If you are friends with me in real life you know that I am scared of doing karaoke. It doesn’t really matter how I know you – you don’t have to sing – you could be a coworker – you could be someone that I just catch up with once every 2 months. You probably know that I’m scared of doing karaoke.
Why am I telling everybody this? Because it was the only goal I had for 2012 and it didn’t happen.
I’m a choir girl for goodness sake. I don’t sing solo. I especially don’t sing solo to songs that I haven’t rehearsed yet. And most of my choir lessons are memories of missed key changes, forgetting lyrics, and not being able to keep the back of my tongue down. (I thought about taking that line out, and then decided to keep it in.)
What’s a girl to do? Seek some help. In college I was in 4 different choirs -I’ve got plenty of choir friends, so maybe they can help. I emailed a bunch of people and I’m here to share those answers with you today by voice part.
Soprano Karaoke Songs
JOHANNA: a soprano and incredible improv piano player who sometimes sings tenor
She always looks for “Angel Baby” by Rosie & The Originals and “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by The Teddybears, but they don’t show up in the karaoke collections often. Her duet choice is A Whole New World, and if she was feeling crazy she’d head for Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, or kicking it old school with “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations. However, she says she’d rather sing along with whatever she wants in her kitchen!
JEN: a soprano who sings my favorite renditions of Summertime and Cry Me a River
She takes it back to her 90’s roots when doing karaoke. She finds that “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls is usually a hit – everyone else knows it/has heard it so generally people are entertained, and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. (Her favorite part is the high note in the middle before the epic guitar riff)
TINA: a soprano who can belt and sings everything from madrigals to Evanescence
She has been singing songs recently that require a belting – “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler and anything by Adele. However, some of her favorite soprano songs are “Poor Wandering One” by Pirates of Penzance or “Popular” from Wicked.
KERRY: a soprano who always rocks the descants at the annual Christmas party
Her top two songs are “Hero” by Mariah Carey, and Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood.
STEPHANIE: a soprano who stood beside me and rocked out on the barbershop stage
Her two favorite songs are Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do”, and (if they have it) “Vegas” by Sara Bareilles.
BETH: a soprano who rocks the Ave Maria and taught me to “fake it ’til you make it”
Her favorites are “Like a Prayer” by Madonna and anything that screams musical theater or Disney.
JAMIE: a mezzo soprano who I’ve seen rock (and sexify) Dream On and This Love
She sticks to Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”, a safe pick with wow factor. Her second option, is “Because the Night” by Patti Smith. However, her pick depends on the venue.
Alto Karoake Songs
MEGHAN: an alto told to sing soprano for the first 2 years of her college career
She likes to sing “Lullaby of Birdland” by Nikki Yankofsky and “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.
VICTORIA: an alto with killer scat solos and pneumonic devices to remember song lyrics
The only time she’s ever done karaoke she sang “You Make Me Feel So Young” – however she says she’d like to give a try to “Titanium” by David Guetta, “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert and “Stronger”. She also mentioned that song like “Don’t Stop Believin’ might overdone, but if you can really nail it – you’d be a standout.
TERI: an alto with a voice for songs like Fever, she also choreographed for show choir
Her choices are the new “Lady Marmalade” and “Waterfalls” by TLC.
ANNA: a low alto with so much passion and pure sex that every song (or rap) gives you chills
Her two favorite karaoke songs are “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae and “Heartache Tonight” by the Eagles.
Tenor, Baritone, and Bass Karaoke Songs
JOE: a reliable tenor who I wish I was half as chill as with such a great voice
His to go to songs of the moment are “Losing My Religion” by REM and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by The Smiths.
ERIC: a baritone who happened to be in the right place at the right time for this survey
He looks for “Get What You Give” by New Radicals and “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors.
BJ: a baritone who recently started singing in public and when he sings, you can feel it
His first pick is “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John and his second pick is “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel. Of course, there were runner ups – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers (which he sounds incredible on), “Feelin’ Good” and “Save the Last Dance for Me” by Michael Buble.
STEVE: a bass with great harmonyt lines, and he directs Christmas Carols with a twist
He likes to stick to the duets, his two favorites are “A Whole New World”, from Aladdin and “Summer Lovin'” from Grease.
BILL: a piano player who has saved my butt numerous times and sings a little bass on the side
I sadly haven’t done a lot of karaoke in my day, but I will share my thoughts on it.
I think the best karaoke songs are ones that the singer can sing well AND the audience knows and can sing along with. Sweet Caroline? Yes. Brown Eyed Girl? Yes. Don’t Stop Believing? NO!!! NO NORMAL KARAOKE SINGERS HAVE THAT MUCH RANGE!!! IT’S A TRAP!!! (Chrystina interjection: note, this does not contradict Victoria’s statement above – they’ve both agreed that Don’t Stop Believing done correctly by a singer with the right range would be great.)
Oh, you also don’t want a song that is more than probably 4.5 minutes long or has long instrumental solos where you have to stand up there awkwardly shuffling to the music or something. So November Rain is a bad idea. Also Paradise City. Hmm, basically if it’s Guns N Roses and not Welcome to the Jungle, you’ve got a problem.
And the song shouldn’t be slow unless you can actually sing well. Get something with a little pep in it. You’re out having a good time at karaoke. Every Rose Has Its Thorn is not what we’re in the mood for.
For years I have said that my karaoke song is Touch Me by The Doors. I don’t know if it’s a top 2 song, because it violates the audience knows and can sing along with clause I just mentioned. However, the song is right in my wheelhouse vocally, so I can sound awesome doing it. Plus it’s a pretty good song, good beat, not slow, no big musical interludes, etc.
My best karaoke memory was singing Just a Gigolo by David Lee Roth with my former roommates at Homecoming one year. Since we played that song to death in the Penn Band, all the bandos we were out with at the bar knew it, could sing along, and we were all pretty drunk, so we just belted it out. When I picked up Connor from day care last week, this song was actually on the radio, so I belted it out for him. He laughed and said it was a “funny” song, which is a compliment. So now more good memories of the song!
So yeah, I guess I’d got with Touch Me and Just a Gigolo, even though I’m pretty sure you will have exactly 1 vote for each of those after you poll people.
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So, what have we learned from all of this?
- My friends are awesome because they answer questions like this on a whim for me.
- They’re pretty attractive.
- Some of them don’t really follow directions but I love them anyway.
- I have a lot of friends from jazz choir who like jazz music.
- I need to meet more men (specifically ones who sing).
- A bunch of choir people have never sung and/or don’t really sing karaoke.
I’m going to work on this. I’ve got to find my karaoke song. Here’s what I think it’s going to be
Chrystina: a low alto who prefers to sing like a man when given the opportunity, but has a sexy jazz voice if necessary
Four karaoke songs she’s considering right now are “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Rait, “Disease” by Matchbox 20, “Somebody’s Somebody” by Christina Aguilera… and she wishes she had the nerve to sing “Fever” with as much sass as she wants to. However, she would rather sing Broadway songs, Disney songs, and church songs.
We’ll see how this goes.
For everybody I missed or anybody who’s done karaoke (singers and non-singers) and would like to help a girl out, please leave comments below. (You hear that, I’m begging for comments. Make my Friday.)
PS. If you’re a music person, you might appreciate these corny choir jokes.