Renee Grant-Williams


It’s great to challenge yourself;
you won’t grow as an artist if you don’t.

But the stage is not the place to do that, especially when you have performance anxiety issues.

The better prepared you are to perform,
the less anxious you will feel.


Tip #1 is to choose songs that you find easy to sing then practice, practice, practice. Set aside time every day to sing through your list of songs. Sing in front of the mirror, sing in the shower; sing on your way to work or school. Sing them until you know them forwards and backwards.
Choose songs within you range, with few high or low notes. Popular songs that the audience is likely to sing along with are good choices. Below is a list of some I think will work well. Choose four to five songs as a starting place, and add more as you go.

Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)
I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)
Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor)
Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)
Summer Nights (Grease)
Islands In The Stream (Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers)
Almost anything by Johnny Cash, The Eagles, Adele or Taylor Swift


I want you to make a list of all the things you think you could do wrong at your performance or audition. You could miss your entrance. You could forget the words. You could go flat or sharp. You could fall down. Whatever your greatest fears are, go out and deliberately try to make those fears come about, even the falling! Go ahead and actually fall, that is, if you can do it without hurting yourself.

You’re going to find it’s much harder to make these mistakes than you think it would be. It should be comforting to realize how very difficult it is to deliberately sing out of tune or out of time. Some singers find they sing their best when they are trying to sing their worst.

I don’t know why, but this tip reminds me of a story a band manager told me. His band had been hired to sing at an outdoor retreat. The problem was that they didn’t think to ask, what kind of retreat. When they arrived they discovered it was a nudist camp and they were expected to perform in their “birthday suites.” The band took it in stride and striped down. He muttered darkly under his breath, “Yeah, starving musicians. They’ll play anywhere.”


You’re in for a rough time if you start off on the wrong key—too high or too low. You risk losing at least one part of your range, either the top or the bottom.

Performances are rarely going to be absolutely perfect. So when a waiter drops a tray of dishes don’t let it throw you. If you make a mistake and miss your entrance, laugh at yourself or make a joke.

Audiences are actually very supportive of performers. They are on your side and they want you to succeed. It’s not a bad idea to plan ahead for potential problems by committing some snappy one-lines to memory to show that you can have a sense of humor about yourself and can lighten the mood.

The great, late country singer Kimber Clayton (1964-2006) tripped during her onstage entrance one night and slid across the stage on her chin. While the shocked audience look on, she dusted herself off saying, “And that ladies and gentlemen, was the ballet portion of the show!”


One way to combat stage fright is to create an imaginary relationship with someone in the audience. Pick out one person in the audience and sing directly to that person as though you were having an intimate one-on-one conversation. A spouse or best friend would be a good choice but, really, you don’t have to know the person at all. Simply use your imagination to create a scenario that includes them.

A welcome bonus from this tip is that imagining you are speaking into the ear of one person may keep you from over singing. It’s hard to shout when you are that close to someone’s ear. Of all my tips for audition fears this is my very favorite because it offers so much more.


A singer sings. Perform. Perform. Perform. Outgrow your fears. Start out with relatively non-threatening events by singing at your church, a friends birthday party or any small gathering. Sing to the residents in nursing homes and in children or veterans hospitals wings. While you are getting your first live performances under your belt, continue learning current and classic cover songs to sing. There are restaurants that may have one or two night dedicated to karaoke.

After paying your dues in pro bono venues, see if you can actually get paid for appearing at your local pizza parlor, local bar, or even the company Christmas party. Once you are accustomed to the attention, you can move to larger and more prestigious venues.


Singing well is always the best revenge. Topping the list of all the suggestions I can give you for overcoming performance anxiety is this: The more confident you are about your singing, the less anxious you will be about others seeing and hearing your performances.

So work toward becoming the very best singer you can be and you will soon be free from stage fright. I know it’s not easy to pay the kind of dues have you have to pay to be a successful musician. But if you put in the work you won’t have to face yourself at eighty and ask “What if?”


Renee Grant-Williams explains her tips, tricks, and techniques. Her Master-Class Program lets you inside as she coaches and guides real people to find and sing their best voice


If you found, and enjoyed this article and have not signed up for Renee's newsletter, check it out below.

Click on the Video for a message from Renee about her Free Video Newsletter.

YOU WILL LEARN: Singing with Emotion, Passive Breathing, Creative Phrasing, Sound Production, Career Planning and much, much more.

What others say about Renee's techniques.


Miley Cyrus
"I miss you so much! My voice is so much better now. I can hit high notes without sounding like a dying German Shepherd."


Tim McGraw
"Renee has my changed my whole approach. Her teaching has given me a lot more confidence in my singing ability."


Rod Essig
Creative Artist Agency
"...So When they have a little problem, I say here's a phone number to call."


Bob Weir
Grateful Dead, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros
"Renee is the best vocal coach in the world!!!"


Mary Steenburgen Actress, Singer, Songwriter
"I think Renee is a genius!"

Check out Renee's Merch

Find lots of resources on our SITEMAP