Turn Karaoke into Open Mic Night

A few years ago, MCJin released a song called ‘Karaoke Night’ whose chorus exclaimed:

I’m so dope and my flow’s so tight
I could turn karaoke to open mic night

I still remember it because I love the imagery it conjures up. Beyond the self-proclamation of skills and hip-hop puffery, there’s a picture of someone who takes an ordinary evening of karaoke into a show-stopper of its own. This got me thinking about the artists I come across and how they often fall into two categories: those who go all out in every live show and those who do not.

Sure, we all say that every gig deserves our entire commitment but it’s seldom that I see a stadium rocker hearts on the local stage. Why is that? Here are two of the big reasons:

  1. A lack of Ability: Some people just don’t have the charisma and magnetic stage presence of professional acts that comes with experience and discipline. No matter how good you think you are, there’s always room for improvement. When I first started my band, we’d video tape every single show and then carefully watch the footage as a group. It was like a football team examining the play-by-play footage: what went well, what didn’t, what could make it better. It was a great learning experience and I think something that all artists should try. There are some truly talented musicians out there who have a poor stage presence. That’s OK, it’s a skill that can be learn. 
  2. A Lack of Willingness: The harder thing to fix is a rotten attitude. Some people get frustrated at a low turnout or bad sound check and then give a halfhearted performance because they’re embarrassed. You’ve probably seen many acts do this and it’s uncomfortable to watch. If the artist doesn’t look like they are, the audience watching certainly won’t care either. There’s the old adage, “live each day as if it were your last.” Well, the same goes for the show: the people who paid to get in deserve your absolute best.

In the first group, the artist cares but might just be sloppy or inexperienced. They just need more training and help. In the second, they’re just a bunch of jerks. Don’t be the person that no one wants to be around because of the attitude. You want to be remembered for always delivering your best and you want your best to keep on getting better.

Take every situation, whether it is karaoke night or playing Madison Square Gardens, to show that you are a star.

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