in Checking In, Music, X-Geek

Karaoke is my quarantine creative outlet

After a public performance or two over our New Years trip I thought I’d take my singing more seriously. I quickly realized the huge library of karaoke songs on Spotify and that could use this and some Googled lyrics to turn a PA speaker into a karaoke machine. I’ve posted two of my songs to YouTube already (“(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” By Elvis Costello and “Pink Cadillac” By Bruce Springsteen) and have gotten positive feedback. It feels good to be able to try something new, share it with the world, and get feedback on it.

It’s been a good lesson on how I sing, too. I sang in chorus in middle school and sang in my church’s youth choir around that time, too. I’ve been singing along to my favorite music whenever I’m alone at home or in the car. Once my colleagues caught me singing in the server room when I thought the roar of machines was drowning me out! Rarely did I sing for an audience before.

I have learned that singing with the goal of sounding the best is new to me. I realized that many of the songs I’ve been singing along to, ones that I’ve enjoyed singing, are not necessarily songs fit for my vocal range or style. When I’ve tried to do karaoke versions of these songs I quickly realized the ways in which my voice came up short. You know what? I have learned to be fine with this. I can’t nail every song but there are still hundreds or even thousands where my voice fits just fine. My list of karaoke songs is now well into the hundreds and I can easily organize a hefty, interesting set list to cover any performances.

So, this is one way that the quarantine situation has helped my singing. If I were performing songs in front of an audience in a bar, I could sing poorly and blame it on drinking, a bad PA system, a surly audience, or any number of things. When I’ve got the ability to record my performances, and edit them, and do as many takes as needed to get something I like, the aspect of quality becomes much more important. The two I’ve posted so far certainly aren’t perfect, and I’ve tempered my perfectionist ways a bit to compromise on something that’s pretty good but still worthy to be shared with the world. I can just trust I’ll get better as I go.

It’s also been fun to hone my recording engineering skills and video editing skills, too. I’ve put lots of effort into getting the right mix when I add my vocals to the backing tracks. I’m also getting better at syncing my prerecorded audio with the video clip that I subsequently add. Good skills to have, all of them.

I hope these entertain someone. I hope to add more soon.