Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tips for Karaoke Newbies

Rules of the Scene:

It doesn't take much to get into karaoke. Simply walk into a bar the night they have it and put in your name with a song. But here are a few characteristics I've noticed and a couple rules you might follow:

1. Knowing when your song is bad: You could have the best voice, you could sound just like, if not better, than the original singer, but if you pick something depressing, like "Jar of Hearts" by Christi Perri, or anything by Evanescence, you picked the wrong song.

People don't go to karaoke to hear great singers; they go to have fun. And depressing, slow music just isn't uplifting. You'll see the signs that you chose a loser when people check their phones, talk amongst themselves, stop singing along, shuffle around in their bags and, most importantly, avoid all eye contact with the stage.

2. Getting a response: It's hard for most people to get up on stage and let themselves go, but the best karaoke acts are people who do just that. If you can get in front of a group of strangers and sing "Bye, Bye, Bye" by N'Sync, complete with dance motions and facial expressions — without going over the top, mind you — you'll be golden. The people who get the biggest response aren't the people who act like they're trying to get a record deal, it's the people who get on stage and look like they're having fun. Oldies tend to get the crowd going most. But know your crowd... don't try to sing an Ac/Dc song in a country bar.

3. Making up for lack of vocal talents: When in doubt, dance it out or smile. Don't know the words? Add some robot moves. Don't know the tune? Sing it like you'd say it, add some inflection. No, you won't sound the best. But it's sure to keep people entertained.

Along the same lines, pick a song before you go. Getting to the bar and not having a song in mind tempts you to pick a song you can't remember.

4. Combining drinking with singing: People say don't go sober, but I say don't go hammered. It may be funny to you to get on stage and stumble through every line of the song, but the audience doesn't care how cute you think you are. If you're trashed, give the vocal cords a rest. If you damage the equipment there could be trouble.