Knowing what to sing in an audition can be tricky. Do you go with something funny or something dramatic? Do you go with something high and something loud? So often I play for singers, or watch their audition, and I can tell they’re trying to second guess what the casting team behind the table wants to hear. It can drive you crazy trying to guess what we want to hear.
A friend recently asked me: would I rather hear a song I know, or a song I don’t know? I responded that I want to hear you sing something well, something that shows you off. I realized that answer might be a bit vague to some, so hence this post.
What do we want to see in your audition? Personally, I want to see you; I want to see the genuine article. This business is full of bullsh*t, for lack of a better term. Don’t try to be fake with us; we can smell it a mile away. That said, you can be yourself while delivering the character in your song and/or scenes.
Finding the right audition song and cut of a song can be tough. You don’t want something too long, nor do you want to cut something down so short that we lose the essence of the story and the character. I love hearing a song I’ve not heard before; that keeps me more interested and I feel like I’ve learned something. I also don’t mind a repeat of a familiar tune if you knock it out of the park. There’s nothing better than hearing a new take on an old song.
I’ve had this debate with voice teachers, regarding audition material. Some feel that songs in an audition should adhere to the gender for which they were written. I disagree. I played an audition for a woman singing “Being Alive” from Company, which is normally sung by a man. It absolutely worked because she connected to the material.
No matter what you sing, you need to stand out. In a line up of actors, you need to find something that makes you interesting and makes us want to hear more. The last thing you want to do is second guess what you think we want to hear. That’ll only distract from showing us your best performance.