Picking a Good Audition Song

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Picking audition songs can be a hard choice to make for singers. You only have one chance to prove your talent and you usually have no more than three and a half minutes to do it. The best way to pick a good audition song is to choose one based on your voice, age and style.

Find out the range of your voice. Are you a soprano, a mezzo-soprano, a tenor or something else?. You might even want to show off your falsetto. Whether it’s for talent shows, musical theatre or television, show off your talent with the right song.

There is a good audition song for everyone that will showcase your vocals, personality and make you stand out from the crowd. However, doing a creative version on a cover in a way that hasn’t been done before will earn you extra points with whoever is judging you. Even better, perform your own song that you’ve written yourself. This will make you stand out as a songwriter, as well as a performer.

Picking audition songs

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 maximize their chance to shine at an audition. You can focus on interpreting the song in your unique style and voice. 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 farfetched and amongst the considerations are it needs to fit your image, style and age.
  • Don’t pick a popular song, every year at auditions we will hear the song of the moment; Adele, Jessie J and in 2014 from Frozen “Let it go” 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.

Choosing a good song

  • 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!
  • 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 and leaving 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 but 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.
  • 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.

Performing audition songs

Liking a song doesn’t mean it’s the best option for auditions. You need to be able to portray the lyrics and meaning to the song with your acting skills to sell a performance. Choosing an age-appropriate song allows 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. 

How do I know if it’s the right song?

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.

And remember song choice isn’t everything most important is you will also need 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!