VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

Put Yourself Into the Song

Help the audience experience your unique voice – says Basix.

How wonderful to “meet” you all, singer-to-singer.

When we were first asked to be VoiceCouncil’s “Vocal Coaches in Residence”, I (John) wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

The written word is so… “definite”—and there isn’t much “definite” about music and art.

I’ve hosted numerous workshops and clinics for vocalists; I have no problem in being an “authority” and sharing the knowledge and experience that I have gathered over time – but writing is somehow different.

When we meet in person, I can give you advice and then you could tell me if it makes sense to you, and whether it feels right for you or not.

When I write, it’s my words followed by… silence.

But I have come to the conclusion that this will be VERY cool.

After all, there are so many singers from all over the world in one place.

And if you don’t feel that what we have to say “fits” you can leave a comment or go to another VoiceCouncil article!

Move Beyond Copying Others

I crave originality.

I want to hear and “feel” the musician.

Copying another musician is very good for learning—VERY good for learning, actually.

But I always ask students to come up with a different version of the song – when they are done copying the original.

Put yourself into the song, give it some of that “you” – that your audience came to experience.

If they want to hear the songs as they were in the original, they might as well just put on the original album at home.

Making Covers Your Own

Try out these ideas if you are having trouble making a cover your own:

* Find a completely different song that matches the specific mood/message of your cover and “borrow” the beat and tempo from that song.

* Simply change the tempo! Try singing the song really slow or really fast and see if any ideas pop up.

* Sing the song in a key that is too high or too low for you! So that you are forced to make little changes, either to the notes, or to the way you sing it.


Your audience wants YOU!

And a cool thing is: they don’t know 100% who “you” are. That’s something YOU can control!

Surprise them!

Figure out how “you” sound – find that red thread that makes your music recognizable…

…and then every once in while throw in a little surprise.

-John Kjøller of Basix

Our Reactions to This Past Week’s Peer Review Videos

Ali Shields – Apologize/Use Somebody (Cover)

Ali, we really like your originality: you have moved these songs in your own directions in a way that makes them work with each other and with your voice. Keep up the creativity – it is a real strength. It’s perfectly cool to change tempo, but we think this area could use some work. Make each tempo change intentional. We think you may be biting off a little more than you can chew with the piano right now and if you were to play more simple rhythms and perhaps fewer chords, your good vocal work would shine through even more.

Michael Cameron – Feelings

Michael, both your voice and song are interesting/intriguing! We love how you sound free, and just let the song out! However, sometimes the switch between “chest-voice” and falsetto doesn’t happen smoothly. Your challenge is to make some technique decisions without losing the magic. For instance, we’d love to hear some of the high notes you’ve sung in falsetto done with your chest-voice! Re-channeling some of the energy that you are putting into the guitar to your voice will help.

’till next week!


See VoiceCouncil’s Exclusive Interview with Basix

With a grand total of 4 international CARA awards, including “Best European Album” and “Best Holiday Album” the Danish vocal pop group Basix has proven themselves to be among the very best of a cappella groups worldwide. Follow the group on www.basix.dk or www.facebook.com/basix

Basix will be giving feedback for the next 8 weeks on our Peer Review videos – sign up to get their latest words here.

  • paul mulcahy

    Can’t you put the text in contrast to the webpage. This is like invisible ink.