Types of Singing Styles

  • September 12, 2019

Do you know your singing style? If you are not sure, we will discuss how you can find your personal singing style by examinng the types of music that shape the basis for the majority of what we enjoy today. Your first clue in finding your vocal style could depend on your favorite genre of music. Do you like classical, soul, jazz, blues, country, folk, and rock or pop?

Although there are many sublevels and variations of singing styles, we will look at few basic examples within the above categories and list 12 simple suggestions to help you find your own unique singing style. Isn’t it wonderful that there is so much choice when it comes to developing a personal way of expressing your singing voice?

Imagine how boring it would be if there were everyone sounded the same. Possessing a specific and original style is what separates great singers from the good ones. Especially when you are able to brand yourself based on the familiar voice people love hearing.

Let’s have a brief look at a few singing styles and how they were inspired. Remember.. with a little inspiration and the desire to allow your true expression to flow, an original singing style can be formed.

Contemporary Singing Styles



 It was Lois Armstrong that shaped jazz singing by improvising his voice the way you would an instrument. Eventually with the help of Adelaide Hall, together they would develop scat singing.

This 1926 recording of Heebie Jeebies is said to be the moment scat singing was born. Supposedly Lois dropped his sheet music during a recording and decided to keep going by improvising with the music.

Whether that’s true or not, it certainly set the tone (no pun intended..) for the style of jazz music singing.



A mix of jazz, gospel, along with rhythm and blues and you get soul music. This style of singing is accompanied by hand clapping, great rhythms, a combination of soloist and chorus, all while moving the body to the music in an impromptu manner.

Famous names like Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and, of course, the “Godfather of Soul”, James Brown come to mind when thinking of soul singing.

Below is one of the most well-known soul songs of the ages. See if you can single out the separate musical elements that make up all that soul is.




Like other music genres, country singing styles are constantly changing. What started out as “hillbilly music” became better known as country music in the 1940s. Country music has its origins in a mix of blending traditional ballads and cowboy songs with the instruments and sounds of European music such as Irish and Celtic folk tunes. Many styles of playing and singing have evolved from its humble beginnings. Since then we have Honky Tonk, Blue Grass, Rockabilly, Country Rock, and the list goes on.

Where a great country singer’s style shines through is their ability to ‘tell the story’. You are essentially describing how you are feeling in a speaking voice kind of way.Twanging and crying have played a significant role in country style singing.

Below is a classic example of the early twangy-type country sound, where Hank Williams showcases his own distinct sound and style in his singing.




 Power, drive, and intense emotion, and stamina are key components to a great rock singer. Early influences from blues, jazz, folk, and country music, all played a part in the creation of rock music singing. Over the years, many styles of singing have been produced. From 50’s Rock and Roll, Punk-Rock, Glam-Rock of the 80’s, Heavy Metal, and more Screamo sounds like that of Grunge and Alternative. Full range, screaming, belting and moaning is what separates rock from the other musical genres.

When listening to the song below, notice the perfect mix of call and answer type singing, where some of the song is sung more melodically and the other screamo. A tremendous balance of heavy and lighter voices and sounds.


How To  Develope Your Own Singing Style?

  • Spend the time exploring different types of music. Music is about feelings and expression. So the more emotionally connected with the music you are, the easier it is to naturally embody that style that fits those expressions. Even something completely new..try it. You never know what you are best at until you explore your options.
  • Pick one and commit to perfecting it. After nailing down something, you are completely comfortable with, pay close attention to how the original singer sings it, ask how he or she is probably feeling? Create those same feelings when singing and practice it so you can master the style. Use a mirror to watch how you are moving to the music, facial expressions and tone.
  • Be unique and original.  As you may have noticed, all genres of music and artists use the basic building blocks and modify and develop a personal touch to their performance. Don’t try and sound like everyone else within a genre. Be a trendsetter, not a trend follower.
  • Avoid Karaoke type singing. Karaoke has its place in fun but because it solely focusses on copying the original artist, it’s best to not mimic word for word, note for note. Rather put your own spin the music, be original. In fact, why not experiment with Karaoke, create a new take on your favorite song. Have fun with it!
  • Improvising.  A simple way to do this is to take a song from one genre and sing it in a different style. For instance, try singing “Amazing Grace” in an R&B  or rock method. It may even make you laugh a little to what seems like butchering a perfectly good song. But that is how you tap personal creativity.
  • Revisit your musical history. Whether you are aware of it or not, you’ve likely picked up a singing style already. Take a trip down memory lane and recall what you’ve been listening to over the course of your life. You have probably already picked a style, but you just don’t know it. Maybe you like to listen to a little of everything. In that case, break it down with what you think you sound the best at singing and start there.
  • Beware of Overkill. Remember that your style reveals your personal mark. Be careful not to become a primadonna or drama queen. Balance confidence with common sense, otherwise you will distract and turn off your audience.


Having a singing style is as unique as hand signature for a singer. So keep exploring, recording, and practicing.

We’ve looked at few examples of how music and of course singing continues to change and will change. Are you ready to be part of that change? Use what you already know to make it even better!

Notice what has been used in the past, follow trends and combine those ideas. Frequently review the above singing tips and suggestions and before long you may make a name for your yourself as something new and exciting. Remember an original is always worth more than a replica. So be true to yourself. Don’t forget to sign up for your free eBook!  Happy singing!!!