First Gig as a Karaoke Artist
I signed up for this karaoke thing at my company's conference taking place in Palm Springs because they said the desperately needed participants. Anyway, I show up and it's this massive thing. When people say karaoke I am thinking some dark little dive bar. This was like my worst nightmare, except literally magnified (like there were movie screens on each side too). The pic below is just like a small fraction of the number of people there. I am like holy crap- my first gig as a karaoke artist is going to have more people than my last two CD release shows (which packed the venues) combined.
This made me more nervous about the whole thing because I am a bassist for a reason. If I thought I was an awesome (or passable) singer I'd probably have tried it by now.
These were the measures I took:
-I knew the song I was going to cover in advance so I practiced a little
-I txted a number of friends (after seeing the scale of this thing) and explained to them that I was taking a sh*t
-Prior to the event, after practicing for a few minutes I made a quick recording on my phone and the recording was very "poor quality" - there were a lot of pitch issues (it was 90% pitch issues... my vocal range is around 2 tones) and it sounded like me, but even worse. Like a bad answering machine message.
What I learned from this first "gig" :
-It rocks to do this type of thing with a backing band. I think their band leader was the bassist and he was a cool dude (who backed me up big time). There was obviously a lot more mojo on stage and mojo is my primary source of energy.
-Most people don't have an ear for music like a musician does. Where I might hear an awful performance, I am pretty sure bystanders just see a person on stage and the sound of drums or something
-People perceive the stage moves mainly. The only thing I'm worse at than singing is dancing, but I am thankful that's what my associates claim to have remembered. I am pretty sure I sang the entire tune in the wrong key and slightly flat due to my limited vocal range
Anyone else ever get stressed out by their first karaoke gig or have a tremendous fear of their own voice in general?
I've never done proper karaoke, but it sounds like it was ultimately not so bad, and probably a really useful experience.
You survived, and really karaoke, even if it is a big event, is one place where you're allowed to be terrible. As long as you don't lose your place, make an honest effort to sound decent and don't look completely terrified, most people will probably think you did well.
Disclaimer. I don't and never will do Karaoke but:-
I went to an open mic night and the band (bunch of miscreants!) on stage were calling for someone to sing Crossoads (Cream) which is one I used to sing with my band.
Our lead guitarist volunteered me to sing it and I really enjoyed it.
I have never sung on stage before without a bass round my neck and struggled with what to do with my hands, eventually I put them in my back pockets to keep them still.
It is nice however to have time to think what the next verse is instead of relying on instinct and panicking internally when you are only a couple of beats away from starting singing and still haven't got the first line.
Been, there, done that...
But truth be told, you could probably sing the lyrics to "Smoke on the water" over the music to "It must have been love" and most people wouldn't notice.
Y'know what - karaoke is fun. There, I said it. It is. You can't take it too seriously, and you can't judge yourself or anybody else by the standards of a professional, rehearsed performance. It's just playing around and having fun. I love doing it, and if people want to sing as part of having their party, I think that's all to the good for the future of music. If I think about it, I can trace the chain of events that led to me picking up bass (at 38) to singing James Brown in a German karaoke bar with a bunch of students. Started me thinking how much I liked being on stage performing.
If I walk into a place and find out that they have karaoke, I walk out. My wife and I went to a Chinese restaurant and shortly after we placed our order we noticed a guy setting up a PA. I asked the waiter if there was a band and he said that it was karaoke. I promptly told him to cancel our order and we left. Its bad enough when you go to a club and hear cover bands butchering songs. Its even worse when karaoke singers do it.
Karaoke is all about having fun, overcoming inhibitions, and having a blast being stupid on stage with your friends.
Musicians who whinge about karaoke remind me of those reclusive old dudes with ultra-realistic model train sets, and who won't let kids touch them because "it's not a toy to be played with!"
I've played (suffered) in enough bands with poor singers and I don't need to hear anymore thank you, but YMMV of course.
I will leave karaoke to those that enjoy it.
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