I’ve always loved to sing, I have moments of greatness even, and I’m known never to pass up an opportunity to crank up a karaoke machine. We spent New Years Eve 2019 at Panama City Beach, Florida, for a short few days. The bar across the street from our condominium had karaoke nights and I wasn’t going to miss another chance to perform. This is the same place I sang with my extended family a year earlier. It was raining that night and the wait was long but we got in for food and drinks and then made our way over to the karaoke area where many of us belted out tunes for mainly our own enjoyment and that of anyone else who cared to care.
Earlier in the fall of 2019, Kelly and I had made a trip to Nashville where we stopped into a karaoke bar near downtown. I performed a few songs and did okay but flubbed a few, too. It made me feel that if I was going to do this I needed to do it right. This thought began to grow in my mind.
Fast forward to January 2020 or so. I am searching Spotify for a particular song and notice that a karaoke version appeared in the search results. Suddenly I realize there is a huge library of karaoke music on Spotify: everything I need other than the lyrics. Well, lyric sites are plentiful on the Internet, so that wasn’t a problem. I had a PA speaker and microphone I could use. All of a sudden everything clicked!
I began with my usual songs such as John Mellencamp’s Hurt So Good and soon expanded to hundreds of selections. My full-volume practice annoyed the family so I moved my practice studio to the bedroom above the garage, the most sound-isolated place in the house. Whenever I have an hour alone in the house (which is rare in pandemic-land), I fire up the PA, flip open my lyric binder, and bust out a few songs.
I have found that songs that seemed fine to sing while I’m alone in the car just don’t fit my voice or vocal style. I had to learn to pass on songs I love simply because my voice couldn’t do them justice. It has been a hard lesson but an important one. I want to entertain people when I sing, not try to fit my voice into something that won’t work. I trimmed down dozens of songs from my repertoire to focus on the ones I can sing best.
I have spent over a hundred hours working on karaoke songs and perfecting my singing. Each time, I pretend I’m on a stage somewhere post-pandemic, working hard to sing my very best. I look forward to that day or night where I can finally take this show on the road.