Even today, Queen remains one of the most famous rock bands of all time. In fact, those who weren’t even born during their time also know the band’s most popular song Bohemian Rhapsody with its iconic lyrics. In this song, Queen’s vocalist Freddie Mercury’s agile and powerful voice is undoubtedly something to be admired. For this reason, even the younger generations dream of sounding just as good as Freddie. Is it really possible to learn how to sing like Freddie Mercury?
While it may be a tough challenge to completely copy his singing style, learning about his techniques would at least get you closer to your goal.
How to Sing Like Freddie Mercury
If you are really determined to at least learn the singing techniques of Freddie Mercury, here are some of the essential tips that you should follow.
1. Build up Your Foundation
No matter who you are trying to imitate, your foundation should always be solid. For this, you need to start with the basics. If you are only singing in Karaoke trying to imitate how other singers sing their songs, then you have a long way to go.
The singing techniques used by Freddie are a lot more advanced and took years of practice. Without a solid foundation, it is nearly impossible to sing on the same level as him.
Let’s start with the basics:
- Sing from your diaphragm and not your throat. This is the most basic technique when singing as you can reach higher notes if you sing from your diaphragm.
- Stand straight, and your shoulders should be relaxed. Your weight should be rested at your feet.
- Warm up your voice before you start singing.
You have to build up your confidence, as well, because if you don’t dare to stand in front of the crowd and sing, your voice will be very shaky, and you will forget the lyrics. Then again, being confident enough to sing comfortably in front of a crowd takes time and is not an overnight thing, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
2. Freddie's Voice Type and Vocal Range
Freddie can reach high notes because he was properly using his chest and diaphragm, but there’s more to it than just correct posture and foundation. If you want to learn how to sing like Freddie Mercury, you have to know his vocal range.
Although you don’t need to have the same vocal range as him, it is better to understand why his voice was amazing. There are six common voice types:
Bass, baritone, and tenor are used to classify the voice types of men. Alto, mezzo-soprano, and soprano are used to measure the voice types of women.
Freddie Mercury can be classified as a tenor simply because he can hit high notes that are not possible for men with bass or baritone. He also has a five-octave vocal range, so he can move around and sing even the higher notes with ease.
Your voice can be trained, but you cannot change what your body can produce. If your body is only capable of bass or baritone, you cannot change your voice type to tenor. The same goes for female voices. All you need to do is to improve on the voice that you have.
Can you still sing like Freddie Mercury even if you don’t have a five-octave vocal range? Yes. However, you need to adjust the key of the songs because they contain unusually high notes. As long as you can copy the techniques of Freddie, then you’ve already succeeded even if you don’t have the same vocal range.
3. Raspy and Soft Whisper Tones
The raspy and soft whisper tones incorporated by Freddie in most of his songs are the reasons why his voice is unique. The best song that showcased these two tones is the “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His voice at the beginning is very soft and breathy. It is very relaxing and not as forceful, as well.
Around the middle of the song, you will start hearing his raspy, rock voice, which is one of the reasons why a lot of people love him. He is in a rock band, and it is a common thing for rock vocalists to have that raspy voice.
To master the soft whisper tones, relax and sing from your chest. Try to prevent the origin of your voice from reaching your throat. As for his raspy voice, you need to hit high notes and make an exaggerated vibrato, but don’t go overboard as it might damage your singing voice.
If you know how to sing, then you’ve probably used this technique many times already. Like many other singers, Freddie is also using falsetto technique to hit notes that are too high for his voice. Instead of just shouting and forcefully hitting the high notes, he is using falsetto to soften the sound and make it look easy.
For this technique, you have to relax and warm up your voice. If you suddenly sing using falsetto without warming up, the result would be a shaky, out-of-tune voice. Even if you are using falsetto technique, the sound should still be full and solid.
When you are using falsetto technique, it would feel like you are pulling your voice from your head. There are no specific tricks involved with Freddie’s falsetto because he is only using the basics. As long as you can produce a full sound with your falsetto voice, then you are getting closer to your goal.
5. Rough, High-Range Voice
If you watch the live videos of Queen performing, you will notice that Freddie is not always using his falsetto voice. Instead, he often uses his rough, high-range voice. Falsetto is a lot harder to pull off compared to a rougher and loud voice. If you are not careful, you might fail to pull off the falsetto.
Freddie is known to have a high voice, so even without using falsetto technique, he can hit high notes. However, during recordings, he prefers to use falsetto as it would sound better. You have two choices. You can either follow the studio-recording or live performance style.
If you can hit the notes without using your falsetto voice, then you can opt for his live-performance style. Otherwise, if you don't have a vocal range that can hit the high notes, using falsetto is a better option.
6. Vibrato Technique
Vibrato is an extremely difficult technique that requires years of practice. It is the same vibrato from various musical instruments. It is characterized by a pulsating change of pitch that is almost the same as controlled shaking. Vibrato is often used at the end of longer notes.
Freddie is a real professional singer when it comes to the vibrato technique. He’s used this in almost all of his songs. If you want to learn this, relax your muscles and your breathing and try to widen the back of your throat. It is like you are pretending to yawn. This is a technique that requires a lot of practice, and it would take months or even years to master it. This is also one of the reasons why mimicking Freddie’s singing voice is very hard.
7. Learn All of His Songs
One of the most basic requirements to sing like Freddie Mercury is to learn all of the songs of his band. You have two choices when you are singing his songs: you can copy his style, or you can just copy his voice, but put a twist on the song.
The easiest way to sing his songs is to copy how he attacks every line. This is usually the case for karaoke singers. If you want to be unique, you can try to learn the song and use a different style. You can still copy his voice, but you can add a bit more flavor to the song.
8. Amazing Stage Performance
Since you are trying to mimic the singing voice of Freddie Mercury, it is better to copy is amazing live performances, as well. Freddie’s singing talent is very hard to copy, but his performance style is a lot easier to learn. The only thing that you need to do is to put your heart and emotion into the lyrics and sing emotionally.
If you’ve seen a video of his live performances, Freddie is very emotive, and you can see it in his movements and facial expressions. You can copy his stage performances, if you can pour the right emotions to the songs.
Freddie Mercury is only one of the many professional singers who has been immortalized. He is well-loved all over the globe and by many generations, not only because of his amazing songs but also because of his unique singing voice and live performances.
More and more people are appreciating the type of music that Queen delivered in the past. It was definitely amazing that the songs, which are already decades old, are starting to reappear and become popular once again.
Although it is impossible for you to completely copy the singing voice of Freddie Mercury, you can always use the tips mentioned above to improve your skills and to take it to the next level.