Jon Bon Jovi is one of rock 'n' roll's singing legends. And while his voice may sound raw and untrained, the singer acknowledges good singing technique is the basis of his style. He dabbled in voice lessons while young, "and then after I made three albums, I went and then really got into it," he told iVillage in 2009. "It never stops until you learn to do it properly and hopefully well. Don’t take singing as something that comes naturally -- all the best work hard at it." And once a singer understands good vocal technique, he can use several strategies to sound more like Bon Jovi.
Get That Nasal Sound
Bon Jovi's most noticeable vocal quality is his nasally sound (sometimes called a "pharyngeal voice"). When singing, the voice resonates in certain parts of the body -- ideally around the lips, mouth and sinuses. Bon Jovi's voice resonates mostly in his nasal cavity, making it easy for him to sing higher notes with plenty of power. To achieve a nasally resonance, sing the "ng" sound, note how it feels and try to sing it as nasally as possible. Gradually, switch to whatever lyrics you choose, keeping that nasally resonance.
Master Vocal Fry
Bon Jovi, like many rock singers, also has a voice that can be described as "gravelly." The technical name for this is "vocal fry." Remember the cartoon character Elmer Fudd? Pick any comfortable note and sing "mum" while imitating Elmer. Now do scales singing like him. Once you've mastered this technique, you'll be able to sing Bon Jovi-like vocal fry in any song.
Learn to Growl
Bon Jovi sometimes growls on lower notes. To learn to create a musical growl, first practice growing like an animal. Notice where the growl vibrates in your body. Gradually sing with a growly sound, attacking the beginning of the word a little harder than usual. But keep the sound soft and gentle. Most singers can't growl on all notes, so expect this technique to work only on the lower part of your range.
Let the Feeling Show
Part of Bon Jovi's success as a singer is his ability to musically portray emotions. Whether singing the soulful "Hallelujah" or the heartfelt "Born to Be My Baby," Bon Jovi communicates what he's feeling to listeners. Singers who wish to imitate this style must really understand what the song is about and identify with it in some way. Acting lessons can go a long way toward developing an emotional singing style like Bon Jovi's.
Kristina Seleshanko began adult life as a professional singer and actress, working on both the West and East coasts. She regularly sang jazz in nightclubs, performed in musical theatre, and sang opera and pop. Later, Seleshanko became the author of 18 books, and has written for such publications as "Woman's Day," "Today's Christian Woman," and "True West." Seleshanko has also been a writing coach, a research librarian for "Gourmet" magazine, and a voice teacher.