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How To Sing Karaoke With Confidence

Updated on April 16, 2012

Karaoke Parties Rule!

My name is NaomiR and I am a karaoke addict.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved singing. And while I'm not the best singer in the world, I have no shame in warbling in the shower or crooning along to the radio. That said, I am a bonafide, die-hard karaoke lover. I love the idea of being a "rock star" for a few minutes. I love performing for an audience. I love the rush you get when you're on stage surrounded by the loud music and lights. And I love the way that karaoke seems to automatically make everyone happy. I mean, really, you don't often see sad people at a karaoke bar!

Since New York City has such a great karaoke scene and I do karaoke so often, I've learned to perfect my craft over the years -- so much so that on certain songs, I even manage to sound like a decent singer, such as "Moondance," "These Boots Are Made For Walking" and "One Way Or Another." Here are my tips on how you can perform karaoke with confidence and wow your friends and family.

Tips For Performing Karaoke

1. Pick a bar or lounge that you know you'll feel comfortable in. For instance, if you are nervous about performing for a large crowd, see if there are any places that offer karaoke lounges -- small, private rooms that fit 8-10 people. This way, you'll only be singing for friends and it'll be a bit more intimate. If you don't mind singing in front of a large group of strangers, still make sure that you'll feel at ease. If you're going to, say, a bar that has a reputation for being loud and rowdy and that doesn't suit you, you might not want to get up and sing there. However, if the bar tends to get a more sedate crowd and that's more your thing, that might be the right place for you to show off your singing chops.

2. Wherever you go, make sure that the crowd is into karaoke in the first place. Bring friends with you who'll actually get up and sing and will cheer you on. I mean, how boring would it be if you were the only one getting into it? Same goes for a larger bar. You want to make sure that "karaoke night" doesn't consist of the same two people singing all the songs, while everyone else looks on, annoyed. Make sure that there is an actual scene happening. It'll make things more fun and less uncomfortable.

3. Choose a song you know. This is really important. Yes, a karaoke machine will provide the lyrics for you, but if you don't know the tune's basic melody, this is useless. Before going to karaoke, see if you can look at the bar or lounge's play list to see if your favorite songs are even on it. And then listen to the song and practice singing it. You can even find online karaoke to get started so that you'll be an expert by the time you perform live.

4. Choose a song that's RIGHT for you. I have a really deep singing voice for a woman, so I enjoy singing stuff by artists like Cher, Karen Carpenter and Peggy Lee, who also have fairly low voices. But you'll never catch me singing Sarah MacLachlan because I'd sound awful and screechy. I'd also never perform a rap because much as I enjoy rap, I sound ridiculous doing it. Experiment with different types of songs to find out which best suits your voice and personality.

5. Pay attention to the breaks in the songs. One of the most important things in music is knowing when NOT to play, or in this case, sing. Most karaoke systems will alert you when it's time for you to sing and will tell you when there's a break in the song. Pay close attention to this as you learn your tune. Don't jump into the song before it's time to start singing.

6. Don't "eat" the microphone. Hold the mic a few inches from your face, but don't get up too close or put your mouth against it. You'lll end up getting that loud, unpleasant noise you get from feedback. Do a test on the mic before singing to make sure that you can be heard at the proper volume. If not, you might have to adjust the sound on the system. Also, project toward your audience. Stand or sit tall and sing toward the back of the room. Don't tilt your head down or to the side or mumble.

7. Don't just stand up there. Even if you're not the greatest singer, you can make your performance more fun by getting into character. Sway your hips a bit, do an air jam during the breaks in the song. Smile! The more fun you're having, the more fun your audience will. At one of my karaoke parties, a friend performed "Rock You Like A Hurricane." He was awfu;. He didn't hit any of the notes and was off the beat for the entire tune. BUT -- he was laughing and singing his heart out and clearly having a blast. We did, too, because he made it so fun.

8. Don't take yourself too seriously. It's karaoke! It's supposed to be fun, so it doesn't matter if you don't sound like a professional. Even if you slip up or miss a beat, don't stop. Just keep going and remind yourself that you're on stage for laughs. Save your embarrassment for the important things in life, not this. The more you stop caring about what other people think, the more you'll be able to let loose and have a good time.


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