I love karaoke singing. I got started doing it about nine years ago, after a friend in a bar dared me to get up and sing. My first karaoke song – ‘Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)’ by Big & Rich. Since then, I’ve sung probably hundreds of songs in all different genres.
I’ve been singing most of my life, but usually just in church and school. I started out in children’s choir in church, moved up to junior choir, youth choir, and eventually the adult choir. I sang in the chorus in high school all four years, and was nominated to sing in the Georgia All-State Chorus one year. I even went to college initially planning to be a high school choral music teacher, but plans changed when I flunked piano and theory.
But I still love singing and karaoke gives me a chance to sing songs you don’t usually find in church or school choirs. Karaoke means: ‘A music entertainment system providing prerecorded accompaniment to popular songs that a performer sings live, usually by following the words on a video screen.’ What makes karaoke singing so popular is that last part about following the words on a video screen. That means you don’t have to have the words memorized before you sing them. Which means more people can get up and sing, because most of us can’t remember what we had for breakfast, much less all the words to our favorite songs.
Another thing I like is that when you get a group of karaoke folk together, it is almost always a positive setting. By that I mean that no matter how good or how bad a karaoke singer is, he or she is always going to get a round of applause from the audience when they get through singing, because the audience is usually other karaoke singers, and we know how difficult and brave it is to get up and sing in front of people. Not everyone can do that, so those that do are applauded for their effort, if for nothing else.
I’ve done karaoke contests, but I don’t really like doing them, because the pressure of attempting to sing the best you can takes the fun out of it. If you watch me karaoke singing and see me smile, it usually means I’ve stumbled over a word or two along the way. But stumbling over words in a contest is a deadly sin. Plus, most karaoke singing contests aren’t really karaoke singing, because the judges are usually wanting to see how well someone sings the song without looking at the words on the video screen. That’s not karaoke singing. That is just plain singing – memorize the words and sing them.
Lately, I’ve gone from just karaoke singing to karaoke hosting. My girlfriend and I host karaoke shows. Hosting is almost more fun than just singing. When I’m just singing, I’ll sing one time, then have to wait for everyone else who is singing to have their turn before I can sing again. But when I’m hosting, I’m constantly getting the songs ready for each person, so it keeps me busy between the songs I sing.
And we have fun with our shows. We want our singers to have a good time, and it doesn’t matter if you can sing or not, if you get up there, you’ve earned your applause. So go check out a karaoke show – ours, or any of the other KJ’s and their shows in the area. You may find out karaoke singing something you can have fun doing, whether you can carry a tune in a bucket or not.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.