Updated: Aug 10, 2019
Are you an aspiring artist? Whether you believe you have the voice or the song that it takes to succeed in the music industry, the first step that you take will be crucial for your career. The first image that you project will shape your impression on the audience. No wonder many of us are hesitant to step into the spotlight. On the contrary, others are too quick in bringing forth unpolished originals that are not quite ready for the stage.
As an aspiring songwriter time is a finite resource that’s why covers can be the ideal stepping stone as you make your mark in music. Ariana Grande, One Direction, Christina Grimmie, Boyce Avenue, Kina Grannis, Gabrielle Aplin, 5SOS, Carly Rae Jepsen, Alessia Cara, The Weeknd and even Justin Bieber have had a career springboard by playing covers. Many others have amassed huge followings on YouTube. In fact Australian DJ act hot dub time machine have made a real life career out of it, headlining festivals around the world.
Covers deserve more respect. Here are a few common myths about covers and how they are debunked.
1. “If I cover songs, I’m not being original.” Covering a song doesn’t impede your creativity. Starting out by singing another’s song won’t affect your material. In fact, it displays your uniqueness through the genre of music that you choose- or better still, the style that you shape the song into. Don’t forget Australia’s very own Troye Sivan and his cover of 'Kiss Me' by Ed Sheeran. Look how far this introvert has risen from crawling out of his shell to dancing with Ariana Grande.
Spotlight: Why not garner some inspiration from Ruel's beautiful cover of 'Who Did That To You' by John Legend?
2. "Nobody knows me..."
...yet. On the contrary, take this as an opportunity to form your fan base. That’s the exact concept that platforms like 'The Voice' use: Cover songs. If fans identify with you long before the peak of your fame, they will naturally support you and share in your success. Don't even get me started on Dean Lewis; it was just a year ago when he covered 'Mended' by Vera Blue. This year, he topped the ARIA Albums Chart. Showing the vulnerable side of your personality and displaying a humble insight are rewarding for both your fans and you.
Spotlight: If you have yet to follow Aydan Calafiore, I recommend listening to his cover of 'Someone You Loved' by Lewis Capaldi!
3. "I'm not good enough"
Wrong again. Being a creative person, I'm sure you won't underestimate the concept of learning as you go. Eventually, you’ll form your identity as you try out various styles. By doing covers, you can learn from the best. By handpicking songs that you like, followers of the original songs can identify with you and eventually, they will be familiar with your works and kudos, you’ve succeeded in breaking into the market! Before 5 Seconds of Summer blew up globally, does anyone recall the blurry, avoid-eye-contact-at-all-costs cover of 'Teenage Dirtbag' by Wheatus? Even then, fans can tell that they've found quality music.
Spotlight: Try giving Amy Shark's cover of 'Green Light' by Lorde a listen!
To view a playlists of the top covers from artists, check this out where I've handpicked my favourites. And of course Triple J's 'Like A Version' is an amazing segment of Artists covering Artists that I highly recommend. Feel free to bask in the simplicity of covers of your favourite artists before they climbed up the ranks to worldwide celebrity.
Now that we’ve gotten all the false statements out of the way, what excuse do you have left? Get that mike, start jamming and get it posted. Trust me, take that first step. It’s worth it. I’ll be on the lookout for your cover song; Good luck!