Own that cover like you wrote it!

Some of our favorite IG artists share tips on how to creatively and authentically cover a song.

Give yourself space and time to play!

Sabrina Cheref @Sabrinacheref_ – I try to give myself space and time to just play – feeding myself with lots of different music and practicing. As you practice and play, ideas will come up.

Know the road map & explore alternate routes!

Moxy Anne @moxyannemusic – In my experience, the longer I’ve been singing a song, the more freedom I feel. You don’t necessarily have to know every hit like the back of your hand, but you should understand the way each song you sing works. The better you know your melody, harmony, chords, rhythms, and timbre, the more comfortable you’ll feel taking the song melodically to places it didn’t go originally. Additionally, the better you know your voice, the easier the options will come to you. When you’re practicing, don’t be afraid to back phrase or push rhythms, jump an octave, sing on a harmony instead of a melody line… I find that when I know the tools in my arsenal equally as well as I know the material, I barely have to think about changing it up (and it’s more fun.) One other thing I do in my acoustic project, Heartless the Duo, is take something we wouldn’t think would translate acoustically and try to mess with it until it works. Our favorite is “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley – it was a surprise that neither of us expected, but we’re so glad we went for it!

Know the lyrics intimately.

Jacob Clarke @onlyjacobclarke – Once I’m comfortable with the more technical aspects of a song – mostly the pitch – my main focus is getting the delivery to sound natural. This perspective doesn’t apply to everyone I don’t think, and it isn’t applicable to every song, but I want to feel like I’m almost talking the melody. I feel like this clears my head of the mechanics and gets my closer to expressing the sentiment of the words, and if that’s where my focus is then there should be slight variations to tone and dynamics and phrasing every time I sing.

Harmonies can spark new melodic ideas

Dian @belifuna – I discovered my secret to interpreting cover songs accidentally. More often than not, if I am singing along with a song I am singing in harmony. I found that creating new, intricate harmonies made it easier for me to improvise during a performance, which naturally led to different interpretations. I also like to experiment with changing the mood, rhythm, and tempo of a song.

Expose yourself to new music and creators.

Cat LeBlanc @catleblancsongbird – (I’ve learned that I can better interpret a song that is not my own original song by collaborating more with singers and musicians whose style is totally different from my own and listening to more music from all genres. I now listen to rap, hip hop, country, soul, classical, beat poetry, etc…, and it has opened up a creative well inside of me that has been surprising. I now have greater respect for different music genres. This opening up has helped me to take a well-known song and create my own interpretation of it more successfully than I have done in the past. Up until this turning point, I was quite accustomed throughout my music journey in creating in a vacuum and doing it all alone and not listening to different kinds of artists. I had a habit of listening only to my own genre of music. Working with award-winning artist Dan Hill (Sometimes When We Touch) was an eye-opening experience, and through Dan, I received feedback on my songwriting, an analysis of my own style of music, and my arrangements. This mentorship informed me about the importance of analyzing popular music and what has gone into its creation to strengthen my own musical development.

Draw inspiration from covers!

Martin Bailey @martinsbaileymusic – As I’m developing my songwriting, I tend to use cover songs as a reference for chord progressions, arrangement ideas, etc. to get started.

More About Our Contributors:

Jacob Clarke. Despite starting his career as a guitar player in and around Manchester, it’s Clarke’s ocean-side upbringing that defines his sound; like a romantic little beach bar in a bottle. With his latest release ‘OTICL’, Clarke marks the start of a busy summer season, with credits across upcoming Leeds-based releases and the opening of Evoke Studios, a recording studio ran by a collective of songwriters and producers in the heart of Leeds.

Moxy Anne is a 22-year-old musician from Southern California who sings her heart out with passion, energy, and excellence. Moxy has performed and recorded behind talent like Jackie Evancho, Aerosmith, Josh Groban, and Meryl Streep. As her experiences cultivated passion, she started her own band, Moxy and The Influence. MXI garnered thousands of international fans, released Alive and The Best Revenge, and 3 music videos, and toured internationally. During college, she studied privately with Sara Leib, Teryn Ré, and Bill Cantos. In early 2019, she completed her Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music at Azusa Pacific University and graduated with honors. In the Fall of 2019, she released her debut single: a musically complex piano ballad entitled “The Egg,” written to raise awareness of the current tensions rising in Hong Kong. Moxy Anne and “The Egg” were featured nationally by Azusa Pacific University, The Christian Post, and other major media outlets. Singing regularly in a multitude of styles (rock, jazz, pop, R&B, electronic, country, reggae, folk, classical, choral, acoustic and a capella music), she enjoys any experience where she can collaborate with talented musicians and reach others with the power and influence of music! She currently works regularly with groups and artists like Sydney Ellen and Moses Sun at music venues, churches, and frequent public/private events throughout Southern California. She also co-hosts an ongoing pop culture podcast with media mogul Ruben Jay, entitled You’re My Best Friend.

Dían is an R&B/Soul and Jazz singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. A huge fan of harmony, she is a founding member of NYC Soul Acappella group and has sung background for Melodie & Soulgasm. Dían has also been the lead singer/songwriter of the New Jazz Trio, The Greg Strong Experience, and her former band Remedy. She’s currently on hiatus but will be performing in this year’s Make Music New York Music festival on June 21st. Follow her on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Sabrina Cheref (formerly known as Sans Elle) is a French singer and songwriter and award winning vocalist. Winner of Jazz en Baie, semi-finalist of Montreux Vocal Competition and other French national jazz contests in 2015, she made quite a name for herself on the jazz and soul scene with the release of her debut album ‘Beyond’ in late 2014. Hear her sing the jazz standard ‘Skylark’ here on Youtube.

Cat LeBlanc is a New Brunswick singer/songwriter/composer/musician whose compositions are incredibly personal in their lyrical imagery. She plays classical and acoustic guitar. Her Style is: Dreamy Enya/Kate Bush/Joni Mitchell. She specializes in Folk, Pop, and Electronic music. Cat’s Sound: youthful, ethereal, and haunting. Cat has collaborated with New Brunswick and international music artists and is currently being mentored in songwriting by Canadian award-winning singer/songwriter Dan Hill. Cat has a body of original songs and music to her credit and has also produced music for film and commercials. She received an ArtsNB scholarship and additional grants to expand and develop her songwriting, composing, and arranging as well as a grant from the province of New Brunswick to do her first music album. Check out Cat’s Blue to Blue album and her electronic music on Spotify!

Martin Bailey is an independent Christian song writer and part of the worship group at the church he attends. Martin took organ lessons from age 10-16 and started song writing at 19 (left it after a few years and picked it up again in his late 30s). More recently, he started to teach himself the piano by watching YouTube videos. Follow him on Instagram and check out his Youtube Channel.

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