As you loyal minions know, I went on a massive road trip this weekend for my sister Bean’s graduation. In Texas, almost all road trips are massive by other state’s standards, but this was 6 hours each way. I listened to every CD in the car to the point of nausea, all within the first hour and a half. A few of the songs got me thinking about karaoke, and how some people are scared of even trying it!
Karaoke is a lot of fun, and I didn’t become a convert until I tried once myself. I have some advice on how to get started, and how to prepare so you can relieve the pre-show jitters.
1) Pick a couple of songs ahead of time. If you pick something that was a fairly big hit in the 1980’s there’s a pretty good chance the bar will have it in their song list. Having a couple choices is the best way to ensure you’ll feel confident enough to sing something.
2) Listen to the songs ahead of time. I know this seems ridiculous, but there are lots of songs I could have sworn I knew well enough to sing, but it turns out there are whole verses I had totally forgotten were in the song. “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears is a perfect example of this. Listen to the song ahead of time to assess how well you really know it.
3) Learn the song. Burn your prospective songs to a CD, or load them on your mp3 player so you can really learn the lyrics. Yes the bar will have a large screen with the lyrics on it, but I still feel more comfortable when I can sing a song with my eyes closed. Road trips are the perfect time to practice and test yourself. Don’t sing with your eyes closed when driving, however, at least not near where I live.
4) Test yourself. I prefer to sing in the car, alone. Test yourself by turning the music down really low, and singing really loud. This will give you an idea how in tune you are, and how well you know the song.
5) Find a place. In Austin, I prefer The Common Interest karaoke bar. You may not have a dedicated karaoke bar near you, but many bars have karaoke night where they bring in equipment. You may be able to get a list of the songs available from their website before you go.
I prefer going on nights when the bar is really busy. This may seem counterintuitive, but the more people are there, the less they pay attention to you singing. It also means that it will take longer for your turn to come up, which can be either good or bad.
Otherwise, just go out and have fun! This is not part of my quest to become more interesting, because this is no longer stepping out of my comfort zone, but I think everyone should try it at least once. Consider it part of your bucket list.