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35 Hardest Songs to Sing for Females

May 16, 2023
hardest songs to sing for females

In this article, we will take a look at a diverse selection of some of the hardest songs to sing for female singers on the planet.

Why might you have found yourself here?

Well, perhaps the diva inside is looking to show off an impressive vocal range.

Many singers like the limelight.

If you are an agile singer then some of these suggestions are going to be great pieces for highlighting your skills.

Some, on the other hand, will be next to impossible but if nothing else they are inspiring and fantastic goals to aspire to master.

All of them make for great practice and have techniques that are worth any singer’s time and effort to play with.

So, sit back and get ready to scroll as we show you the hardest songs to sing for females. 

Expect vocal gymnastics from the get-go!

Table of Contents

1. “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is known for her pipes she has fantastic voice control which is why she has plenty of songs considered tricky to sing.

We are going to skip over her rendition of “I Will Always Love You” in favor of “I Have Nothing”.

While both are equally impressive feats as far as technicality and range are concerned we consider the emotion that needs to be conveyed through your vocal performance much more demanding.

2. “All By Myself” by Celine Dion 

Much like Whitney, Céline Dion also has plenty of songs we could have chosen.

But her 1966 cover of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” is difficult to replicate.

The French songstress puts so much effort into the dynamic shifts of this one with the emotion shining through in every line. 

You are going to need a good vocal range and well-thought-out breathwork to take on this one.

3. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin

This next one was also covered by Celine Dion who we just made mentioned.

Someone with a voice as big as Celine’s wouldn’t pick an easy song to cover, so you know this one is going to be tough to tackle.

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” requires an impressive vocal range and above all else disciplined vocal control to pull off.

The difference between the verse and chorus sections and the vocal lift will take work.

4. “Emotions” by Mariah Carey

When it comes to difficult songs to sing Mariah Carey also brings a fair few to the table.

Her 1991 track “Emotions” present the majority with a near-impossible vocal challenge as the range goes from C3 to E7 and is heavy with coloratura.

With its iconic memorable whistle notes that immediately exclude anyone with a lower vocal register, it wins itself a top place in the rankings of the hardest songs to sing.

Even if you are blessed with the vocal cords capable the speed and melody will be a challenge and a half.

The energy you need to bring to the song is also tricky to reproduce.

Good luck to anyone bold enough to give it a go!

5. “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton

In a similar vein, Minnie Riperton’s 1974 release “Lovin You” is another contender filled with high notes that will challenge the best of vocalists.

The track begins with a real caged bird whistling a sign of things to come.

The whistle notes in this one are placed between regularly sung sections which also contain pretty high notes in general.

For those out there who don’t sing, stick to the “la-la-la’s” and tap out quickly!

6. “Alone” by Heart 

Ann and Nancy Wilson demonstrate their vocal strengths in this popular power ballad.

The change of range between the verse and chorus sections makes it a great audition choice. 

If you are looking for something to show off your range without the impossible whistle notes then try this one!

7. “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush

Critically received, this memorable track from Kate’s debut 1977 album both impressed and confused many. 

Vocally speaking it is another difficult-to-sing track not just because of its range but because of the wild melody line and the emotions.

8. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler first of all has a very unique voice with a tonal quality that is difficult to imitate. 

“Total Eclipse of the Heart (Turn Around)” is a high-energy song of epic proportions with demanding held notes. 

You will need a lot of power to give a good rendition, the melody line climbs and climbs section by section.

The performer then has to drop back down to convey the heartache that the song sings of.

It is five minutes of wonder as Bonnie kicks each repeat up a notch, with melody deviations that leave you breathless.

9. “Chandelier” by Sia

If you were to look for the modern equivalent of the then “Chandelier” by Sia is a good front runner.

Breath control is going to come under scrutiny with this one. 

You might instantly think of the belted hook as the hardest part of this one but the flexibility is probably a bigger factor to think about.

Sia’s tone of voice is pretty gymnastic, you will need a lot of control to go from those breathy, low ostinato verses into the almost screaming heights of the chorus lines.

10. “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera 

Christina Aguilera has a huge vocal range and is famous for her vocal gymnastic runs.

It is unsurprising she features in today’s article on the hardest songs to sing.

With its theatrical edge “Hurt” is a top contender for the hardest song to sing for females.

The melody is unpredictable, has tonnes of runs and technical melismas, and goes from G♯3 to the high note of E5.

There are held notes to push through and tiny vocally vulnerable notes that immediately follow these grand belt-outs.

You have to have good musicality to go with the key changes and musically the accompaniment is left quite bare so you really are on your own as a vocalist in the spotlight.

11. “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s 2016 track is another that requires vocal control.

The verses jump from low ostinato rhythms up to sugary breath-filled octave jumps with longer sustained high notes.

She does this back and forth effortlessly. 

Anyone who attempts it and manages then has to belt the choruses that have far more power under them.

It goes from B3 to G5 and the runs are insane!

12. “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi 

So with far fewer female singers involved in the genre, rock is considered harder for women to sing. 

Rock songs originally sung by men, therefore, make for some of the hardest songs for females to attempt. 

That said, many female singers give men a run for their money if they pitch the track correctly to suit their voices.

However, some tracks require so much vocal talent that they will be a huge stretch no matter the chosen key.

“Livin’ On A Prayer” is one such track. 

It is a male tenor song, technically speaking, and has a lot of chesting. 

This makes it high for a guy.

The melody covers G3-D#5 the whole thing modulates.

So you have to kick it up higher and those “woah-oh’s” really need to be pushed to give them the right sentiment.

13. “Dream On” by Aerosmith

We are well into the epic rock section if you hadn’t noticed. 

Rock power ballads are known for being epic they have big solos and memorable riffs but are also notoriously challenging in the vocal department.

The vocal strength necessary for “Dream On” and its unforgettable high-note outro makes it one of the hardest songs to sing full stop.

14. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

While we are talking epic songs, we can’t forget Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”.

The melody features some octave jumps the chord progression lifts the vocals. 

You have a lot of dynamics to contend with.

The song begins strongly enough, to begin with, but you still have to have extra in the tank for what you are building up to later on.

There are held notes that pierce through “brilliantly” above the musical accompaniment. 

You need a lot of breath control to save what you need to hold those ends of lines.

The Hook line is sung with a lot of energy.

It ranges from B3-C#5.

15. “Take On Me” by A-Ha

“Take On Me” is known for being a tough song to sing because of the falsetto notes that are held throughout.

We chose it as one of the hardest songs to sing for females because its melody ranges from A2-E5 and there are lots of vocal jumps to contend with along the way.

Morten Harket has a unique soft tone and sings the high notes effortlessly.

You have to use a softened chest register where most would put a falsetto voice to use. 

16. “Plug In Baby” by Muse

Bellamy has an absolutely mental vocal range for a man, when you transfer those notes over to your average female vocalist you are served up one hell of a difficult song for females to sing.

“Plug In Baby” is immortalized for its opening riff that scales upwards with dexterity.

Just as dextrous and as memorable is the vocal climb.

The track traverses C#3-F#5 in its vocal melody.

The energy required to power through the heavier sections is going to demand a lot from even the strongest of vocalists.

The low notes are going to be tricky for female singers regardless of their range.

17. “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” by The Darkness

With high men’s songs we typically think of falsetto singing, Justin Hawkins uses his head voice with a lot of diaphragm support to achieve these chest-sounding powerful wails.

Being as it is tough for a guy it is decidedly more difficult for most female singers.

You need to be comfortably able to belt out every note between B3-G#5 to attempt this one and let’s not forget you also need to have the attitude to pull it off as a performance piece!

18. “Somebody To Love” by Queen

Freddie Mercury is another legendary vocalist that is pretty hard to match.

We have given Queen two entries, because we feel “Somebody to Love” deserves a slot but we couldn’t skip the song to follow either!

“Somebody to Love” is a song that has distinct dynamics between its sections. 

It requires a lot of voice control to emulate the subtleties that Freddie naturally brings to the track.

It has a theatrical edge you are performing a story you need to make it personal.

It is emotive and demonstrates a range of different feelings that need to be narrated to the listener.

The range is again pretty wide but we consider the dynamics the harder of the two tasks.

19. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

We are here to examine the hardest songs to sing for females and we had to include “Bohemian Rhapsody” which was voted the hardest song to sing of all time!

Its primary challenges lie in its saga-like structure.

Each section warrants a different vocal style as Freddie and the crew cycle their way through a myriad of musical styles. 

If you don’t have tone and breath control you are going to fall at the first hurdle.

You need to be weak when the song demands it and gloriously strong when it bursts.

Not many singers have a voice that can communicate vulnerability but still retain the energy and power for the gritty rock outro.

Both of these are necessary to perform this one well.

20. “Who’s Lovin’ You?” by Jackson 5

Originally written and sung by Smokey Robinson, this soulful hit from the sixties is a tall order to sing.

The intro just blows you away. You have a young and energetic Micheal Jackson’s voice bursting in, acapella, somersaulting its way down the scale like it’s nothing.

Those first 5 seconds of the song that proudly showcase the now iconic melismatic riff are simply a sign of what’s to come.

You need to be very conscious of your breath control for the held legato notes and the emotional dynamic requirements of this one. 

It gets chosen as an audition piece and emulated by many singers, but no one considers it easy.

21. “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key 

This one might come as a surprise given so many beloved artists are invited to sing it commemoratively.

It has a wide range melody and despite benign ingrained “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key remains one of the most difficult songs to sing.

It spans two octaves and there are some very long-duration notes to be controlled.

Although many people have covered it, the average singer is going to find it an uphill struggle.

22. “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban 

Much like the anthemic track above Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” is similarly anthemic with unrelenting long notes. 

Any singer is going to find this one a big piece to learn that needs a bit of prep.

There are several high notes to contend with in terms of melody and you will need a solid set of lungs to belt it out in homage as a female singer.

23. “Listen” by Beyonce 

This one was created for the motion picture Dreamgirls back in 2006. 

The emotional complexity is just as intricate as the melismas that feature at the end of almost every line.

The vocal textures and dynamics tell the narrative and it requires an authentic soft vocal tone as well as a raging chest register.

It has a gospel-like modulation and you need to be proficient at that soulful growl whilst belting.

24. “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys

There are many difficult songs to sing that we “avoid like the plague” and others get attempted over and over.

When “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys dropped it left a big impression.

The ambitious introductory melody line sets the tone of the piece from the start and you just know it won’t get any easier from the initial bar.

But for an ambitious singer, it oozes appeal and so many have given it a shot over the years.

Perhaps it is a personal opinion but the sultry tones that Miss Keys is blessed with and the grip that she has on her vocal agility leave her original version unmatched.

25. “Bang Bang” by Jessie J ft. Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande 

Most songs start low and work their way up the piano keys to a big chorus typically pitched an octave above your starting point if you want to show off your range.

Jessie J kicks straight in full-throttle from an insanely high starting point.

With a melismatic melody that only Ariana Grande could possibly compete with.

This song is one of the hardest to sing for several reasons. 

There are some notes that will push a comfortable mezzo-soprano yet has some very low, airy, low notes that a soprano would find tough. 

It is technically for more than one singer and you also have Nikki’s contribution to deal with that comes in the form of a rap!

26. “Royals” Lorde

For a very stripped-back song that revolves around three chords Lorde’s vocals are deceptively complex.

The melody covers a range from F#3 to F#5 mezzo-soprano but requires acrobats between the two octaves pretty deftly.

Her breathy tonality adds to the apathetic vibes of the song, the melancholic melody helps portray the theme and message of the music.

It helps to add a bit of deadpan to the tongue-in-cheek observations and commentary on the modern world she was making as an artist.

Flipping registers to get those higher notes is going to be a challenge and the lyrics are fairly high-speed so you need good pronunciation and clarity.

27. “Take Me To Church” by Hozier

Songs by male singers make for some of the hardest songs to sing for females.

We just naturally have different voices, for starters.

You can try pitching this one but the sheer gravity of the verses gets lost in translation.

Well, transposition.

The low notes are far below the higher parts (E2-B4) and they need flexibility.

Hosier sings the majority of this in a pulled-chest voice!

The melodic structure meanders over the bars and you have that beautiful “amen” section that requires vocal control to authentically sing.

The vocal styles that contribute to this powerful piece include a blend of rock, soul, gospel, and Irish folk music.

Let’s not gloss over the emotion that bleeds through every single section.

28. “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey notoriously sticks with her head register even when she is singing low, she very rarely chests the result is that airy open breathy trademark sound.

This one wavers back and forth in a low trill throughout the verse sections, you need a controlled vibrato and well-practiced diphthongs to emulate the vowel sounds.

The low notes need to be smoky and the high have an almost Snow White-like Disney quality to them.

It might seem straightforward but any singer who attempts it soon finds out it’s a complex song to sing. 

29. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Judy Garland

We are heading over to the musicals for our next few items.

First up, another track that is often covered presents some challenges to getting it right.

The vocals of Judy Garland shine on this track, she has that old-fashioned well-controlled vibrato but the accuracy is incredible.

The melody is legato full of trills and slides, overall pretty demanding but she uses her glissando skills with ease.

Her vocal maturity is so impressive considering she was just 17 at the time of recording.

She manages to sing the same vocal phrases with each repetition sounding totally brand new.

30. “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Barbra Streisand

The sheer energy required for this one is what makes it a difficult song to sing.

The range isn’t particularly wide-ranging from C4 to G5 but the breath work and phrasing are frenzied, youthful, and playful.

There is a huge mix of staccato and legato moments you need good passagio control. 

Streisand put her own stamp on this musical piece in Funny Girl skipping and flipping the entire way through.

The breathlessness, the vocal squeezes, and the growls add so much character.

It is not an easy song to sing. 

31. “Defying Gravity” by Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth

A song of a similar ilk that requires a lot of dexterity, as well as dynamic control, is “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked”.

Menzel and Chenoweth give an emotional character performance and hit those high notes like they are nothing at all.

The melody travels from an Ab3 and hits an F5 and they are well-projected top notes too!

32. “The Great Gig In The Sky” by Pink Floyd

This next one is almost never covered because of the off-the-cuff vocals that Clare Torry laid down in the studio.

The wordless melody was improvised.

She took three takes and melismatically climbs up and down between her chest and head register there are octave jumps, trills, crescendos, squeezes, growls, falsetto, and vibrato skills all put to good use in a 1 minute and 25-second bout of energetic vocals.

33. “Cotton Tail” by Ella Fitzgerald

On the subject of singing without lyrics, we should probably offer up a scat song.

Sact recordings were also improvised and for that reason make for some of the hardest songs to sing.

Ella Fitzgerald was a legendary vocalist with a great command of her instrument.

She demonstrates how disciplined and in control in her live scat version of “Cotton Tail”. 

Singing nonsense she demonstrates a high variety of vocal techniques that many singers only dream of imitating.

It is high tempo, she hops, skips, chops, and dances her way through ascending and descending scales like a pro.

34. “Les oiseaux dans la charmille” from Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman

We have talked Jazz, pop, rock, musical theatre, and even scat!

But it is fair to say that opera contains many of the hardest songs to sing for females. 

Most leading lady parts require an impressively high head voice and insane control to keep up with the coloratura and professional techniques.

“Les oiseaux dans la charmille” also known as “The Doll Song,” is one of the most infamous and difficult of the bunch. 

It demands a lot of jumps and vocal projection strengths and the trilling varies in pace from a tick-tock tempo to a rapid wing flap. 

The range goes from Eb4 to Ab6 but even if you can hit them all, the techniques employed as you traverse the notes are more or less madness.

Bear in mind all of this is done whilst in a “mechanical doll” character!

35. “Diva Dance (Plavalaguna)” from the movie The Fifth Element

We are wrapping things up with an equally insane song to try and sing from the motion picture The Fith Element.

This one isn’t hard to sing it’s nigh-on impossible.

The impressive soprano singer Mula-Tchako recorded the notes one at a time and then the composer Eric Serra put the melody together with them sampled. 

He wanted to achieve an impossible-to-sing melody line to help sell the futuristic theme of the action sci-fi movie.

However, if you say impossible to some singers that only sounds like a challenge, and some crazy ambitious singers have attempted to get their voices to do the impossible!

Hardest Songs to Sing for Females – Final Thoughts

So, that was our round-up of some of the hardest songs for females to sing.

You will have noticed many of the artists selected either have unique vocal tones, ridiculous vocal ranges or are particularly melismatic.

Our explanations should have given you a good understanding of the criteria that makes for a difficult song to sing.

Sometimes we want a difficult song, and sometimes we need it.

If you have a big audition and want to flaunt your capabilities, you need to pick a song that demonstrates your potential to its fullest.

Most of today’s suggestions are going to do exactly that if you can make it from start to finish.

But please, ensure you don’t push yourself past your limitations, read our singing articles to make sure you are looking after your voice.

These songs are some of the hardest songs to sing don’t bite off more than you can chew and risk vocal chord damage!

You may also like: Easy Songs to Sing

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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