Altos have some serious decisions for songs to sing for karaoke or auditions, here is a list of the best songs for altos to sing:
1. At Last – Etta James
This song had already become well-known by the time Etta James recorded her memorable performance in 1960. At Last, which featured James’s sweeping, impassioned vocals, was only a minor success at the time.
It is now one of the most well-known songs in the world, with chart-topping success for both Beyoncé and Celine Dion.
2. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Back to Black, which was originally written by Mark Ronson for singer Jackie Q, features jazzy instrumentation and lyrics about heartbreak. It’s a classic Amy Winehouse tune that is both powerful and catchy.
Back to Black was Winehouse’s hallmark song, and her voice demonstrates a depth of emotion that only she could achieve.
3. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Bad Romance is an incredibly popular song that has been performed by Lady Gaga dozens of times and covered countless times by amateur singers. Its recognizable hook makes it easy to sing along with and its energy is unparalleled. Furthermore, it has a quick tempo, a spoken bridge, and a powerful belt chorus.
4. Believe – Cher
This 1998 lead single from Cher’s 22nd album was extensively replicated upon its debut, with lyrics that reflect a terrible breakup and the self-sufficiency and empowerment necessary to get through it. Believe, which was co-written by Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, and Matt Gray of Xenomania, is considered one of the best pop alto songs ever. It’s very recognizable; the lyrics are easy to make sense of, and it features an incredibly strong belt.
5. Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin
Originally composed for Otis Redding, Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler saw it as a wonderful fit for Aretha Franklin’s vocals.
Chain of Fools, originally written by Don Covay, is one of Franklin’s signature songs. It features her distinctively throaty vocals and the lyrics are filled with anger.
6. Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House
This song is one of the most common songs for alto singers, and it’s rather simple to sing. Crowded House, an Aussie rock group, first published this song on their self-titled debut in 1986. Don’t Dream it’s Over has a strong and memorable chorus, quick lyrics that are easy to understand, and a flexible range. It has become a hit single since its release and is still played frequently on modern radio.
7. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
Dreams was a 1971 release for virtuoso American blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac. It was composed by guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, who also recorded it with Christine McVie on vocals. Dreams is a popular song on karaoke nights everywhere because of the simplicity of its lyrics and the recognizable nature of its chorus. It’s been covered by more than two dozen artists.
It has a unique dream-like vibe that is easy to feel while singing along with its emotional lyrics.
8. Feeling Good – Nina Simone
Nina Simone’s interpretation of this well-known pop song is often considered the most famous version. However, the original was written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the musical, The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.
Feeling Good was also used in a 2005 advertisement campaign for Marks & Spencer’s Per Una line and was recently covered by John Legend during the Celebrating America concert during Joe Biden’s inauguration. It is an up-tempo tune with very clear lyrics that are easy to remember. It’s also known for being incredibly adaptable among singers who cover it because of the numerous ways it can be performed.
9. Firework – Katy Perry
This 2010 track for American singer Katy Perry’s fourth studio album is about having pride in one’s self and empowering others to do the same. Firework peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and made it onto multiple lists of best alto songs ever. The words are relatively simple, but they still have meaning to them. The melody is also quick and easily memorable. Firework includes a strong belt that would be easy for any singer to perform well when singing along to this fun track.
10. Gimme One Reason – Tracy Chapman
Gimme One Reason is Chapman’s greatest hit song, released on the 1995 album New Beginning (reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100). She originally became famous for the song when she performed it live on Saturday Night Live in 1989.
It is often considered one of the most popular songs to perform at karaoke because of its strong melody and easy-to-understand lyrics. Gimme One Reason has a quick tempo that makes it easier to sing along with, encouraging all singers to get into it while performing on stage or in front of the camera.
11. Here We Are – Gloria Estefan
Here We Are is a collaboration between Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, which has been considered one of their most successful tracks by many critics.
The song follows the party atmosphere of its lyrics with quick rhythms and high-tempo beats. It peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 during its initial run after being released in 1988.
Here We Are offers a great challenge for pop singers because of its range and energy, which is why it features prominently on karaoke queues across the globe.
12. I Can Hear the Bells – Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman
I Can Hear the Bells is a comedy highlight about sexual awakening, and it’s a song to sing out with all you’ve got.
It’s from the musical Hairspray, which has music influenced by 1960s R&B and lyrics by Marx Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
13. I Don’t Know What I’d Do Without You – Robert Freeman, Steven Lutvak
In this song from Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, classically trained altos have lots of opportunities to show off their humorous acting skills.
Sibella sings this song, which was written particularly for altos, and in which she refuses to marry a man just because he isn’t wealthy enough. It’s a funny song from a funny musical that premiered in 2013.
14. I Have a Dream – Abba
Abba is one of the most famous pop groups in history. Their songs are empowering anthems that celebrate life and love while encouraging people to follow their dreams. I Have a Dream is one of their most popular songs, making it number two on the UK Singles Chart. This enormous hit offers a great challenge for altos who want to sing a modern pop song with an impressive range.
15. If You Knew My Story – Edie Brickell, Steven Martin
This ballad is one of many audition-ready songs from Bright Star, which won a Drama Desk Award in 2016. The musical, which is set in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, begins with this song as Alice Murphy greets her audience and explains her narrative.
If You Knew My Story offers a great opportunity for singers to show their emotional intelligence and convey meaning through their voices.
16. Killing Me Softly – Roberta Flack
Killing Me Softly is a cover song from Roberta Flack, originally performed by Lori Lieberman. In the 1972 version, it reached number 11 on the Hot 100 chart as well as # 1 on the U.S. Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks list and remained there for four weeks.
In 1996, following its appearance in Pulp Fiction, the song was re-released and, again, peaked at number 11. This version of Killing Me Softly is a helpful tool for performers looking to showcase their emotional range and impressive vocal agility.
17. Lithium – Evanescence
Lithium is a Grammy Award-winning song from Evanescence’s second album, The Open Door. Amy Lee, Evanescence’s lead vocalist, composed this power ballad when she was just 16 years old.
In this song, Lee uses her voice to explore pain and anger through extensive vocal articulation and dynamic expression.
Lithium is a challenging song to sing, but it can be done by altos who have the emotional intelligence and vocal stamina required to keep up with the music and interpret its meaning.
18. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
Adele covered this Bob Dylan song for her 2008 first album, 19.
Adele was initially hesitant to include a cover song on her debut album, believing it demonstrated her inability to write original content. However, after hearing it and adding her particular voice to it, she was convinced it was a good choice.
19. Mamma Mia – ABBA
The characteristic tick-tock beat at the opening of this 1975 chart-topper is a marimba, and it was added at the last minute by ABBA’s brilliant composer Benny Anderson. The song was produced as the final track for the Swedish pop phenomenon’s self-titled third album ABBA.
20. Mein Herr – John Kander, Fred Ebb
This song is inextricably linked to Liza Minnelli’s Oscar-winning performance in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film adaptation of Cabaret.
Still, it’s a popular audition song for altos, and it’s a terrific chance to show off your vocal style.
21. Memory – Trevor Nunn, Andrew Lloyd Webber
Memory is a song that should be sung loudly.
This song, which serves as the conclusion of the musical Cats, is one of the most well-known show melodies in the world. T.S. Eliot’s works inspired the lyrics of Memory and other songs from the musical.
22. Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
This pop song is about optimism and loss, but it’s also full of faith and happiness, and The Lady’s alto voice takes center stage.
The song was Gaga’s 24th chart-topper when it was released as a single from her fifth album Joanne in 2016. It re-entered the charts at number four after being performed at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.
23. My Favorite Mistake – Sheryl Crow
Most of Crow’s songs are well-suited to altos.
‘My Favorite Mistake’ was Crow’s sixth top-20 single, and it was widely assumed that Crow composed the song about Eric Clapton, with whom she had previously been involved. The Globe Sessions, her third studio album, was the first to include it.
24. No More Fear – Brian Yorkey, Tom Kitt
Another great challenge, this one comes from the musical Freaky Friday.
Katherine Blake, who is trapped within her high school daughter’s body, can now see her daughter fully for the first time. This anthemic song, like most of the other tracks from this 2016 production, is a terrific alto highlight for the audition room.
25. No Scrubs – TLC
No Scrubs, the lead single from TLC’s 1999 album FanMail, blends hip-hop, R&B, and Rozanda ‘Chilli’ Thomas’ angelic alto voice to create a ballad about the bottom feeders at the bottom of the dating food chain.
TLC’s third number-one was placed second on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100, trailing only Cher’s “Believe.”
26. One Fine Day – Carol King
Carol King’s “One Fine Day” was originally released as part of New York Rock and Soul Revue, a Broadway-style show that blended rock and soul songs to reflect life in 1970s New York. It was written by King in 1963 and became a hit for The Chiffons before being recorded by King herself in 1980, making twelfth rank on the Billboard Hot 100.
Lyrically, the song speaks about two people who met once and fell in love but could not be together due to their circumstances. Also, it is a fantastic song with a great tale that is ideal for alto auditions.
27. One More Night – Maroon 5
This song was released in 2012 and later gave Maroon 5 the distinction of having the longest unbroken streak (nine weeks) of reaching at least one top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The song, which topped music charts across the globe, has a strong and catchy beat that makes it an ideal choice for auditions, especially when you’re singing.
28. One Way or Another – Blondie
One Way or Another was Blondie’s third single after Blank File and Atomic, both of which were hits. This song was influenced by her encounter with a stalker. The song became the group’s second number-one single in the US, where it was placed on Billboard’s 1979 year-end chart.
The song famously uses a staccato, punk rock-style backbeat to give it an edgy feel. Besides, it includes forceful vocals that demand an intense performance to carry off effectively, making it an ideal piece to develop your belting style.
29. Raise Your Glass – Pink
The song’s lyrics were inspired by a true story in which Pink took part in an anti-gay marriage parade. Though she said that the drug reference was written ironically, it was seen as an encouragement to teens with the potential to be misunderstood. Despite its controversy, P!nk gave this song that’s all about hope and empowerment a perfect message.
In addition to being a standout anthem for alto audition songs, it is one of the best pop songs ever performed by women.
Alto singers can develop their high range and belt out some great notes with this song.
30. Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Rehab is the first song from Amy Winehouse’s 2006 album Back to Black. The song is lyrically autobiographical, describing Winehouse’s unwillingness to undergo rehab and cope with her drug and alcohol addiction. Winehouse was inspired by her relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, who had been convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
It is one of the best songs for alto singers who can demonstrate their range and power with this rock tune.
31. Roar – Katy Perry
The song was the lead single from Katy Perry’s fifth studio album, Prism (2013). It received mixed reviews but went on to become her most successful single in years. Produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin, “Roar” is an arena pop anthem that speaks about standing up for yourself when you’re overwhelmed by life.
This power anthem has a strong beat and would allow alto singers to show their vocal range and style.
32. Royals – Lorde
This song, which was first published on Lorde’s The Love Club EP in 2012, gained critical acclaim for a variety of reasons. Above all, the track’s sensuous vocals, which were influenced by Lana Del Rey, Amy Winehouse, and Florence Welch, are what make it so great.
The song attacks the lavish lives that are frequently shown in pop and hip-hop music.
33. Rolling in the Deep – Adele
This is the single that catapulted Adele to superstar status, and it will certainly put a strain on your vocal cords.
Her first position one single in the United States is among the best-selling digital singles of all time, having spent a remarkable 65 weeks on the charts. It was nominated for four Grammys, like Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
34. Send My Love (to Your New Lover) – Adele
This upbeat and rhythmic composition that Adele sings to her ex-boyfriend, comes on her 2016 album 25.
It’s a fantastic showpiece for any alto voice, with sweeping refrains and joyous taunting.
35. Someone Like You – Adele
Adele’s second song from 2011’s 21 is a gloomy sendoff to a former boyfriend, with the musician putting on a brave front and wishing him all the best in his new love situation.
36. Something Better Happen – William Finn
This melancholy song is from the 2011 Broadway show Little Miss Sunshine. It’s a terrific show for expert alto voice training, with a lot of 32-bar cuts. This song, sung by the Hoover family’s mother, is about wanting more than the status quo of a tiresome existence.
37. Style – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s 80s-inspired song has overlapping, controlled vocals and verses about toxic relationships.
Style was the third straight top-ten hit from the album 1989, peaking at number six on the Hot 100. This synth-pop tune shouldn’t be too difficult for the typical alto vocalist to perform.
38. Sugar – Maroon 5
Sugar, a disco-funk-pop-inflected single evocative of Katy Perry and Bruno Mars, was a 2014 blockbuster single for Maroon 5.
Mike Posner wrote the song and delivered it to Maroon 5 after abandoning the album it was supposed to be on. The song reached number two on the Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy.
39. Sweet Dreams Are Made of These – Eurythmics
This new generation hit by the British group Eurythmics was the lead single from their second album and topped the charts on the Hot 100 in 1983.
It’s not just a terrific display of Annie Lennox’s amazing voice, but it’s also the song that catapulted the pair to mainstream success.
40. That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain
Shania Twain’s alto vocals are legendary and are on full show in this memorable 90s pop smash.
The highly celebrated Canadian singer wrote the ballad for her third studio album, Come on Over, released in 1997, and it remains one of her most successful songs.
Shania Twain explained that she created the song after viewing a leaked photo of Brad Pitt naked and wondered what the commotion was really about.
41. The Dog Days Are Over – Florence + the Machine
Florence Welsh is without a doubt one of the greatest vocalists of the modern era.
Florence + The Machine are capable of complicated vocal lines and a wide range of ranges, as seen by this belter from their debut album, Lungs, released in 2009.
It’s a hammering, forceful song that received critical acclaim and commercial success.
42. This Kiss – Faith Hill
Faith Hill’s upbeat country song debuted at the top of both the American and Canadian charts and earned her two Grammy nods.
It contains Hill’s exuberant, impassioned voice as well as an appealing tune and lyrics about the delights of falling in love.
43. The Look of Love – Diana Krall
Despite being made famous by Dusty Springfield at the time, Diana Krall’s performance of The Look of Love cemented her reputation as a superb jazz vocalist.
It was written by Half David and Burt Bacharach and included on her 2001 eponymous album. Krall’s voice is rich and opulent, the epitome of a low register alto.
44. There Are Worse Things I Could Do – Stockard Channing
This song is among the most famous songs from the play Grease, although it was almost deleted from the flick since the producers believed it was too depressing.
It’s a great song for altos to show off their emotional complexities since it talks about the soft side of a hard-bitten ruler with a rough demeanor.
45. Valerie – Amy Winehouse
Valerie, despite being one of Amy Winehouse’s most well-known songs, is a cover.
Winehouse makes it her own after imbuing it with her unique vocals. It was originally sung by The Zutons on their 2006 album Tired of Handing Around.
46. Video Games – Lana Del Rey
This music is the lead single from Del Rey’s major-label debut, Born to Die, and it’s a baroque pop ballad that showcases her sensual, subtle alto voice.
Her breakout tune did well on the charts and had creative lyrics about being overlooked in a relationship.
47. What’s Up – 4 Non-Blonds
When it was initially released as a single in 1993, this song garnered a lot of radio play, even though the group was supposedly displeased with the production.
What’s Up was a chart-topper in the United States and other European nations, but it is now known as a one-hit-wonder, despite being covered and sampled numerous times since:
48. You Learn to Live Without – Brian Yorkey, Tom Kitt
Idina Menzel’s emotional delivery in the Broadway musical If/Then, about a middle-aged woman traveling to New York for a new beginning, made this song popular.
The song is a true showpiece, full of intensity and tragedy.
49. You’re Still the One – Shania Twain
Shania Twain’s career had a few dips and rebounds until she released Up!, which brought her back to international success.
This song was written by Twain and Mutt Lange for their second studio album, Come On Over, released in 1997. It’s an upbeat country tune that hit the top of the charts in numerous countries. This song is suitable for karaoke, auditions, or concerts. It showcases her vocal capabilities and strength.
50. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
51. One Fine Day – Carole King
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.