There are many who sing better than me. Many. I personally don’t think I make people’s ears bleed (although I am off-key quite often, I’m sure). But that’s not what karaoke is about, even though everyone seems to forget that.
Karaoke is about having fun. It’s about getting up there with your friends and giggling through a silly song or screaming a song about strong women. It’s about getting up the nerve to go up there alone and being beamingly proud of yourself when you sit back down no matter what you sounded like. It’s about having supportive friends who stop talking long enough to listen to you belt out that overplayed radio song for 3 minutes and clap for you whether you mutilated the melody in the process or not.
If you are an average singer like me, you need to display confidence that you don’t have, while all along behaving like an average singer. This means that you don’t want to show everyone you are shaking with nerves or they’ll eat you alive. At the same time, you don’t want to get up and stick your nose in the air and start belting like Aretha Franklin. Don’t pretend to have pipes you don’t, but don’t act like a scared wallflower either.
Making your first tune an easy song is a good way to calm the jitters. Many people start the night off with a popular song that is currently on the charts. This is fine if you can pull it off – people love to hear what’s on the radio. Falling flat can gain you more attention than you want, unless you don’t care what people think (this is a coveted quality to have, especially with this particular hobby). If you’re unsure, just pick one of your favorite songs. It may not interest the audience enough to stop talking, but who really cares? Ask yourself if you are there to be responsible for their fun or yours?
I have my good nights and bad nights, which is surely true for everyone, even the divas. There are nights I sound like Demi Moore on crack, which may be from the smoke in the air or that my larynx just doesn’t want to cooperate. Other times I’m shocked by how much clearer I sound. Even though booze can equal bravery, it does dehydrate, so drink your H2O!
No matter what kind of night you’re having, karaoke is most enjoyed when it’s taken for what it is. It’s not a singing competition; it’s just a good night out. You hear someone sing one of your favorite songs and it’s literally toe tapping time, not criticize their ‘pitch’ time. Unfortunately, there are several venues, or specific groups that are occupying the venues that only seem to care about vocal quality. I have been places where everyone sounds like they are in a recording studio. Good for them. Yet, when someone of less caliber tries their hand at a song, they don’t even clap, they just look toward the stage discerningly and murmur in each other’s ears. Try to find a welcoming watering hole that appreciates everyone for having the guts to get up there and do their best. Music is a great motivator and commonality to bring people together so remember to just have fun!