Karaoke Tips - Lyrics and Audience

By: Manuel Boissiere

In this installment of Karaoke tips, I want to go over lyrics.

For starters, this is where you really have to know your crowd. If it's going to be a wild and crazy evening where anything goes, then lyric selection isn't as important. In other words, if you want to sing a song that has some risque lyrics, you probably won't get any slack for it.

However, if it's a straight laced crowd then you're probably going to have some trouble pulling off some Green Day tunes. In fact, you might get quite a few stares in the process.

But that's not the only thing to take into account when choosing lyrics.

Sure, you're going to have the screen to look at when singing so you don't have to memorize the lyrics, but let me tell you something. Under pressure, especially with an up tempo tune or one that you are not that familiar with, it is very easy to flub your lyrics. With a slow ballad, not so much because you have time to read and then sing. With fast tunes, the time between reading and singing is greatly diminished and therefore makes it a little tougher. And if you're singing speed metal...you better know that song cold.

What you want to do, before getting to the club where you're going to sing, is go over the lyrics and make sure you know at least most of them. If you only have to look up for a few words or even a few lines, that's not such a big deal. You can probably pull that off. But if you have to read the whole song all the way through, it's going to detract from your performance.

One more thing about lyrics and song selection. A lot of songs have repeating lyrics. This makes it much easier to remember them whereas a song like American Pie, which has who knows how many verses, could be quite a challenge. In other words, the fewer lyrics you have to remember, the better.

Now I want to talk about the audience.

Too many Karaoke folks get all wrapped up in themselves like, "Hey, look at me...I'm cool"

Trust me...you're not.

The audience, big or small, is there for two reasons.

1. They're there to sing their OWN songs. They really don't give a hoot about what YOU are going to sing. Not really. But...

2. They want to be entertained. After all, it's a long night. They get to do one song and might have to wait hours to do it. So in the meantime, they want to be entertained.

You standing up there acting like a jackass is NOT entertainment. Well, maybe to some it will be, but to most, it won't.

What you want to do is show the audience that you're there for them. So, if you can pull it off, get a wireless mic and mingle with the audience while you're singing.

The songs that work best are ones where it is obvious you are singing to another person. For example, take the Cole Porter song that Frank Sinatra made so famous, "I Get A Kick Out Of You." Imagine walking through the audience and when you get to that line, give some cute girl at a table a wink and a nod or maybe just a look.

Think you're not going to make her feel special?

This is the kind of stuff that will really make the audience take a shine to you. In fact, don't be surprised if you get asked to do an encore.

See you next time with more.

To YOUR Karaoke Success,

Manuel Boissiere