How To Sing Like Michael Jackson
Growing up in the 80’s like I did, MJ was just absolutely everywhere on the radio and TV – with killer dance moves and a voice to kill for, it’s easy to forget that the King of Pop truly once was the actual KING of pop culture. While Michael was blessed with a gift and talent for singing unlike no other singer, if you want to learn how to sing like Michael Jackson, there are a few key points you need to keep in mind as you develop your voice so that you can hit the same highs and maintain the same light but powerful tone Michael Jackson was known for.
Michael’s voice had a boyish character and upbeat, light tone that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a grown man, but there’s actually a science and technique behind his tonal approach that actually provides a much more powerful tone and pleasing delivery – mix voice. Learning how to mix and blend your resonance like Michael Jackson could do in spades is one of the most powerful keys to developing the voice of your dreams and will help you on your journey to learn how to sing like Michael Jackson.
How Did Michael Jackson Sing?
Michael Jackson had a unique approach to singing unlike many other pop singers, in part because he learned to sing at such a young age and carried the approach of his youth as his voice matured with age. While he was a natural high Tenor with a light and bright voice, MJ still faced the same voice change and voice cracking that many male singers face as they age. The reason why Michael sang with such a unique and ‘boyish’ tone was actually part of his powerful vocal technique. By blending both chest and head voice, MJ was able to blend some of the rich quality of his low voice with the same high range of his youth without fully flipping into head or utilising a weak or breathy high range. Instead, Michael Jackson learned to blend his registers into one powerful MIX tone that was both as powerful as it was pleasant, assertive as it was light and clear.
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My friend and voice student Elisha laying down some MJ with her band @doubleshotacousticduo – such a gifted and great voice that so much dedication and practice has gone into, plus on bass is Maurice, another BVS student with a natural baritone like me (hope you guys hear his amazing voice soon) 💜🎶💯🌞👍 I'm personally inspired every day by people who follow their heart and dreams. What inspires you guys to wake up and kick ass every morning? #mj #michaeljackson #vocalcover #weddingsinger #weddingband #singing #talent #voicecoach #vocalcoach, #singingteacher #blameitontheboogie
The first step to building the same mix register approach that Michael Jackson was known for is to develop a connection between chest and head voice, light at first, but over time stronger and stronger until there is no longer an audible break between your chest and head voice. By practising and building this bridge, you can build a very strong and singular range that connects from your very lowest voice right through to the top of the high range that MJ was well known for.
How to connect chest and head voice
Connecting chest and head voice is actually pretty easy to do, it’s just that our perception is usually skewed due to having hear other singer’s voices or even having worked on our own voices for some time while developing bad habits and reinforcing the lack of connection
between chest and head. Start light, take it easy with small sounds like lip trills, N’s, NG’s and closed vowels like EE and OO for startes and sing a little quieter through the ‘flip’ section of your voice until it no longer occurs and you can start to add more and more support over time.
Every aspect of the voice is related to balance in one way or another, whether it’s your onsets which are a balance between airflow and vocal fold closure, your mix which is a balance between chest and head or your support which is a balance between airflow and air pressure – absolutely everything about your voice requires balance, and every issue you experience while learning how to sing like Michael Jackson is likely due to a lack of balance.
Your voice is unique
Remember, singing is a process of balance, not a feat of muscular bravado or strength. A great singer isn’t necessarily a strong singer, they’re actually a balanced singer – and MJ was one of the most balanced singers in the history of pop music. I’ve always loved Michael’s rougher side, songs like Dirty Diana, Thriller and Bad – but you can use these techniques and same balance to create the voice of your dreams, no matter which era of MJ’s music you love to sing the most.
A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will set you up with the same rock-solid foundation that MJ used to create his unique and powerful singing voice – foundation elements like posture, placement, vowel shaping, blending, middle voice, these all play an important part in learning how to sing like Michael Jackson. One of the most important points to understand about singing when you are trying to approach something as difficult at Michael Jackson’s singing is known to be, is that your speaking and singing voice are ultimately two different processes, so you don’t just ‘sing’ using your speaking voice, you actually form your vowels different using tongue shapes and resonant space instead of pronunciation like we often do when we speak. Michael’s voice was so powerful because it was resonant, not because he was pushing or straining. Singing should be easy, joyous and free!
Remember, MJ was unique because he sang with his own unique voice, so make sure you’re developing your voice for your own strengths and tonal qualities instead of trying to copy Michael – after all, there will only ever be one true MJ. When you’re ready to take your voice to the next level, you’re welcome to book a Skype Singing lesson with me and we’ll start working towards extending your range and building the same control, balance and consistency that Michael Jackson was known for.
If you have any questions about learning how to sing like Michael Jackson, 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.