By Will Radik (who will be KJing at Chopsticks Express tomorrow evening)
Some people have apprehensions about singing karaoke, especially if it's their first time. Stage fright is common in any performance situation, but a little preparation goes a long way. Here's a little karaoke primer to start you on your way and help shake off some of those jitters.
First off, for any Karaoke beginner, this should be required viewing. It is @alexcwilliams's Ignite: Portland 4 presentation “10 Karaoke Commandments,” and it's chock full of valuable information! (video also below after the jump)
In addition, I have some tips of my own for you to enhance your experience and keep your KJ from morphing into the Soup Nazi and biting your head off:
#1) When reading the books, the numbers can sometimes be confusing, especially after all those appletini's and mojitos, you lush! Just remember this: If there are two versions of a song listed (and there often are) the one preceded by SC is the choice you want.
It stands for Sound Choice, the leading manufacturer of karaoke discs and they produce the best renditions. Don't let a wonky version ruin your three minutes of fame.
#2) Hand your slip directly to your KJ instead of leaving it somewhere on the counter. You'll have to wait for us to acknowledge you, but it's better than your slip getting blown off the counter or left to sit for ten minutes until it's finally noticed. Never put song slips in the tip jar! We'll just find it when we're counting our money at the end of the night and feel bad for you. If you want to be sure we know you tipped us, just hand the money to us with the slip.
#3) If you want to ask the KJ a question or hand them a slip, step around the current singer, politely, and come up during a song. during songs is the best time for us to deal with customers. Too many people come up in-between songs, when we are at our busiest, calling for singers, watching to see that they show up, juggling numbers in our heads, making sure the machines are working, and, often, having to look up a number that was written down the wrong way.
#4) If you're not able to write legibly. Hand the slip to a friend who can or ask your KJ for help. Otherwise, you won't know it's your turn when we call out “Hroathbnf!” and your name is “Keith.”
#5) Don't ever touch a KJ's slip rotation. This is a good way to lose a hand.
#6) If you plan on putting in a cute, funny name, make sure you remember what it is. If can't recall that you put in your slip as “Mr. Majestico the Anal Raider,” how am I supposed to know who you are when you come up to ask how long it is until you sing? Additionally, if you have a very common name such as Matt, John, Jennifer, etc. put your last initial down afterÃƒâ€š your name so five other people don't rush the stage when I call you up.
#7) Karaoke is all about fun. (Which is why Portland loves karaoke so much.) Don't take things so seriously. Have a good time. Really. You're freaking me out. Just sit down. Relax. Thanks.
I hope these tips put you on the road to becoming a happy, well-adjusted, karaoke singer!
<3 ——- <3
Will Radik, as well as being a KJ at Chopsticks Express, is a visual artist, audio technician, podcaster, and serial volunteer who grew up mostly in the SF Bay Area and Chicagoland. You can find his personal blog at inyourwater.wordpress.com.
*Photo By greggoconnell
*Video By linuxaid