3 Steps to Make a Cover Song YOUR OWN

3 Steps to Make a Cover Song YOUR OWN
A well-crafted cover song can be a thing of beauty and raise your chances of getting attention -says Lisa Popeil

Here are three tips to help get you started on making someone else’s great song yours.

  1. Change the tempo

    Make an uptempo song into a ballad or a romantic song into a snappy dance number simply by speeding up or slowing down the beat. Don’t be random about the tempo change though… try to keep the integrity of the lyrics in mind when making tempo choices.

  2. Change the melody

    Who says you have to sing the exact same notes as the original singer? Of course, you must follow most of the melody but feel free to make slight changes (going up where the original singer went down on a note for example). Add subtle ornamentation to impart the message that this is your personal take on the song, especially if you’re changing the style from pop to R&B.

  3. Change the feel

    Reggae anyone? Or take a dance song with a heavy disco beat and transform it into a sweet acoustic ballad. Transform a funk song into hard-hitting rock with stacks of guitars. Tickle the listener’s ear by starting the song with a familiar hook from the original. The goal is to lure the listener in and imagine them thinking “Hmmm. I think I recognize this song… what is it? …OH YEAH!” The joy of recognition is half the fun.

Here are links to four original songs and excellent cover versions. You may even like the covers better than the originals.

Sting & Eva Cassidy: Fields of Gold

Demi Lovato & James Bell: Cool for the Summer

Stevie Wonder & Red Hot Chili Peppers: Higher Ground

Michael Jackson & Renata Flores Rivera: The Way You Make Me Feel


Lisa Popeil is one of LA’s top voice coaches. She is the creator of the ‘Daily Vocal Workout for Pop Singers’ CD download (for Male and Female) as well as the Voiceworks® Method and the Total Singer DVD, conducts cutting-edge voice research, lectures internationally and is a vocal health consultant. Lisa is a voting member of NARAS, the Grammy® organization, ASCAP, AFTRA and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. www.popeil.com