Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Crowd Pleasing Songs

5 Best Crowd Pleaser Karaoke Songs

Everybody has their favorite karaoke song, but it may not always be a song that makes everyone in the audience sing-along, and let’s face it, if you frequent karaoke night long enough, you know that there are times that the crowd could just use a great pick-me-up. Something that will make them raise their nose up from inside that glass of Miller draft, something to remind them why they come to karaoke night in the first place. So here is a list of crowd favorites the next time you feel the urge to take the bull by the horns and get the crowd into it.

5 Friends in Low Places” (Garth Brooks)

Some karaoke aficionados scorn this song but no matter how you feel about this down home country ditty, the chorus is so irresistible, it’s hard NOT to sing. Its appeal is simple, it’s about the friends we make at our local watering holes and chances are, that’s exactly where you will be when you are singing this. Take a look at some of the lyrics:

'cause i've got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away
And i'll be okay
I'm not big on social graces
Think i'll slip on down to the Oasis
Oh, i've got friends in low places.

4 “I Love Rock n Roll” (Joan Jett)

This song has endless energy, its super easy to sing, and the lyrics are well, easy to remember. The song has an uncanny mass appeal, even people who don’t like rock n roll, know and love this song. What makes this song so cool? That high energy chant and the badass beat. This is a timeless tune that literally lets the crowd entertain themselves.

3 Sweet Caroline” (Neil Diamond)

This dated Neil Diamond joint would not have made this list a year ago, but I must say that I learned about the rallying powers of this sedate tune while partying on Bourbon Street in the Big Easy. As you may know Bourbon Street in New Orleans is a melting pot of music and people of all ages, races, and persuasions. On one night at a famous karaoke club on the famed boulevard my boyfriend and I partied it up while watching a succession of karaoke singers sing energetic dance hits from the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s. The place was full of college kids and young hipsters, and that’s when my boyfriend announced his intentions to sing this Neil tune. I immediately warned him that he would just get this hyped up crowd bummed out on this corny out of date song. Boy was I wrong, every twenty something in that bar sang the song with him, even a group of older African-American women straight off the church bus strolled in off the street and joined in. I think people who don’t even speak English know the chorus of this song. Neil Diamond will bring the house down every time; “so good!” “ so good!”

2 Celebration” (Kool and the Gang)

kool and the gang album cover
This is an all around fun song and it was made to get the party started. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find someone who does not like this tune. The music evokes that cool easygoing nightclub vibe and most people will have fond memories of this song if they are old enough. Younger generations will appreciate it to because the music and lyrics are just timeless.

Conga (Miami Sound Machine)

Gloria Estefan album cover

This is Gloria Estefan at her best but this song is a hands down crowd pleaser, the music is irresistible, and even that biker guy in the corner will be tapping his spiked boots to this one. And what’s even better, you don’t have to be a great singer for this one people! You will have to talk a little fast though. But even if you can’t keep up, no one will notice, they will be too busy dancing!

5 Karaoke Etiquette Disasters

Five Karaoke Etiquette Disasters

1. Mic Stealers (They're Gonna Let U Finish. . .Maybe)

They are always among us in karaoke bars from Topeka to Tallahassee. They have sticky fingers, no shame and a wicked narcissistic streak; they are “Mic stealers.” Kanye West is the new poster child for this karaoke miscreant who cannot resist the urge to bum rush the stage and share someone else’s moment. We see them all the time, although we may not always notice what is going on.

Think about it, your having a great time at karaoke, someone’s up singing a cool song and suddenly it sounds like there is backup; either that or the singer is a ventriloquist. You look up and realize that the singer has enlisted the help of another singer. How sweet. Or is it? Mostly it isn’t, because nine times out of ten the backup is nothing more than a savvy mic stealer.

They are smooth operators too. First they seem super supportive to the hapless singer. They stop eating and turn their seats toward you when you start your song, then they start to clap to the music, they smile as you barrel through the lyrics, and the next thing you know, they have the second mic and YOU’RE the one singing back up while they work audience, the KJ, the bar staff and the song. You’ve just been karaoke punked. Good luck on the next rotation.

2. That’s My Song!

One of the most common sources of tension at karaoke night is the singer who steals the thunder of a karaoke nite regular by singing their signature song; also known as a banquet song. Sometimes this happens when an unsuspecting newbie comes to sing, in which case this infraction is barely noticed. However, in cases where the perpetrator knows the lay of the land, this can be taken by some to mean “I can sing this better than you.” Cooler heads will understand though that sometimes people just want to sing the songs they like whether or not they can sing it better than someone else in the building. So while it is common courtesy to stray away from someone else’s tune that they belt out every weekend with fervor, it’s still a free country and it wouldn’t hurt to change things up once in awhile. Moderation is always the key.

3. That’s “Our” Song

In certain western states it is considered taboo for a lady to ask a taken man if she can wear his cowboy hat. That happened to me once while at a karaoke night in Colorado. I had just wanted a prop for my rendition of Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” I soon learned that this was equal to propositioning a man right in front of his main squeeze; Oops, I quickly changed my song choice to “Gimme Three Steps.”

It turns out that certain duets performed regularly at karaoke night by the same couple are equally sacred. So, if that redhead who always sits at the end of the bar is always Olivia Newton John to your John Travolta, you might want to think twice about seeking out a replacement, even more so if you and the redhead are an item.

4. No One Should Ever Sing that Song

There are just some songs that people consider so sacrosanct that they should never be sung by anyone other than the original artist, the only exception being that if the covering singer can do it ten times better. There is no definitive list on who these “uncoverable” artists are, but a few of the same ones tend to come up in conversation.

Take American Idol for instance. When contestants choose songs by Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston, they are often viewed with apprehension by the judges. Then, there are some songs that generally lead to vocal terrorism on karaoke nite, like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” or Aerosmith’s “Dream On”. Most singers can’t even begin to duplicate Freddy Mercury’s or Steven Tyler’s notes but they often die (metaphorically speaking) trying. Best thing to do if you must indulge, is to find a creative, suitable way to vocalize those unattainable portions of the song that are well within your abilities, that’s what professional singers do; unless your Danny Gokey of course. unwanted karaoke background dancers

5. Did I Ask for Backup Singers / Dancers?

There is a fine line between the cathartic need for a karaoke singer to enjoy the brief moments on stage under the spotlight and the camaraderie that karaoke inspires, which often results in people getting up on their feet to dance to your song. Sometimes though, people get too comfortable at karaoke and recruit themselves as backup dancers to a song, even though they don’t know and weren’t invited up by the singer. Essentially the karaoke world breaks down into two types of singers; those who welcome all backup dancers and those who would rather drink paint than have anyone over the age of 3 steal their thunder up there on the grand karaoke stage. Sorry folks its just business.

Future backup dancers everywhere should know however, that there is one song where unsolicited backup dancing is generally acceptable; “Baby Got Back.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Singing Tips

Some Singing Tips:

1. Choose songs or artists that you enjoy and are easy for you to sing along to.

2. Sing along with the original record to see if you can reach all the notes.

3. Listen and learn where the music and main vocal starts, stops and instrumental break begins and ends.

4. Think about where you need to breathe! Usually before each sentance - if you 'speak' the words through then take note of the places where you naturally take a breath.

5. Record yourself singing using a tape recorder or your stereo for later review.

6. Practice in front of a mirror so you can see what you look like when singing - try not to pull faces and relax.

7. Rehearse the song until you know the words and melody line by heart - although knowing the words is not necessary when using the karaoke screens, it helps you sing better when you know the song well.

8. Drink plain water (without ice) before you sing, it helps to lubracate your throat and vocal chords plus prevents them from becoming dehydrated.

9. Sing normally - don't shout - the microphone is sensitive enough to pick up your voice and the operator should adjust the mics volume if you cannot be heard.

10. Smile when you sing a happy song - it reflects in your voice!

Most important.................Enjoy yourself & have FUN!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

45th Annual CMA Awards

Five artists are leading the nominees for The 45th Annual CMA Awards. Previous winners Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift each scored five nominations in the various categories, which tied first-time nominee Jason Aldean for the most nominations. Right behind them are The Band Perry and Zac Brown Band, who scored four nominations as groups with The Band Perry’s Kimberly Perry scoring a songwriter solo nod for writing “If I Die Young” while Coy Bowles and Zac Brown each earned solo nods as songwriters for their song “Colder Weather” (co-written with Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey).

Aldean scored nominations in the Entertainer of the Year Category, Top Male Vocalist, Single of the year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Album of the Year for My Kinda Party and the Musical Event of the Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. Aldean’s recent chart-topping hit of this past summer, “Dirt Road Anthem” scored Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert songwriter nominations for writing the tune.

Shelton scored nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Top Male vocalist, Album of the Year for All About Tonight, Single of the Year for “Honey Bee” and music video of the year for “Honey Bee.”

Paisley scored nominations in Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Album of the Year for This Is Country Music, and for Musical Event and Video of the Year (with Alabama) for “Old Alabama.”

Swift scored Entertainer, Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Speak Now, and single, song and video of the year for “Mean.”

The Band Perry scored nods for Single of the Year for “If I Die Young,” Best New Artist, Music video of the Year for “If I Die Young,” and Best Vocal Group.

The Zac Brown Band scored CMA Nods for Musical Event of the Year with Alan Jackson for “As She’s Walking Away,” Single of the Year for “Colder Weather,” Vocal Group and Album of the Year for You Get What You Give.

The Entertainer of the Year category this year is Keith Urban, who won the same award in 2005 while in the midst of a three year run as Male Vocalist of the Year, an award he’s also nominated for this year.

Kenny Chesney scored three nominations this year, one for Male Vocalist, Musical Event with Grace Potter for “You And Tequila” and Video of the Year with Potter for “You And Tequila. The song also scored CMA Nods for songwriters Matraca Berg and onetime CMA Female vocalist of the year, Deana Carter.

Sara Evans return is complete with a nod for Female Vocalist and Single of the Year for “A Little Bit Stronger,” a song produced by Tony Brown, who leads the nominees among non-performers with 39 career CMA Nominations (wow!).

Carrie Underwood scored her sixth nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year, an award she won in 2006-2008 and if she were to win the category this year, she’d tie Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Reba McEntire (1984-1987) for most wins in the category.

Miranda Lambert is joined by McBride in rounding out the Female Vocalist category. She won the award last year along with Album of the Year for Revolution. She was also nominated in the Musical Event of the Year category for her performance with Loretta Lynn and Sheryl Crow on “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Thompson Square scored two nominations today as well with slots being held in both the Vocal Duo and New Artist of the Year Categories (They announced the final set of nominees with Jerrod Niemann).

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole list of final nominees – to us at least – is the inclusion of indie band The Civil Wars in the Duo of the Year category. They are joined by Thompson Square, Montgomery Gentry (who won in 2000), Steel Magnolia and Sugarland, who has won the award four years running.

Thompson Square and The Band Perry are joined by a tight, and strong stable of new artists with Luke Bryan, Chris Young and Eric Church rounding out the list. Bryan and Young were nominated in the former Horizon Award category last year while it’s the first nomination for Eric Church. Artists are allowed to be nominated in this category two times (as long as they aren’t nominated for Album or Male/female/group/duo or single of the year categories as well).

Mandolin ace Sam Bush is a first time nominee of the Musician of the Year category, joining Dobro all-star Jerry Douglas, steel guitar king Paul Franklin, Producer/guitarist Dann Huff and producer/guitarist Mac McAnally.

The CMA Awards will be broadcast on November 10, 2011 on ABC TV at 8pm Eastern/Western.

Lorraine Hotel Saturday Night!

Come out Saturday, September 10, for Karaoke Night at Roosters' Lorraine Hotel. Karaoke from 8 til Midnight with Thank God It's Karaoke. Bring along your friends!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

History of Karaoke

The Japanese word "karaoke" is now listed not only in Japanese dictionaries but also in the latest edition of The Oxford English Dictionary published in England, one of the most distinguished and formal English dictionaries, proving the word has become common throughout the world.
Karaoke is a typical form of entertainment for Japanese business people; they drop into a bar with colleagues after work, have a drink, and enjoy singing popular songs to the accompaniment of karaoke. Karaoke has been entertaining people ever since its invention 20 years ago, and has become firmly established in Japanese society, going far beyond just a temporary boom.
Karaoke is a Japanese abbreviated compound word: "kara" comes from "karappo" meaning empty, and "oke" is the abbreviation of "okesutura," or orchestra.
Usually, a recorded popular song consists of vocals and accompaniment. Music tapes in which only the accompaniment is recorded were named "karaoke."
It is now widely recognized that the use of karaoke started at a snack bar in Kobe City. It is said that when a strolling guitarist could not come to perform at the bar due to illness or other reasons, the owner of the bar prepared tapes of accompaniment recordings, and vocalists enjoyed singing to the tapes. Even though it is only legend, this might have been the beginning of karaoke, and since then, karaoke has been commercialized and has become popular all over.
Though karaoke was at first an entertainment mainly for business people, it has grown to be a nationwide amusement, thanks to technological development and a new home based players. Originally in the form of tape of a popular song's accompaniment, karaoke evolved to the compact disk, which can locate the beginning of a song immediately. This development also made possible the enhancement of video scenes to create an atmosphere suitable to each song, displayed on a TV monitor along with the words.
Using technological innovations such as the video disk, laser disk, and CD graphics, karaoke has grown to be a major entertainment industry. Family-use karaoke sets have also become popular, making the amusement formerly limited to night spots possible in the home.
Karaoke Jockeys now offer complete services to bars, taverns, clubs, parties and other social events.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Watertown VFW Pictures

From the Watertown VFW on June 1oth, 2011