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Top 12 Best Audition Songs for Altos

That all-important audition is coming up, and you’ve got to decide what you are going to sing. They have given you the choice of picking your own song. That is a good start. So what do you pick to show off how good you can be?

You have an alto range, so what are the best audition songs for altos? In many ways, you are fortunate. There have been some great songs for the lower female voice.

Try And Be Special

You must remember that the people doing the auditioning probably see hundreds of candidates over a year. You need to be able to stand out. Not by what you wear. That can send the wrong message. But by what you choose to sing and how well you do it.

Try not to pick those songs we know that everybody sings. Try to be unique. If they haven’t specified a song they want you to tackle, have they set a genre or style? If the answer is no, you have complete freedom. You have plenty of audition songs to choose from.

You are likely auditioning for a musical, or a play with a song, possibly TV or video. Don’t think you have to sing an established song from a musical. If they had wanted that, they would have asked you to sing something specific.

Broaden The Scope

It’s probably a good idea to go prepared with two songs. Just in case they want to hear another. Make them different. One from a musical theme, the other just a well-known song. As I say, there are plenty of choices. So, let’s go through a few great options as we try to find the best audition songs for altos.

Somewhere – West Side Story

We all know the story. The theme is taken from William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” It tells of the rivalry between two street gangs in New York and the love affair between Tony from one side and Maria from the other.

It was Steven Sondheim’s debut, and he wrote the lyrics to Leonard Bernsteins’ stunning music. The musical film of 1961 with Natalie Wood and an extended run in London’s West End assured it received its high status.

The song “Somewhere” is one of the highlights and gives you the chance to show some acting ability as well as vocal competence. It also is a chance to show off your range as there are a couple of high notes for altos in the score.

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend – Marilyn Monroe, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 

If you want to create a stir, then this is a song that will take the memories flooding back. It might not be that the people were around at the time. But they can’t fail to be reminded of Marilyn’s smoldering performance.

I don’t recommend that you try and emulate the pink satin dress or her performance. But it is a great audition song to sing to demonstrate what you can do. It has some room for a bit of acting along with delivering the song. Something those auditioning might be looking for.

Marilyn was an enigma. Her voice was described as indifferent, more like a cat purring. Her acting ability was only average, but somehow she just carried it all off. And this is one of the songs that made her famous from the movie taken from the original Broadway production some years earlier.

Aquarius – Hair 

The Sixties were in full swing when this came out in 1968. But still, it was able to shock us. All very low-key today, of course, but in those days, wow. But what this musical did have was great music. “Let The Sunshine In” we all know, but this song is sometimes overlooked.

It is a great audition song because it is lively with a powerful tune. At the time, this was powerful stuff. An anti-Vietnam war production, it still retains its message of “sunshine rock” today.

Hello, Young Lovers – The King and I

Let’s go over now to two of the great songwriters of the age, Rodgers and Hammerstein, for their story of “The King and I.” The music from start to finish is more than spectacular and captures the mood of time and place perfectly.

This song is one of its highlights and makes a great audition piece for altos that many probably won’t attempt. You don’t have to act the part with this; the music will carry it. And it is a great opportunity to demonstrate your vocal prowess.

Strike a Nerve…

This 1951 movie, and all its associated spin-offs in stage productions and follow-up films, are all banned in Thailand. Apparently, they didn’t, and still don’t like the way that a king from the 1860s, King Mongkut, was portrayed.

Some people hate being confronted by the truth of their history. Especially when it isn’t very pretty to look at. Never mind, it is their loss. The rest of us have all had the joy this great production and its music gave us.

I Enjoy Being a Girl – Flower Drum Song

Let’s stay with the great partnership of Rodgers and Hammerstein for one more. This time from another show with an Oriental flavor. This 1958 show never became quite as popular as some of the work they came up with. But it did have this song which has remained a favorite.

The storyline is about the clash between two cultures as seen through the eyes of an immigrant. Whether to stick to her traditional values or change to meet the new society she is living in.

A great audition song as it gives so much scope for interpretation. It can be serious or slightly comedic in its delivery.

There Is More to Love – Aspects of Love

Based on a 1955 book, this became a musical at the hands of Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1989. A complicated love plot delivers some memorable music, as you would expect from Sir Andrew. Perhaps its most famous song is “Love Changes Everything,” which is a popular song for auditions

That is one reason that I have suggested this track. It is an interesting song and tries to explain that love is not just a physical thing; there are other feelings involved. 

Webber’s songs from his musicals are sometimes noted for the range his singers are required to use. If you are looking to impress those auditioning you with a technical song, this might do the trick.

The Winner Takes it All – Abba from Mamma Mia!

This might rattle a few cages, but I thought this was a dreadful show. I went to see it for two reasons. Firstly, the music, so I say, “Thank You for the Music” Abba. Sorry I had to put that in. But secondly, anything that has the great Meryl Streep in it has to be special. But I am afraid it just wasn’t.

Of course, there is the music, and this is a great song for an audition, as many of their songs are. Benny and Bjorn just seem to be able to pull these songs out of thin air. An emotional song that gives you the chance at an audition to demonstrate emotion through the lyrics.

And being so well-known and loved by all, it has to be a “winner”- sorry again.

Let’s Have A Change

All those are songs from musicals and films. They are the obvious choice for people going to do an audition that may well be for a musical or musical play. But, when it comes to the best audition songs for altos, others can demonstrate your ability. 

Therefore, I think it might be a good idea just to broaden the scope of the options a bit. This shortlist includes songs that are just great songs for altos to sing.

Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters

Before we had ABBA, we had the Carpenters. Different in many respects, but some of the same things applied. Great songs, a great singer, and meaningful lyrics. Although this song though wasn’t written by Richard Carpenter, it was created by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams.

It reminds us of what a superlative voice Karen Carpenter possessed. But it gives you the chance to demonstrate your vocal skills. This is not an easy song to sing and make it sound good. But, if you can pull it off, then they are going to be impressed.

Only Yesterday – The Carpenters

While we are with the Carpenters, let’s include another great song for an alto to sing at an audition. This 1975 release was written by Richard Carpenter. It is a poignant reminder that the best was yet to come from these two, but sadly never materialized.

Again, a song that is going to impress anyone listening as Carpenters songs were never the easiest to sing. The lyrics go from negative to positive, and this is reflected in the way the chorus takes us into major chords. 

Karen Carpenter was considered by many to have had the best female voice ever. That might be pushing it a bit, but she was a sensational singer. As I said, people are going to be impressed if you can translate the sadness and then positivity through your voice as she does.

If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher

It may be that you fancy doing something a bit upbeat to make an impression. Many people go to auditions and try to mimic what they have seen in films and on stage. It can be a refreshing change for those doing the auditioning to hear and feel something different. This song is going to do just that.

Of all the females of the last 50 years in the pop world, Cher has one of the most appreciated voices. And this anthem from 1989 is one of her finest. This was the lead single from the album “Heart Of Stone” and lights up any room with that great chorus.

Great arrangement, nice steady rock pace, and that chorus. It’s bound to make an impression. But a word of warning. Don’t try to be her. Just be yourself and let your voice do the job.

Killing Me Softly – Roberta Flack

If your real strength as a singer is to be able to pack emotion into a song, then this could be the one. A beautiful song that was written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel.

Roberta Flack’s version wasn’t the original, but it is the one we all remember. This is a song that is going to test your abilities to the hilt. Lots of inflections to master, easier when speaking than singing, and plenty of emotion to pack in.

And no, it isn’t about Jimi Hendrix. It was written about Don McLean based on a concert one of the writers, Lori Lieberman, went to. She recorded the original version. At an audition, if you want to get their attention, then this is a great song to do it. It will be something they won’t be expecting.

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

Another song they might not be expecting. Carly Simon wrote it, and it has been shrouded in mystery about whom it was about. I spoke to someone once who answered, “Who said it was about one person?” The plot thickens.

A nice easy tempo dominates the song. Not a hard song to sing at all, but there are some higher notes to be aware of. Oh, and the second verse is about Warren Beatty, but I think most people knew that. The other verses, who knows?

Summertime – Cleo Laine

Let’s close with this gem of a song and performance. If you have the nerve and get this right, then the audition will be yours. Taken from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” this is a big song.

Cleo gives it the full works and leaves a tingle up your spine. You can’t emulate her, no one ever could, but it is a big opportunity. That opportunity is to throw yourself at it and give them some emotion and deep feeling to listen to. 

It has plenty of room for some personal interpretation. But, if you are going to give it a try, read all about the musical. That will help you get the feeling of it.

Deep and Dark

That is how Cleo sings it with her Contralto voice. Alto’s can get down there too sometimes, but be aware it is going to test you. Yes, you could say I have left the best to last.

Looking for Great Songs to Sing?

We can help with that. Have a look at our handy articles on the Best Sing-Along Songs, the Best Songs about Friday, the Best Songs about Fighting, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Duet Karaoke Songs, and the Best Songs About Dreams for more great song ideas.

And you need to listen to those songs. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Tailgate Speakers, the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Bluetooth Speakers With Radio, and the Best Boomboxes you can buy in 2022.

Best Audition Songs for Altos – Conclusion

It’s audition time. What’s the worst they can do? Just say sorry. No shame in that if you’ve given your best. There are a lot of people who have had plenty of rejections who ended up at the top of the pile. 

These are some suggestions for some songs that will impress those listening. Don’t be afraid to give it your best. Now get out there and show ‘em.

Until next time, let yourself be heard.

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About Warren Barrett

Warren has spent nearly half a century (now that's a long time!) as an ink-stained wretch writing for music magazines and websites and has no plans on giving up soon.

He is curious about all types of music and instruments apart from any genre with 'Urban' in the title. He's also not so keen on Plastic Potted Plants, Reality TV, and any movies with Kevin Costner in them.

He lives in Delaware with his wife Wendy and lots of great memories...

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