Importance of Song Choice | What Songs to Pick to Sing
Perhaps you have an audition, competition, music exam or gig coming up and you’re overwhelmed by all the song choices out there. What songs should you pick to sing and which ones will showcase your voice at its best?
The importance of song choice can’t be underestimated. You need to choose appropriate songs that work with your own vocal style, range and sound – and haven’t been overdone. This can make or break when it comes to impressing the panel, judges and audience.
While we always encourage acts to write and perform their own original material at auditions, if you’re performing a cover song, you’ll want to stand out from the crowd and be creative with it. While there are millions of songs to choose from, by asking yourself the right questions, you can narrow it down. We’ll tell you how to do this, with inside tips from industry judges.
The importance of song choice
What songs can I sing?
You’ll make different song choices at different times. What’s best for a solo act competition may be completely different from what’s best for a choir try out. Or a music exam. Or a live gig. So knowing how to pick the right number for the right setting will help you always be on point with your repertoire. Here are some of the first things to think about.
- Who am I singing for?
- What suits my voice best?
- Where am I singing?
- What backup or accompaniment is available?
- What am I trying to achieve?
- Which style of music do I enjoy singing the most?
- What will everyone else be singing?
If I had a choice – song selection
You may not always have a choice of song. In some settings, you may be provided with a list from which to choose, or have had a specific song requested. The latter is particularly tricky if it’s out with your usual realm of music. However, if it’s a paid gig, it’s far better if you can find a way to work with it in a way that does suit your voice or style.
Radio 1’s Live Lounge provides great inspiration, as artists frequently cover songs, but making them fit their own vibe. This can have an impressive effect. If you have a list, follow the same rules as you would for picking a song otherwise. Try each of the songs and ascertain which you find suits your sound best.
But usually, you will have a free choice. And that can feel overwhelming. After all, there’s so many to choose from.
Why picking the right choice of song for you is important
Unless you’re incredibly versatile and have a fail-safe voice, different songs can have different outcomes. Sing one and you sound great. Sing another and you don’t. This is why making sure you make the right choice of song has such a big impact on whether you’re a hit. And it’s not only about how good the song itself is. A song that doesn’t suit you won’t highlight your individuality as a vocalist.
So how do you find out what song suits your voice? Well, as with anything nowadays, tech can offer a helping hand (or rather ear) here.
What song suits my voice app
There’s an app for everything, including apps for discovering what songs best suit you. The caveat here is that they don’t suggest songs. Rather they judge your singing. Try singing a variety of songs into an app, and see which ones get the best rating. Chances are these are the ones that are highlighting your voice the best.
What song suits my voice quiz
There are a number of online quizzes that will help point you in the right direction too.
- Quiz – What Song Should I Sing
- What Song Should You Sing at Karaoke
- What Type of Songs Should You Sing
Do bear in mind that a quiz can’t hear you singing. So the results are more likely to be based on what you enjoy and find pleasurable, than those that actually best suits your voice. They also have a limited number of answers, so the songs they throw up will likely be pretty hackneyed (overdone), something you should avoid. But they are a bit of fun and can help you unpack your musical preferences.
Easy songs to sing 2019
You shouldn’t necessarily just seek out the easiest song to sing. Maybe the best option for your voice is something trickier and more involved.
However, if you’re relatively new to singing or prefer something uncomplicated with less opportunity to make mistakes then opt for an easy song. Be aware that all may not be as it first appears. Songs that sound easy to sing along to, are not necessarily easy to sing. And songs that sound complex or dramatic, may in fact be very easy to sing.
Easy songs to sing that sound impressive
Easy songs that make you sound good
Here are five songs – for all different vocal ranges – that will make you look and sound great. It helps to sing popular songs that everyone loves but avoiding anything that’s currently being oversung. This is where it pays to delve back in time, as there are plenty of classics that can be brought right up to date and stamped with your own style.
Easy songs to sing for beginners
We often find the songs given to us by singing teachers a bit tedious. You may want to belt out a big ballad or rock up a storm. But we all have to begin with learner’s songs. These are simple, easy numbers, that take the focus off the song itself, enabling you to perfect your sound and technique.
Here are a few very simple, but effective songs for beginners to get started.
I Only Want To Be With You
I Will Always Love You
This is simple when singing the melody – add in Whitney Houston style vocal acrobatics and it can be a whole lot trickier.
What is the easiest song to sing and what’s the hardest song to sing?
There are no hard and fast rules on this. It really does depend on your voice. If you have a naturally very high voice and can hit some eye-watering notes, make the most of this (the same goes with the lower range).
You could be singing something that sounds out of reach and impossible to someone else, but it’s super easy for you. This applies to your musical genre too. An accomplished opera singer might struggle to nail hip hop. Play to your strengths in public, while stretching yourself in private.
Easy songs to sing in Hindi
If you’re singing a song in another language (than your own) such as Italian or French opera arias, or Bollywood numbers, make sure you have your pronunciation right.
Bollywood and Hindi music are both hugely popular genres. Here are some tips for easy Hindi songs to sing.
What song to sing for a competition
What is the best song to sing for an audition?
Anyone who sits on an audition panel or judges competitions and contests will tell you how tired they get of hearing the same songs over and over. This is definitely the time to avoid anything currently topping the download charts, or a hit anthem from a recent film. Some classics like “I Dreamed a Dream”, “O Mio Babbino Caro” and “Hallelujah” are regulars at auditions too.
Picking the right song to cover or perform at an audition is very important. It could be a decision that makes or breaks you as a singer.
Picking the correct song can define a singer and maximise their chance to shine. You can focus on interpreting the song in your unique style and voice.
How do you choose an audition song?
Here are the important things to take into account when making the decision!
Firstly, make sure the song suits your vocal style and range. Selecting a song that really shows off your sweeter tone in your range is always going to be best. Work with a vocal coach can really help you establish what this is. It’s pointless selecting a song that you struggle to sound good at either low or high notes.
Pick a song that you can make it your own, but only if it’s not too far-fetched. Amongst the considerations are it needs to fit your image, style and age.
What are good songs to sing at auditions?
Don’t pick a popular song, every year at auditions we will hear the song of the moment; like “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, Titanium by David Guetta feat. Sia, Shape of You by Ed Sheeran at least 10 times per audition. And then in the shows, acts end up doing the same song choices. Please avoid this, there are millions of songs to pick not just the current most popular choices.
What are good songs to show off your voice?
Try not to play it too safe, picking a song that doesn’t demonstrate any of your talents is not a good pick. Picking a song that offers no room for you to shine won’t impress any judges. You need that one moment that will grab their attention and make them take note.
So, if you can perform feats of vocal agility, and have the musical understanding to take on challenging pieces – do it. Aim to create something original and unique, even if it is a cover. Don’t just copy iconic stars, although it helps to take inspiration from several of them.
Good songs to sing for an assessment
There are other scenarios similar to auditions in which your voice may be being assessed. If you take singing exams, you may have to pick a song – often this will be from a list or specific genre. In this case, you need to opt for the song you can sing the best technically, rather than a showy audience-pleaser. You may have set songs to learn too. Try and pick a number that contrasts with these for your free choice song.
Or if you’re an actor needing a song for a drama school or theatre audition, think about what is most appropriate. Perhaps a simple folk song or musical theatre number would be best. Do avoid the obvious, as with auditions. It really helps if the panel isn’t already sick of the same song over and over.
How to find your singing voice
Every singer must find their singing voice. But how do you do this? Well, there are a few parts to finding your voice.
- Finding your range as a singer.
- Deciding what style of music do you like and suits your voice.
- Finding what sort of tone you have (ie. light, rich, full-bodied, smooth, young)
What genre fits my voice quiz
A singing teacher or vocal coach will be able to advise on the best genre for you. Do be aware that they can often be influenced by their favourite genre, or specialise in one in particular. So, try to find someone who has a wide variety of experience and teaches a range of styles.
It can be fun to do an online quiz to help identify the best genre for you too. Be aware that this will likely be based on what you enjoy, rather than your vocal sound.
What is my vocal range? How to find songs in my vocal range
Your vocal range is the notes you are able to comfortably sing. It may be high, low or in-between and will usually be categorised as follows:
Once you know your range category, you can use it to search for songs that fit the notes you can sing. You’ll often find suggested audition songs are filtered by these categories.
How do you determine your vocal range?
If you don’t have a vocal coach, you can use an app to determine your range. If you play keys or know somebody who does, you can use these to play the notes and identify your own range.
The range of notes which are usually most comfortable and easy for each voice types are as follows:
- Bass: E2 to E4
- Baritone: A2 to A4
- Tenor: C3 to C5
- Alto: F3 to F5
- Mezzo-Soprano: A3 to A5
- Soprano: C4 to C6
Try singing through the scales and find the sections which feel most effortless and pleasant sounding. Where do they fit in with this list? It will indicate your natural range – but it can be extended with practice. You may, for example, be a mezzo-soprano who naturally suits a middle range, but with a fantastic range reaching high soprano and low alto notes.
More tips on making a good choice of song
Similarly, and the most common of errors you don’t want to take too much of a risk. Selecting a song just on the merits of showing off your vocal, like taking on an epic, powerful song by someone like Whitney Houston or Celine Dion can only result in it being out of your league. This could leave a bad impression of your talent. If it doesn’t sound as good as the original, people will critique it!
Pick a song that you like will help you connect with the emotion in the song. However, don’t pick a song just because you like it. It needs to showcase your singing abilities and your unique artistry, so if that means picking a song you don’t normally listen to, then that’s what it has to be.
Importance of song choice
Pick something modern or if an old song put a modern twist on it, also select a song that is applicable to your age.
You need a song that, if performed in front of an audience, will resonate with them and they can connect with you and the song!
If in doubt, ask for feedback from a vocal coach or trusted friends and family. Perform the song for them, ask for their honest opinions and ask open questions. At the end of the day, song choice is down to you, the singer, but constructive criticism can help you realise if the song is working.
Test your singing voice online
Recording and/or filming a demo of you performing the vocal to a backing track can also help you hear your performance. You and others can analyse it and see if there are any changes you can make that make the song work. Or use one of the online apps that are designed to judge and feedback on your singing.
And remember song choice isn’t everything, it also important to perform, add dynamics, engage with the audience, connect to the music and bring out the emotion of the song otherwise the performance will be lifeless and all the hard work selecting the song choice will be partially let down!
- What’s a good song to sing acapella?
Singing without accompaniment is risky. Especially by yourself. You’ll need to hold your pitch and tuning, so practice till it’s perfect. Choose something very simple that you know inside out and can perform time and again note-perfect.
- How can I make my voice perfect?
Sing at least once a day. Do vocal warm-ups and exercises to work on your breath control, tone and diction. If possible, work with a vocal coach, or use online tutorials. Gig as much as possible and seek out honest constructive feedback to help you improve.
- What is the easiest karaoke song to sing if you can’t sing?
As we’ve discussed, the ease of singing a song will vary from person to person, so it really depends on what works with your own voice and style. You can disguise your voice with a ‘speaking’ song and focus more on comedy and entertainment – like Combine Harvester by The Wurzels.
What do you think of the importance of song choice? Have you picked any songs that have worked really well – or badly – for you at an audition or gig? Tell us about them in the comments below.