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Stop Trying to be an Adele when you’re a Britney: How to Choose the Right Song

Image: MD Duran

Singers, I have news for you: just as each of you varies in ability, natural talent and ambition, no two songs are created equal, either.

Rather than put songs into some kind of hierarchy, however, a good singing teacher will help guide students towards the right kind of song for them.

How do we do such magical work, you ask?

Here’s what a vocal coach or singing teacher will look for when working with a student. Weighing each of these considerations (in the order presented below) is a great way to work with a song that lights you up, pushes your boundaries, and launches you forward.

1. What are your Vocal Goals?

Every song you sing is an opportunity to expand your range, so get clear on what you’re hoping to accomplish with your voice.

Do you want to sing higher or lower, work on your mix, have a more powerful voice, sing with more emotion… or all of the above?

Choosing a song you can already sing the heck out of is a great way to boost confidence, but it’s not going to get you to the next level. Identifying your goals and then singing into them, however, will.

2. What are you Singing for?

Are you an aspiring pop star, a Broadway hopeful, or just wanting to hold your own during family sing-alongs (which are no joke when it comes to my family).

Knowing what direction you’re heading in will help enormously: why choose a highly technical song when you really just want to dazzle at karaoke?

Similarly, why keep bringing broadway hits to your singing teacher when you really want to sing for an indie band?

Like any journey, knowing your destination will keep you moving in the right direction.

3. What’s your Type?

Type is something that, in the past, was mostly considered by musical theatre students. It refers to your whole impact as a performer: gender, height, hair, weight, background, vocal type, etc. are all useful things to consider if you want to be in a singing & acting role.

That being said, performers nowadays are being asked to provide the whole package, and everyone needs to be self-aware when it comes to their look and type if they want to be successful.

Consider your look - if you’re more early Britney Spears than Adele, you might want to stop trying to belt out the ballads and choose music that’s poppy, dancey and fun.

One of my mentors makes a great point about this: look is easier to change than natural vocal ability. If your look and voice don’t match, try adjusting your look to what your vocal chords are putting out there - you may find it gives you a big boost as an entertainer!

A good vocal coach will always have a few songs in mind for their students, and a better singing teacher will weigh the above considerations before recommending anything. But if you really want to own your talent and move yourself forward, brainstorm a little on these three recommendations.

You may just sing yourself into the New Year in an entirely new way!

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