Want to sing like Amy Winehouse? Here are my best tips to imitate this late great singing icon.
Sing Like Amy Winehouse
If you’d prefer to watch the tips instead of read, here is my video where I walk through a lot of these tips:
Why would someone want to sing like Amy Winehouse? Why not just use their own voice? For starters, I do think you should usually sound like yourself! Your own unique voice is good enough! However, there are many situations where someone might like to sing like Amy Winehouse (or someone else). Perhaps you’re in a talent show and you want to sound more like her. Perhaps you’re an impersonator. Perhaps you’re a session singer like me, and a client wants this. There are many cases when you might want to sing like Amy Winehouse, so let’s get into it!
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Important Words of Caution
- I am not a vocal coach, so PLEASE do not use this for correct vocal technique. If you don’t yet know vocal technique, please learn those before trying this!
- If you’d like to try it, feel free, but if your voice starts hurting at any point, please STOP, rest your voice for the rest of the day, and seek a vocal coach. There are plenty online or you can find one in person if you prefer.
- Some of these techniques might not work for you. No one technique will work for everyone! If you have a tip that works for you, please feel free to share! Maybe your tip will help others!
- Not everyone can imitate every artist. For example, I’ve been asked to sing like Joe Cocker. That’s not happening. If Amy Winehouse isn’t for you, that’s totally fine! I’ve covered how to sing like other artists and maybe those will work for you. Don’t get discouraged! Remember, your real voice should be your default!
On to the tips!
1). Envision a ball or bubble in your mouth
You want to create a LOT of space in the back of your throat, your upper soft palate, and your sinuses. I’ll break down each one, but envisioning the ball always helps me. Creating space for the ball to fit will help move your voice and face into the right position.
Interesting note: Some artists use different sized balls. For Amy Winehouse, the ball can be any size you like as long as it makes the sound correct.
2). Curl your tongue against the back of your throat
If your tongue can make the “U” shape, make that very slightly. If you can’t make it, that’s okay as long as you keep the ball in mind. Push your tongue toward the back of your throat and back teeth. When you talk, it should sound kind of like Kermit the frog.
3). Raise Your Soft Palate
Your soft palate is the top of your mouth in the back. Up front, you’ll find it hard (the bone where your teeth are). In the back, you’ll find that it’s soft and can raise up. If you’re new to this, you may not be able to lift it very far. That’s okay, the more you do it the easier it will be! Work on raising that back part.
4). Create Space in your sinuses
I honestly don’t know if this is possible for everyone, but I can actually feel my sinuses spread slightly. I do it mentally, so it’s tough to explain. You’ll just want to envision that ball creating space behind your sinuses, and you might be able to feel it happening. You might not, and that’s okay. I tried to find an article on how to do this and I can’t find one. I also can’t write one because I don’t know how to explain it. Just keep thinking of the ball!
5). Use Vocal Fry and Vibrato Sparingly
Every artist uses their own amount of vocal fry, so you’ll want to study their work to judge how much to use. Amy Winehouse doesn’t use a ton of either of these, but she does use them occasionally. I recommend studying a specific song to know when and where to use them. If you’re doing an original song, just use it here and there. I wrote an article on how to sing like Billie Holiday (you can find that here), and a lot of her techniques can be applied to Amy Winehouse.
Specific Vocal Techniques to Sound Like Amy Winehouse
Here are some very specific and unique traits you can use to sing like Amy Winehouse:
- When she goes up on notes, she puts a break in between. You’ll have to watch my video to see what I mean, but this is a unique characteristic for her.
- Amy Winehouse is British, but she takes away a lot of that accent to sing. She does, however, use distinctive vowel sounds. Some of her “Oh’s” sound more like “Ah,” as you’ll see in the video. She takes a lot of creative liberties with her vowel sounds, so feel free to do that yourself.
- Overall, she is very playful with her voice. She uses a LOT of expression, stylistics and unique characterizations that you can use, but the overall theme should be to be playful! Have fun while impersonating her.
I hope these tips help you sing like Amy Winehouse!
If you have questions, please let me know! Or, if you have any other tips that help you, please share! Remember that different tips might help different people, and this is just how I imitate her. I look forward to hearing your tips and/or questions!