How To Sing Like Layne Staley (Follow These Steps)

Published Categorized as Singing

Layne Staley was a rock vocal phenomenon who shined from the booming howl of Alice in Chains to the frail refrains of Mad Season. 

Layne Staley singing “Them Bones” and “Down in a Hole” on MTV was a defining moment for a lot of persons. 

This phenomenon singer had a powerful and passionate voice range any singer would wish for. His voice was distinct since it had a desperate tone to it and an amazing range for a guy. 

How to sing like Layne Staley? Is definitely on the wish list of so many persons. If that’s your interest, here is a complete guide on how to sing like Layne Staley.

What Are The Steps Needed To Sing Like Layne Staley 

How To Sing Like Layne Staley

Layne Staley was an exceptional singer. He had a lot of good vocal techniques that are worth learning. His range was no doubt a gift he had.

However, he was also well-trained. So, his success was the result of years of practice.

Here are some steps to sing like Layne Staley;

1. Your vowels need to be shaped  

Vowel shaping is an essential component of every singer’s foundation. It is important to use accurate vowel sounds if you wish to be understood.

And, to make those precise vowel sounds, you must be able to shape the vowels rapidly. 

Wondering how you can get this done? Here’s how;

  • Form a specific shape with your lip. While doing this, you need to keep your lips in a relaxed position. 

Then, gently position them for each vowel. While doing this, ensure you do not put too much tension on the lips area. Doing this will give you a tense tone, which isn’t really good for your voice. 

  • Position your tongue in a specific shape or arch, while forming a specific lip shape.
  • Ensure the tip of your tongue is against your bottom front teeth. This should be done for all vowel shapes.
  • Also, ensure you correctly expand your jaw or mouth.

Because Layne Staley was a vocal sound master, vowel shaping is a very important technique that is required to sound like him.

2. Develop appoggio singing techniques.

This is a breathing technique that is very essential for singers.

This breathing technique involves managing your airflow and air pressure through diaphragmatic extension rather than expansion

Good breath management skills are required if a singer wishes to sound fantastic and sing with skill. This skill was very common with the famous Layne Staley.

Proper breathing techniques may result in

  • Improved control of the breath which produces the quality of your voice’s tone. 
  • More efficient use of the breath resulting in less breathiness in the tone.
  • The ability to sustain notes for significantly longer and sing longer phrases.
  •  Increased lung capacity, a natural (unforced) increase in volume.
  • Improved overall stamina.

The first step in learning the Appoggio singing method is to straighten your posture and learn to breathe from the diaphragm.

3. Develop twang

Twanging is the practice of narrowing your epiglottis to increase the frequency of your vocal tract. This ability was seen in Layne Staley. 

Instead of trying to sing louder, learn to sing naturally and resonantly while adding a touch of twang to taste and style your singing.

Twanging also enables you to sing in a higher range and adds volume to your voice. 

Twang adds resonance to the voice. However, if you sing in a choir, too much of it hinders your voice from blending.

It also aids in the closure of the vocal cords, which aids in the production of a clear voice. 

4. Tune your resonance 

Resonance tuning is an extension of the basic concept of vowel modification. It is caused by the reverberation of sound waves from your vibrating vocal cords

Because of Layne Staley’s skill to tune his resonance, you can hear an astounding sound while he sings.

If you want to sound like Layne, tuning your resonance is one aspect you need to work on.

5. Build mix coordination

Layne was popularly known for his ability to mix coordination. As a result, he was regarded as a master of mixed coordination.

His belt voice is also linked to his ability to mix coordinate.

So, to acquire his powerful belt voice, you must first access and strengthen your mix coordination. 

The middle voice is the central coordination of the muscles responsible for your chest voice and the musculature responsible for your head voice.

Learning to unite these two primary registers in the middle will give you a powerful and crucial extra third register known as the mix voice.

6. Keep practice

Just like other singers that are good at what they do, you will have to practice effectively.

To be like the phenomenon Layne Staley, you will have to master your music. This is done by constant practice, there’s no magic to it.

What Voice Type is Layne Staley?

There are four common voice types. They are soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. A typical guy sings tenor or bass, although this is not the norm.

Layne Staley, however, has a distinct voice that goes beyond the usual voice kinds. 

Although he has a tenor voice, it’s been suggested that his voice deserves to be classified separately from the normal tenor.

This is because his voice ranged from the middle octave of the second octave to the fifth octave. 

What’s astounding is how effortlessly he accomplishes this.

What Makes Layne Staley’s Voice So Unique?

Layne Staley’s voice was unlike anyone else’s. His voice was not only different but also one-of-a-kind. It almost felt like music was in his DNA. 

His voice was very recognizable, in that it was very easy to spot his voice as soon as it is heard.

This was due to his ability to express both power and vulnerability through his singing.

Layne Staley’s voice was as powerful as it was agile.

It had a powerful mixed coordination to it. His voice also had a gritty quality. 

Here is an article I wrote on how to sing like Brian Johnson

Can Tom Layne Staley Actually Sing

Yes, Layne Staley could actually sing. He wasn’t a fantastic RnB singer though.

But when it came to rock, Layne was definitely the guy. 

One thing that was notable about Layne Staley was how he compressed his air for distortion.

This is not a correct technique but it sounded so cool. You should know that not every technique Staley used was musically correct.

At some point, recording Layne’s vocals were difficult because of the loss of his teeth.

This resulted in a lisp that affected his speech and singing ability.

How Did Layne Staley Start Singing?

The rock singer amazingly did not start as a singer from the onset. He started as a drummer and progressed into singing.

At the age of 12, Staley began playing the drums. In his early adolescence, he was in several glam bands. This ignited his interest in singing. 

Staley joined a band named Sleze in 1984.

The group was formed by a group of Shorewood High students. This time, he joined as a singer rather than a drummer.

Soon after, he became well-known.

Also check out this article I wrote on how to sing like Geddy Lee

What Is Layne Staley’s Vocal Range?

Layne’s range went from the bottom of the second octave to the top of the fifth octave which is from about F2 to F5.

However, his songs were all within the range of (G1-A6).

This is a remarkable performance for any singer. With the appropriate technique and competent voice coaching, building this kind of range is achievable.

And of course, let’s not forget hard work.

What Is The Highest Note Layne Staley Can Sing

The highest note Layne can sing is G1

As earlier stated Brian Johnson’s vocal range in all his songs is between G1-A6. A6 being his highest note and G1 being the lowest.

What Are Some Classic Layne Staley Songs To Practice

  • Black gives way to blue 
  • Alice In Chains
  • Man in the box


Layne Staley was an incredible rock singer. Staley was considered a vocal master in the rock genre. He was popularly known for his hit song “Alice In Chains.”

The rock singer had a passionate and powerful voice that had a level of desperation in it.

He had lots of vocal techniques that if implemented can make you a good singer on a general note.

His voice type was beyond the norm and very distinctive. 

There were a lot of things to emulate for Layne vocally.

Some of them are his mixed coordination, the twang in his voice, his ability to tune his resonance, and his ability to shape his vowels.

These are great steps to follow if you want to sound like this rock star. 

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.

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