First and foremost, the chosen song should be a great one.Equally important, the song should match your style in some way or the other, otherwise it’ll turn out grotesque.
You need to have faith in your own abilities.If you’re not forceful in your approach, you’ll end up towing the line of the original , removing the reason for the cover to exist.If you’re Johnny Cash, well, no one’s gonna question what you do with the song anyway.
You need to be a great artist yourself.It’s just needed.
Take anybody’s song.Electronica, grunge, whatever.
Now let’s come to the characteristics of a great cover.
- It should sound authentic.If you can sing it in a way that lends so much depth and weight so as to render the originals slight, that doesn’t hurt.
- If you’re an acoustic artist, that doesn’t mean the cover has to be just you and your guitar.Be bold with your arrangements, mix and match, break the rules, even if you are a country legend.
- Be fallible.Be human.If the original was note-for-note perfect, sing some off-notes.Break your voice.
- A great cover is more than a novelty.Much more.
Of course, this is not a guide, silly.If you’re not Johnny Cash at 62,with an astonishing career already behind you, you can’t do all this.Here was, truly, a man who contained multitudes.
What’s that?You haven’t heard any of his covers?You poor, poor man.Here you are :-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtbuUlSGXzc – of Soundgarden
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3tm-MYEHnY&feature=related – of Depeche Mode
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcmbFKstspk – of Sting
- you’re not nuthin’ (justfortherecords.wordpress.com)
- June Carter discovery (personalscience.wordpress.com)
- Johnny Cash (hummingbirdand10th.com)
- Johnny Cash: The Last Great American (dangerousminds.net)