Music can be appreciated in many ways. It’s a universal theme of blending together different sounds, rhythms, vocal layers, and memorable lyricism to create records that people will cherish for years.
One of the ways artists have shown appreciation for the music outside of their own is the popular culture of musical covers.
Covers allow musicians to play around with classic tracks, whereas they may do something like diversifying the tone, mashing together self-made lyrics to the original ones, or switching up the tempo by turning a smooth jam into eight-count choreography.
Here are some of our favorite artists who have been able to put their own special touch on some of our favorite records, by giving us covers we title as their own personal version for a reason.
H.E.R.- “Jungle” (Drake) Cover
The mysterious (to some who haven’t figured out her identity by now), and beautifully musical R&B songstress on the rise, presented this cover of Drake’s “Jungle” from mixtape If You’re Reading This it’s Too late, through project H.E.R. Volume 1.
She uses the same tone of vocal expression, to convey the heartfelt lyrics through this record, but adds on her own twist from a female’s perspective by rap-singing over Drake’s isolated voice.
DVSN- “One in a Million (Aaliyah)/Purple Rain (Prince)” Cover
Dvsn members, Daniel Daley and Nineteen85, did what they do best in creating smooth R&B with this sensual mash-up of icon, Aaliyah’s “One in A Million, and the legendary “Purple Rain” tune from the one and only, Prince.
The electricity came from both the acoustic guitar and Daley’s ability to mend his follow-up vocals, to the incredibly talented women who started them. The melodies and harmonies put into and transition from the 96′ backtracking into the 84′ record created a soulfully layered, successful cover.
Beyoncé- “Ex-Factor” (Lauryn Hill) Cover
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was single-handedly one of the best solo debuts we’ve ever received in music history and Hip-Hop culture.
So, when Beyoncé debuted a cover of the second single from the project on the 2014 “On the Run Tour,” it was a breathe of fresh air to see one queen pay homage to another.
With just a bit of a quicker delivery in production and background from the glorious “Mamas,” Bey carried this cover exceptionally, as she dug down in the depths of what real R&B music is.
Childish Gambino- “So Into You” (Tamia) Cover
Donald Glover, a.k.a Childish Gambino, is a writer, actor, comedian, producer, director and in this video and through a ton of his records, quite a great singer as well.
Gambino took us back to falling in love for the first time, and wanting to spend all of that time with your significant other, with R&B singer Tamia’s 1998 hit “So Into You.”
I loved the use of instrument power, from the keyboard to electric guitar as Gambino mastered the technique of using the instrument of his voice, accomplishing the swooning effect and doing justice to this iconic love song.
Jessie J- “I Will Always Love You” (Whitney Houston) Cover
Underrated at its finest. And I won’t properly rest until the day the entire world acknowledges Jessie J’s incomparable talent.
The UK native took a chance on the legend, one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” and not only did she serve a Whitney inspired look but she came and conquered the iconic gem of a song.
We all know how hard it is to cover a Whitney Houston song, so overall we need to give Ms. Jessie J a standing ovation for maintaining that pressure and applying it too.
Frank Ocean- “I Miss You” (Beyoncé) Cover
Please disregard the audience commentary.
But then again, embrace it, because let’s be honest, we would be hyping up Frank the exact same way with this one.
From Beyoncé’s fourth studio album, 4, “I Miss You” is a track that Frank himself teamed up with Bey to co-write as she gravitated back towards the roots of R&B.
This ballad tugs at the heartstrings, and so does Frank’s performance where passion and emotion illuminate through every word and every key played.
Jorja Smith- “Let Me Love You” (Mario) Cover
British beauty, Jorja Smith, fulfilled our nostalgia by covering Mario’s “Let Me Love You,” a record from the golden years of early 2000s R&B.
Classic jazz and neo soul vibes radiated through Smith’s BBC Radio 1 Piano Sessions performance. The piano adds a special touch and soft flow to the music that was ultimately, beautifully recreated.
Matt Bloyd, Mario Jose, and Vincint Cannady- “Have You Ever” (Brandy) Cover
“Have You Ever,” from “Vocal Bible” Brandy’s Never Say Never album is personally my favorite song from the singer because of its timelessness and raw ability to emote.
These three gentlemen put their all and then some into their own version of the no.1 hit. So much, that it registers within you with each successful effort to harmonize, and to do so from the start with a beginning acapella approach.
Although the entire cover was a treat, it’s really when that three-minute mark hits up until the final note, showing these vocal technicians love for music and how powerful making it your own can be.