You would think that with all my love for singing, karaoke would be one of those things that I’d like doing. Nope. Truth is, I’m absolutely terrified of karaoke and I avoid it all costs. I did it once in LA when I was 18 and it was a disaster. It was at one of those karaoke bars where people in LA go to be discovered (read: they’re all really freaking good.) I was drunk and sang terribly, my song choice was stupid (“Criminal” by Fiona Apple isn’t exactly a pump-up-the-audience-fun-times song) and three-quarters of the way into the tune I actually said into the microphone: “Ok I’m so over this SONG! Can I stop singing now?” I imagine it was a rather awkward performance for the audience to witness.
Ok so that was a terrible night. But, I think I could have gotten over it in the last ten years and done karaoke at some point if it weren’t for the fact that my friends think I’m a good singer (which, on occasion, I can be) so they expect me to be good at karaoke. And that is so scary. I just want to wail Journey lyrics off-key like everybody else, you know?
I’ve managed to finagle my way out of every karaoke night with friends for the last ten years, but then last week my friend B decided to have his birthday party at a rent-a-room karaoke bar here in SF. I really wanted to be there and I wasn’t going to ditch out on a good friends’ b-day because I’m scared shitless of karaoke. So I grabbed my balls, checked my ego at the door, warned my friends that I wasn’t going to be on pitch or anything they might be expecting, and I dove in.
The night was fan-freaking-tastic. I sang Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” with a big group of people, I sang Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” with the birthday boy, I sang along to every single song I knew. Sadly, I have no proof as I didn’t get a single picture of me actually singing (I need to give my husband digital camera lessons again!) but there are a lot of good shots that, I think, sum up just how much fun was had at karaoke by everyone in attendance (myself included):
I generally try to take a lesson from every life list item I cross off my list. This time I got a karaoke lesson. Here are a few things I learned:
1. Don’t do slow songs. Would you play a slow song at a fun party? No. So there’s no reason to do it at a karaoke party… unless you’re a Mariah Carey incarnate and you’re going to sing the shit out of it. That would be cool.
2. Pick songs that people like to sing along with. Two reasons why: 1: they will drown you out and 2: everyone wants to sing along because it’s fun.
3. No one cares if you’re good or bad or anything as long as you’ve got energy! Hearing someone totally butcher a song is actually kinda awesome if they’re really putting on a show.
4. People who can do rap songs at karaoke are the shit. I wish I was one of them.
Major thanks to B and P for putting on such an awesome party. Facing fears, at least this time, was pretty freaking fun. I think I may make a habit of this karaoke thing….