Guys, I'm about to go karaoke for the first time. HELP!


Seriously, wish me luck and regale us with your stories. And tips. And tricks.

Good luck! Make sure the song you want to sing is actually in your range. (-:

I find instrumentals are the easiest. I never get those wrong.

Let us know how it went!

May I have your dog if you don’t make it back?

Pick a song that everybody knows and will sing along with you. I would suggest “Sweet Caroline” or “Hey Jude.”

Not everyone knows those.
Everyone knows “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall”.

I like to say “I dedicate this song to the Lord.”

Then, I sing I Touch Myself by Divynl

Pick something before you go. Needs to be popular enough that the karaoke machine will definitely have it. Sing it through and make sure you have the range for the whole thing.

Choose a song where the focus is the lyrics. A lot of simple pop music has the focus on the beat or the instrumental hook. The voice is just being used like an instrument singing something repetitive. This sounds really lame and frankly excruciating when done by an amateur who is - it being karaoke- the focus. People choose some big hit they know well, not realizing that, when you boil it down, the vocal part is someone singing “Yeah I love you” 34 times in a row.

Songs that might otherwise be OK can get you if the “outro” (the last part) comprises a line from the chorus playing over and over, fading out. Unless you have dance moves or something, it’s painful to watch someone having to stand there singing “oh yeah” ten times as the music fades out.

Something with a simple verse, chorus, verse structure with the focus on a story works well because it works even if your voice isn’t great. That’s why Bob Dylan is listenable despite having a crap voice.

Even if you don’t much like the style yourself, classic folk or country or musical tunes tend to be good because they are styles that are all about the song not the beat or the instruments. Folk and country also tend to be good because they are written for lower male voices. A lot of pop is written for men’s voices that are unusually high.

Moderately serious advice: Do “Cookie Monster” by XTT. You pretty much need to deathgrowl, “C IS FOR COOKIE,” and you’re guaranteed to smash it, although your throat may not make it through if you’re not up for the deathmetal growl.

The others have advice about singing, I just have advice about surviving. I think I’m brave, but karaoke, man. Fwaugh.

A song like It’s The End Of The World is perfect for a first timer.


I know, right? But if you have to do it, the suggestions made above will help.

Also along these lines - long instrumental sections are horrible (unless you have the personality to air guitar, dance, or otherwise carry it off). If you don’t, you’re just standing there during a guitar solo doing nothing for what will feel like forever.

Check to make sure it’s in your range (chances are your range and Freddie Mercury’s range are not the same. Just be honest with yourself about that). Make sure you know the lyrics (you probably don’t want to be there asking yourself “that’s what he’s singing?!?”) Don’t pick something like “American Pie” that never ends. There are a lot of songs that are faster than you think they are, try them at home. And from personal experience, jazz standards aren’t your friends (you might think you know them, but they’re a lot harder to sing in karaoke than it is to sing along to in your car.)

Unless, of course, you don’t want to - it can be fun to crash and burn; and it’s way more fun when you don’t crash and burn when you really should have. Liquid courage helps all around - with hitting notes that you have never hit before, with not caring when you have completely screwed up the second verse, giving you the charisma to mesmerize the audience - or at least making you think that you have.

I miss karaoke.

Even the memory of seeing people flounder in this way causes me physical pain. Good advice.

You want it to be start of song/straight into lyrics/end. Nothing else.

Think of the songs that you sing around the house or in the car, when they come on the radio, or otherwise. Which can you manage? Which are too high or too low for you? Which can you hit comfortably and confidently?

Given the answers to those questions, know what you’d like to do before you even walk in. Look for those in the catalogue of songs; don’t get distracted by everything else. In other words, don’t look at the catalogue and get distracted by the songs you wish you could do (for example, “Dream On” by Aerosmith, or “Tell Laura I Love Her,” by Ray Peterson, or anything by Lou Christie); look for the songs that you actually can do–those that you’ve demonstrated at home or in the car that you can do.

I agree with the suggestion above that country might be a good choice. A lot of country music vocals are performed within a small range, so you won’t typically be reaching for high notes, or impossibly (for your voice) low notes. Many country songs are more spoken than they are sung–“19 Something” by Mark Wills comes to mind, as does “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” by Joe Nichols. Country may not be your preferred genre, but the idea, for a first-timer, is to get confident before a live audience, and to deliver something that passes muster with the audience and gains some applause.

Worst comes to worst, always remember that the later the evening goes, the more liquored-up the audience gets, and when things get to that point, then no matter how badly you butcher something, the audience will like it anyway.

Have fun, and good luck!

White Room by Cream, although I wouldn’t assume it’ll be among the available material. Some of the lyrics are probably going to be hard to remember, but the melody should work well, because it starts high and goes low (so it’s easy to check that it’s within your vocal range) and the other bits can be sung in a falsetto voice. Huge comic potential.

Are you allowed to take a friend up with you?

Also I like the idea of getting the crowd to join in e.g. Sweet Caroline with the “I’ve been inclined … ba-ba-ba!” bit.

If you’re taking requests, do “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams Jr. Even if you mangle it, your audience will understand.

As someone who is a terrible singer but survived living in Japan, where karaoke is a requirement, for a couple of decades, the above has a lot of good advice.

A couple of things that can be added:

Practice! Even terrible singers can get a little better with repetition.

Avoidance! Make sure everyone else goes first, several times. By the time it’s your turn people should be drinking more. Avoid sober friends, they are the only ones who will remember you.

In Japan, you can actually get singing lessons. I learned a couple of songs which got me through 99% of the events.

It’s a singles group, but a number of couples joined anyway. I asked @Ion1 if she wanted to go next week, and she may… if I promise I’ll sing. :tired_face:

Last night, my first time with this group, I just mingled and danced that white guy, offbeat shuffle that the ladies find SO HAWT.

I will say, a number of the people who did participate obviously had experience in their younger years, either by playing in a band or some sort of training.

Do a duet. My best karaoke was when a total stranger asked me if I’d do a duet with her. She absolutely nailed her part and I was at the top of my game thanks to how she behaved. Everyone thought we were lovers; I never even got her name.