Performing a Creative Cover as a Singer

How to make a cover song your own

Performing a creative cover as a singer.  If you are struggling for inspiration to write songs, maybe try performing a cover version of another song. This is obviously a big risk to take, so before you perform the first song that comes to your mind here are some pointers of how to choose and perform a creative cover version.

  • Try picking something original. If a song has been covered numerous times then your version will get lost amidst the other versions. You want to pick something not currently in the chart, as people will hear that enough as it is, but you want to avoid picking an obscure song no one has heard of.
  • Once you have decided on a song, listen to other artist’s cover versions and how they’ve altered the original to make it their own. For example, Guns N’ Roses version of ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ or Fallout Boy’s version of ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson.
  • You need to bring something new to the table and make the song you own. Things you can change around include the tone of the song, the tempo it is played at or even the instrumentation.
  • Performing a straight up cover won’t show any imagination on your behalf. The more ways you can alter the original song to create something unique, the better.
  • A slowed down, reggae version of ‘Trouble’ by Taylor Swift would be something truly unique that would get people interested for example.
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In this article we answer the question: “Do you need a licence to do cover songs?”. Performing cover songs can help singers to build their audience, experiment with a new style and show their appreciation for the work of fellow musicians. However, before you start covering songs by other artists, it is important to know... Read more »

Performing a creative cover song

  • Of course there are endless ways you can change the song; rewrite the lyrics, slow it down, speed it up, add ad libs or even add rap sections. Don’t change it for change sake but playing around with it will help with your songwriting skills plus make it original.
  • You should put as much effort into choosing and recording a cover version, as you would put in to recording your own song. Remember, the cover should be created, not carried out!
  • Remember that people are more often than not going to always say they prefer the original. You are not trying to compete with that, you are merely putting a fresh spin on it and getting any version of the song back in the public eye.
  • Whatever song you do the most important thing to think about is whether you’re connecting with the song. Trying to sing a song that you do not feel an emotional connection to will be plainly obvious to your audience, so a top tip whilst learning how to sing with emotion is to pick songs you understand and connect with.

One of the best examples of a creative cover is Hannah Reid from the band London Grammar:

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