Music competitions are everywhere! In your school, in your city, or on TV like American Idol, The Voice, The X Factor… And, you can sing! You have got a good voice. You have that dream to be there too and let the world know you can sing. But, before you can get on stage, there is always the singing audition. Before you can even join the contest, you have to prove first that you are worth the slot. How much preparation do you need to get in there? These judges and musical directors are very hard to please. They have got the ears for a really good singer, and only want to hear your best audition songs.
The same question arises on many question and answer sites or forums: “What are some good audition songs to sing? What are some great songs for auditions?” You know you can’t sing just anything and expect these judges to throw praises at you. And you never want to be told, “I think you have a good voice, but I guess you didn’t pick a good audition song for your voice.” That may happen if the song you choose does not fit you well.
HOW TO CHOOSE GOOD AUDITION SONGS
Here is some short advice to the basic things you should know. Let’s start off with your voice type and voice range. Are you a soprano? Do you sing like Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Charlotte Church, Kelly Clarkson, and Celine Dion? Or are you more on the contralto like Adele, Toni Braxton, Karen Carpenter, and Lady Gaga? It is always very important that you are hitting the right notes. Yes, you are meant to impress the judges, but know your limitations. Do not push yourself when you cannot hit that high note, if you simply cannot do it. If you want to brush up on your singing, we of course recommend having a private singing coach. But if you don't have the money or time to pay for a personal coach, check out the Superior Singing Method online course, (Aff link) which can help you improve even if you are short on time, and also offers e-mail coaching as part of the lessons.
Next is the style of music you are most comfortable singing to. Is it the genre that you like? You should not try singing a song with an upbeat tune and be as stiff as a statue, or don’t try to be a rock star if you are not. Feel the music. It is maybe an overused phrase, but it’s very important. Will you sing a heart breaking song and be smiling all the way at your audience? Find a genre one that suits you best.
And most important of all, make sure you when you are choosing songs for auditions that you choose one that moves you emotionally. Something that you can relate to, and sing with all your heart. Some people think that you should only choose songs that judges haven’t heard lots of times. While there may be some merit in that approach, don’t pass on a song that moves you just because it is one of the common songs for auditions. If you can nail that song, with your heart and soul, you can nail the audition.
And remember, don’t be a lonely cowboy! Find someone to help you out, a vocal coach. It is always best to learn from the expert. And what’s another good thing to do before you hop into an audition? Gather your family, friends, neighbors, and perform in front of them. Perform three songs in front of your audience, ask them what sounds the best. If you have the money, think about getting a professional vocal coach. If not, perhaps crowdsource the internet: I have encountered some videos from YouTube where users post their video of them singing their chosen audition piece. They ask the other users what they think of it.
Almost everyone can benefit from extra instruction, but few people have the time or money to pay a personal vocal coach. If this sounds like you, check out the Superior Singing Method online course (Aff link). Also, if you want to learn more secrets to singing audition competitions, check out this ebook. (Aff link). Though it specifically mentions American Idol, it can be used for any of the many singing competitions currently proliferating.
GOOD SONGS FOR AUDITIONS
Here are some songs you may want to consider as your audition piece. These are mostly popular songs that topped the music charts and sang by some of the best vocalists:
1. Someone Like You by Adele – Technically speaking, this song should be sung by contraltos. The original singer’s voice is somewhat unique and distinctive and may not be easy to imitate, but you can always experiment and try if this song works for you. A great point is that this song is appreciated by many for its emotional lyrics. As stated above, a great way to please the judges is not only show your good voice, but also make them feel what you are singing. This is a soulful song that starts softly and then belts out at the chorus. This can make the judges sit back and listen and feel the music.
2. You Make Me Feel like a Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin – This song may be sung by both mezzo-sopranos and sopranos with powerful, passionate voices, who are able to sing complex vocal runs and can belt. Jessica Sanchez, an American Idol runner-up used it as her audition piece. Kelly Clarkson also had a notable performance of this song.
3. Lately by Stevie Wonder – This song is for tenors. Jodeci did a cover of the song and sounded almost like Stevie Wonder when they sang “Lately” at one of their performances. This can also be a good auditions song for girls. Amber Holcomb was able to perform it on American Idol stage successfully with standing ovations. Lately is a song that is old and familiar and yet, you can give it a try and make it sound like new.
4. Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Nirvana – This song suits low tenors with raspy, hard-edged voice. It is pretty obvious nowadays that these song competitions aren’t just about girls who sing like a diva. There are some rocker dudes out there who also try their luck. Kurt Cobain’s version of this song is one of his best vocal performances. This song with its emotional lyrics can be very powerful and it can work really well as an audition piece.
5. Open Arms by Journey – This is a power ballad and one of the hardest songs to sing. Not a lot can actually sing it well, but those high tenors who can sing in a falsetto voice may be able to nail it.
6. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel – This is one of the most recognizable songs and fits countertenors of all ages. It can be lined up along with “Let It Be” by The Beatles. Voice clarity and resonance are very important while singing this song.
7. Here Comes the Rain Again by Eurythmics – This song can be used as an audition piece by contraltos. Girls with male-like timbre and emotive voice may try auditioning with this song on an acoustic set-up or with the accompaniment of a guitar.
8. Halo by Beyonce – This song was appreciated by many because of its nice beats, but it is no doubt it also sounds beautiful a capella. It fits mezzo-sopranos like Beyonce, who holds an incredible vocal flexibility. Guys can also try this out. The X Factor 2011 contestant Craig Colton used this as his audition piece where he had his own version putting some changes to it, and it sounded good.
9. Just Like a Pill by Pink – This is another song for contralto voice types, but with a rock edge to it. The song starts slow and relaxed and goes fast on the chorus. It is a song that will be expressed beautifully with husky, raspy voice qualities. Take note that it is pop-rock and should therefore sound like one. The energy should be there especially with the chorus. It is okay not to be able to imitate how Pink sings it, but the energy presented by the song should be there.
10. Home by Michael Buble – This ballad is for baritones who want to sing on a more relaxed manner, though the lyrics indicate the sadness of longing to be with someone you’re missing. A lot of men’s voices are baritone, and this may be easy to sing. The thing is that the emotions should be there to make the song perfect and convincing to win the ‘yeses’ from the judges.
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