April 28, 2013

A Night O' Karaoke! DO IT.

What Mandy Thinks: "Oh The Places" post
A recent SPOTD post was caused by the unthinkable act of me erupting my singing voice through a microphone in front of... well, more than a mirror or steering wheel... which was KARAOKE and it was FANTASTIC.

First I need to point out that I am not much of a "going to bars" person since I can count how many times I've been in one on one hand and I still consider alcohol to be "icky."  But a friend of mine who lives in the city who is usually an even less of a bar person recommended a karaoke bar since she said "I'm normally not a bar person, but I found out all I needed to do was find the RIGHT bar, and this one's it."

This lead to a walk from downtown SF through Nob Hill where we found the Encore Karaoke Lounge.  One red fancy drink (mixed so sweetly I made the bartender wince) and a few songbook browses later, I was noticing how awesome karaoke looked from our seat near the "stage" or space in front of the DJ that wasn't occupied by a table.  There were screens all over the bar flashing the lyrics to each song so I obviously had to join in on the merriment of lip syncing along with the poor souls who attempted the rifts and runs of 90s rap songs and 80s power ballads.  As I sat there hoping tone deafness wasn't contagious, I witnessed my friend go up and belt out a song from a musical that was perfect for her and her slight buzz from whatever the bartenders were giving her.  My stage fright from accumulated childhood choir and musical theater performances (where I stood near the back because 1) I was too tall, 2) I didn't have a strong voice, and 3) I could hide) was suddenly bottling up in me faster than the fancy red drink I ended up not finishing.  Was I really going to go up there?  Did I choose the right song?  What if I forget the words which are RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE and just FREEZE and look like a complete idiot?

Turns out:  Noooooooobody cares (in a good way.)

Karaoke lounges such as these are the perfect places to debut your closeted not-exactly-tone-deaf-but-hey-it's-pretty-decent singing voice to an audience that won't judge you (much in my case or at all in everybody else's) while simultaneously letting off some steam!  I choose a song I've known since I could read ("Bad Moon Rising," of course) to minimize lyric freezes.  The key it was in was a little weird so with the slight panic of "oh no I can't sing it in this key wait no stop!" to "oh no people are looking at me and the song's about to start ahh!" I started anyway.  SO MUCH TWANG in my voice came sailing out it was like I was living in Wyoming all over again.  Nerves and a "wrong" key must have brought out my inner Dolly Parton because just like her I kept going like I knew what I was doing and didn't care what anybody thought (or that's how I picture her being: a headstrong awesome lady who sings like a champ).  And even as I kept singing and slightly messed up one word, I glanced around the room to see I was not the center of attention.  Everybody could hear me yeah (I'm a loud mouth), but I was part of the ambiance!  This loosened me up since I didn't seem to be getting critiqued like I was critiquing everybody else.  The last note of the song came and went and FINALLY I had SANG in front of people ALONE and it was GREAT.  I also went up for another song, and by that time everybody was drunk and loud and distracted with their late-night social bar business that I felt even better the second time.

So if you're thinking about singing in public, karaoke at the right bar is all you'll need to boost some confidence no matter how good or bad you sing it.  Karaoke is normally very social and exciting regardless if it's in a bar or somebody's living room, so just GO FOR IT.  It's something that's not supposed to be taken seriously!  Just have fun with it.

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