Black Hole Sun Cover
This tutorial is going to break down my recent cover of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun and show you exactly how I’m able to sing Black Hole Sun in a consistent and relaxed manner as a low baritone. Learning how to sing like Chris Cornell takes time, perseverance and constant practice, so make sure you set up your foundation first with diaphragmatic breathing, posture and resonance placement first before trying a difficult song like this Black Hole Sun cover.
If you’ve listened to Chris Cornell’s isolated vocal track for Black Hole Sun, it’s immediately obviously that he is singing with a released and resonant sound without strain – I often see other Black Hole Sun Cover versions that involve the singer or vocal guru straining and stretching within the first vocal line due to just how deceivingly difficult this song is. Let me show you the proper way to sing Black Hole Sun without straining:
Singing should be an easy, joyous and simple process. Learning how to sing is often a difficult task due to the conficting and often confusing information out there. Lets get the bottom of how to sing like Chris Cornell without the jargon or abstract instruction:
How to sing like Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell had an extensive and powerfully resonant range that was controlled, consistent and most of all, unique. To learn how to sing like Chris Cornell, you first must gain control and balance within your own natural voice – after all, Chris Cornell was simple ‘singing’, not ‘singing like Chris Cornell’.
One of the most important aspects of singing is the manner in which you control and create your vowel sounds. As you’ve seen in the Black Hole Sun Cover video we just watched, your vowel sounds are a combination of tongue shape and a matching vocal tract width. Learning to manage this width through the more difficult passages in your voice is really what makes you a ‘singer’ instead of a ‘shouter’ – you can tell a singer who is singing with excess vocal fold weight and improperly tuned resonance/improper vowel character by their belting stance, red face and neck veins. As you can see, singing Black Hole Sun should be simple, released and strain free, not forced, unnatural or uncomfortable.
Open Throat Technique
Chris Cornell was a master of Open Throat Technique and managing his resonance in ascent through his range. Open Throat Technique is a figure of speech that has been hijacked by YouTube gurus selling expensive courses and is often treated as the ‘secret’ to great singing, when it in fact simply means to sing without throat strain. Learning to sing without strain happens when you learn to control the soft palate properly, enable correct vocal fold closure and of course narrow your vowels like I illustrated in the above Black Hole Sun cover.
Appoggio is another of those complex classical singing terms that is often used to market singing courses instead of actually helping people sing. Appoggio is simple a fancy term for breath support, and really occurs when you set up your posture correctly and allow your breathing to be moderated purely through expansion of the diaphragm rather than contraction of your ribs. Classical singing terms are often figures of speech rather than literal instructions, so it’s important for you to understand that these terms aren’t ‘secrets’, but simply age old instructions intended to explain the intangible elements of singing like breath control and broader concepts such as Open Throat.
A great voice coach will not only help you understand these complex techniques in a simple and practical manner, but they will actually develop an approach designed specifically for your unique voice, not just show you a ‘one size fits all’ approach that they’ve sold to other students. Appoggio isn’t a secret, it’s a process for proper breath control while singing.
A great place to start with Open Throat Technique is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio. Then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional voice coaching you can book a Skype Session and I’ll show you how to sing your own Black Hole Sun Cover without vocal chord strain!
If you have any questions about my Black Hole Sun Cover, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.