How to Learn Singing “Stay Away” from Nirvana

How to Learn to Sing Nirvana’s “Stay Away”


Learning to sing a specific song requires attention to detail and a solid understanding of the unique vocal techniques used in the song. In this article, we will explore how to learn to sing Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” an iconic grunge song known for its energetic performance and powerful vocals. We will discuss the vocal techniques employed by Kurt Cobain and provide practical advice on how to approach singing this song effectively.

Understanding the Song:

To truly master “Stay Away,” it is essential to understand the song’s structure, lyrics, and musical style. Start by listening to the original song multiple times, paying close attention to Kurt Cobain’s vocal delivery, phrasing, and dynamics. Analyzing the song’s structure will help you identify its unique sections, such as the intro, verses, chorus, and bridge.

Vocal Technique in “Stay Away”:

Kurt Cobain’s singing style in “Stay Away” is characterized by raw intensity, gritty vocals, and dynamic shifts. Here are some key vocal techniques employed in the song:

  • Belting: Cobain utilizes belting techniques in the chorus, emphasizing certain phrases to create a powerful and intense sound. This technique can be challenging for beginners, so it’s important to warm up your voice and gradually build up your vocal strength and endurance. Consider using Singing Carrots’ Pitch Training exercises to improve your belting skills.
  • Grunge Vocal Style: “Stay Away” is a grunge anthem, and Cobain’s vocal style reflects this genre’s characteristic roughness and distortion. Singing with a controlled rasp in your voice can help you capture the grunge sound. Singing Carrots’ article on vocal distortion provides insights and exercises to help you develop this technique.
  • Emotional Expression: Cobain’s performance in “Stay Away” is charged with emotion and intensity. To convey the song’s emotions effectively, focus on connecting with the lyrics and expressing them with authenticity and passion. Singing Carrots’ article on singing with emotion offers valuable tips to enhance your emotional expression while singing.

Related Songs:

The vocal techniques used in “Stay Away” are also prevalent in other popular grunge and rock songs. Here are some examples:

  • Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit: Known as Nirvana’s breakthrough hit, this song features similar belting techniques and grunge vocal style.
  • Pearl Jam – Even Flow: A classic grunge anthem with powerful vocals and emotional intensity.
  • Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun: This song showcases the versatility of grunge vocals, combining melodic singing with gritty, intense moments.

Practical Tips for Learning the Song:

  • Warm up Your Voice: Prior to practicing “Stay Away,” warm up your voice with Singing Carrots’ Pitch Training exercises and vocal warm-up routines. This helps prevent strain and allows you to sing with greater ease and control.
  • Break the Song Down: Start by learning each section of the song individually. Focus on mastering the melodies, rhythms, and lyrics of each verse, chorus, and bridge before putting them together.
  • Practice with Backing Tracks: Singing along with the original song or a high-quality karaoke track will help you develop a sense of timing and ensure you stay in sync with the music.
  • Record Yourself: Recording your practice sessions allows you to identify areas that need improvement. Listen back to your recordings and make note of any parts that require more attention.
  • Seek Feedback: Consider asking a vocal coach or experienced singer to provide feedback on your rendition of “Stay Away.” Their insights can help you refine your technique and further enhance your performance.