"Karaoke seams to change so much by region and over time. I follow Karaoke on Twitter, and am surprised by the differences by area. Like here, VERY few singers like themes or contests to do with Karaoke. They just want to sing. But I'm reading that lots down in the US really look forward to that. And not many here follow the Asian preferred private group Karaoke rooms."
As a Host, I prefer to NOT do contests as someone invariably gets their feelings hurt and/or strongly disagree with the out-come. I DO however, like the idea of theme nights. I don't do it at my club yet, as they don't like the idea ( YET ). lol
I try to make Karaoke fun for all. Singers AND listeners. But ULTIMATELY, the singer is the one that needs to be the Hosts focus. If the Karaoke singer is not happy, they WILL go else-where. Listeners on the other hand, will for the most part, stay and/or come back. But without singers, there's no show.
About a year and a half ago, Edmonton, Alberta had more Karaoke bars per-capita, than any 2 other cities in North America put together. But that has since changed quite a bit. We now seem to be in line with the normal trend. But now, Karaoke Hosts here, are a dime a dozen, so wages have fallen to ( as an entertainer ) an unrealistically low rate. Mind you, the bad Hosts are slowly getting weeded out. But weather that will ever help our wages is unsure.
So, what's a bad Host?
Mostly, a Host that is doing it for their own gratification.
So, what is a good Host?
To be a good Host, you NEED to put the Singer above all else. That means, you have to make the singer happy as BEST you can. I ONLY sing to fill in time if there are only a few singers, and to duet when asked. The Host NEEDS to get the crowd INTO the singer. Announce him/her, applaud and encourage others to applaud, etc. Help the singer get over stage fright, get on tune, get in time, etc. Mix the sound so that the Singer can hear them-selves. One of the biggest problems for singers being off tune or off time, is that they can't hear them-selves well enough. ALL Pros use monitors of some sort. Hosts NEED to keep track of the singers. Now, with bars not allowing smoking inside, singers end up missing their spots. I know it's not MY fault as the Host, but it still prompts complaints, and it can can easily be helped by letting the singer know ahead when it's their turn, have a small speaker out side, have a runner help out, poke your head out before current singer is finished, etc. As Host, you NEED to be up on what's popular for singers. Know the music, so you can help a singer find the song they want, but just don't remember the Name or Artist..Etc. Etc. Etc. If a Host is just standing or sitting there, they are not doing their job.
Being a Host is easy. Being a GOOD Host, is a lot of work, and you HAVE to love the work or you will not stay good for long.
As for sound equipment, I probably have totally different view points than most other Karaoke Hosts, as I am a Sound and Recording Tech. trained in Live and Studio sound, as well as having been a performer off and on, for over 40 years.
I prefer Sure Mics over ALL others for LIVE stage vocals. They have been, and still are the best made Mics for live stage applications. And, as the price of GOOD Mics has come down soo much over the years, why not use with what works best. There are other mics that sound ALMOST the same, but non of them will take the abuse that Sure will. And unfortunately, Mics DO take a LOT of abuse. Many just don't think how fragile the Mics are, as they don't fix and or maintain that kind of equipment. Some singers just don't care about the equipment as it's not theirs, and many, have just had a few too many drinks. So the Mics have a fairly short life span.
We just got new Sures, 2 wireless Mics for $700. So they are not cheap. But you get what you pay for. I also use a compressor to keep from having to fix speakers as we have a lot of screamers here..lol
Most Karaoke bars use speakers designed for CANNED music, not live vocals. There is a big difference as to the sound quality when NOT using the right equipment for the task. Speaker for CANNED music are not much different than your home stereo system. Live performance speakers allow for larger speaker cone movement, as the sound is NOT as compressed ( squished ) as it is on Cd's and Radios. Live vocals at the SAME volume as CANNED, can easily blow normal speakers, due to the un-compressed pops and squeals. For the same reason, live vocals will distort easier and it will be harder to prevent microphone feedback.
There are other things that can be used to improve the show, like Compressors to even out the sound, vocal tuners to make singers sound on key, or at least a bit closer to being on key. Etc, Etc.. BUT, the Host NEEDS to have the Knowledge to use this equipment.
When I was doing the Mobile Karaoke/DJ thing, I used discs. Now, I use the CAVS system, and hope I never have to go back to spinning discs. The CAVS system makes my job SOOOO much easier, as I now have time to spend finding songs and playing up the crowd and helping singers get on time, mixing the sound, playing air guitar, etc... etc... It even has audience sounds, intros, advertising if you want, good sound control, context sensitive search, disc and song management. And it's all set up, just add songs..
At home, I use KaraFun on my LapTop, for my Karaoke player as it also plays nicely from the Karaoke Cd's, and plays Zip and midi, has low mem usage, and has a great interface. I don't need a management program on my LapTop as I prefer to do all that myself. I can specify a picture to show on screen behind the words for all songs or just specific songs. Each song could have it's own picture if I wanted, but that's a lot of work and takes up a lot of disc space. It has all the bells and whistles a Karaoke singer needs at home. It's also Freeware.
Why Host Karaoke? :
Well, for myself, I just love music. LIVE music. Live music has been part of my life, and much of my families life, for many years. I'm a third generation Music Professional. Being semi retired, Karaoke offers me the opportunity to stay in the live music business. It also allows me to help other get a taste of that life.
I can't make everyone into a Star, but if I can give you that feeling, even if just for a moment, then I've done my job. :-)
Karaoke is one of the most amazing ways to come together as human beings. We are truly connected when we are as vulnerable as standing on a karaoke stage. I believe it is the ultimate in community bonding.
My life revolves around my Family and Music. (and W.O.W. in my spare time) I'm a ( mostly ) stay at home grampa, looking after my two young special needs grandchildren. Friday and Saturday nights, I host … more
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Karaoke is a form of entertainment in which amateur singers sing along with recorded music (and/or a music video) using a microphone and public address system. The music is typically a well-known pop song minus the lead vocal. Lyrics are usually displayed on a video screen, along with a moving symbol or changing color and/or music video images, to guide the singer. In some countries, a karaoke music video with lyrics and the option to disable the original voice track is called a KTV. Due to its English pronounciation, it is sometimes incorrectly spelled "kareoke".
The concept of creating studio recordings that lack the lead vocal has been around for probably nearly as long as recording itself. Many artists, amateur and professional, perform in situations where a full band/orchestra is either logistically or financially impractical and so they use a "karaoke" recording, but they are actually the original artists. (This is not to be confused with "lip syncing" in which a performer mimes to a previously produced studio recording with the lead vocal intact.)