Karaoke has been popular around the world since the 1970s. No wonder, it’s a harmless activity everyone is welcome to partake in and enjoy themselves. We aren’t expected to have any actual signing abilities – on the contrary, participants usually sing so bad it’s good, and it’s a part of the karaoke appeal.
However, singing in front of a crowd, especially in case it’s a bunch of strangers, is not for the meek. Many karaoke first-timers get anxious and insecure about their performance and fail to relish the experience. In this article, you will learn how to sing better, perform with confidence and get the most out of your karaoke night.
#1. Determine Your Vocal Range
We all have our own distinct vocal range and it’s crucial to find yours to sing properly. When you hit notes outside of your range, singing starts to get physically uncomfortable and the tone quality drops. As a result, you produce a kind of scratchy, breathy sound that doesn’t sound or feel good.
Most people have 1.5 to 2 octaves in their natural voice with one additional octave in other registers. Vocalists like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston have octave ranges between 3 and 5, it’s hard (if not completely impossible) to sing like them for an average Joe. And you don’t need to! You can work within your range and make it sound great. Pushing the envelope is unnecessary and may very well hurt you.
The way to become the best singer you can be starts with finding your range. You can do it the traditional way – have someone play a piano note-by-note while you imitate the notes, eventually finding the ones that are too high or too low for you. If you don’t have a piano at home, use a virtual piano keyboard for the task.
The alternative way is to find singers that have a similar range to yours. Listen to songs that feature vocalists with not as wide of a range as Mariah – instead go for Britney, for example. Sing along to the songs and check if you’ve got the ability to match the vocals note-for-note. With enough practice, you are sure to find such singers.
#2. Pick the Right Songs
Song selection can make or break a karaoke performance. Ask yourself the following questions before making a choice:
Does the song match your range and style?
After finding your range, prepare a list of songs you love AND can pull out. You don’t want to be caught off guard when it’s your turn to grab a mic.
Bonus point if you practice at home beforehand and memorize the lyrics. You might think that the latter is unnecessary because the lyrics appear on the screen in karaoke. However, it really shows when you're just vaguely familiar with the lyrics, especially so in case the song has some fast-paced parts or rap verses – it’s likely you won’t be able to keep up.
The best way to figure out how you will sound in karaoke is to not just sing along but sing to the instrumentals at home. The vocal part of the song won’t be in the karaoke version to back you up – the whole sound of the song changes when it’s only you and the accompaniment.
In order to remove vocals from a song for your practice, use LALAL.AI. It will also aid you in throwing a home karaoke party, allowing to create your own unique songs selection that karaoke bars don’t offer.
Does the song have long instrumental parts?
You may enjoy listening to lengthy instrumental parts but it’s a big no-no in karaoke. The crowd will quickly get bored of it and you will just stand there awkwardly waiting and waiting for the time to sing. Not a good example of a moving karaoke performance, right?
Write the songs with long intros, outros and lengthy instrumental bridges off your list. Also, do the same for the songs over 3 to 5 minutes – in most karaoke settings there are other people waiting for their turn to shine. Let them have their moment, be respectful, and don’t pick long songs.
Does the crowd know the song?
If you want to keep others engaged when you sing, pick songs that resonate with the room, the songs that people love and/or know well. A popular but not overdone track will make people sing their lungs out together with you.
#3. Sell Your Performance
One of the best things about karaoke is that you don’t need to have outstanding singing skills to be a star. Stage presence is what matters most.
Feel free to show off, incorporate dance moves, and add some drama! If you are shy and nervous, have a couple of drinks before your cue – karaoke goers won’t judge (and karaoke bars actually encourage you to do it).
What makes the crowd going is when you embody the song you sing, enjoy yourself and have fun! Don’t be afraid to add your own twist to the track and act out a performance of your lifetime.
Be a good audience, too – cheer other singers, dance, sing along. Even if the singing is horrible and the performance is subpar, give them a round of applause for trying! Show your support and you will get it back when it’s your turn to sing.