It’s been a long time since I last picked up a microphone on karaoke night and I must admit, I’m feeling the twitch of withdrawal. As I browse YouTube and sing into my remote control, some of the more
exciting hilarious memories of my amateur karaoke career come flooding back. I say amateur not because I can’t sing (that’s a given for most karaoke “stars”); I say it because everyone knows that you’re nothing in the karaoke game until you have a stage name and some form of sequined or bedazzled outfit. Currently, my stage name is still a work in progress…
My introduction to the dizzying world of karaoke was intense. From the first tune I was hooked. Admittedly, I still need a couple of drinks to limber up the vocal chords, but I can still get there. After a whirlwind tour of an entire library though, I hadn’t found my musical masterstroke – that one song that no matter where you go, you can wow the crowd with. They become a gaggle of swooning fans to your Tom Jones or Britney Spears or whoever it is that you become thanks to some simple music and a terribly tacky, copyright dodging video clip.
So began my own quest to identify “The Song”. The one song that I could request with complete confidence to impress the drunken hordes for approximately three and a half minutes that a superstar had graced them with his presence. Along the way I have stumbled and tasted glory in equal measures, but I have not yet found my Grail. Memories remain in my mind, encouraging me through success, failure and all the hilarity in between and reminding me that life is truly something to be taken with a focus on enjoyment. Here are just a few of those moments:
Contender #1: Holiday – Madonna
Naturally, I didn’t choose this myself. In a fantastic lesson of humility, this song was chosen for me. While I was in Japan we had a farewell night out for one of my colleagues and naturally, karaoke was in order. Everyone was hesitant initially so to break the ice I offered to go first. I was asked which song I would like to sing I uttered those fateful words – “I don’t care.”
Given that I know almost nothing about music, I’d have to guess that my singing voice lies in the standard tenor range. Without getting boringly scientific (and wasting far too much time on Google), let me just say that my rendition of Holiday was unimpressive at best. But hey, I tried and it got the party started.
Humiliation Level: High.
Special Requirements: Being a woman would help immensely. Failing that, tighter than tight pants may assist.
Overall Potential: Low.
Contender #2: Heartache Tonight – The Eagles
I sang this one at a work social function that was held at a local Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant. It actually came off fairly well – perhaps a little too well. At the end of the song I received applause and one person in the crowd even shouted out the name “Shannon Noll” as the song wound down. I’m still not sure if it was a compliment or an insult. If you’ve never heard of Shannon Noll (and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised), here’s a taste:
I’d like to think that the comparison was drawn because of the singing talent, however I’m a little more sure it’s because of what starts happening between 2:18 and 2:40 in the above clip. That’s right, I’m pretty sure I worked an air grab and a chest clutch into my performance. *sigh*
Humiliation Level: Low to Moderate, depending on choreography.
Special Requirements: None.
Overall Potential: Moderate to High.
Contender #3: Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
I had the pleasure of working with two professionals once. One a classically trained singer and the other a fully-fledged punk rocker. With my reasonable voice added as support vocals we were an entertainment tour-de-force. As everyone knows though, there were four members of Queen. Had we enlisted any other member apart from “Awesome Dave” we would have blown the audience’s minds. And yet “Awesome Dave” wouldn’t take no for an answer. His hijacking of this performance would have been acceptable on a level if his singing voice even approached the musical quality of a screaming toddler bemoaning the loss of his blankie. It would have even been acceptable if he’d refrained from dancing as though he was being continually tased.
Humiliation Level: Low to none, given that all eyes were on “Awesome Dave”‘s “unique” performance.
Special Requirements: Three co-performers.
Overall Potential: Low.
Other memories encompass performances of Hey Jude – The Beatles (a song sung by a friend of mine – and sung well I might add! The funny thing was that the track looped right at the end and as a result we sang the final “Nah, nah nah nah-nah-nah-nah”s quite a few more times than was necessary. It got to the point where the machine’s power plug was pulled from the wall.) and Best Of You – Foo Fighters (I’m a huge fan of the Foo, so this was a pleasure – to start with. I am AMAZED that Dave Grohl can still talk. By the time I got half way through the song, my tone was off. By three-quarters of the way through, my voice was practically gone. So. Much. Yelling.) and many others along the way.
My journey has been arduous and to this day remains incomplete but I will not give up. I will find my song. Any and all suggestions will be seriously considered and attempted. If you haven’t already had a go, I cannot urge you strongly enough. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something amazingly euphoric about singing in front of people.