Here are my own tips for Karaoke singing.
There are two main things to master singing – 1) Voice 2) Technique. Surprisingly the second one is easier than you might think. You have to listen and listen and note all the nuances. Training your voice is another first step. Your talking voice is not your singing voice. When you talk, you might not exert any effort at all and it needs to be heard only by those close to you immediate unless you are making a public speech which is a totally different thing. When singing, a) you are attempting to carry your voice across over a much larger distance b) maintaining the tone of the voice throughout i.e., without hisses and pops, breathing sounds injecting into your voice, etc. Voice training takes practice and you need to sing at a level that you are comfortable. If you start at a higher pitch you might not be able to sustain it. Finding that pitch that is natural takes some exercise such as shruthi tuning (which we won’t get into now) – basically, you try to maintain a certain pitch for a length of time and see which of these base pitches you are comfortable at. Singing in your natural voice might sound as if you are not sounding like the original singer, but that it what you need to first do to know your voice. If you are going to be imitating someone else to start with you will never find your own singing voice.
Singing voice is like a culture. This is true daily. The voice takes time during the day to find its rythm. Right after you get up, you might not find it comfortable to start singing at a higher pitch. In fact, you might not be comfortable to find your right pitch itself. If the culture is a little too young or old, then it won’t be good to taste. Likewise, if you are too tired, you can’t find that singing voice. Hence in classical Indian singing, one starts of with Alapanas which exercise the vocal cords and prepare for the session ahead.
You need to keep your vocal cords and throat moist. Else the reverberations caused in here can hurt the delicate tissues. Drink water or tea before your session. Don’t eat spicy food that cause the throat to produce excess mucus.
Have a reportoire of songs that you are comfortable with. I always carry these along with me on my smart phone. At a party it is good to be prepared thus. I have found at many parties you can’t connect your smart phone to the speakers. So keep a pair of cables handy – you never know when it will be of use. You have to create an atmosphere that is comfortable for you. Thus try to be prepared with your own songs and equipment. Don’t jump into singing any song at a party. That is why you need to select those that you have practised. After all, at a party, you want to entertain the guests.
You might find sites online that relay the songs with lyrics. That might be a good subsricption. I like to have the lyrics in front of me and let my practice dictate the technique. Just find your own comfort zone for what works with you.
At a Karaoke party, be prepared to sing one or two songs. With other guests pitching in, you might not have too much time. Select songs that the audience can relate to not that you personally relate to. If you have a lot of time for singing, then you can experiment with more. If it late at night, the guests will be tired. So choose a mellow song to start with; don’t jump into a high energetic song right away. Select songs that are not too challenging. This isn’t a singing competition; songs that entertain are best – pacy/rythimic songs, more background music help.
Keep practicing. The song that you sang so well one day might not work out on another day if you jump straight into it. I have attempted singing the same song at home later on and found I have forgotten nuances such as when to start, etc. So it is a good idea to make a few notes on your lyrics sheet – where to pause, which to repeat. The lyrics aren’t always accurate – especially if you are getting one from India!! Words are mis-spelt, repeats aren’t marked, etc.