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How to Sing With Passion

Gerri Garrick singing in NYC
Debbie Painter Photography

The difference between a fabulous singing performance and a good singing performance can be summed up in one word...passion. You might have a phenomenal voice, but if you are not passionate about what you are singing, oftentimes the performance will underwhelm the audience. How do you channel that passion? How do put the passion on display?

Choose a song with lyrics that express a message you believe in, an ideology you adhere to, a story you've been through, or feelings you have felt. In other words, singing with passion is about more than singing the notes well. For a performance to be truly experienced and appreciated by the audience there must be genuineness to it. Look for songs that you relate to, because if you don't believe what the lyrics say, than the crowd definitely will not believe them.

Stay in the moment. This is probably the hardest step. Being “in the moment” means keeping your mind focused on what you are singing. The brain is such a complex organ that it is hard to keep it focused on one thing, especially if you can see the audience when you are singing. It will be all too easy to look at the audience and begin to focus on what they are thinking about you. When these thoughts enter your mind, you must immediately bring yourself back to the lyrics of the song and conveying their meaning. Remember you are giving a gift to the audience, and you can’t give it fully when you are distracted from delivering it.

Think of the performance as an opportunity to give. You have been given a gift. Holding on to that gift, and making it all about you benefits no one. When you perform you are giving that gift to others. The performance becomes about the people in the audience receiving your gift. Try to refocus your thinking from worrying about the judgment of the crowd to happily giving all that you have away. Make the performance about your gift. Make it about giving without taking. This way of thinking will help you focus on staying in the moment as well, because you won't be afraid of judgment.

Make it all about the lyrics. If your song is a story, tell the story. If it is a cautionary tale, warn your audience. You get the idea. If you are delivering the lyrics with conviction, the crowd will be moved. If you really believe in a song’s message, and sing it with passion, you might even change somebody’s ideas and opinions about an issue, or bring him back to a meaningful time in his life. Music can be incredibly powerful when you remember it’s not all about you.

Perform with your heart, mind and soul. Shut down your own critical voice in your head the minute you hear it, and refocus your thoughts back to delivering the message of the song.


Don't worry if it takes you some time to shut out your own judgment and focus on giving your gift of song. Keep at it. Eventually, you'll be able to maintain focus.

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