The best male and female duets enable both vocalists to shine, providing equal stage time. But, as with choosing a solo track, the number should also suit the individuals’ style, sound, their combined level of experience and the event.
Singing can be an individual activity or a super sociable one, depending on how you do it (and with whom). So what songs should you choose if performing with someone else? Read on for suggestions and inspiration of duet songs you may like to try.
The best male and female duets
Singing together is a lot of fun. But you have to make sure that you are partnered up with someone whose voice works well with your own and that the chemistry is there. It won’t look or sound good if you don’t blend well and aren’t a good match. It’s important that you both know your style and your key when choosing your song.
So make sure you’ve thought it through and got lots of practice together before you take on a performance in front of an audience. If you’re unsure whether you’re ready, try recording yourself and watching it back.
Duet songs for male and female
Here are some more tips for preparing your duet ahead of a live performance.
- Make sure you both give yourselves lots of time to rehearse and really practice the song.
- Come prepared having practised singing at home individually, so you are both ready to go.
- Make sure you have warmed up your voice and drunk some water before you begin.
- Make sure you are very familiar with the song before you start.
- Know when it is your turn to sing. You don’t want to miss your cue or end up singing the wrong parts which are reserved for your partner. Learn your partner’s parts as well, this will help you to be aware of when it’s your turn to sing.
- Make sure you have that chemistry and that you are taking time to interact with each other. The audience isn’t looking at you as individuals, they are going to be looking at you as a duo, so they want to see that you have that relationship and that you are both taking that enjoyment from the song.
- Look at each other when you are performing and ensure you have positive body language – although be careful not to take it too far the other way. You want the audience to feel involved and if you two are in your own little bubble then the audience will feel excluded from the performance.
Songs with male and female vocals
Before you choose your song, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions.
- What genre will you be singing? It may not work if one of you in classical and the other is a pop singer. Although a contrast between vocal styles can sometimes create an effective drama in your duet (more on that in number 10 on our list).
- What is your vocal range? As with solo songs, you’ll need to pick something you can both comfortably reach. If not, you’ll need to get it transposed (changed into a different key).
- Is it for an audition? If so, there may be time limitations or specific requirements for your entry. Find out more about how to pick an audition song here.
- What kind of backing will you use? This could be a band, one or both of you playing an instrument like the guitar or piano, or it could be an a cappella number.
Along with genre, consider whether you want to sing modern songs or classics. We’ve included a mixture in our list. But don’t forget that you can sing an old retro number with a contemporary twist.
Also, consider what you might wear for your song. As with a solo performance, image and branding is part of your act. You can have a lot of fun coordinating outfits. You could also choreograph a routine together, that goes along with your song.
The best duo songs – boy and girl duets
Now that you know more about why duetting is so important, let’s take a look at the best songs to sing together. Some of the biggest musicians in the world have teamed up to release a song together and they are proof alone that duets do work. So which ones are some of the best?
List of duet songs
1. Señorita by Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
If you’re looking for a recent hit in which you can incorporate some dancing, this is a good fun duet. Both artists have voices that reach a wide range and this is a brilliant song to perform as a duet.
2. Me by Taylor Swift featuring Brandon Urie
This is a very recent and therefore modern duet featuring two artists with voices that aren’t too dissimilar. Brandon Urie has a tenor voice that spans four octaves so this is great for male singers that can hit this range. It’s a good, fun song to sing and a good one to perform together.
3. Islands In The Stream by Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton
Can you harmonise? If so, this gentle country duet is a winner. But you’ll need to be spot on your notes and add bags of character to this well-known tune. It’s always a crowd-pleaser if you do.
4. When You Believe by Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston
Do you want to perform a powerful tear-jerker? This moving song by two pop divas can also be sung by male and female voices. It works well for singers with big voices. It’s an emotional song, so put your heart and soul into it.
5. You’re the One That I Want by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
It might be an old song but as it’s from a classic musical that is still hugely successful in 2020. And it’s a song that we are all familiar with, so it’ll be easy to learn. It’s ideal for those with a bit of acting ability, who want to do a character song.
6. I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher
Another modern classic, but this time from the world of pop. This husband and wife duo took the charts by storm with this cute little number that’s often popular at karaoke nights.
7. Up by Olly Murs & Demi Lovato
This provides a really nice opportunity for you to practice harmonising together. It works well for all kinds of voices as this is an easy song to sing along to.
8. This Is Me by Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas
Another from the queen of duets and Disney, Demi Lovato. This time her song partner is Joe Jonas singing a fantastic Disney number. It’s an anthem with a message.
#9 Can I Have This Dance by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens
A heartwarming, easy to sing and popular tune. It’s a recent number for mid-range voices. You could even try adding in some dance moves like Zac and Vanessa do in this video.
#10 Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe
We’ve ended this list on a high – literally! This is one of the biggest and most famous duets, and it’s perfect for male and female singers with powerful, high voices. You can give it your own stamp, but it works best where the female can produce an operatic sound and the male can pull off falsetto. So it’s definitely not for everyone, but if you do it well, you’ll blow everyone away.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these tips for duets. Don’t forget, if you can’t rehearse together in person, you can still get your practice time together over Zoom or Skype. And if at all possible, see if you can get some feedback or tuition to make your song even better. Duetting is a great skill because it’s all about working as a team and knowing what role you play in the song and why. So give it your best shot and see what happens.
- How do you duet a song?
There are extra challenges you face when it comes to singing a duet – it’s not just your voice you are focusing on. You need to make sure you are both coming in at the right moment, that you are in the same key and that you harmonize well together. It will require that extra bit of practice.
- Which are the best karaoke duets for male and female?
Choose very well-known numbers for karaoke. People like to hear their favourites, so from this list, the likes of I Got You Babe and Islands in the Stream will go down a storm. Be sure to choose something you already know – karaoke backing tracks can be surprisingly tricky to follow.
- Why should I duet?
Singing and performing with another singer is a great opportunity to enhance your skills and to learn more from each other. Practising together and listening to each other’s performance is a really good way to improve all different aspects of both your voice and your performance.
Which are your favourite make and female duets and why? If you’ve performed or recorded a duet, post a link to it in the comments below.