How to Learn Singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana

How to Learn Singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

If you’re a fan of Nirvana, learning to sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” can be an exciting challenge. This iconic song is known for its raw energy, powerful vocals, and grunge-style sound. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of learning and mastering this song, highlighting the unique vocal techniques used by Kurt Cobain.

Vocal Technique: Grunge-style Singing

To capture the essence of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” it’s crucial to embrace the grunge-style singing. This involves singing with a raw and raspy tone, expressing intense emotions through your voice. Kurt Cobain’s vocal delivery in this song is characterized by his signature growl and gritty timbre.

To develop your grunge-style singing, consider exploring vocal techniques such as vocal distortion and growling. Singing Carrots offers a helpful resource on vocal distortion and growling to help you understand and practice these techniques.

Songs with Similar Vocal Techniques

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is not the only song that showcases the grunge-style vocal technique. Here are a few other popular songs where you can find similar vocal techniques:

  • “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden
  • “Creep” by Radiohead
  • “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots
  • “Come As You Are” by Nirvana

Listening to these songs can inspire and help you understand how to incorporate grunge-style singing into your performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Practical Tips for Learning the Song

  1. Warm up your voice: Before attempting to sing this song, it’s crucial to warm up your vocal cords. Singing Carrots offers a helpful pitch training tool that includes vocal warm-ups and exercises to prepare your voice.
  2. Study the lyrics and melody: Familiarize yourself with the lyrics and melody of the song. Sing along with the original recording to understand the pacing and phrasing.
  3. Analyze your voice: Use Singing Carrots’ guide on how to analyze your voice to evaluate your vocal range and identify areas that need improvement.
  4. Breathing and breath control: Proper breathing technique is crucial for singing this song with power and intensity. Check out Singing Carrots’ article on breath support to learn more about this essential aspect of singing.
  5. Practice regularly: Dedicate regular practice sessions to work on different sections of the song. Break it down and focus on challenging parts until you feel comfortable singing the entire song.
  6. Record and analyze your performance: Record yourself singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and listen back to identify areas for improvement. Pay attention to your vocal technique, pitch accuracy, and emotional expression.

Remember to be patient with yourself as learning a song takes time. Use Singing Carrots’ progress statistics feature to track your improvement over time.


“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song that encapsulates the grunge-style singing of Kurt Cobain. By incorporating the techniques mentioned above and practicing regularly, you can learn to sing this iconic song with confidence and authenticity. Remember to explore the resources provided by Singing Carrots, such as the vocal exercises and range test, to further enhance your singing abilities. Harness the power of grunge-style singing and enjoy the process of mastering this classic Nirvana hit!