How to make a cover song your own with Marsela

Singer-songwriter Marsela guides us through this process during our final Artist Workshop in the series funded by the Arts Council England. 

How to make a cover song your own with Marsela

On December 9 2020 we held a live interview and performance with singer-songwriter Marsela. Here’s what we learnt from Marsela.

How to perform a cover song and make it your own

Marsela joined us live on Instagram to perform three songs and share her tips on how to make a cover song your own. 

  1. Find your artistic identity

When considering a cover, Marsela recommends finding your artistic identity first. Listen to lots of different artists and songs until you find a style or genre that feels natural to you. That’s the main hard work; after that, you can take any song and make it your own. 

  1. Don’t learn the song

In order to start from scratch and have a clean slate to work with, it’s helpful to make sure you’re not too familiar with the original version of the song. This will help you get to grips with your own version of the song much more effectively. 

  1. Consider the lyrics

Part of Marsela’s creative process when transforming a song into a cover is to consider the lyrics and elongate words and lines that resonated with her particularly. This helps to change the rhythm and phrasing of the song into a more individual version. 

Q&A with Marsela

Marsela shared what this year has been like for her artistically. Her debut single, Who Knows Where the Love Goes, was released in August 2020. A theme that runs through her music is mental empowerment, and Marsela hinted that this theme would continue in her 'risky’ new work. 

Marsela sang R&B tracks before discovering jazz and soul; she began with songs written for men which suited her deep voice and fell in love with music as a result. She believes that every musician has a reason for their love of music which guides and shapes their musical journey. 

Speaking to young musicians, Marsela recommends releasing music sooner rather than later, because this gives you the opportunity to raise awareness about your music and not worry too much about smaller details. She also recommends putting yourself out there at open-mics, clubs and bars in order to get recognition in your community. 

You can watch the full interview here.

About Marsela 

Marsela and her powerhouse vocals are at the forefront of her musical identity that she describes as 'dramatic/sad' music. Her captivating sound is polished with cinematic storytelling that explores themes of love, power, and grief. Having pursued music later than the norm, she commends her time in the ‘shade’ for allowing her to write boundlessly, a contour that has become distinguishable to her style. 

With the premiere of Who Knows Where The Love Goes?, Marsela is proving what it means to be mentally empowered. “I like to address issues that people don’t feel comfortable talking about out loud,” she says.

Find out more about Marsela:


Sienna James

Sienna James Voice Team

Formerly Assistant Editor, Sienna now studies History of Art at the University of Cambridge and loves to write about the intersection of politics, history and visual art. Sienna is author of the Creative Education and Instaviews series.

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