Do you have an audition or gig coming up soon? Are you under 18 and trying to find a suitable number to perform?
Finding appropriate songs for teens can be tricky. Many contemporary lyrics revolve around overly adult themes, especially in genres like rap and grime. But there are many clean songs to sing, including radio edits and those on non-controversial topics.
In this article, we’ll provide a bundle or recommendations for top tracks that will showcase your talent without the need for explicit content.
Clean songs to sing
It’s important to make sure you choose songs that not only match your vocal ability but also deliver an age-appropriate message through lyrics. A lot of the music that you hear on radio stations has undergone ‘clean editing’, basically meaning that the lyrics won’t match the ones on the original recordings.
So, before searching for the lyrics of your favourite song you’ve heard on the radio, it’s a good idea to make sure you look for the clean version.
If you’re in a singing competition, or you are looking to apply for one, then choosing a song to sing with clean lyrics is as equally as important as choosing a song that shows off your vocal ability. If you’re a young singer, it’s important to have a range of age-appropriate songs under your belt. Here are some great ones to choose from, suitable for all ages.
Songs with clean lyrics
When you start looking at songs with clean lyrics, you’ll notice there are some go-to artists, like George Ezra who focus on family-friendly content. While others, like Miley Cyrus, flip between very explicit content (particularly in terms of performance) and kid-appropriate songs.
#1 Pretty Shining People by George Ezra
A great pop song with catchy repetitive lyrics, George Ezra is a modern artist who has a great selection of upbeat songs. If this one isn’t up your alley, then I’d recommend taking a look at a few more of his songs as he has a mix of mellow, acoustic singles to more energetic tunes.
#2 Make Your Own Kind of Music by Paloma Faith
It’s nice to sometimes sing about making music. Very many songs revolve around love stories and heartbreak (which can get pretty heavy), but there are so many more topics to be explored.
#3 Blinded By Your Grace by Stormzy
While a lot of grime features explicit themes, Stormzy’s fondness for fusing his genre with gospel music means he has some tracks that are entirely age-appropriate and inoffensive
#4 What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
This classic jazz song released in 1967 is a mellow option for school performances. With a powerful message about protecting the world, this could be a good educational song to sing to remind everyone about climate change.
Appropriate songs for school-age artists
It’s harder to connect with your audience and display emotion through lyrics (skills that a competition judging panel would be looking for) if you can’t relate to the songs subject matter. Love for a pop song is usually nothing to do with their relationship to the lyrics, but rather the melody of the song.
It’s easy to fall into a trap of wanting to sing a pop song that you like the sound of but has inappropriate lyrics. Instead, opt for something with a powerful message that’ll lift up others.
#5 Who’s Laughing Now by Jessie J
Jessie’s a great source of positive songs about overcoming adversity and becoming a strong female. This autobiographical piece about her bullies is powerful and uplifting.
#6 Kill Em With Kindness by Selena Gomez
This dance track has an underlying message about dealing with body shaming, so is a powerful song especially for people suffering from bullies.
#7 You Can’t Stop The Girl by Bebe Rexha
This one’s all about having a voice. It could be construed in many ways but is an ideal choice if you want to sing something edifying with a female empowerment theme.
#8 Hurricane by The Vamps
The boy band wrote this song for the Disney film ‘Alexander and The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day’, it has fun and clean lyrics and is a pop song alternative that you’ll love.
Appropriate songs for kids and pre-teens
If you’re between the ages of 9-12, you are more likely to struggle to find age-appropriate songs. You’re not quite in the teen category but you also don’t want to be singing ‘babyish’ songs. You can see this age as an exciting time to transition from basic kid-friendly classics to clean versions of chart hits. Here are some suggestions for you pre-teen artists.
#9 Happy by Pharrell Williams
This is a great choice for a karaoke night to show off your vocal ability. It’s upbeat rhythm and catchy lyrics will get the audience up on their feet and singing along. Being used for the Despicable Me 2 movie, this song is family-friendly too.
#10 Count On Me by Bruno Mars
With clean lyrics and an underlying message of friendship and loyalty, this song is appropriate for school. If you’re singing this at a school talent show, try adding harmonies and teaming up with another musical friend to make your performance even more fun.
#11 Parents Just Don’t Understand by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
If you’re a kid who’s keen to rap, it can be tough to access appropriate material. So why not check out some retro tracks. The Fresh Prince is a great place to start. And this one is all about being a kid.
#12 Dance Monkey by Tones and I
This fun song could be the perfect opportunity to show off some energetic dance moves, really honing your performance technique and audience engagement at a competition. With the lead singer of this song having a distinct voice, you shouldn’t try and directly mimic her style- always make it your own.
Clean songs 2020
You’re never too young to start singing, but sometimes songs that are popular in the charts may not be age-appropriate. Some songs can use swear words or may contain sexist, violent or racist material, which can also be inappropriate. But let’s take a look at some recent tunes that may work well for you.
#13 Smile by Katy Perry
This brand new release from Katy Perry seems autobiographical. It’s all about positivity and gratitude.
#14 Original by Sia
This anthem by Sia is all about being yourself and unique. It was used as the theme song for the move Doolittle.
#15 Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles
This is a really fun song with quirky lyrics. You need to be having fun with music especially if you’re auditioning for a competition. So, if you’re looking for a chart pop tune, you’ll enjoy singing this. It could be a great song to sing in the car on summer days with your friends and family too.
#16 I Can Go The Distance from the movie Hercules (the 2020 edit)
Indeed Disney tunes can be a fantastic source of age-appropriate material. They often feature ‘the hero’s journey’ plotlines, which make for rousing and emotive songs. Here’s a retro tune that is timeless and perfect for a musical theatre style audition. Check out this 2020 comedy parody version which is really fun for a non-contest show.
Clean pop songs
A good example of pop songs with clean lyrics that you can draw inspiration from as a pre-teen is the compilation albums from Kidz Bop.
#17 Good Feeling by Flo Rida
Not all rap songs are inappropriate. Some have pretty positive messages to give. This rap is a good alternative to the typical pop songs that you may choose to sing at a talent show.
#18 Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
In the key of F major, this song isn’t too challenging to sing and is a fun cleaner choice if you love Miley Cyrus, who can otherwise be a bit risqué. Her early back catalogue offers safer choices for appropriate songs.
#19 Introducing Me by Nick Jonas
This cute ditty is a nice and gentle opener. You could even change the words to introduce yourself using your own interests and personality.
If you’re struggling for suitable material, why not create your own? The best song you can sing in a contest is one that you’ve written yourself (provided it’s good). This way, you can be sure the lyrics are clean, it’s suitable and you’ll be more likely to connect with the song. Plus you’ll have a unique masterpiece to show off your individual talent.
- How can I find the clean version of a song?
Songs and albums will be labelled explicit if they contain lyrics that are not clean. A search should also return a version marked as clean, so check if you see two tracks by the same title. Versions created for radio play will be censored.
- Does Spotify censor music?
No. Spotify allows music makers to release their tracks as they are and without censorship. However, it does offer a clean content filter, ensuring you won’t be offered any songs with explicit content.
- Can I upload my own music to Spotify?
Yes. You can sync your account with your own saved music files. If you want to release your music for streaming and download, you can upload your own tracks for this purpose too. It’s a great way to get started in the business.
Do you have any more appropriate songs for kids and teens? Which are your favourite clean songs to sing? Perhaps you’ve written your own. Share them in the comments below.