Skip to main content

7 Expert Karaoke Tips to Make You a Superstar

insa karaoke

If you think that karaoke looks like fun but have never had the courage to get up there and sing a song, you’re not alone. When you’re on the outside looking in, karaoke is daunting. But once you get over your stage fright and take the mic, karaoke will become a hobby that’s nearly impossible to give up.

“Having seen how our own employees have made karaoke a part of their lives, I’ve seen people develop their own confidence and transform into beautiful karaoke butterflies — their self-esteem rising in ways I could never have imagined,” says Yong Shin, sous chef and partner at Insa, a Brooklyn Korean barbecue restaurant that houses multiple private karaoke rooms on-site. “Karaoke is such a natural and cathartic activity: it clears your chakras, makes your skin glow, and balances your hormones.” (Not medically proven.)

Shin’s overall point is true. Karaoke can make you feel like a million bucks if you let down your guard and simply enjoy the moment. Because we’re big karaoke enthusiasts ourselves, we chatted with Shin and came up with some helpful karaoke tips to get you ready for the big show. Whether you’ve sung a few times or are completely new to the game, heed this advice to become a karaoke pro in no time.

Private Rooms are Less Daunting

When you think of karaoke, a big room with a single lonely stage might come to mind. But private karaoke rooms, which are big in places like South Korea and Japan, are becoming more popular in the United States. They can typically accommodate anywhere from six to 20 people depending on the room size, so you can go with a few friends to get the hang of it or roll in with a big group so you won’t feel pressured to sing as many songs. We guarantee that once you have a few private room experiences under your belt, you’ll be singing on stage in front of an audience of strangers in no time.

A Little Liquid Courage Goes a Long Way

shots of liquor
reds/Getty Images

Don’t underestimate the power of drinking a stiff cocktail before taking the mic. It will make you feel less tense and get you excited to belt out your favorite song. So order a round of shots for the room or a boilermaker to help loosen you up a bit. And if you’re at Insa, one of their signature Scorpion Bowls is sure to do the trick.

It’s Easier to Sing a Song When You Know the Words

Even though karaoke screens display the words, a song will still be difficult to sing if you’re not familiar with the lyrics, dictation, and tempo. If you’re new to karaoke, choose a song that you know by heart — something you belt out in the car without a second thought when it comes through on the speakers. Not only will knowing the song boost your confidence, but the crowd will go wild when they hear how well you sing it.

Choose a Song That Works With Your Vocal Range

As much as you might want to belt out Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” if your vocal range can’t hit the high notes, save it for that car ride. We can tell you from experience (take it from this female journalist who has a range in freakish proximity to Scott Stapp’s from Creed) that choosing a song well within your range will make you and the entire room more comfortable. Start with songs on the lower end of the vocal spectrum before working your way up and discovering where your limit lies. If you’ve played music before or know it well, you can probably alter a song to match your range. If so, go for it!

Practice Makes Perfect

Cavan Images/Getty Images

If you’re new to karaoke, there’s no harm in rehearsing the songs you want to sing a few times before the main event. “The most natural way to boost confidence is to practice on your own and have fun!” Shin says. “Luckily at Insa, we provide private rooms. I’ve seen a lot of solo guests come to belt it out on their own. But of course, you can do this in the comfort of your own bedroom or bathroom.”

Know Your Audience and Choose a Mood Accordingly

“Generally, you want to ensure each song contrasts with the next with respect to different genres and vibes,” Shin says. For example, if you sing too many pop songs or rock anthems in a row, you can feel the room getting bored. So when it comes time to choose your song, think about where you want to take the room to give it some fresh energy. This is sure to catch people’s attention and get them singing along with you. If you’re at a loss about how to switch up the mood, Shin has some solid song suggestions to guide you:

  • Start off with something upbeat, sexy, and fun, like Beyoncé’s “Hold Up.”
  • Keep the mood light and cheerful with classic ’90s and early aughts pop like the Cardigans’ “Love Fool.”
  • Slow the mood down with an old classic like Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” or Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
  • Bring the mood back up with a singalong type. Think David Bowie’s “Starman” or Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.”
  • Blow ‘em out the water with something sexy and challenging like Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain.”

When in Doubt, Choose a Classic That Everyone Knows

Even though Shin steers clear of super popular songs (“I literally hear our guests sing them every day in the karaoke rooms at Insa”), choosing a crowd-pleaser like “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Living on a Prayer” is sure to get a majority of the room singing along. If you’re new to karaoke, having this energy and enthusiasm from the crowd is a total confidence booster. Plus, everyone sounds better with backup singers.

Editors' Recommendations

Amanda Gabriele
Amanda Gabriele is a food and travel writer at The Manual and the former senior editor at Supercall. She can’t live without…
CBD 101: A doctor tells us how to use CBD for sleep, anxiety, and pain
CBD is great for a variety of use-cases
CBD Hemp oil, Doctor holding a bottle of hemp oil, Medical marijuana products including cannabis leaf, cbd and hash oil, alternative medicine

In recent years, CBD (cannabidiol, for those of you wondering what does CBD stand for) has emerged as a popular natural remedy for a range of health concerns, from sleep disturbances and anxiety to chronic pain. But how do you use CBD effectively to address these issues? 

We spoke with Dr. Chris Adlakha of Elevated Wellness to get expert insights into the world of CBD. In this article, we'll explore what CBD is used for and provide guidance on its usage. 

Read more
What UFC champions Sean O’Malley and Aljamain Sterling eat while cutting weight in fight week
Spoiler alert: There's a lot of protein
Chicken breast and broccoli

Whether you're a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) or just curious about the behind-the-scenes routines of professional fighters, you might be wondering how UFC champions "Suga" Sean O'Malley and Aljamain "Funkmaster" Sterling get ready for fight week.

One slightly controversial part of their prep is cutting weight up to the fight. Weight cutting is a common practice in most combat sports and refers to dropping weight before a competition to compete in a specific weight class.

Read more
Shohei Ohtani all but gone, MLB franchise LA Angels may also lose Mike Trout: Report
Our GM hopes they both move to Chavez Ravine to play for The Dodgers
Shohei Otani playing baseball

The Los Angeles Angels may be on their way to a major team overhaul. Shohei Ohtani, who is one of the best and most innovative two-way players in the history of baseball, has already made it clear that he wants to leave the team, and now, news has broken suggested that Mike Trout, the team's other major star, could also be on his way out the door. Needless to say, losing both of their major stars could have an enormous impact on what the Angels look like moving forward.
Shohei Ohtani is almost definitely leaving
At the end of this season, during which Ohtani has been riddled with injuries, the phenom will be a free agent, and those closest to the league suggest that he's likely to sign with another team. Everyone from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the New York Mets is expected to pursue him this off-season for understandable reasons, and Ohtani has previously made it clear that he's not necessarily thrilled with the way this season has gone for the Angels, who are set to miss the playoffs completely.

Ohtani has yet to formalize any sort of deal with another team, but the question seems to be more about where he'll end up than whether he'll stay with the Angels. The team did choose to hold onto him past the trade deadline, a move they say they don't regret, so it's still possible that the two sides find some way to come to an agreement. In all likelihood, though, Ohtani's time with the Angels is done, and he'll be in a new uniform when the next season starts.

Read more