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L.A. Beat

So You Want to Be A Singer? Choose the right song

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This week I am going to talk about something that is often overlooked,  frequently mishandled and sometimes taken advantage of — song choice.
Why do we choose songs to sing in the first place? Why don't we compose songs and perform our own? Why do cover songs? Songwriting is a very special and unique skill. Not everybody can do it. That being said, not everybody knows how to choose that perfect song for an audition, adjudication, public performance or set.
A wise song choice should showcase everything you can do with your voice and stage presence and not display weaknesses or vulnerability in voice and performance skill.

So how does a singer do this? We practice. Over and over again. Then when we are sick of practicing, we push ourselves and our voices to the limit and we practice some more. If the same weaknesses keep coming up in our material, we ditch the song. Just like that. No looking back, questioning “maybe I should try it again.”

An audience or an adjudicator will know within 10 seconds of beginning the song and vocal whether you have chosen the right song or not. More often than not, song choice becomes a great experiment. This is totally okay, because as artists we need to experiment. We need to figure out what works and what doesn't so we can grow and learn. Singing and performing is a never ending process of growth, trial and error and expansion of knowledge. You can never enough. If you think you do and that you're at the “top of your game” it's time to quit the business, or get lost in it.

Song choice is so important, because as a singer/ performer, it is your job to take the lyrics of the song (s) you choose and connect to them in every way. Not only this, but it is your job to interpret the lyrics, the mood and the emotional value of the song(s) and leave the audience wanting more after the journey is over. This is what artists get paid for — to entertain, to make people feel something, whether it's anger, sadness, joy or nostalgia.

So sing songs from every genre, every era, every artist who you admire, male or female. Figure out your style and how you can make the song your own as if you wrote it. That is the mark of a good song choice. If you display all of the above, plus push the suspension of belief for the audience to think that you could have written this song. Make a list of what works and what doesn’t and what could potentially work, but still needs practice. And know when to leave the proverbial “shower song” where it belongs.
Until next time, keep reading LA Beat.

Next week I’ll be furthering this discussion by talking about the plethora of reality TV singing competition shows.
Andrea Ceron

— By Andrea Ceron, special to L.A. Beat
Last Updated ( Monday, 25 November 2013 19:50 )  
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