When you perform a cover of a popular song you are tapping in to what the audience have already heard over and over again, this familiarity bonds you as the performer to the audience, you need to keep a couple of things in mind when you do covers.
1…If you are going to change anything in your version, be careful not to stray to far from the original because you will loose them completely.
2…Make absolutely sure you try and give the song your very best performance every time, because the audience will compare you to the definitive version which is usually the original.
When you perform your own songs you will hopefully be creating the definitive version, this is mostly done in the recording studio where everything is very controlled and is the first step in reaching out to your potential fans. Now! you must start their training, give them something they can tune into, it could be in the narrative or maybe something in the instrumentation, do not think that people will notice what makes you special, unless you tell them exactly what it is. This is why I think talent contests that focus on the singer is a big mistake, how many have actually done anything of any consequence, because to my mind it’s all about working in a band or in a great team. Frank Sinatra surrounded himself with nothing but the best musicians, if you can get a hold of his original version of I’ve Got You Under My Skin and then listen to the Nelson Riddle version (musical arranger), there is no comparison, it was this song along with others that helped to bring him out of a huge slump, incidentally Frank nearly always mentioned the names of his arrangers at live gigs, this was very unusual and a mark of respect for the musicians he worked with.
Your music needs to be recognizable as you, in other words you should have some kind of musical fingerprint, that they will hear in your music, and I will discuss this in the next blog.
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