Our incredible vocal student Lucy sang a stunning rendition of Rachel Platten’s new hit, “Fight Song” in last night’s recital, reminding everyone how tough the song is! To pull it off, you should either have a strong, high belt or a powerful head-mix, along with great dynamic control. I thought it’d be a perfect song for our Hard Songs To Sing collection. If you want to put some fight in “Fight Song” and not let it beat you down, we’re here to help!
Why Is This Song Hard?
1. You Need Great Control To Sing Quietly in the Verses
You need to be able to sing quietly in your upper-middle voice, something that takes a lot of control to pull off.
2. You Need a Lot of Strength to Sing Loudly in the Choruses
The chorus of “Fight Song” lives in that evil vocal realm toward the top of your middle voice. It begins in an easy belt area and then climbs higher and higher, until the point that many singers will either be screaming to hit the notes or be jerkily shifting registers and losing power at climactic moments.
3. The Song Feels Relentless
If you happen to have an easy time in your upper-middle voice, congratulations! You’re one of the few. But if singing in that area of your voice is tiring, you’re sure to be exhausted after “Fight Song,” because it barely moves out of that range.
Dump the Diphthongs
The diphthongs in the song, including inside, I, loud, fight, alright, and so many others can be difficult and tiring to sing, especially on a sustain. Try to only emphasize one vowel in the diphthong, instead of giving equal attention to both. In other words, instead of singing inside with the “AH” sound and the “EE” sound that makes up the “I” sound, just modify to “insahd.” Modify I to “ah.” Loud can be more like “lahd.” Fight can be “faght.” You get the idea.
Modify Some of Those Consonants
Along with being diphthong-heavy, “Fight Song” also has a number of hard consonants, which close up your throat when you most need it to stay open. Try softening some of the consonants. The “t’s” in fight and alright can be modified to “d’s.” The “ng” in song and strong are particularly obnoxious, because both the “n” and the “g” are difficult. If you listen to Rachel Platten, she practically drops both of those consonants, holding the “ah” out for as long as possible and then making an almost silent gesture toward the “g” sound. Look through the hard parts. You’ll find plenty more consonants like that, and whenever you have a hard time, try softening them in a similar way.
Modify the D5
If you struggle with the word don’t on that high D5, try modifying the word to “dun.” No one will miss the “t” at the end on such a high note, and the “OH” diphthong should just be relaxed into an “UH.” If the “UH” sound is feeling too heavy, you could try an “OO” instead. That will help shade a little bit more head resonance in and may make the word more manageable.
Getting Small on the Verses
To pull off the verses, you’ll need to do the opposite of what we usually strive for (big, loud resonant sounds) in favor of a small but controlled sound. Simply going into a classical head-mix or head voice won’t do the trick, because a more fragile sound is what you’re looking for. Try a humming exercise to work toward a controlled mix (whether you’re in a chestier mix or a headier mix here is irrelevant, as long as it doesn’t sound pushed).
Once you have the exercise down, try doing the hum sound on the verse melody. Eventually put the words back in, but keep the sound light and small like the hum instead of opening up too much.
Getting Big On the Choruses
Since the highest note in the song is on an “OH” sound, work on arpeggiating on “NO NO.” As you go higher and higher, either open the “OH” up to an “UH” more and more, or thin the vowel to an “OOH” more and more. Play around with both options and figure out which one gets you more sound and resonance out of that high note.
Know of a song you’d like to see a Hard Songs To Sing tutorial on? Let us know in the comments section!