Now that the pandemic is finally winding down, people can go out and enjoy themselves again. Karaoke is one way that families and friends can get together and have a great time. Belting out top hits and classics is an excellent way to show off those singing skills.
If you’re feeling a bit nervous about singing in front of people, that’s normal. But, you don’t need to worry. We’ve got singing tips and song selections from vocal professionals to help you be at your best in the karaoke room.
Laurie Winckel - Vocal Edge Studios
Selecting a song can be the most nerve-wracking part of performing karaoke. You don’t need to stress about it, however!
Laurie recommends “singing songs in the range of your speaking voice, not too high or too low, not too difficult rhythmically, syncopated, too wordy or difficult to follow as the lyrics scroll across the screen.”
She gives the the following tips when it comes to choosing a song:
Sing well-known songs that the audience will also sing along to, making it a bit less intimidating
Find a duet partner and sing with someone standing beside you
Choose a song that you know really well or even grew up listening to so that there is a comfort level there
Find options that will work for kids and adults. Age-appropriate lyrics are important. If you are a kid, you don’t want to sing about things “too adult” for you. However, some of you adults may absolutely love belting out one of your favorite Disney tunes from your childhood or one that your kids love to sing at home
If a song isn’t in your key, most karaoke equipment has key changers available so for example, if you ladies like singing guy songs, you can adjust the key or pitch control and sing it in the range that is most comfortable for you.
What songs does she recommend specifically? Of course, she has recommendations for everybody!
“A Whole New World” from Aladdin
“Summer Nights” from Grease
“Shallow” from a Star is Born (Teen-adult)
“Lucky” - Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
“Need you Now” - Lady Antebellum (more mature)
“I Had the Time of my Life” from Dirty Dancing (Teen-adult)
Great Crowd Pleaser/Sing-a-long songs:
“Hopelessly Devoted to you” from Grease.
“Sweet Caroline” - Neil Diamond
“Take Me Home Country Roads” - John Denver
“I Love Rock and Roll” - Joan Jett
“Stand By Me” - Ben E. King
“Lean on Me” - Bill Withers
“Brown Eyed Girl” - Van Morrison
“Party in the USA” - Miley Cyrus
Easy Karaoke Solos:
“Lost Boy” - Ruth B
“Ocean Eyes” - Billie Eilish
“Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid
“Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast
“Love Story” - Taylor Swift
“Firework” - Katy Perry
“I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” - Elvis
“I Feel Good” - James Brown
“Crazy” - Patsy Cline
“On the Road Again” - Willie Nelson
“Titanium” - David Gupta
“Someone You Loved” - Lewis Capaldi
“Love a Rainy Night” - Eddie Rabbit
“The Rose” - Bette Midler
“Perfect” - Ed Sheehan
“All of Me” - John Legend (more mature)
“Cups”- Anna Kendrick
“Drift Away”- Uncle Kracker
“You Say” - Lauren Daigle
“I’m a Believer” - Neil Diamond
“Landslide”- Dixie Chicks
“Cats in the Cradle” - Harry Chapin
“Make it with you”- Bread
“Jailhouse Rock” - Elvis
“Give it Up” - K.C and the Sunshine Band
”Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About” - Bonnie Raitt
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” - Frankie Valle
“When Will I Be Loved” - Linda Ronstadt
“One Fine Day” - Carole King
“Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher” - Rita Coolidge
When you’re ready to perform, having a great stage presence is key to a memorable performance. You don’t have to sing like a pro if your performance is fun and engaging!
Laurie has ten tips to help you give the performance of your life on karaoke night:
Smile and acknowledge the crowd when you walk on and off stage.
Make eye contact with your audience.
Talk to the audience like they are your friend (even if you don’t know them). Be sure to add humor and clever sayings. Consider who is in your audience when speaking.
Move to the beat. Step touch with your feet, add a little swing to your hips/shoulders. Snap to the beat.
Make gestures/hand motions that are appropriate to the lyrics, but overdo them. Ie: Reach out to someone, “present” your hand from left to right, point up to the sky.
Make every move purposeful and not just a “nervous-looking” swaying or twitch or movement. Walk the stage and sing to people on each side.
Sing with emotion and show it on your face and in your gestures.
Use the mic/stand as a prop. Tilt the stand with the mic in place at a big moment in the song. Or make a moment by removing the mic from the stand at certain point in the song.
Invite the audience to sing along. Engage the crowd.
Don’t let mistakes stop you and have fun!
Caryn Rae Robin - Vox1Power
Caryn Rae Robin is a voice and performance coach and professional singer and dancer. She’s here to remind you that the audience is on your side, laughing with you, and that the best advice for karaoke is to practice before you hit the stage.
“My best advice is sing the tunes you love, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, practice like crazy and again, HAVE FUN! Be the entertainer that you are. Don’t forget to connect with your audience in between reading the lyrics! And oh yeah, HAVE FUN!”
If you’re nervous before the performance, Robin recommends warming up before you get on stage by moving or dancing a little. You can even try deep breathing: Feel your lungs and belly expanding as you inhale, exhale slowly and deliberately”, Caryn suggests.
When it’s time to perform, the most important part is making a connection with your audience. You don’t want to just read the words on the screen. She says making a connection with the audience is key to a knockout performance.
Caryn recommends these songs from across all genres and decades:
Happy - Pharrell
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars (anything Bruno works for me)
Shake If Off – Taylor Swift
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
Islands In the Stream – duet – Dolly and Kenny
You’re the One That I Want - Grease
I Can’t Help Falling In Love - Elvis
9 to 5 - Dolly
Love Shack - B-52’s
My Way - Frank
That’s life - Frank
New York, New York - Frank
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Your Song - Elton
Hey Jude - Beatles
I’m Not the Only One – Sam Smith
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney
Crazy – Patsy Cline
All Of Me – John Legend
Honky Tonk Woman – Rolling Stones
Miami - Will Smith (I’m in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area so of course!)
Walk This Way – Run D.M.C. & Aerosmith
Love Yourself – Justin Beiber
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Sweet Dreams (Are Make Of This) – Eurythmics
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra
Anything Prince, Aretha or Beyonce
Nadia Smelser - Singing Voice Success
Nadia Smelser of Singing Voice Success also has some tips when it comes to what song to select. She has a blog post on the subject that goes into detail, but below we have outlined the basics: the things to consider when picking the right song for you.
Range and Tessitura: Look at the highest and lowest note of the song and make sure both are in your comfort zone. This is the song’s range. Tessitura refers to the average range of the song. “Where does the melody hang out the most, and is that in your vocal “happy place?” Smelser emphasizes tessitura over range as selecting the right tessitura will keep you in your vocal comfort zone.
Conjunct or Disjunct Melody: How easily does the melody flow? Are there large leaps between notes? If there are large jumps in the melody, it may be challenging to hit the notes.
Tempo: Fast songs are harder than slow songs. It’s easier to stay relaxed vocally with slow songs. “Ask any singer how many slow vs. fast songs they have in their repertoire. Most singers have tons of ballads, and not so many up-tempo pieces.”
Phrase Length: Does the song have long phrases that require lots of breath support? If you’re not a professional singer, it may be hard to maintain breath support throughout longer phrases. This is where practicing can help you!
Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal
Judy Rodman says the following: “good Karaoke singers have good vocal technique to emulate the original singers as much as possible. They don't yell or mumble; they try to communicate the message of the song.”
Judy also recommends choosing songs everyone knows to get everyone singing along with you.
What songs does she recommend for beginners? Here are ten classics to get you started.
Don't Worry - Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin)
Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
Dancing Queen (Abba)
Our Song (Taylor Swift)
Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding)
Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
Should I Stay Or Should I Go (The Clash)
Country Roads (John Denver)
Biscuits (Kacey Musgraves)
You Got A Friend (Carole King)
Tara Simon - Tara Simon Studios
Tara Simon thinks that beginners to karaoke should focus on two things: rhythm and range. You should ask yourself, “How wordy is this song and how high and low does it go?” She uses the example of Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off versus Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. Shake it Off is not challenging in range, but it is wordy and can be hard to keep up with, whereas A Thousand Years is slower and would be easier for beginners.
“Knowing your voice well is key. It’s the equivalent to finding the perfect little black dress that fits like a glove… There are songs that can accentuate the good part of your voice, and there are also songs that accentuate your weaknesses.”
Simon says voice training is the fastest way to learn your voice. She has free tutorials to help you train your voice on her YouTube channel. Training and practicing to find your strengths and weaknesses will help you choose the best songs every time for karaoke.
Book a Karaoke Room Today!
If you follow these tips from these singing pros, you’re sure to make a splash at your next karaoke night. Ready to get started? Get your friends and family together and head on over to Main Event! We’ve got private karaoke rooms ready for you to belt your heart out. You can practice all the latest hits in front of your loved ones before performing in front of strangers. Book your karaoke room by reaching out to Main Event today!
Karaoke is available in the following Main Event venues