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Hard Songs to Sing: All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

by Dec 18, 2013Hard To Sing Songs, Voice4 comments

All I Want for Christmas is You

If you are watching a YouTube video with over 60 million views, chances you are dealing with some serious talent—or the most hilarious cat video. With currently 63 million hits, Mariah Carey’s iconic rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You” deserves every view. As our holiday gift to you, we will show you how to sing this number, making Mariah’s vocal magic more manageable.

Why Is This Song Hard

As you probably noticed, Mariah adds her famous vocal runs all throughout this song, some of which are quite crazy to match. A prime example is the intricate run she sings on “make my wish come true.” In addition, she jumps up to some high E5’s in the bridge with “sound of children” and “sleigh bells ringing,” which can only be pulled off if you have a really high belt mix or your head voice seamlessly matches your lower range. Lastly, at the end of the bridge, she throws a number of challenging elements together, making for an unbelievably difficult line: “Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need? Won’t you please bring my baby to me? Oh.” Leaving you with no place to breathe, this line combines a relentless belt mix, high notes (E5) that need to be effortlessly integrated into the rest of the line, and—to make matters even worse—a run at the end on “me, Oh.” But not to worry, with the right techniques and some practice, you’ll be able to recreate Carey’s holiday masterpiece.

Quick Tips & Tricks

The best way to conquer any vocal run is to just drill it the way you would with a difficult passage in an instrumental piece, and this includes the runs that Carey is notorious for singing. But if you want some more agility with your voice, the trick is to narrow your vowels. For example, singing thin horizontal vowels will add some twang to your sound by helping to narrow your epiglottic funnel. Try thinking “EE” as you sing “true,” as odd as that sounds. You won’t literally sing “Treeeeeeue,” but even mentally narrowing your “OO” sound should give your voice some added brightness and improved dexterity. You’ll notice that it’s a little more natural to narrow your vowel on “is,” and you can even make your “i” into an “EE” sound without listeners noticing too much.

For the E5’s in the bridge, whether you have any hope of belting them or not, changing your vowels should at least help a little. “Sound” is a rough word to sing, not just because of the high note, but also because of the diphthong (ou-oo). Try modifying it almost to “sand.” Of course, don’t modify so much that it no longer sounds like the intended word, but because it’s a high enough note you can go pretty far in that direction. Not only will this help to get rid of the diphthong, but the “A” vowel (as in “cat”) is a very twangy, chesty vowel that will help you maintain consistency between registers.

As for “sleigh,” if you’re going to attempt a belt, make it slightly easier and healthier by singing it as “sla” (with the “A” like “cat.”) If belting it isn’t going to work for you, try modifying the word to more of an “EE” sound. The “EE” will keep the twang—helping with the connection between registers—as well as add some more head resonance to your sound.

For that last intimidating line in the bridge (“Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need? Won’t you please bring my baby to me? Oh.”), one thing you can do is remove as many consonants as possible. Consonants on wordy, belty passages force you into a number of mouth-placement adjustments, causing unhelpful tension. Play around with the words and see what works for you, but you could try something along the lines of “sana woncha-breeme tha-won I-rilly need…”

Practice Makes Perfect

If you are still having trouble getting any power on your high notes, no vowel modification is going to save you. You’ll need to work on some twangy vocal exercises that will help you build strength over time. Try NA NA NA (“A” as in “cat”). You could either sing your na’s on an arpeggio, or you could simply jump up an octave (C4-C5-C4, D4-D5-D4, etc.), your preference. Now that you’ve got the tools and techniques, we hope that you have fun practicing and mastering “All I Want for Christmas is You”! Happy Holidays!

Lyrics

“All I Want For Christmas Is You”

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you, yeah

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I don’t need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won’t make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Oh, I won’t ask for much this Christmas
I won’t even wish for snow
And I’m just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe

I won’t make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won’t even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click

‘Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Oh, all the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children’s
Laughter fills the air

And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need?
Won’t you please bring my baby to me?

Oh, I don’t want a lot for Christmas
This is all I’m asking for
I just want to see my baby
Standing right outside my door

Oh, I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is
You, baby

All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby

4 Comments

  1. i love you. i needed this

    Reply
    • Aww, thanks, Sophia! I’m glad it helped.

      Reply
  2. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Cheers

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for letting me know! I’ll check that out and see what we can do. We recently transitioned our site over to a new platform, so some things may have gotten messed up in transition.

      Reply

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