20 Good Audition Songs to Sing (and Why They Work)
Choosing the perfect audition song can be pretty overwhelming. Not only do you have one chance to prove your talent but you will, more than likely, have less than 5 minutes to do it. Make sure you find good audition songs for your voice, age and style.
Understand that type of voice you have, which can be a soprano, a mezzo-soprano, a tenor. You could also have the ability to use falsetto. Picking songs for your audition, whether it’s for the school talent show, musical theatre or TV, which highlight your talent is a fundamental task to success.
The wrong audition song can affect your career and self-confidence, so choose wisely. We have put together 20 modern songs, 10 pop audition songs for men and 10 pop audition song for women, which will showcase your vocals, personality and make you stand out from the crowd.
The best audition songs for female singers
#1 Beautiful by Christina Aguilera
This ballad has a good message about self-love that many people can connect with. The track is often mistaken for being a good pop audition song for altos. The truth is Aguilera’s back catalogue can be for altos and mezzo-sopranos.
This track allows singers to perform runs on the bridge, belt out a chorus and hit keyword in an F#5.
#2 Explosions by Ellie Goulding
‘Explosions’ is a quiet ballad for auditions that depends on a big, emotive, vocal performance. Goulding has an unusual and distinctive vocal style and the simplicity of this song allows her to showcase this. It is the perfect song choice if you’re a vocalist who can’t find a ballad quirky enough for their voice.
There are a cappella moments at the start, a big chorus and a heartfelt tenderness to making the lyrics not seem cliché.
#3 Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
The bare bones-verses and the wall-of-sound refrain of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’ will allow you to showcase fierce talents. It will also prove you can elevate your vocals above the big chorus.
The auditioning scene in Pitch Perfect proves the amount of different vocal talents that can ace this pop-rock giant. This song suits all ranges and can be performed by pop, folk and rock vocalists.
#4 Stay by Rihanna
Stay is the song that transformed Rihanna from a star into an artist. Melodically it’s an easy song, stripped down and raw with emotion. To properly perform Stay you need to deliver a tender, believable vocal performance and make everyone believe you mean what you are singing.
If you lack power but want to show emotions and vocal quirks this is a good pop audition song for you.
#5 Wrecking Ball- Miley Cyrus
￼The verse comprises of a delicate soft vocal performance before the now iconic chorus crashes in. This is an effective song to prove that you can deliver a colossal hook. A great vocalist needs to be able to shatter the word ‘Wreck’ into three syllables and hit the listener in the gut.
This is a song that allows you to show versatility, with fragility on the verses and power on the chorus.
#6 Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
This is a great audition pop song choice for a breathier singer where they can use the verses to show a seductive side but still have the opportunity to belt out an anthemic chorus.
The trick to belting this chorus is to hammer one note three times (You. Make. Me feel like a Tee. Nage. Dream), this will give the illusion of having a fuller voice.
#7 Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The lead vocalist of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is the stunningly talented Karen O, who has a deep tenor female vocal style. This is a great audition song choice for rock vocalists and tenors. The song has very few lyrics to learn, easy to master if you’re someone who frequently forgets their lyrics in auditions.
The biggest challenge will be showing passion and emotion with the repetitive tune but it has a melody that allows you to integrate your own style.
#8 Hometown Glory by Adele
￼Many Adele songs showcase her powerhouse vocals but few have the range of’ Hometown Glory’. The intro has soft vocals, matched with a light guitar riff, before the vocals boom over the chorus. This is also a less expected Adele song, ‘Someone Like You’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’ are beautiful but overdone in auditions.
The crescendo and decrescendos from verse to verse will really test a vocalists range and control. If you can master this song, you can master anything.
#9 God is a Woman by Ariana Grande
￼Grande sprinkles her signature falsetto across the sultry chorus but reins in her vocal prowess in the verses. This song will allow you to try different flows, use the falsetto and riff during the pre-choruses. If you were going to choose a Mariah or Whitney song to show off your vocals try Ariana instead. She has a similar vocal prowess but is more contemporary and less X-Factor.
Perfect for both genders, the track allows singers to harmonise with themselves (just check out Tom Grennan’s cover for an indie male spin on the song).
#10 Chandelier by Sia
‘Chandelier’ is possibly one of the most challenging mainstream pop tunes to ace as a vocalist. The high notes can be tough as they require urgency and power. This is a song that can’t be executed by using a head voice or a flip into falsetto.
The trick to making this song work is to try to sing this in your own way and not imitate the original. Many people put all their power into the song and forget about the lyrics, make sure the painful meaning of the word doesn’t get lost in the technical performance.
The best audition songs for male singers
#1 One Call Away by Charlie Puth
This popular mid-tempo song will allow a vocalist to have good control over their falsetto/head register with room to play with your falsetto. This is the perfect audition song for male vocalists who want to show a lighter and tenderer touch.
Because the original has a heavy amount of autotune you can easily make it your own.
#2 When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars
‘When I Was Your Man’ is the type of ballad you can’t fake emotion on. If you want to show a classic crooner side to you choose a Bruno Mars track over something by Smokey Robinson.
This song is originally performed in C major but can be lowered to G major or F major, which will make is a much easier audition song for the average male singer.
#3 Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
‘Thinking Out Loud’ is the perfect modern tenor song. It’s a well-loved song that has a classic feel to it and the mid-tempo is the perfect medium for auditions. This is a song more about emotion and less about power, great for the understated performer.
If you have the pipes, then ‘Thinking Out Loud’ has some space to play with falsettos and runs.
#4 Human by Rag’n’Bone Man
A bluesy yet modern song, Human will allow singers to showcase their deep vocals. ‘Human’ stands on the shoulders of American roots music but is a commercial song we all know, perfect for rock, country or blues-orientated vocalists.
This is a versatile track that can be performed as a gospel ballad or acoustic folk song.
#5 Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake
Timberlake’s chart debut is the perfect way for a male vocalist to showcase his falsetto. Unlike other tracks ‘Cry Me a River’ requires someone who can show versatility in their falsetto, note how light and airy Justin is in the original. Although normally sung by men Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson have brought their own country-pop twist.
#6 Redbone by Childish Gambino
Many R&B singers may be inclined to choose a Marvin Gaye or Sam Cook track but auditioning with something more contemporary like ‘Redbone’ could make you stand out. This song ignores sounding pretty and instead is almost obnoxious with its use of falsetto.
This track is a fun way to stand out and make the most of your falsetto vocals. There is also a level of drama to performing this song that allows you to stand out from the pack.
#7 Earned It by The Weeknd
Not every R&B artist can use their falsetto as well as The Weeknd. He brings a small tremble to his performance that does so little but adds so much. To excel at this performance, you need to add a quiver to your voice, but not a quiver of weakness but a quiver of tenderness.
This melodic line will really showcase a male falsetto. Tracks by The Weeknd are a good modern alternative to Michael Jackson or Lionel Richie, it has the same vibe but feels fresher.
#8 Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
Green Day revitalised punk rock for another generation. This rock ballad is the perfect audition song for a tenor vocalist. This song works well done acoustically or amped up for musical theatre performances.
No matter what style who perform the song in you need to prove you understand vocals hooks as the verse has a good deal of repetition and the chorus acts more like a refrain.
#9 Why Georgia by John Mayer
Why Georgia has that impressive moment where Mayer sustains a falsetto note, if you have that vocal ability then this is a great song to show it. The moment in the song where he sings “Cause I Wanna?” is where you can showcase your light and floaty tone, get real close to microphone whilst performing. Mayer has the sensibilities of someone like Tom Petty but is modern, cooler and less expected.
#10 Wild Love by James Bay
Wild Love is a heavy and heartfelt tribute to intimacy and connection, an ode to falling in love. This beat-driven ballad proves that, as a performer, you can be intimate and deliver warmth. You don’t need vocal prowess or a falsetto for this song. This is a great option for blues, folk or rock singers who want to show they have heart.
How do I choose the right audition song for me?
- First, make sure the song suits your vocal style and range, select a song that shows your voice at its best. Avoid choosing a song you think they want to hear if you struggle to sound good singing it.
- Pick a song you can make your own, but only it’s not too distracting and fits your image, style and age.
- Check the audition guidelines. They may already provide a list of pre-approved songs, only want ballads or ask you to prepare multiple song choices.
- Don’t pick a popular song, every year at auditions judges and professionals will hear the same song multiple times. Avoid the latest big musical song or the current popular chart ballad. Avoid the classic cliché songs, unless you think you can really ace them or put your own twist on them. We’ve all heard enough versions of Mariah Carey’s Hero.
How do I choose an age-appropriate song?
Just because you like a song doesn’t mean it’s the best song to perform in auditions. In order to sell a performance, you need to be able to portray the lyrics and meaning to the song. Choosing an age-appropriate song will allow you to properly connect to words and emotions.
Choose a modern song you like, it can sometimes jar hearing young people sing old-fashioned songs. You want the judges to see you as a modern artist who could have a current hit so perform something that could be released tomorrow.
If you don’t want to perform a classic song, maybe you have a retro style, then take a classic song and make it modern or take a modern recognisable song and make it sound classic.
What’s your go-to song for an audition? Let us know what you sing and why in the comments below!