Quieter times mean there's a lot more time for introspection. You can use your time at home to delve into your reading list, to perfect your yoga postures, to meditate, to journal. Or, scrap that, you can get online and do your best Celine Dion while clinging to a glass of white wine for dear life like it's an actual life raft. If that's more your jam, here's your step by step guide to virtual karaoke.
Karaoke is one of the most wonderful gifts that Japan has offered the world. Whether it's hanging out with some of your besties in a slick AF karaoke pod with table service and flat screens or sitting in your local boozer while someone murders Guns & Roses' entire catalogue for your entertainment — the truth is, it can't be beaten.
If you live with friends, family, or a partner, setting up a karaoke sesh at home couldn't be easier. All you need to do is download an app (Stingray is my personal favourite, but Singa is also a popular choice, with more than 80,000 songs on offer) and grab a hair brush. But if you're doing things virtually, it's a little more complicated...
Step One: Work Out Who's Getting Involved
Perhaps you and those living in your home would love to branch out a bit and get some other individuals or households involved with a singalong? If so, ping them an invite with all the important details (when and which app, for example) ahead of time. Choosing who to invite is as easy as looking at a photo from your last great night out, or the people you message most day in, day out. Maybe even set up a Whatsapp group so you can coordinate the ultimate karaoke crew for your big night in.
Step Two: Choose Your App(s)
There are plenty of options in the karaoke app world so TBH, you need to think about what you want from the evening ahead. If you're intending to get singing alongside friends in their respective homes, Smule is a popular app that makes it easy to sing alongside your mates virtually. And, not only that, you can also sing along with celebs too. Yes, you heard me right, and I'm not sure about you but the extroverted introvert in me is pretty keen to sing along with a video of an actual pop star. Smule also picks up your pitch and will tell you how you're doing. But, fear now, you can turn off this feature if you're well aware your ability to keep in tune is...erm...not exactly perfect.
Or you could do it via video chat. You could use a karaoke system you might already even have at home, or maybe one of the TV-friendly apps like Stingray and force your loved ones to watch you via video call slaying (or murdering) Single Ladies by Beyonce.
Video chat is such an ordinary part of our lives now (great prediction from The Simpsons) so you're spoiled for choice really. If group video chats are your vibe then here are some of the most popular choices, as well as their pros and cons:
- Google Hangouts allows up to 150 people in a chat, but limits its video calls to only 25 people per call.
- Whatsapp calls are easy to set up, but only allow four people are a time.
- Zoom allows up to 100 participants at a time. However, if you are using the free app, you will have a time limit of 40 minutes before you need to set up another call.
However, there are a lots of opportunities for things to go wrong with this system as the sound quality may be slightly shoddy and lag times could cause a nightmare. So Smule is still your best bet, really.
Step Three: Choose Your Song
Sure as death and taxes, everybody has an ultimate karaoke tune. Stingray claims to have thousands of songs ready for you to learn by heart. Smule has ten million in all sorts of languages and genres. I guess the latter is for the more...erm...intense karaoke fans? And all of this extra time on your hands might be the perfect opportunity to, dare I suggest, learn a few new ballads? Be brave, be vulnerable. This is your time to shine.
If you're newer to the karaoke world, maybe you need a few ideas and who better to look to than purveyors of luxury karaoke, Lucky Voice? They compiled a list of the top ten most popular song choices at their much loved establishments and they're as follows.
- Bohemian Rhapsody — Queen
- Can't Get You Out Of My Head — Kylie
- I Wanna Dance With Somebody — Whitney Houston
- Wannabe — Spice Girls
- Wonderwall — Oasis
- Angels — Robbie Williams
- Don't Stop Believin' — Journey
- Sweet Caroline — Neil Diamond
- Africa — Toto
- Dancing Queen — Abba
Step Four: Introduce A Little Competition
Although for most of us karaoke is just a bit of fun, there are some who just can't leave the competition behind. A fun idea is to create your own Strictly Come Dancing-type set up – but with pen and paper rather than gold panels. Before you begin the evening, each household should number five pieces of paper and score each singer as you go along.
Step Five: Sing Your Heart Out
So now's the time to go wild and perfect your best karaoke tune (while being considerate of both your neighbours and household of course). Above all, remember to have fun and be grateful that you're in the position to set this up and still appreciate the small things, like belting out your favourite song.