Love karaoke? And by that we mean… borderline obsessed? Is it your first suggestion for a birthday get-together? Do the karaoke hosts at your local bar know you by name… and get concerned when you don’t show up? Are you first on stage, while your friends hide in the corner slowly sipping their liquid courage?
Yep, we know the feeling.
Even if it takes you forever to browse the book and pick the perfect song to sing, it’s all worth it when you take the stage, grab the mic, and hear the roaring cheers of your fans (er, friends).
If you know your local karaoke spot’s song catalog by heart, karaoke isn’t just a late-night whim for you. It’s a hobby that unleashes the natural performer inside you, daring you to take risks and win over crowds. If you’re a karaoke enthusiast like us, we bet you can relate to these six struggles…
1. YouTube swallows your weekends whole.
Most people imagine the karaoke life as a series of parties, bars, and amateur contests. However, you do most of your singing at home. YouTube is full of popular karaoke songs, complete with scrolling lyrics, so it’s easy to warm up with a few of your favorites. But before you know it, hours have passed and you’re down a sing-along rabbit hole. The Internet is a great place to practice, but if you’re not careful, you’ll lose track of real-life karaoke, with its far superior sound systems and energetic live audiences.
2. You have nightmares about losing your thumb drive.
Once upon a time, people burned their favorite popular karaoke songs onto CDs and handed them to KJs. Today, you can fit thousands of custom-edited and privately purchased karaoke songs onto one flash drive. However, if you’ve ever fished around for your USB drive in a dark pub, you know this convenience is a double-edged sword. If your competition has your playlist of karaoke songs, there goes the element of surprise.
3. You take notes while listening to the radio.
You can’t help it. When you’re driving to work or school, streaming an online radio station, or listening to a friend’s music collection, you’re constantly on the lookout for popular karaoke songs to sing. Are those lyrics fun and easy to hear? Is the beat recognizable? Do you think you can match the singer’s voice? Should you go scrambling for the rest of their collection, hoping to find that perfect track for the next karaoke night? Without fail, listening to music always results in karaoke brainstorms.
4. Reality show judges make you want to scream.
When you watch singing shows like “American Idol,” “X Factor,” or “The Voice,” you can’t help but critique the amateur singers who somehow get a national platform for their mediocre mimicry. And it’s inevitable: With every new season of yet another televised singing competition, a few more talent-less wannabes are kicked out of tryouts because they “belong in a karaoke bar.” Ironically, the judges are usually music-industry veterans who profit every time you sing a song they recorded or produced. Why, then, do they insist on using karaoke as a punchline?
5. To alter or not to alter: That is the question.
Some karaoke machines can raise or lower a song’s key, to better match your own voice with the singer’s. You’ve been around long enough to know how divisive this issue is, and you may even have a firm opinion about whether or not it’s a legitimate way to perform. However, there’s no denying the appeal of a guaranteed harmony, digital or otherwise.
6. Practice doesn’t always make perfect.
Successful “self-taught” singers are few and far between for a very good reason: singing takes more than just talent. If you want to master the nuances of singing for a live audience, you’ll need to train your vocal cords with exercises that make it easier to breathe, stay on key, remember the lyrics, and sing with emotion. A private vocal coach or singing instructor can work with you to hone your singing talents and tweak your performance style.
Karaoke Tips: Picking the Best Songs to Sing
Remember… picking the best song isn’t always about choosing from the most popular karaoke songs of all time. If you want to avoid embarrassing mistakes, you’ll want to select a song that suits your voice (i.e. your vocal range and stylistic tendencies), your personality, and also your audience! Are you at a grungy dive bar? Might be best to save “Genie in a Bottle” for another time.
Also, remember that singing karaoke is all about having fun! If you’re nervous, it’s much easier to pick a song your genuinely enjoy singing before breaking out the high notes and fancy riffs.
For specific recommendations, check out our list of fun songs to sing at karaoke!
Additional Karaoke Resources
Need more karaoke tips and inspiration? Here are few other websites to check out:
- The Karaoke Channel — This website offers thousands of professional, re-recorded hits available for download, along with a community forum and a mobile app to take with you on the go.
- Karaoke Version — Another great resource for finding instrumental tracks to sing along to.
- Sunfly Karaoke — Offers more than 13,000 karaoke tracks available for download or via a personalized karaoke disc.
- RedKaraoke — Feeling shy? These apps work with your iPhone/iPad, Android device, or SmartTV to start the party, without ever leaving the house!
- Ace Karaoke — Need karaoke equipment, like amps, cables, stage lighting, or mics? Find it all here!
Readers, anything you’d add to this list? What are your favorite karaoke songs to sing? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Photo by Richard Sunderland