Lindsey isn’t a very good singer. Nor is she a particularly bad singer. That, and a typical weakness for attention from strangers, is what makes her at her happiest while performing karaoke. Ever since she discovered that belting Tammy Wynette and 4 Non Blondes in front of crowds substituted perfectly for therapy, she’s been pressuring her friends to listen to her sing weekly at a plethora of karaoke bars across NYC. Meanwhile, while not singing, she’s developed very strong opinions about what constitutes the proper etiquette of karaoke–everything from song choice to mic-handling technique. Her opinions (while regarded trustworthy by some of the greatest karaoke’ers in town) are her own, so feel free to disregard. After all, if you’re just dying to sing “Don’t Stop Believin’” you’ll probably just go ahead and sing it. Send your karaoke questions for Lindsey to karaokeconfessional AT gmail.com.
What’s the modest and appropriate response when someone compliments you on your ABSOLUTELY PERFECT PERFORMANCE of a song you have been performing at karaoke for 10 years? –Amy
Your grinning “thank you” will suffice, and so will the suggestion that the complimenter buy you a drink (or another song). Congrats on your perfection, Amy.
I love karaoke, but I feel dumb doing it because… I have a pretty good singing voice? And I feel dumb suggesting it as a group activity because I feel like people are thinking “oh, of COURSE she wants to do karaoke because she is good at singing.” You may be wondering, how good actually is this letter writer’s singing voice? Does she just think she’s really good but really no one else does or gives a hoot? So, for the purposes of this letter, I will tell you that one time I won amateur night at the Apollo. –Alison
You guys are really good singers, apparently, because I got three (3) versions of this exact question. Well Alison, (also: Amy (above) and Sadia, who both asked similar questions) first of all: congratulations on your beautiful singing voice. No sarcasm intended, as I am truly jealous of your naturally graceful vocal cords. Secondly, when I karaoke and a good singer steps up to the plate, for me it is truly a magical experience. Not only can they redeem the night, but they also can redeem karaoke ITSELF for those dragged to the bar by friends. Who knows, your performance might turn a karaoke-hater into a karaoke-lover (or even a karaoke-doer!) Trust me, it’s your own egotistical (sorry!) self-consciousness that’s making you worried about others’ perceptions. All you’ll receive are compliments.
Again, a good karaoke singer is likely to get cheers, which makes them feel great and feeling great doing karaoke is the bottom line. Stage presence makes up for a less-than-perfect singers, and you’ve already got the voice. You won’t even have to work as hard as the rest of us.
One thing I will request of you gifted singers: please choose songs that are challenging to you and stay away from the ones I sing to properly disguise my less-than-gifted voice. Hey man, I need them! Belt yourself some Mariah Carey and step awayyyyy from my Fleetwood Mac. And on that thought, good singers: ABSOLUTELY NO MUSICALS. I don’t care how good of a singer you are. Ace the vocal runs in “Halo” like I know you can. Again: No musicals.
I need to work up a new song in honor of my friend’s bachelor party. Thinking No Mercy’s “Where Do You Go”? Literally my only other karaoke is Roy Orbison’s “I Drove All Night”, which often leads to me trying to guess how far to transpose the Celine version so I don’t have to scream (Spoiler: I have a 20% success rate in this matter). If you have any good ideas for fail-proof songs that I can awkwardly sing to my friend, I would appreciate it! P.S. I am male, and can sing medium-well. –Tim
Ah, karaoke bachelor(ette) parties. The only kind, in my opinion. Unless you can get strippers to sing karaoke OR karaoke singers to strip while they sing. (Please call me if you can provide either of those services.) Since you’ve opened this door wide open for me, can I suggest a strategy that works (almost) every time? If you’re a dude, sing a song originally sung by a woman. It’s that simple. When a dude sings a song originally sung by a woman, in my past experiences, it brings the house down. My friend Steven does a version of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” that brings tears to my eyes.
And now that you have double the options (and a medium-well singing voice!), I have some suggestions for you. Songs of adoration that will go over so well with your flawless gender switcheroo, I promise: Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” (listen to Lyle!), Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know”, Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There”, Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”, Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On.” All beautiful love songs for your BFF groom-to-be.
And if all else fails, go with Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.”
Last Week: Introducing Feedback: A Karaoke Advice Column
Lindsey Weber is a writer living in Brooklyn. Her karaoke bar of choice is Montero’s Bar & Grill and she limits herself to singing “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes only once a month. You can follow her on Twitter: @lindseyweber. Send your karaoke questions for Lindsey to karaokeconfessional AT gmail.com.