How to sing like Chris Cornell

How to sing like Chris Cornell

Wanting to learn how to sing like Chris Cornell was actually one of the very first reasons I started taking vocal lessons myself some 15 years ago – that incredible high range, the control, the power, he really had it all! I realise now that my approach from day one was askew, and it’s taken this many years to now attempt the kind of range and power he was able to achieve so easily. The #1 tip for how to sing like Chris Cornell as a professional vocal coach? Release your vocal registers!

I really wish someone had told me that/showed me how to do this from day one – that belting, crazy sound he sang with wasn’t due to a ‘pushed’ Chest Voice sound, it was actually due to a powerfully built MIDDLE voice trained over many years with the right techniques.

Releasing your registers as you ascend allows you to keep a connected, and ‘zipped’ vocal chord coordination that sails way up into your high range with all the power you associate with ‘chest voice’, but without any of the tension or strain you’re currently experiencing.

#1 – Learn how to sing in middle voice

If you want to learn how to sing like Chris Cornell, releasing from your Chest Voice into your MIDDLE voice is absolutely paramount. It’s important to understand how your vocal chords come together to create ‘chest voice’ and ‘head voice’ first, and secondly you need to learn how to connect and bridge the two by using what is commonly called Middle or Mix Voice. Here’s a super simple tutorial on releasing into middle voice:

#2 – Learn the right vowels

If you’ve ever spent time trying to decipher the actual vocal technique behind that magical Chris Cornell vocal range, you’ll notice something rather peculiar about his vowel sounds – he’s singing with specific vowel sounds! That’s right, singing actually requires a particular tongue shape, and throat aperture to create a powerful vowel sound – here’s another super simple tutorial on building your vowel sounds:

#3 Tune your vowels

Even with these special singing vowels, you’re likely to run into trouble with voice breaks here and there – that’s why it’s SO important to tune your vowels as you ascend in range. Basically, everyone’s vowels require a different character, or different ‘width’ as you ascend in range, due to physical differences in the vocal tract, vocal mechanism and of course – level of vocal technique. Tuning your vowels does require some professional help from a vocal coach and a little patience (lots of practice, too!), but it’s a simple concept at heart and really is the cornerstone of any POWERFUL singing approach. Here’s another tutorial on tuning your vowels:

#4 Learn how to sing consonants sounds correctly

Singing isn’t just about crazy range and special vowels, learning how to sing consonant sounds is also a very important part of a healthy singing voice. Every accent, voice type and native tongue approaches consonant sounds DIFFERENTLY, so it’s important to get your consonant sounds correct with the right tongue shape and airflow required in a powerful singing voice. Chris Cornell was a master of singing powerful consonant sounds without strain, so if you want to learn how to sing like Chris Cornell – you have to MASTER your consonant sounds! Here’s a great video on building your consonant sounds in the right way:

Have you built your middle voice, developed a powerful approach to consonant sounds and learned how to sing the right vowel sounds for a healthy singing voice so that you can learn how to sing like Chris Cornell? If you’re ready to power up your singing voice and learn how to sing songs like Jesus Christ Pose and Black Hole Sun, you can book a session with me personally and I’ll SHOW you how it’s done!

Feel free to leave any questions or feedback below!


13 thoughts on “How to sing like Chris Cornell

    1. Hey Ilya! Higher than mine for sure, most likely around D – but he was so excellent at negotiating his registers that there was no longer an audible break, like I demonstrate how to do in the video.

      Your voice breaks due to improper vowels, incorrect support and not releasing from your chest register – all things you can learn easily to increase your range.

      Let me know if you have any other questions about your voice!


  1. I am so glad I came across your site. I really feel as though I have zero musical talent. However my niece is way into singing.
    I want to do some singing with her, but I am clue less to say the least.
    You have shown that just maybe I could learn enough to pull of some singing with her.
    That for the lesson, I will be back!

    1. I love Chris Cornell, everything from Beyond the wheel through to King Animal, favourite singer – but, this is a voice in bad shape however, sounds like his chords were swollen, or damaged by this point.

      If you listen to his earlier singing (“Can’t change me”), it’s SUPER clean and clear all the way into his high range without the same push, you can hear how clear his voice is on the Temple of Dog record too. That “breathiness” is a tired voice, and the push is because he didn’t adjust his technique as his voice changed throughout the years (thicker chords as you get older means you have to rework your voice).

      Just focus on hitting the pitch in a clear, powerful tone rather than trying to emulate the breathiness – if you support your voice and sing a little quieter, you’ll actually get a similar effect without the damage


      1. Yes, thank you!
        My favorite Chris’s work – album ‘Higher Truth’ – it may called late work.
        For me its sounds clean too.

        May be really he was just tired in that concert…

    1. Agreed! My favourite singer of all time, I bought Superunknown when it first came out and have been hooked ever since. He was my inspiration for singing, and still is the most important singer to me!

      1. I start with Nirvana (when I was 12 years old)
        In Russia – Kurt Cobain one of the most popular artist ever. I think for now days too 🙂

        I open Chris Cornell’s music for myself by his solo works first and discover Soundgarden after.
        Once his show was announced in Moscow but it did take place – I don’t know why.
        I should had move to Finland but I didn’t.
        I try not to feed regrets in my life but not in this case…

        Have you seen Chris Cornell’s live performances?

        1. I remember giving the Nevermind cassette and also Alice In Chains Dirt to the bus driver on the way to highschool when it first came out ha. First heard Chris Cornell on MTV singing “Jesus Christ Pose” and my mind was melted forever, such a brutal clip and insane singing – then Superunknown came out with the Black Hole Sun clip which was just incredible too

          I didn’t see him live, sadly, no. He did play here in Sydney some years ago, but it sold out within minutes. It’s okay though, I have no regrets either!

          To great singing!


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