How To Imitate Different Vocalists For Clients

Mella is an extremely experienced session vocalist. In this video, she gives you some practical insights on how to approach vocal impressions with some specific examples including Amy Winehouse, Dolly Parton and Britney Spears. Here’s what Mella recommends when approaching vocal impersonations in a vocal session:

1) Communicate clearly

If you are a client, make sure that you communicate that you would like a vocal impression before your session singer begins recording their takes. If you’re a vocalist, make sure you know what kind of vocal impression/style your client wants from you before you begin.

2) do you research

Whoever you are trying to impersonate, you need to get deeply familiar with their work.

3) listen for accent

Does this person’s way of singing fit into any regional accents? If so, identifying this and familiarizing yourself with this accent is an integral part of impersonating them.

4) listen to vowels

Vowel sounds are really where a persons accent and personal way of speaking and singing are most noticeable. Make sure to focus in on the vocalist’s unique approach to vowel sounds.

5) research recording techniques

Does the vocalist typically use a certain mic, preamp, effect, or other recording technique to get their signature sound?

6) listen for timbre

Every person has a unique timbre to their voice. Does the vocalist have a rough voice? Smooth voice? Etc.

7) vocal placement

Where does this vocalist place their voice? Do they belt with their chest voice? Do they sing from the back of their throat?

8) keep a reference song on hand while recording

It’s easy to slip out of a good impression over time. Make sure to compare your takes to a reference track to make sure your impression is consistent throughout the song.

9) avoid imitating vocalists that use poor technique

It can be difficult to imitate a vocalist that uses poor technique without using it yourself. Don’t be afraid to turn work away, if an impersonation will risk your vocal health.

If you’d like to hire Mella to record her own signature vocals, or a vocal impersonation for your music, you can hire her here. Let her know if you have any questions.

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