As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I like to sing, in fact I LOVE TO SING.
One magical day during my sophomore year at Pitt, there appeared in the middle of the Student Union a big booth. Within minutes kids started gathering around this big booth and soon it was discovered you could go into the booth and sing a song which could be heard all around the union. From that moment, I don’t think anyone passing through attended classes that day, instead waited their turn to sing A SONG. I remember an Egyptian girl singing a country version of Amazing Grace and an Indian friend of mine singing some Beatles. It was very cool and fun.
A few years later in early 1992, my piece of crap car, with the check engine light on, was stolen from my unlocked unattached garage outside my 3rd floor walkup apartment in Bellevue. I was so BUMMED. It was a 1981 Buick Skylark (my first car ever) and I didn’t carry anything other than collision insurance. At the time, I was making $14,400 a year as a sales assistant and didn’t even know how to take out a loan to get a replacement car.
Trying to cheer me, my mom picked me up and took me to this bar called Gary’s II to show me something she discovered the week before. It was karaoke.
I saw booklets all covered in spilled beer, little sheets of paper and pencils strewn about the tables and bar. I picked one of the booklets up and looked through it. Oh WOW, all kinds of songs that I knew were listed and there were microphones and a machine that this older couple were operating and no one was singing. I put in a song from the soundtrack of Top Gun by Berlin, Take My Breath Away and KILLED IT.
The karaoke guy was like, “YOU ARE SO GOOD. Put in another song and we will put you right at the top of the line.” Thus started my karaoke singing career.
A day or two later my car was discovered a couple of miles away from my apartment. It had a new quart of oil sitting on the front seat (they saw the check engine light too) but my Entertainment Book was gone. Remember those? Oh well. I was thrilled to find the car and I promptly stole it back then spent fifty bucks on THE CLUB so that wouldn’t happen again.
A week or two later it was Valentine’s Day and I had taken a chance on something.
I had spied a very handsome and tall man getting his coffee and getting off at the law firm a couple of floors below my office. We always smiled at each other and I found out his name was Michael.
Being Valentine’s Day and all I decided to get a bunch of flowers, leave a note on them and drop them off at his office. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I waited all day for some phone call or a visit or something and when 5 o’clock came and went I went down to the office to see what happened to my flowers. It was reported to me that HIS GIRLFRIEND HAD PICKED THEM UP. Well, here I was bummed again.
So, single as could be, I got my friend Heather and we went back to Gary’s II to drown our dateless sorrows and sing a few songs. It was that night that I found my singing partner, Scott, and we have been dueting now for 27 years. Scott is my best male friend and about the best singer I know!!!!
That night Heather sang her first karaoke song holding my hand and sitting on the stage. She sang The Rose and I will never forget that. That night started hundreds of karaoke nights for us and we still get together to belt out a few classics and try new songs as often as we can.
Since then, I have sung thousands of songs and every town I visit I seek out a karaoke bar. I have waited 4 hours to sing one song at Cat’s Meow in New Orleans. What is cool about this place is there are HUGE crowds there and everyone is INTO the karaoke. It is nice when people actually listen to the singing.
I have sung 99 Red Balloons in Germany and was surprised that no one cared. The song is by a German artist so I thought it would be cool. Apparently, I was the only one! 😊
I have won contests and lost more, I have seen shy as can be wallflowers grab onto the microphone with clenched fists and leave the stage confident and exhilarated. I tell you EVERYONE wants to be a rock star. Even you, yup you!
Back in the early days when we would sing at Mad Anthony’s in my hometown, I remember the Fox’s Pizza Den delivery guy popped in and sang Lady, by Kenny Rogers and it was AMAZING. I remember it decades later because he was SO GOOD.
We recently had probably our 15th private karaoke gig. I am older now and have some resources. Instead of going to smoky bars and waiting 30 minutes between songs, for special occasions or if we just really feel like having a party, we hire our own professional karaoke DJ. I can tell you if there is karaoke at one of my parties, I don’t even talk to anyone at the party. I work on the food and just sing and encourage others to sing. I’m apologizing now to everyone who has ever attended any of my parties and I didn’t talk much to you! Sorry, not sorry… see line one of this blog. I LOVE TO SING!!!
This last party that we had was very special. It was the first time we ever had a karaoke bash at someone else’s house and many people had never sung karaoke before so I knew this was going to be FUN.
In attendance were captains of international banking, lawyers, a chief grievance officer for the US Postal Service Pittsburgh Metro area, a titan of Pittsburgh retail, a transportation specialist, and folks who work in all kinds of areas. Within an hour or so, everyone was singing and dancing and having a SUPER time. Yes, many people need some or a lot of liquid courage to get on up there, but many are just raring to go and seeing stars in their eyes. It is a terrific way to let loose.
I’m seeing my favorite high school pal this coming Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving for some karaoke and I can’t wait for her visit back home and to sing with her!! It is the busiest party night of the year so I hear.
This holiday season I encourage any and all karaoke virgins to get your sing on and hit me up for some karaoke. I’ll be happy to show you the ropes!!!! Sing it loud peeps and sing it proud! #karaokerocks #pghsinger