sing them with classical techniques in a genre called classical crossover - commonly known as ‘Popera’.


I still remember this performance from the voice last year purely because of the decision that the artists made to change the technique. Rather than keep the song soft and gentle like Billie Eilish does, the singers let loose in the final pre-chorus and go all out!


3 - Convey a different emotion


Speaking of Billie Eilish, I found this great cover while researching for this topic and I'm loving it. Rather than sing 'Bad' in the poppy, up-tempo style of Michael Jackson, she creates a darker, more dramatic sound like... well, Billie Eilish. It's a fantastic example of changing the emotions of the song. The notes are the same, but she sings it completely differently!

Of course, the instrumentation on some of these is a little (or a lot) different to the original, but when you focus just on the voices you can really hear the difference that these changes can make.


So what are you waiting for? Go make songs your own! (And definitely tag me in them if you decide to share your version.)

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