Karaoke Advice: So What If I Want To Become A Karaoke Jockey?

Regular karaoke singer Lindsey Weber has 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.

Despite the unintended sporadicness, I’m back to dish out that crucial karaoke advice you’ve all been queuing up to read. Speaking of queuing, I have to say how important graceful queuing is to karaoke? It’s super important that we put aside our inherent issues with waiting in line and respect the karaoke queue. I’ve been in way too many situations where people get something I like to call “Indignant Karaoke Syndrome” where the desire to sing your own song become so strong that you forget to enjoy the magic of other peoples’ songs. Part of the magic of not singing in a small karaoke room is being able to take in these performances. Unsolicited advice? That’s part of my job.

And now for the actual question:

I’m a karaoke fanatic and part time musician (Just starting out! That sounds so serious, but it’s not.) Anyways, I found a great opportunity for a part time gig with a party games rental company, they are looking for someone to help MC and sing at their private events. So I’m going in to audition the first week of December.

I generally like to go big at karaoke like Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Queen, Amy Winehouse, etc. Can you suggest some showstopper classics and modern hits for me?


Alyssa, you’re living the dream! Crossing over from Karaoke-for-fun to Karaoke-for-pay is every karaoke-rs dream…Wait, is it not? Maybe for singers who aren’t in it “for the fun” — meaning, you’re a good singer and you might want to have a career in that. For me, a through and through karaoke-grade singer, singing karaoke for for ca$h would be an incredible feat. Meanwhile, I feel like the Karaoke Jockey is supposed to blow you away with their talents. So I hope you’re actually a good singer.

Just kidding! I am excited for you, Alyssa. So excited in fact, that I reached out to my own Karaoke Jockey, Amethyst Valentino, (who does Fridays and Saturdays at Montero’s Bar & Grill in Brooklyn, NY!) to ask for her thoughts:

I like to do songs that are a challenge: “Vision of Love”, “Alone by Heart”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “For Once In My Life” by Vikki Carr (for the old timers). The songs I sing are pretty dependent on the crowd: What I am seeing them respond to. So I try to hit different styles.

Before I started Montero’s I would sing “All That Jazz”, “My Immortal”, “My Heart Will Go On”, “I’m The Only One”, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” then I got sick of them.

She’s right, you always have to work the crowd. I think in a KJ audition, the best thing to do is to sing songs that show off your voice (duh) but MORE IMPORTANTLY songs that show off your personality. Because basically, aside from singing a few times during the night, you’ll mostly be MC’ing. Interacting with the people! Encouraging them to sing their best! Singing harmony! Dealing with hot mics! All those things that come with being a great KJ.

So going with Ms. Valentino’s suggestions, let’s say a cocktail of “All That Jazz” (personality!) and Katy Perry’s “Firework” (modern day belt-er!) would be a nice touch.

Coming up? Vegas.

Seriously, I’ve done my research and I’ll be singing at one of Vegas’ finest karaoke spots. To hear more about what one sings in Vegas to a room of Elvis impersonators, tune in next time.

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.