Recently a student asked how to make a song their own. They didn’t want to sound like they were just imitating or sounding like a karaoke version of the original.
This can be tricky when you are first learning to sing. So I will give some basic ideas and then you can play from there. Don’t forget, some songs just sound so good you may want to sing them just as they are but with your emotional flair.
First thing to do is learn the notes of the song without any runs or stylizing added. Just the basic notes. Once you know the notes sing the song with music only. Don’t sing along with the original singer at this point. You can find instrumental music for most songs on youtube and iTunes.
Second, focus on the lyrics of the song. What are you saying and who are you saying it to? What emotions are you feeling as you sing these words. Happy, sad, angry, frustrated, elated, confused, etc….
Third, sing the song with emotion. Put all your feelings into the lyrics and see where it takes you.
Then sit and just listen to the music without singing. Where does the music change. Where does it get louder and softer. How do you feel listening to just the music. Now put the lyrics and the music together with all your emotional intention and see how that comes out.
Now, you have made the song your own. It’s up to you at this point to play. Try adding some runs or maybe some oohs or aahs if you are feeling it. Try playing with the tempo by slowing it down or speeding it up. It’s all about experimentation.
The most important thing is to allow yourself to play and make mistakes. That is how we learn.