What is so special about Taylor Swift?
She has the whole world breathlessly waiting on her new single…
And you’re wondering, why?
Why do people love her so much, and how can you adopt some of her strategies to be just as magnetic and awesome?
I truly believe that Taylor’s astounding success comes down to two main things:
- An intense drive and focus on constantly improving
- A vulnerable willingness to share her personality in her singing
Fortunately, these are things you can do, too!
And we’ve broken that down further into some practical tips that you can steal from to be just as magnetic as Taylor.
Free Bonus: Download The 8 Secret Singing Tips by clicking here - Plus get access to a 3 part video series which reveals the steps you need to take to improve your vocals.
First Things First: Love Your Voice
Throughout this series, we’ve tried to stress that although it’s great to gather inspiration from the artists you love, in the end, the important thing is to improve your personal voice.
Your goal is not to sound like someone else, your goal is to be the best you can be.
Taylor Swift is a great example of this.
You see, in our current culture we’ve kind of been led to believe there is only one way to have a great voice.
You need to have powerhouse vocals, belt like the best of them, and have a mind-blowing range.
Those qualities are undoubtedly great. But it’s not the only way to have a great voice.
Taylor Swift has what I would call a gentle voice:
It’s pretty and light. She adds interest with expressive emoting, not with head-spinning vocal runs.
And you know what? She’s in good company.
Other “gentle giants” include Allison Krauss, Vince Gill, Nick Drake, Regina Spektor, and Sarah Mclachlan.
These artists have built their careers on the beauty of their voices, more than the power behind them.
Listen to Taylor singing a stripped-down version of her song “Red” with two of these greats, Allison Krauss and Vince Gill, to hear how haunting and dynamic gentle voices can really be.
This isn’t meant to suggest that Taylor is totally without technique.
There are practical things she does to contribute to her singing success, all highly copy-able by you!
She Puts the Song First by Employing Great Articulation
Have you ever noticed that you can always understand the words in a T. Swift song?
The singer-songwriter thinks of herself as a songwriter first.
In an interview with Billboard magazine she says, “I wouldn't be a singer if I weren't a songwriter. I have no interest in singing someone else's words.”
It makes sense that she would work hard to make her own carefully-chosen words heard.
Her diction makes listening more enjoyable for the singer because you’re not constantly straining to understand what she’s singing about.
She Leans Into Her Gentle Vocals… But Backs Them Up with Solid Breath Support
Taylor is not trying to be someone she’s not vocally. Although she has learned to belt more powerfully in recent years, she still returns to the gentle sounds that made her famous, and show off her stirring lyrics.
However, she does so with solid breath support. Breath support is the difference between a wispy, unsustainable sound, and soft but even tone.
Her hit Wildest Dreams is a great example of this ability to combine gentleness and power.
Her light, soft singing creates the lush romantic tone of the song, but her nimble transitions between chest, mixed, and head voice add dynamics and drama.
She would not be able to achieve this without proper breath support.
Learn more here: 5 Breathing Exercises for Singers
She Adds Interest with Conversational Storytelling
Early in her career, record exec Scott Borchetta told the world that Taylor Swift was “the best communicator we’ve got. When she says something, when she sings something, when she feels something, it affects more people than anybody else.”
Swift’s personal delivery contributes to our feeling that we know her, and that we know what she’s going through.
Consider her conversational, scornful tone on We are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together or snarky asides in Blank Space.
Whether her delivery is playful or pensive, it is always injected with personality.
She is Always Working to Get Better
Listen to Taylor Swift’s debut release and then listen to 1989.
It is indisputable that her voice has gotten stronger and capable of wider variety.
It makes sense that as Taylor develops as a songwriter, she wants her voice to be more capable of expressing diverse stories.
It’s known that Taylor has been working with a vocal coach even after achieving stardom, but working hard for growth is nothing new for the singer.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, the aspiring singer’s mom drove her two hours to New York for voice lessons.
She started her career traveling to Nashville to co-write songs, knowing the ability to write would set her apart from other vocalists.
She has always pushed herself to reach the next level, whether it’s in her writing, her musical arrangements, or her vocal performance.
How Can You Sing Like Taylor Swift?
Swift’s lyrics are usually narrative-driven, and she works hard to ensure her audience hears the story she’s telling.
To achieve similar clarity and diction, make sure you are warming up your voice and mouth properly.
Tongue twisters and facial massage guarantee that your audience will hear every word.
Make it your priority to learn awesome breath support. Your breath is what powers your singing voice.
You’ve obviously been breathing your whole life, so you may think you know how to breath.
But the fact is, the breath we take every day is typically shallow. You need to learn to breath with your whole body to power a strong instrument.
Taylor’s voice may sound gentle at times, but if she didn’t have strong breath support, there’s no way she could play stadium shows night after night or spend grueling days in a recording studio.
Once you’ve learned proper breath support, work on transitioning between chest, mixed, and head voice.
Taylor uses every part of her voice, making multiple transitions within a song. In I Knew You Were Trouble, for example, she’s hopping from mixed to head voice – almost every other word. This allows her to hit a mixed bag of notes, and convey a realm of emotions.
Listen to Taylor’s entire catalogue for the personal touches she places in her music. Her conversational storytelling is a huge part of why she’s so popular:
Because she shows so much of her personality in her music, it feels like we know her.
There is a personal connection there that keeps you coming back for more.
Lastly, just like Taylor, never stop improving.
Few artists today evolved so much in so short a time-span. Taylor is always pushing her limits as an artist and a singer.
But how exactly do you go about pushing those limits?
Practical Tips to Sing Like Taylor
Remember that Taylor didn’t achieve her polished presentation overnight:
She’s worked hard to improve in every way, and this is most noticed in how her voice has strengthened over the course of her career.
It’s easy for you to improve, too, with daily vocal exercises.
Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Vocal Exercises here.
Two exercises from the Beginner’s Guide will take you to Taylor-like awesomeness:
Make sure to practice your Nasty Nay’s for help developing a strong mixed voice like Taylor’s, and scroll all the way down for the Bonus Breathing Exercises.
These breathing exercises with help your breath get bigger and bigger over time, until you can hold extra-long notes like Taylor does in Red.
Remember that Taylor has worked with vocal teachers from before she was famous to today.
She has achieved super-stardom because she is intensely driven and committed to constant improvement, and always improving her voice is part of that.
If you want to be as driven and focused as Taylor is, consider working with a vocal teacher to help take you to next-level awesomeness. Find our recommendations for online instruction here.
Online vocal lessons are a great option because you can do them from the comfort of your own home…
… and you won’t have to drive two hours to see your vocal teacher, like Taylor did! Find out more here.
I Firmly Believe Taylor’s Success Comes Down to 2 Things:
- Her intense dedication and focus on always improving
- Her willingness to show her personality in her music
Fortunately, those are two things you can do just as well, to achieve your own brand of Taylor-inspired awesomeness.
Maybe someday soon, the world will be breathlessly waiting for your new single.