Finding repertoire can be a wonderful treasure hunt. You never know where it will lead you or what you will find! I recommend two pathways to finding interesting, not overdone songs:
- Research your favorite singers and discover what they sing and what they have sung in the past. From there, research the shows/composers of the songs you liked. This will lead you to find new and wonderful singers as well as great repertoire.
- Who are the composers/lyricists for your favorite musicals and what else did they write? Again, new songs and new singers await you.
The process of finding great repertoire is like shopping for a great outfit to wear. Yes, a song is like a good piece of clothing; one size does not fit all. The question is what “fits”?
Scenario: you walk into a department store to buy clothes. There is no question that more than one item of clothing will fit you somewhere in the store. But do you buy everything that fits? No, because not everything is “right.” It might just be a tad too long or too short, the color is slightly off, the neckline not exactly flattering, the fabric not exactly what you feel comfortable in; it just isn’t “it”. Or when you look in the mirror, in that outfit you see your parent or grandparent staring back at you! Horrors! Or you try on something that suddenly makes you see a whole new side of yourself- sexy, powerful, silly, whatever…
Like your favorite go-to outfit that you love to wear, that will make any day better, the right song should make you feel excited to sing it, makes your voice soar, your vocal flaws disappear; as if the song sings itself.
But in order to discover these songs, just like clothing, you have to “try them on” first. Meaning, you have to learn them/sing through them to see if they really do fit your voice. Sometimes a song seems perfect until you actually sing it and then it just doesn’t sit right. Conversely, a song that might not grab you at first, perhaps because of the person you heard sing it, ultimately fits YOUR VOICE perfectly.