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Trying to overcome karaoke envy

By APRILL BRANDON
Sept. 22, 2010 at 4:22 a.m.


It took me a long time to realize it. It took me even longer to admit it. And I'm still working on coming to grips with it.

I suffer from a severe case of...(choked up sigh)...karaoke envy.

Yes, it's sad but true. For years, I have sat in the back of darkly lit bars watching with a fierce jealousy as the other patrons had their names called out and headed up to the mic stand. I've watched them take a deep breath as the first few notes of "Black Velvet" or "Friends in Low Places" or in extreme cases "Bohemian Rhapsody" floated into the air. And I've watched as they closed their eyes and began belting out the lyrics with their heart and soul.

I watch them, and I hate them. I hate their confidence. I hate that they can carry a tune with or without a bucket. And I hate that they wouldn't rather have a painful root canal sans novocaine than stand up in front of people all alone.

I even hate the ones that are completely tone deaf and sound like a cat getting murdered because at least they still have the guts to get up there and do it.

But me? Get up there? Never. I'm a coward.

Well, that's not entirely true. I actually did once sing a song at karaoke. But it doesn't really count. I was six Coronas into my Saturday night, the audience consisted of three bikers and a bar fly and I sang with my best friend the duet "Summer Nights" with my mock John Travolta-esque voice that was nine octaves lower than my natural voice (although the bar fly seemed to really dig it...that is, right up until the point she fell off her stool).

So why can't I do it? I've done far more embarrassing things in public of my own free will (oh yes, I was that chick who held up the "Free Hugs" sign at the mall). And I sing all the time (albeit mostly badly and slightly off key). I sing in the car, with and without passengers. I sing in the shower. I play Rock Band all the time in my living room and belt out "Man in the Box" like Alice is being choked by his chain and only I can rescue him with the power of my voice.

But see, the difference is "the public." Karaoke involves singing in front of this "public." And in my experience, my body goes on all-out lock down when I am singled out in a crowd.

So what's a girl with karaoke envy but a fear of public singing (or speaking or even standing) to do? I mean, the genius of karaoke is that it allows everyone to live out their secret diva or rock god fantasy (oh, you know you have one) and in front of a live audience no less. It's awesome, not scary.

The truth is, I'm not sure why I can't work up the courage to get on up there. But I do know that someday, yes, SOMEDAY, I will. If it's the last thing I do, I will sing a karaoke song at a bar, all by myself, in my real voice.

And hopefully, I'll be able to get through the first couple of bars before I faint of fright.

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