DIY: Be a karaoke rockstar

To the uninitiated, karaoke can be a bit of an intimidating scene. As good as we sound singing in the shower, getting up and singing on a microphone in front of a group of strangers (or even friends) can be as appealing as being water-boarded. Thankfully, we’ve got some karaoke pros up on the fourth floor who are sharing some insider info to ease you past your fears and up on-stage. 

Start small

Look how fun this is!

Everything is easier surrounded by friends, and the same goes for karaoke. If the idea of singing in front of a packed bar makes you break out in hives, then go see a doctor. Afterwards, gather a couple of your most trusted amigos and rent out a private karaoke room.  There’s a multitude of such establishments in Toronto, which vary in size and price. The largest concentration can be found in Koreatown, but really, they’re everywhere. We rounded up some of our favourites in a past post. Once you’ve gotten into a karaoke groove, you can expand to entertaining strangers. It’s not as scary as you think, especially with a bit of liquid courage. 

Do what you know

As if you could ever forget this.

Listen, we’re all for experimentation. But just like you wouldn’t attempt to make a soufflé for the first time your boyfriend’s parents were coming over for dinner, you should also not try to sing a relatively unknown song at karaoke. Stick to the classics to start: “Don’t Stop Believing”, “You Oughta Know”, anything by the Spice Girls. Once you’ve gone enough times, you’ll generate a list of songs you’re comfortable singing. If you’re serious about karaoke, we recommend keeping a running list going to add to whenever you hear a particularly good song. 

Know your limits

This is not you. 

Knowing the lyrics is key, but we can not stress enough the importance of knowing your vocal range. Whitney Houston may be your jam, but let’s be real… you ain’t Whitney. Or Mariah. Or Celine. Heck, we wouldn’t even recommend Frank Ocean or Lauryn Hill. Nobody wants to hear you screeching into the microphone like a cat in heat. Keep it realistic and everyone will thank you. 

A little flair never hurt nobody

Work it. 

At the end of the day, some people are born with voices that sound like a choir of angels and some people are not. The majority of us fall into the latter category, so sometimes a little smoke and mirrors can be your best friend. You may be nervous, but you’ll have ten times more fun if you relax and actually enjoy yourself. Plus, you’re the centre of attention! What better time to show off your “Single Ladies” dance moves. You didn’t spend an entire weekend rehearsing that for nothing, did you?


Fave Five: Lip Sync Fails

Happy post-Super Bowl Sunday everyone! We hope everyone had
their fill of of football-shaped cupcakes and
47-Layer Dip. This year was more than just football and funny commercials though, it was also the
second coming. Of Destiny’s Child, that
is. The reunion (which did include Kelly Rowland and 
Michelle Williams) came hot on the heels of
the heartbreaking news that Beyonce lipsynced the national anthem at Obama’s
second inauguration last month. While we’d rather just forget the whole
thing, it got us reminiscing. Beowolf is
not the first lady to air band her
way through a performance – it’s more common than we’d like to think. It isn’t always quite as earth shattering as our
boo B phoning it in, though. In fact, sometimes it’s almost
more entertaining than if they performed for realsies. Here are
our fave 5 lip syncing fails:

5. Justin Bieber’s Spaghetti and Milk mistake
Little Biebs was jamming along to “Out of Town Girl” at a concert in Phoenix when his pre-show carb and dairy loading totally backfired on him. Curiously, his backing track continued. Who knew you could sing and barf at the same time? Fast forward to 2:06 to see Biebs in all his barfy glory (if you’re into that kinda thing).

4. Milli Vanilli Pioneers the Lip Sync Face Palm
You can’t have a list of lip sync fails without including Milli
Vanilli. These guys were the first
people to face harsh media ridicule and have their Grammy Award withdrawn once
it came to light that they were just models/dancers with a more marketable
image than the singers on the album. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if one of them hadn’t dubbed himself the “New Elvis
and claimed that, based on their success,
they were more talented than Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger.

3. Phoebe Buffay gets discovered and discovers the Smelly
Now, in Phoebe’s defence, she didn’t actually know that she
was the Milli Vanilli in this situation.  When t
he quirky Friend learned that another woman was singing in the video (and that wasn’t just how she sounded to other people), she felt terrible. She realized that the woman with the voice,
and less video-friendly image
was the
smelly cat and we’re sure she made amends. 
You also might be saying “but this is fictional…” but we can’t hear

2. Britney Spears’
2007 “comeback”
Feast your eyes on one of the most uncomfortable things we’ve ever seen. This was a very tough year
for Brit-Brit (see: Bald Britney, Divorced Britney, and General Train Wreck Britney) so we’ll try to go easy. Champions of the “Lucky
singer eagerly awaited her comeback performance at the 2007 MTV VMAs to shut up the haters once and for all. Unfortunately they were disappointed to instead see a nervous, stumbling shadow of the pop superstar they once knew with very little stage presence and a manky weave. (We’d also like to note that
while Brit was obviously out of it and in a bad place, a lot of flack came
her way about her body. Harsh critics
ridiculed the singer, calling her “fat” and “disgusting” and we think it was
also an important moment in the body image debate.)
1. Ashlee Simpson’s SNL Hoedown
You know what they say, anything
can happen on live TV.
 Shortly after the
debut of The Ashlee Simpson Show, and her very serious adult relationship with
this guy (but before her marriage to this guy) she appeared on SNL as a musical guest. During her second performance, “Pieces of You” started to play, but whaaa? SHE ALREADY SANG THAT SONG!!!! Also the microphone was nowhere
near her mouth.
 It’s cool though, she covered it up with a
really cool dance.
 Now, she wouldn’t have lip
synced in the first place but she had heart burn, you guys. 
   We think we can all agree that it’s best just to keep it real. Beyonce could learn a thing or two from her fans. This girl knows what’s up:

Rave: Divas playlist

Working in an office of all girls has many perks – there’s always mascara to borrow, boy advice to be given and no one cringes when you talk about your time of the month. One slow-moving afternoon, when we all needed a little motivation, we spontaneously created what we believe is the greatest playlist of all time. The theme? Divas. 

Now, what makes a diva you ask? There’s a few criteria that come into play. You should be recognizable by your first name (i.e. Whitney, Celine, Beyonce, Aretha, etc). A set of pipes that can hit the highest of high octaves is helpful. Being notorious for insane demands basically guarantees you a spot (see: Mariah being carried everywhere, Madonna making TIFF volunteers face the wall). Finally, even if your vocals are sub-par, getting Ben Affleck to rub your booty in a music video means you’ve earned the diva title. 

Take a listen to the playlist (below) and let us know if you think we’re missing anyone. Tweet @rockitpromo if you have some diva-licious suggestions.