Monday, October 02, 2006

America's New Pastime

I can remember my days as Korean linguist and being stationed in the depths of Texas at Ft. Hood and would walk into any Korean restaurant in Killeen TX (the town just outside of 'The Hood') and other than the fanciful selection of ban chan that can be found, the only other thing that is uniform is the large screen television set up against the way and a microphone facing it. Sometime, there may be someone perched in front of it, singing to the words that are being lit up across the screen. I can not be talking about anything other than the phenomenon of Karaoke. The craze that has swept from Asia, clear across the water and invaded American bars across the country. Thought this singing craze is all over the county, not too many people know who to Karaoke. Since I have made a hobby out of the art of singing Karaoke, I thought that I would lend some helpful hints so that you do not get booed the next time you step up to the mic.

For God's Sake, Make Sure You Pick The Right Song For The Occasion

The most important thing to performing Karaoke is not how well you sing. If that were the case, everyone who sang Karaoke would have record deals and living the lifestyle that we could only dream of. We all know that this is definitely not the case or else Karaoke would be dead and not as popular. Contrary to popular belief, the most important aspect of singing Karaoke is chose the correct song. Some things that should be taken into consideration when choosing a song for you to sing is your range, the excitement factor and how drunk you are. You do not want to pick a song that should be sung in an octave that is too high or too low for you. You also do not want to pick a slow song when the crowd is excited not do you want to "I want to dance with somebody" by Whitney Houston, when all anyone want to hear is "I Will Always Love You.

Make Sure That You Are Able To FEEL The Song Before You Go Up To Perform

Another important part about signing Karaoke is that you FEEL the song. If you choose a song like the late great Luther Vandross' "Superstar" you should definitely not sing it without feeling and dedication. The result of your faux pas will be unpredictable. Do not be afraid to wave your hands like Aretha Franklin or Mahalia Jackson. If a piano is near, act like Little Richard and play with those keys. Let yourself go. The crowd will love you for it.

Make Sure You Know The Words

After you have picked the right song to accentuate the mood and feeling of the atmosphere at the bar or club (and in some cases, a person's home) and you are confident that you are able to perform the song with the same feeling and fervor of the original performer (or in what ever style that you have chosen to sing), the capping point of the entire performance is to make sure that you have some idea of how the song goes. More specifically, you better know the at least SOME of the words before you get up in front of Tom, Dick and Harry. Of course you will get some help from the teleprompter, but it is not fun when you look into the teleprompter with a black face and desperately mouth unintelligible utterances or you do not know how to pronounce the words that are being colorized on the screen. It would be like getting up and singing Eddie Murphy's "I want to Party all the time" but instead, your renditions would go something like, "I want to Potty all the time." How embarrassing.

From personal experience (and after way too many boughts in the Karaoke Contest boxing ring) I have given you some helpful hints and reminders that you will need to make you next trip up to sing Karaoke an enjoyable one.

Do not make the same mistakes that millions of people around the country do every time they want to pretend to be the next American Idol.

Go out there and kick some karaoke butt!

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