Is there a right way to sing this song?

This week I shared a Vocal Coach Reaction video of Sierra Boggess singing “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.” Isn’t it a great performance?!

As the associate coach on the Broadway production of PHANTOM, I have a bit of an inside scoop on how the music team likes that song to be sung. But if you think there is only one correct way to do it- you are wrong! There are as many ways to interpret a song as there are voices in the world.

Think of all the women who have played Christine in productions of PHANTOM across the world. Sarah Brightman is vastly different than Sierra Boggess and Sierra is vastly different from Ali Ewoldt, etc etc.

This is true for all musical interpretation. Listen to classical pianist Lang Lang’s recording of Chopin’s “Minute Waltz.” Now listen to amateur pianist Matt’s recording of the same piece. Totally different tempos and interpretations. Is there a right way or a wrong way? Chopin famously said “Put all your soul into it, play the way you feel!”

Particularly with musical theatre repertoire, there are some songs that are expected to be sung a certain way. For example, on a scale from one to ten, one being “legit classical singing” and ten being “heavy belting,” “Glitter and Be Gay” from CANDIDE lands somewhere around a one and “Defying Gravity” from WICKED is somewhere around a nine. 

The thing I want to encourage my students to think about is this: what is the optimal placement/interpretation for your voice? Where and how does your voice live, soar, and come alive the most?

It’s truly not worth your time to try to interpret a song the exact same, cookie cutter way you heard your favorite performer sing it. Be inspired by them? Sure!  Take some cues from their vocal choices? Absolutely.

But your instrument is NOT the same, and your optimal voice may feel and sound differently from theirs. In a voice lesson, find what feels the best and let your voice teacher be your ears- trust their feedback!

Find your optimal balanced voice and you’ll be on your way to vocal freedom.