Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is known for his powerful baritone vocals. But while there are a lot of male singers in that range, no one quite sounds like Vedder. So is it hard to sing like Eddie Vedder?
Here is what I figured out:
It is hard to sing in the same way that Eddie Vedder does, as he gives his vocals a distinctive sound by using a high larynx position in a lower chest resonance. This technique pushes his tongue far back in his mouth and creates a very unique sound.
I found that this particular style emphasized by ‘Alive’ singer Vedder is called Yarling.
It is an approach when a vocalist enhances each syllable with an ‘R,’ making it difficult to hear the sentences. Result? Listeners end up hearing slurred lyrics with rich nasal and untamed edginess in vocals.
Countless artists and vocal coaches have tried imitating Vedder’s vocal range for many years, but it remains untouched.
Let us find out if there is any way you can learn Eddie Vedder’s singing style?
— RS Country (@RScountry) March 4, 2019
Why does Eddie Vedder sing like that?
Eddie Vedder sings like he does because he closes his vowels more than usual. This style is part of a technique identified as Marble Mouth. It limits an artist’s ability to hit higher notes but creates a unique sound.
Vocal Coach Ken Tamplin says:
“Eddie used this particular style which is “the idea of closing down ‘R’ sounds really hard. And after Eddie started using it in Pearl Jam, people thought it was the only way to sound like a modern rock star singer.”
However, iconic stars like Tom Petty, Jim Morrison used a familiar sound before Eddie. But Eddie set a precedent for ‘marble mouth’.
But of course, marble mouth was also excellently parodied by Weird Al in his video parody of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. He literally shows marbles falling out of his mouth.
In addition, this style tends to inhibit an artist’s ability to go higher in their range quickly. As a result, the artists need to relax their larynx before bringing variation in their voice range.
But Eddie Vedder was among the singers who cared less about the range and more about tone and energy.
Overall, Eddie has a reliable technique that has worked for him long-term and achieved consistent results. It’s the kind of technique that can be safely defined as risky, especially when the gritting part comes up. But it obviously works for him as he’s sung consistently for decades now.
— September Sky (@septembersky_) June 19, 2018
Did Eddie Vedder take vocal lessons?
Eddie Vedder did not take any vocal lessons. He is a self-taught musician who relies on his instincts, developing his singing technique along his musical journey.
Eddie Vedder’s fans accepted his vocal talents without questioning if he ever had the traditional training for it? From his debut, it was apparent that he knew his vocal capabilities well.
But Vedder’s singing ability suffered intense criticism when Nirvana’s vocalist Kurt Cobain made negative comments calling the band “corporate puppets.”
Cobain added that Pearl Jam lacked the underground purity of Nirvana.
Read my recent article to find how Pearl Jam vs. Nirvana feud ended. I even got into how Dave Grohl feels about Pearl Jam all these years later.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Vedder was able to win his audience back after the feud was over. But only parts of it. I recently read an online debate arguing that Eddie’s lack of vocal training is evident when you listen to him live.
You can see that his voice quickly gets tired and sounds nowhere similar to what you hear on the records.
That being said, when I saw Pearl Jam live in 2006, he sounded great. Eddie has come a long way from his debut days, and his skills are improving. He has developed better techniques.
His vocals sound stronger and less strained.
— billboard (@billboard) August 27, 2016
What is Eddie Vedder’s singing style called?
Eddie Vedder’s singing style is sometimes referred to as Yarling. However, that is not the only unique technique he uses to create his signature sound. So ultimately, his singing style is his own.
Eddie Vedder was fortunate to be born in an era when music was still evolving.
Many styles like rap, contemporary R&B, and urban music were highly experimental. Perhaps this same trait led him to concoct his singing style; Yarling.
Vocal Coach Chris Liepe put down an analysis of Eddie’s vocals and says Eddie has a deep, resonant full-sounding natural speaking voice sound.
Eddie makes use of a high larynx position in a lower chest resonance. But the higher larynx position gives him a bright and, at the same time, deep tone with a bit of compression.
Chris also adds:
“Contrary to common assumptions, Eddie Vedder does not use back tongue cupping to shape his tone. If you want to sound like him, you can raise the tongue slightly and lower the soft palate but avoid nasal passage, which will give you a more profound and brighter sound, just like Eddie Vedder.”
— billboard (@billboard) January 19, 2016
How did Eddie Vedder get his start?
Eddie Vedder started playing in bands in San Diego in the mid-1980s before later being invited to audition for what would become Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam was already being formed by former Mother Love Bone members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament.
And at almost the same time, he was invited to guest vocal in the band Temple of the Dog, which was Chris Cornell from Soundgarden’s tribute to their late friend Andrew Wood.
Wood had been the singer of Mother Love Bone and had died from a heroin overdose.
Pearl Jam helped popularize grunge music in the early 1990s and continues to be known as a respected group in the alt-rock genre in the 21st century.
The group earned its reputation mainly because of the lead vocalist Eddie Vedder.
In the late 1980s, Vedder was working at a part-time gas station when he got invited to audition. Vedder wrote three song lyrics before auditioning. Impressing them with his vocals, Vedder soon landed the job.
He soon joined Pearl Jam in 1990. Pearl Jam debuted with their album Ten in 1991, which instantly became a hit. According to Britannica, the band played and experimented with unorthodox vocal techniques during these times.
Eddie got the opportunity to demonstrate his powerful baritone vocals capturing the spirit of the wild.
Eddie’s vocals have helped the band enjoy tremendous success over the years. The singer was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 for his contribution.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) May 13, 2015
What vocal range is Eddie Vedder?
Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has a 5-octave vocal range between E2-G5. Most singers have a 2-octave range, so 3 to 5 octaves are rare.
Let us examine Eddie’s range:
Significant High Notes:
Significant Low Notes:
A user commented on the internet explaining:
“Vedder has an extensive range thanks to his powerful lower singing and great higher singing. He usually gets gritty and strained around the 5th octave, but he has some impressive moments where he hits clean and easy notes.”
There are some artists whose vocals are the only instrument they need.
The same was discovered about Eddie Vedder when an entertainment website NetMusic isolated Vedder’s vocals to demonstrate his range of vocals.
The study concluded that Eddie’s voice sounds as good in the studio as it does live without any tricks like autotune.
But has he ever used autotune?
Luckily, I have also covered that in my recent article. After all, the band’s 2020 album, Gigaton, is much more electronic than anything they’ve ever done before. And his voice isn’t getting any younger.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Vedder shone brightly at the height of grunge fever and ruled like a star among fans with his magnificent vocal style.
But when attempting to figure out his style of singing and vocal range, the truth is that it is hard to sing like Eddie Vedder, mainly for two reasons.
First of all, he is a self-taught vocalist with no vocal training and developing his technique in the process to make a successful career in music.
Second of all, Eddie is known to use a very peculiar style termed marble mouth, which means he tends to close down his vowels hard.
And it is really risky because it involves tons of root tongue tension, increasing the chances of losing vocal ability at some point.
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