How To Sing Like Chris Cornell (5 Brilliant Tips)

Published Categorized as Tips & Techniques

Rock singers are most likely the last that comes to your mind when outstanding vocal techniques are considered. 

However, some rock singers have broken through that status quo and Chris Cornell is one of them. 

Chris Cornell was a remarkable rock singer. He was an American singer and songwriter. Chris had amazing singing techniques that can make you superb.

Are you curious about what it takes to sing like this vocal lord? This article covers steps on how to sing like Chris Cornell. Let’s dive right in! 

What Are The Steps Needed To Sing Like Chris Cornell?

How To Sing Like Chris Cornell

1. Develop good breath support 

Chris had fantastic breath support. This allowed him to move effortlessly through the registers. His breath support added to his beautiful tone. It is the secret behind his ability to use his high range.

Breath support is essential for any singer who aspires to be exceptional. Here are some of the benefits of breath support.

  • Breath support improves the lung’s capacity and power on high notes without losing too much breath on one note. 
  • Breath support helps in developing the vocal range, quality of tone, and ability to hold on to notes. 

Note that to have good breath support the following have to be in place;

Posture: To take deep breaths you need to have the right posture. For example, if you are not standing upright, you will most likely be unable to take a deep breath. 

Proper posture is essential for improving the tone of your voice. To improve your breathing efficiency while singing, a proper posture is a major requirement. 

When you’re in the proper posture while singing, you will be able to take more comfortable diaphragmatic breaths.

Vocal warm-ups/ exercises: Just like your body needs exercises to be in good shape, so does your voice. To be an outstanding singer, warm-ups should be part of your daily routine.

You might be wondering why you need warm-ups before singing right? Here’s why;

  • Vocal warm-up before singing will improve your muscles’ flexibility. 
  • Engaging in warm-ups will help keep your voice in shape. You will have strong breathing muscles if you do this consistently.
  • A vocal exercise can improve your breathing performance which ultimately improves your singing. 

2. Develop resonance 

Resonance was a major strategy Chris use in fine-tuning his voice. 

This vocal technique helps to shape your vocal tract in different ways. It also shapes the tube above the voice box and the mouth. Chris was able to create different tones and on different volumes.

Furthermore, resonance amplifies sound. It also adjusts the timbre of the voice by intensifying certain vocal qualities over others.

3. Develop distortion 

Vocal distortion is a form of grit. It is caused by an interruption in the vocal tract, which causes irregular vibrations. 

When your vocal cords are vibrating in regular waves you will likely hear a clean sound. However, when distortion happens, something disrupts those regular waves and makes them irregular.

Distortion was a regular technique Chris Cornell used. But the amazing thing about his use of distortion is the fact that it is well managed. 

He didn’t sing with a distorted voice all through a song. He had an incredible ability to know where to distort and where not to. 

4. Develop narrow vowels

Chris Cornell had an amazing ability to sing on high notes. This is possible because he could narrow his vowels. 

If you have trouble singing high notes and low notes in your chest voice, try narrowing your vowel.

Narrowing your vowels allows your resonance to travel to the pharynx and then to the head. This gives you a beautiful tone when singing high notes and keeps you from straining.

It is important to train your voice to develop your narrow voice. The strengthening and coordination that come from practicing narrowed vowels complement your belt voice training as well.

Training also improves your ability to articulate narrowed vowels in your lyrics when singing, which helps the listener understand your diction.

Here are some facts about narrowing vowels; 

  • You can narrow your vowel by narrowing the corners of your lips. 
  • Your tongue’s position is also very important when narrowing vowels. To form a narrowed vowel, the tongue’s root has to be retracted toward the pharyngeal wall, and the pharynx is narrowed. 
  • Vowels shouldn’t be sang the same way you speak them. 
  • Narrowing vowels can be achieved through a technique called snile. A snile is a technique used to train singers to narrow vowels. 

A snile is used in singing to help narrow vowels to maintain stability and intrinsic musculature support when singing with amplification.

5. Build high vocal range 

Chris had an incredible range. It’s still amazing how he sings on a high range effortlessly.

Every singer has his or her unique features that come to them naturally.

Even if you do not have a naturally high range, that can be worked one. Building a high vocal range is quite easy, you just have to put certain things in place. 

First, you need to be in the right posture. Standing or sitting up straight is the best singing posture. 

Always ensure you’re in this position before signing. The right posture doesn’t only help you hit high notes, it also helps you produce a fantastic tone.

Another thing to consider is your breath management. When singing, ensure you breath from your diaphragm. This is one of the easiest ways to increase your vocal range. 

Relaxing your jaw is also important for singing on a high range. Relaxing your jaw also helps to reduce possible tension when singing.

You also need to consider vocal exercises like vocal siren. This is one of the simplest vocal exercises you can do to expand your range.

Here is an article I wrote on how to sing like Madison Beer

What Voice Type Does Chris Cornell Have?

Chris is classified as a baritone singer because of his lower range and warmth of tone. He had an incredible 4-octave range. 

The amazing thing is that he still had a high range and an outstanding high mix voice as well. That is to say, he could sing both in a head voice and chest voice.

In classical and opera music, the vocal repertory of a baritone voice ranges from A2-A4.

In choral music, however, a baritone voice sings on lower notes ranging from F2-F4.

What Makes Chris Cornell’s Voice So Unique?

Chris Cornell’s voice was indeed one of a kind. He had a warm baritone voice with the ability to rise through the registers into the tenor range. 

On this register, his voice was usually still powerful and he still maintained his baritone warmth. 

His ability to use distortion appropriately also made him voice unique. Chris was a singer who understood the principles of singing.

Let’s also not forget he had a good breath management. And, this helped him to produce beautiful tones and comfortably hit high notes.

Can Chris Cornell Actually Sing?

Yes, Chris Cornell could actually sing. He is referred to as one of the best rock vocalists. Unlike most rock singers, Chris was a well-trained vocalist.

Chris was super talented in that he could shift between twang, nasality, and darker, warmer sounds quickly and easily. 

This singer was also capable of shaping his voice tone quality to create a musical and emotional picture.

The reason why Chris Cornell could hit those notes was because he trained his head voice. 

How Did Chris Cornell Start Singing?

Chris started his singing career quite early. Cornell learned how to play the piano and guitar as a child. 

As a teenage boy, he attended a Catholic school. And for the first time, he performed the (1960s) anti-war song – One Tin Soldier in front of a crowd.

Chris discovered a vast collection of the Beatles album which was abandoned in the basement of his neighbor’s house.

And between the ages of nine and eleven, Chris spent two years continuously listening to the albums.

In the early 1980s, he joined his first band called The Shemps. Since then, Cornell has remained relevant in the music world. 

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What Is Chris Cornell’s Vocal Range?

Cornell was a baritone, with a vocal range of nearly four octaves (from C2 to A5). He could sing extremely high in the tenor range, as well as in the lower register of a baritone voice.

What Is The Highest Note Chris Cornell Can Sing?

The highest note Chris ever sang on was A5. However, his lowest note was C2.

What Are Some Classic Chris Cornell Songs To Practice?

1. Like a stone

2. I will always love you 

3. The promise 


Chris Cornell is still regarded as one of the world’s best rock singers. He started singing quite early and also, he developed amazing skills like playing the guitar and piano at an early age too.

Chris had amazing singing techniques that can make anyone who learns from him a superstar. 

He was one of the few rock singers that knew how to use his distortion appropriately. He had an incredible vocal range, staunch breath support, a resounding resonance, and lots more. Chris Cornell is of a truth a legend. 

By Sophie Collins

Hi my name is Sophie, I am a Singer, Producer and Instrumentalist. I also love to bake and get creative with my hands. When I am not strumming my guitar, you can find me reading a good book with a glass of wine in my hands.