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Karaoke in Singapore: Tips for microphone domination

By: Lucy Cleeve

There are some countries that love a little singsong, and most of those countries are in Asia. And occasionally in your working life you’ll be expected to get up in front of a crowd and perform. Now, some people are born for this. You know the type – can’t wait to get their little jazz hands wrapped around a mic. Others would rather be back in the office. Yet while you may not become the next “Idol”, you can still rock out at karaoke without losing your cred. We show you eight ways to bring it, even if you can’t really sing it.

(Check out our guide to the best places to sing Karaoke – while consuming those all-important alcoholic beverages – across Singapore).

There's often politics over who holds the mic, too

1. The Speak/Sing
You know what we’re talking about. We’ve all heard it: “Start spreading the news, I’m leavin’ today…” Don’t panic, take it slow and just talk it. Don’t even try to hit the big notes. The speak/sing technique loves anything by Johnny Cash or Frank Sinatra.

Playlist ideas
Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed
Hey Mickey, Toni Basil
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, Nancy Sinatra
What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
Another Brick in the Wall, Pink Floyd

2. Distracta-dance
Can you moonwalk? Of course you can. Grab your crotch and someone’s hat and you’ve got yourself a show, Billie Jean. Maybe you actually have the moves like Jagger. Any song with distracting-slash-ridiculous dance is your karaoke friend. What’s that, you do a decent “running man”? Well, you’re all over Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer.

Playlist ideas
Drop it Like it’s Hot, Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell
Get Lucky, Daft Punk
YMCA, The Village People
Time Warp, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Macarena, Los del Rio

3. The Rap
Rapping is an impressive way to get your karaoke on. Done well, you’ll be the shizz, and your street cred will shoot up while you get down. However, while hip-hop hopefuls see rapping as an easy alternative to a more tuneful arrangement, here’s a word of warning: know the rap. Words move frighteningly quickly across those little screens. We recommend 20 or more practice raps in the shower before your big rap reveal.

Playlist Ideas
It’s Tricky, Run DMC
The Message, Grandmaster Flash
Rapper’s Delight, The Sugar Hill Gang
Gold Digger, Kanye West
(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!), Beastie Boys

4. Everybody now!
Work the crowd and the crowd will work for you. Channel your best Tom Jones, Chris Martin, Neil Diamond and work that room, baby!

Playlist ideas
You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling, The Righteous Brothers
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
Lean On Me, Bill Withers
500 Miles, The Proclaimers
Celebration, Kool & the Gang

5. The Scream/Sing
Close cousin to the speak/sing. Take a lesson from Bon Scott and Sid Vicious. Just don’t expect your voice to last more than the one song.

Playlist ideas
Rebel Yell, Billy Idol
Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr
Welcome to the Jungle, Guns n’ Roses
Highway to Hell, AC/DC
God Save the Queen, Sex Pistols

6. Comedy-oke
Get your silly on. Try a little ridiculous falsetto with a Mariah, a Whitney or even a Britney. It’s not serious, it’s karaoke! Bring a can-do comedy attitude to the stage and the crowd will be yours.

Playlist ideas
I’m Too Sexy, Right Said Fred
Tiptoe through the Tulips, Tiny Tim
Eat It, Weird “Al” Yankovic
Super Freak, Rick James
Push Th’ Little Daisies, Ween

7. Share the stage
Take the spotlight off yourself and do a duet or make it a group effort. Tips for chaps: Pick a pretty lady to sing with and nobody will be watching you. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” is a gift. She has to do the real singing while you occasionally pipe in, “Come on Barbie, lets go party!”

Playlist ideas

I Got You Babe, Sonny & Cher
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Kiki Dee & Elton John
Islands In The Stream, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton
Up Where We Belong, Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
We Are Family, Sister Sledge

8. Air Supply
Play any air instruments? This technique can majorly boost your performance. Unwavering commitment is key here.

Playlist ideas
Sweet Child O’ Mine, Guns n’ Roses (guitar)
Smells like Teen Spirit, Nirvana (guitar)
Any song at all by Kenny G (saxophone)
In the Air Tonight, Phil Collins (drums)
Lust for Life, Iggy Pop (drums)


**WARNING** Unless your middle name is Danger, approach these with extreme caution
These numbers may start off easy but they quickly escalate to a very, scary place. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Playlist ideas
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
Take on Me, A-ha
Careless Whisper, George Michael
Angels, Robbie Williams
Any song by Busta Rhymes


You’re handed the mic. You feel the eyes. Oh, god. Take a deep breath and remember, it’s not a gig, it’s a party. Go for it. Everybody wants to enjoy your act – they really do. So don’t get up and do a half-arsed job. Bring it. Whatever it is that you’ve got.