I've been trying to learn how to do a growl. I trued to use keyword searches in google but I never could construct my question well so I'd like to use examples instead. Most answers and questions relate to Heavy Metal singing and whatnot but I don't think I'd like to head that way.

Here are some example voices that I am referring this type of growl to:

Various versions of Master of the House from Les Miserables. At least listen to the first 1:30 mins of each:

TJ Miller's Fred from Big Hero 6 (Skip to 0:45 where he says "Rocket Ship")

and lastly, Tom Kenny's Ice King from Adventure time


How do you learn how to do this? Are there some exercises and techniques I should know? What should I avoid when doing this that is vocally-damaging? An insightful answer is very much appreciated cause I'm not really that much literate when it comes to technical terms in music. I'm also aware I can't compare my voice to 30+ year old people's voice which I'm tryna imitate but I hope you can help get me a 20 year old version of that..

Thank you very much. :)

  • As always, take lessons. If you try to do it yourself, you'll almost certainly destroy your vocal cords -- and they're difficult to repair. Jun 15, 2016 at 11:39
  • There was a DVD around several years ago that was considered the ultimate guide to getting these kinds of sounds without hurting your voice. I believe it was a series of lessons taught by a woman, but I have no idea what it was called. There is a technique and way to do this that is safe for your voice. Jun 15, 2016 at 14:06
  • 1
    Isn't this some variation of "vocal fry"? That might help for searching.
    – Yorik
    Jun 15, 2016 at 17:52
  • 1
    @ToddWilcox It was the Zen of Screaming by Melissa Cross.
    – Kyle
    Aug 29, 2016 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


From the examples you've given, it sounds like you're not necessarily looking to scream, just add a raspy tone, correct?

Starting out with soft, but persistent, practice is key here; short of taking up smoking or recording with a chest-cold. (haha). You're learning to push your diaphragm and vocal chords. You're stretching your vocal chords in the same manner as when you clear your throat but, pushing more air through them than usual with your diaphragm.

It's fun and easy to practice this in a recording environment... Turn your vocals way down and everything else way up. You'll naturally be singing with more gusto just to be able to hear yourself in the mix. Once the recording's done, mix the levels to your preference and listen. You may be surprised at the tones you produce!

It is true that professional lessons are a good idea, as well as the fact that not all voices can emulate the same tones, or reach the same frequencies, as others.

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