Hard Songs to Sing: Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”

“Skyscraper” is one of Demi Lovato’s many notoriously hard songs to sing. With the high note scraping the top of your range, the song’s name fits the melodic line perfectly. If you want to bring “Skyscraper” down from the clouds to a more reachable level, read on for some technique advice.

In case you need it for reference, here’s the official “Skyscraper” video:

Why The Song is Hard

1. The high note is crazy high for a pop song!

If you’re classically trained, the G5 Demi reaches on the word “try” in the last chorus may not seem too lofty, but for a pop singer who’s used to belting, the note is stratospheric.

2. The high sustained note in the last chorus is pretty darn high for a sustained note!

As if the G5 isn’t bad enough, Demi sustains a belt on a D5 during the word “skyscraper” in the last chorus as well. While it may not seem like that high a note compared to the first one, sustaining a note makes things exponentially harder.

Instant Gratification

The quickest way to make this song attainable is to work on some good vowel and consonant modifications. The word “try” is an especially tough one to sing on a high note, because the “y” at the end of the word closes off the sound and makes it shrill and pinched. Modify the words “try to” to “trah-duh.” The words are high enough that no one will miss the enunciation, and the notes will have a much more open, relaxed-sounding quality to them (whether you’re singing them on a freakishly high belt or going into your head voice). Changing the “t” to a “d” will soften the plosive and make the words feel smoother and more manageable. This consonant modification has the added bonus of removing the harsh popping sound the words would otherwise cause when you sing them into a microphone.

To make the sustained D5 in the “er” in “skyscraper” more doable, you’ll need to soften your “r” sound. Sustaining a high note on a non-softened “r” is both difficult and harsh-sounding. Try modifying to an “euh” sound, and maybe shade the “r” in softly at the very last second. It should sound like “sky-scrapeuhhhhr.” Additionally, you should let as little air out as humanly possible when you attack this note and feel your abs engage. This will help give the note more strength and keep it from wobbling.

Not-So-Instant Gratification

Before even messing with vowel modifications, you’ll need to learn how to reach the G5 altogether. For singers who can’t belt up to the note comfortably (I’ll assume that includes most of my readers), work on hitting it in your head voice. Try starting at the top of your range and arpeggiating your way down on an “Ah.” Start with C5-G4-E4-C4; continue with C#5-G#4-F4-C#4; and keep going until you’re able to hit the G5. If you find yourself tensing up, imagine that you’re sighing to help you relax.

Once you don’t have a problem hitting the G5, work on strengthening and brightening it by arpeggiating on a nasal consonant and thin vowel, like Na Na (as in “cat.”)

To work on the high sustain, arpeggiate up on a relaxed, almost dopey-sounding “beuh beuh beuh.” When you get to the highest note in the arpeggio, hold it out. You’ll build vocal strength, but it won’t happen over night. Skyscrapers weren’t build in a day, after all!

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