How to be brave at karaoke

“I hate it!” is what a lot of people say about karaoke, but it’s one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo after dinner with friends.

Although it’s a predominantly Asian pastime, I think if you did a survey on who loves or hates karaoke, you could probably end up with a 50-50 result and it doesn’t matter where you come from.

But since you’re reading this, you are probably swaying on whether or not to grab that mike and let it rip. You’ve maybe even sat in on a couple of sessions but you’ve resisted singing at all costs.

It’s easier for me to embrace karaoke since I’m Asian and it’s everywhere, but I’ve had to climb over my own hurdles of fear and embarrassment in the beginning. Perhaps I’ve shed a lot of self-consciousness over such things since my awkward teenage years, but I’ve come a long way from being a shy lass to a thick-skinned woman.

So, here’s some advice on how to be brave at karaoke:

Choose familiar songs. It could be a really old tune by The Carpenters or The Beatles, but if you can remember the music and some of the words, you’ve won half the battle. Don’t select cool, new songs because they are really hard to sing. Would you rather look stupid over a rap song or go slightly off-key with an old classic? The choice is obvious.

Have a few drinks. I always hear these stories about people who used to be so reluctant to sing at karaoke, but once they down a few shots, they’re turn into a karaoke animal. Liquid courage is your friend.

Partner up. This will take your shyness away by at least 80 per cent because if you don’t know the words, you can hide your uncertainty behind someone else’s voice. Nobody really knows who flubbed which lines when two people take over the mike. It’s also fun to sing with a buddy.

Laugh at yourself. Though some people are truly good at carrying a tune, most folks are mediocre (like you), so don’t worry too much about not getting it completely right. Joking while you’re singing is fun, but like most things that make you laugh, you can’t plan the punch line. Just go with the flow and relax.

What are you waiting for? Just do it.

Photos: b-chan’s world, stuartbuchanan, Loop’s San

2 Comments so far

  1. jusco on February 13th, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

    Another thing that helped me work up the courage to sing karaoke was going to a karaoke box. It’s just you and your friends (or just you perhaps) so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself in front of a crowd. For me also, singing in Japanese helped a lot. Even if I screw up people will still be impressed that a westerner is singing in Japanese.


  2. astrorainfall on February 13th, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

    haha! I love it when my Jap friends sing in Japanese. The words are all in hiragana so it’s quite easy to yoddle along.



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