How to Learn Singing “Lithium” from Nirvana

How to Learn Singing “Lithium” by Nirvana

Learning to sing a particular song can be an exciting and rewarding experience. In this article, we will explore how to learn and perform “Lithium” by Nirvana, one of the iconic songs of the grunge era. We will discuss the unique vocal technique used in the song, provide practical advice, and offer relevant resources from Singing Carrots to assist you in your learning journey.

Understanding the Song

“Lithium” is a powerful and emotionally charged song that showcases Kurt Cobain’s distinctive singing style. The song features a mix of soft verses and explosive choruses, combining moments of vulnerability with intense energy. To capture the essence of this song, it is essential to understand the emotions behind the lyrics and convey them through your performance.

Vocal Technique: Dynamics and Expressiveness

One of the unique vocal techniques used in “Lithium” is the manipulation of dynamics. Cobain shifts between soft and loud sections, creating a captivating contrast in the song’s intensity. Practice controlling your voice to smoothly transition between these dynamics, emphasizing the nuances in the lyrics and melodies.

Another key aspect of Cobain’s vocal style in “Lithium” is his expressiveness. He infuses the lyrics with a raw and emotive delivery, conveying deep emotions to the listener. Focus on expressing the lyrics authentically, using your vocal tone, phrasing, and body language to convey the song’s meaning effectively.

Practical Advice

Here are some practical tips to help you learn and master “Lithium”:

  • Start by listening to the original recording of “Lithium” to familiarize yourself with the melody, lyrics, and overall feel of the song.
  • Break down the song into smaller sections, such as verses, pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge, and practice each section separately before putting it all together.
  • Pay attention to the song’s phrasing and pauses, as they contribute to the overall dynamics and emotional impact.
  • Practice vocal warm-ups and exercises, such as the ones provided in the Singing Carrots resource Pitch Training – Educational Singing Game, to improve your vocal range, control, and stamina.
  • Use the Singing Carrots Vocal Pitch Monitor to visualize your sung notes on a virtual piano, helping you stay on pitch throughout the song.
  • Consider taking the Singing Carrots Educational Singing Course to further develop your singing skills and learn techniques applicable to a wide range of songs.

Related Songs and Vocal Techniques

The unique vocal technique used in “Lithium” can also be found in other popular songs. Here are a few examples:

  • In Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” you’ll find similar dynamics and expressiveness in Cobain’s vocals.
  • Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box” utilizes a similar mix of soft and intense sections, showcasing the power of dynamics.
  • Pearl Jam’s “Alive” is another song that combines emotional vulnerability with explosive energy, similar to “Lithium.”


Learning to sing “Lithium” by Nirvana is a wonderful opportunity to explore dynamics, expressiveness, and emotional delivery in your singing. By understanding the song’s unique vocal technique, incorporating practical advice, and utilizing Singing Carrots resources, you can enhance your learning experience and master this iconic grunge anthem. Remember to embrace the emotions of the song and make it your own. Happy singing!