All right, it’s the weekend. You’ve worked your ass off this week and you want to kick it with your friends and party. You call up your homies to see what’s up and they suggest going to a karaoke spot downtown!
Then suddenly it all comes back to you; those times doing karaoke in the privacy of your home, all the off-key sing-a-longs in the car, and then the panic sets in. Questions are racing: What if I suck? What if they boo? Breathe, I got you. I will give you 10 tips to bring the house down!
1. Practice, Practice, Practice!
I know it may seem like the most cliche thing to say, but practicing truly makes perfect. Take your nearest hairbrush, claim center stage in front of your mirror, and perform through some of your favorite songs.
Not only will it help you feel more prepared, but it will give you something to anchor yourself to when you’re actually on stage. If you feel yourself getting stuck, just say to yourself, “This is just like being in front of the mirror”.
2. Warm-up and stay hydrated
Before heading out, or even while you’re in the car, try simple warm-up exercises to work out some nooks and crannies. Humming softly to a song is a good, discreet way to get the voice warmed-up. There are also helpful videos on YouTube to help you with your vocal warm-up.
While you’re going through these exercises, drink plenty of room temperature water. If you’re going to a bar, try to avoid alcohol as alcoholic drinks can dry out your vocal cords.
3. Remember to BREATHE!
This too may seem like a cliche, but breathing is an extraordinarily important key to any successful performance. When the nerves kick in, your body gets all tense which puts tension on your vocal cords.
Having tension on your vocals will not only make your big karaoke moment 10 times harder but will also put a vocal strain on your vocal cords. This can have negative effects on the vocals such as hoarseness, throat pain, and vocal fatigue.
To avoid all of this, before your performance, take two minutes to breathe in and out deeply. Inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth. As a singer, I can vouch for this technique and say it’s helped many a time to calm the oh, so restless butterflies.
4. Pick the right song for YOU
When looking through the selection of songs, try to find a song you’re comfortable singing. This could mean a song that your voice just fits into pretty well or it could mean singing something you’re just super familiar with. If you’re comfortable, the audience will be comfortable. A comfy audience is a happy audience!
5. Get to know your audience!
When you get to wherever is hosting karaoke, hang back for a second. Don’t be too eager to head to the sign-up sheet. Have a drink (water) and gauge what’s being sung. Note whether the music is predominantly country, pop, or show tune.
This way you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of singing Carrie Underwood to a bunch of Jackson fans. (Unless you want to stand apart from the crowd, by all means, YOU GO BOO!)
6. Don’t be afraid to let the music move you
Music is a moving experience and there’s nothing like performing for people and sharing that experience with others. So, don’t be afraid to put passion and soul into your performance. You don’t want to bore the audience (I hope) or sing like you’re apologizing for something.
It honestly doesn’t matter what you sound like. If you’re passionate about what you’re singing, then the audience will be super into you. Also, allow yourself to emotionally open up to the lyrics you’re singing.
If you’re not sure what this looks like, check out Demi Lovato singing Stone Cold live (gives me chills every time I see it). You will capture the audience if you give your all.
7. Don’t get caught up
Now I know that most karaoke joints have wicked musical selections but don’t get too excited, too quick. Some of our favorite hits are too complicated to whip out at karaoke night. Prime examples; “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion or “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
It’s perfectly fine to dish out some throwback jams that the audience is familiar with. However, before choosing one of these famous tunes, I’d suggest making sure you know the twists and turns of the song. Once again, if you’re comfortable, the audience will be comfortable.
8. Let yourself GO
There are probably a million things running through your mind once you step on stage. This is perfectly fine. Take a deep breath and remember why you’re there. You’re there to live it up with your homies and leave the stress of this past week behind you. Don’t bring the stress onstage. Keep in mind you’re also there to have fun. Clear your mind and sing your little heart out!
9. WRONG and STRONG
Listen, nobody is perfect, not even our beloved Queen B. Mistakes onstage happen ALL THE TIME (trust me, I know)! Even our favorite celebrities have vocal flops and lyrical slip-ups from time to time. If you push through that mess-up, the audience will overlook it.
I can also say, as a singer, that crowds are more gracious when your recovery is smooth. Also, it’s just karaoke! Karaoke is home to musical flops! OWN IT, SIS! Like Nick Cannon said in Roll Bounce, “If you don’t fall, how will you know what getting up is like?”.
10. Just ENJOY yourself!
Cliches for the win! Have fun! You’re there to enjoy yourself. I can guarantee that if you’re not having fun, the audience won’t have fun.
Remember that this isn’t a singing competition, and no one will take away your cool points for not being the best singer. If you take away anything from this article, let it be that becoming a better karaoke singer can only happen if you’re having fun!
Now you have a mini-guide to better karaoke singing and I hope that you’re ready to go out and conquer that karaoke machine! To summarize, have fun, breathe, and let go! Follow these tips and your next karaoke tango will be one for the books!