Why You Should Be Watching More Cover Songs
This probably seems like a bit of a strange request, asking you to spend some of your precious practicing time watching other people sing covers of the song you're about to work on, but bear with me.
IT'S NOT THEIR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY
I've found that more often than not, when a singer goes to work on a song they only know one way to sing it which they see as "the right way." The way the original artist sings it.
This can be a little worrying for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it can lead you to do things with your voice that it might not be ready to do yet. This is especially true when you're tackling big belty numbers or diva songs.
Sometimes you might have to sing a section in your head voice rather than your mix until you develop that technique or it could be a lighter mix than Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande or Bruno Mars.
This doesn't mean you're a failure or that your voice isn't good enough, it simply means that recording artists have had a bucketload of training and do this for a living. They practice a lot and have been doing it for a long time to get where they are.
AND they have only had to record this once. Always watch them perform it live to see what it's like without all the extra tweaking. Are they singing it slightly lower on stage? Do they change some of the harder bits to make it easier for themselves?
Secondly, it limits your own creativity as an artist. Who says that you need to do the chorus in a strong chest dominant mix? Maybe you are wanting to perform it acoustically and it would work better with a more head dominant tone.
Don't get into the habit of thinking that the recorded version is the only (or the best) way. Get creative, play with a number of different ways you could sing it.
GET INSPIRED BY OTHER STYLES
I love watching artists cover songs and completely reinvent the style. One of my favourites is Lake Street Dive's version of I Want You Back (original by The Jackson Five).
Being able to make a song your own is a skill all singers should work towards. We all have a unique voice and as great as imitating can be for trying new things, you want to be able to shine your own light on music and share THAT with the world.
If you'd like to learn how to change the sound of your voice to suit multiple musical styles, maybe check out my Pimp Your Voice Intermediate course.
IF YOUR INNER PERFECTIONIST NEEDS TO COMPARE...
Comparison is indeed the thief of joy as the saying goes, and it can be crippling but it's also very hard to avoid entirely. If your Ego needs to be comparing you to anyone, I'd prefer that it be a great singer on YouTube playing in their bedroom than Queen Bey herself or Michael Jackson.
When we're still learning and growing as artists, it's important to have role models who are slightly ahead of us on the singing journey as well as worshipping our musical theatre gods and pop princesses.