Have you ever wished you knew how to sing like your favorite artist? Well, it doesn’t have to be a wish because believe it or not, you can actually learn how to mimic any artist’s voice with just a few strategies.
I’ll never forget the amazing feeling I had when I first discovered this was possible. I was at a friends house playing some of my new music, and during one particular song her husband (who is a famous musician) came out of the room and asked: “Is that Rihanna?”.
I was beyond happy, Rihanna was my favorite singer at the time and I had spent countless hours studying her voice trying to match her soulful yet raspy and energetic sound.
That scenario proved to me that even though we all naturally have different voices, if we stay committed and follow a few key steps, whether it’s Rihanna, Nick Jonas, Taylor Swift, Adele, Justin Timberlake, or another artist, anyone can mimic their voice.
Study the Artist’s Voice and Identify Defining Features
Once you know the artist you’d like to imitate, you’ll need to spend a good amount of time attentively listening to their music. Most artists sing in a variety of styles from track to track, so you will need to listen to more than one song to determine what element of their voice is consistent.
Do they use a lot of air when they sing? Do they have a deep tone or a high pitched voice? Is their voice always smooth, or is it raspy at times? Listen closely and study the similarities between songs. Ask yourself, when I listen to this artist, how do I know it’s them? Understanding this will be your starting foundation for sounding exactly like your favorite singer.
This popular video by professional singer Ryan Higa is somewhat comical, but also gives you a good idea on how to listen for defining features in your favorite singer’s voice, and apply them to your own singing:
Watch the Artist Perform to Study Their Singing Technique
In addition to studying the recorded voice of your favorite artist, watching them sing will also be an important part of getting your voice to sound like theirs. This can be watching them in concert or watching a live studio recording, or even watching them sing a cover. No matter what, when you are watching the artist sing, you want to pay close attention to the expressions and movements they make so that you can mimic them and get closer to your goal.
When trying to sound like your favorite artist you have to go beyond studying the voice alone. When you watch an artist singing live, pay attention to their facial expressions and mimic them.
For example, if you are trying to sound like Bruno Mars, and you notice that he is singing a certain part of your favorite song with his bottom lip trembling, take note of that! You will need to practice mimicking that tremble when you sing because it will increase your chances of sounding like Bruno, or whichever artist you choose.
Check out these two videos of people who definitely know how to imitate singers! As you watch these videos play close attention to how their facial expressions are different for each artist they are imitating.
Yanina Chiesa mimics 15 different female singers including Amy Winehouse and Taylor Swift:
Gabriel Brown mimics 54 different artists including Sam Smith, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra:
In addition to facial expressions, when you watch your favorite artists singing, take note of their physical movements as well. Imagine you want to learn how to shoot a basketball like Michael Jordan. It would make sense to look at things like his foot placement, or how much he bends his knees, etc…
The same is true for learning how to sing like your favorite artist. Maybe they tap their foot, or tilt their head a certain way, or raise their arm. While this may seem silly or like an unimportant step, you’d be pleasantly surprised at how much this technique can impact your subconscious and get you closer to sounding like the singer. Pay close attention and start learning to copy those movements and use them when you sing.
Pick A Song
You’ve picked the artist you want to sound like and have studied their voice both on recordings, and in live performances. You’ve learned about their facial expressions and physical movements while singing, and have started learning to mimic those things. Now the real fun begins, time to pick a song.
A major key to learning how to imitate singers is that you want to master one song at a time. It may be a bit challenging at first but over time you will find it easier to sound like your favorite artist with minimal effort. Mastering each song has a three-step process:
Step 1: Sing Along
The first step is to play the song out loud and sing along, doing your best to match the vocals of the artist. It won’t be perfect, but if you’ve followed the previous suggestions you’ll notice that you are already closer than before. As you’re singing along, identify which notes you are hitting and those you are missing. Doing this will let you know which areas of the song need the most attention in the next two steps.
Step 2: Break it Up
Now that you have a general idea of where you are with the song, you need to break it up into sections. You can decide how long each section will be, but if you are just starting out I’d suggest doing 15-20 seconds at a time. Take your time, listen to the first 15 seconds and then sing it just like the artist.
Keep repeating this focusing only on that section of the song until you feel good about it. Be mindful of each note, make sure you are implementing your facial expressions and physical movements as you go through this step.
Step 3. Repeat until Completion
Once you feel comfortable with the first 15 seconds, move on to the next 15 seconds, and so on. Finally, you will get to the end of the song and you can attempt to sing it the entire way through. Be proud of yourself as you enjoy hearing your own voice as much as you enjoy hearing your favorite artist!
Practice Makes Perfect!
As with anything in life, success will come with repetition. Learning to sing like your favorite artist should be fun and exciting! Once you master one song, try another, and another. Before you know it, it’ll be hard to tell you and your favorite singer apart!
If you are a beginning singer, before you apply these tips check this article out and improve first your singing skills.