Imitation has always been the best way to go deep in the arts (or anything else, really). Always is, always will be. In any genre, any good musician learns from past masters through imitation.
After you learn, the art of the cover lies in bringing something new to an interpretation, no matter the genre. Here’s a fantastic example from the band Pomplamoose. It’s a mashup of the Bee Gees and Jamiroquai: