It is very difficult to adapt to a style of music if it is not the style you like. It's not impossible, but it's much more difficult.
Luckily for me - I absolutely love the genre and so getting into learning how to sing the blues was easy.
Well, sort of...
Some people are extremely versatile and can get different genres of music or even inculcate different styles of music in one song.
If you want to be good with blues songs, then you have to listen to a lot of the same music and practice what you hear.
First emulate, then innovate.
The best way to learn any genre of music is to get trained by someone who sings in that genre.
Simple right? Not so much...
It can be hard to find someone (i.e. a vocal coach) that can train you authentically. Most vocal coaches and online lessons are not specifically for blues singers.
But you need training to properly get the style right, so what are some other options?
If you have proper control over your voice - something that only comes with training and practice - you will be able to pick up any genre of music in a matter of days.
If you don't have professional control of your vocals, then it can take weeks or months to even start picking up a particular genre of music.
So what's a avid student singer to do? Get training and exercises that give you full control of your voice.
What's Your Best Bet to Start?
There aren't many online vocal lessons available that specifically cater to the blues. The closest thing you could come to is the program offered by Hear and Play called Vocal Mastery.
They teach a lot of gospel and jazz instrumentation. It's probably your best bet at learning properly.
Is There Any Other Way?
It is very difficult to say whether there is any particular way to train someone in this style. But one thing is for sure...
You HAVE to have proper control of your voice so you can use it the ways you want. This is key to this style. And the best way to do this is through vocal training lessons online.
Why? Because each famous singer had a different style - and with proper control of your voice, you'll be able to emulate their styles.
Of course, when you write your own music, you can innovate. But to really get the style of this genre, you have to first emulate the greats.
Once you've learned how to control your voice through a program like Vocal Mastery, you will have to listen to a lot of blues music and eventually develop your own style.
The vocal style has a very long, drawn out style of singing.
Before that you have to understand what the genre is all about. Blues is almost feel music, which means that you have to understand the lyrics and feel the song within yourself.
It is the only way to get the style right since the songs are generally very deep and often dark.
You have to feel the pain to really do it properly. Your voice has to flow with the mood of the song.
Listen to this type music by some of the more prominent artists that have ever lived - B. B. King, W. C. Handy, Bessie Smith, Charles Brown, Albert King and others.
You have to stock on your collection of music albums. A good way is to download MP3’s to your computer and listen whenever you get the chance.
Remember to understand, feel and criticize the music. Try to select a few songs which you like and include them in your daily practice sessions. Perform along with the singer.
A very good exercise for the blues style is practicing in Legato.
Take any note and vocalize it in a continuous but increasing or decreasing order of a music scale.
It is as simple as singing “Ti..ii..ii…”
You will get a better idea if you see some instructional videos of vocalists teaching Legato in a particular scale. Practice the Legato at least an hour every day and do this before moving onto your favorite song.
As a last word, try to get a few friends who are interested in playing the style - especially a guitarist - and practice with them.
Singing the proper scales will help you understand the music better.
Of course, learning this style is not easy, but if you really put your heart and soul into it, it will flow out of you naturally.