Thank God for Karaoke
Here’s a quote from Criminal Minds (Season 7 Episode 12).
“14 is when we start to make our own musical choices. Our cognitive development evolves at that age and we start to form our own cultural identity. We stop listening to the music that our parents played and we start listening to the music that our friends listen to. Our musical experiences imprint on us. Our hormonal surges as teenagers may make the choices seem more personal and passionate, and later on in life we might experiment with other musical selections. But no music ever impacts us as much as that we listen to at age 14.”
If you were born in 1975 like I was, your all-time favorite songs are likely to include the following chart toppers.
Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses
Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith
18 and Life – Skid Row
One – Metallica
Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue
Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison
I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi
Another Day In Paradise – Phil Collins
We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel
Listen To Your Heart – Roxette
Now these are all songs from 1989. That’s when I was 14. Coincidence? Unlikely.
I quit my job in April 2014. I used to work for an eBookstore that planned to change the education landscape in India forever. I wasn’t convinced. There was very little passion that the employees of the firm brought to the table. So I served my notice period, took a leap of faith, and decided to let my music career pay my bills. But just when I thought that it wouldn’t be easy for an unsigned rock singer to sustain the lifestyle that the former Vice President of Content Acquisition enjoyed, Artistivity — the fast growing event management firm — contacted me to host classic rock karaoke nights at Hard Rock Cafe Andheri and Worli. I readily accepted.
Truth be told, the karaoke job didn’t excite me in the beginning. Anyone who has played to large crowds as the lead singer of a band will tell you why. But soon enough, I began to see the light. Some of the winners of the college level talent hunts that I judge from time to time began to show up. Their excitement knew no bounds when I introduced them with generous praise for their talent. People began to flock to celebrate their biggest milestones. Promotions, birthdays, anniversaries... heck, I once met someone who sang just to forget all about his recent divorce. It didn’t take rocket science to convince me that humans are programmed to revisit happy memories triggered by a song from the teenage years. The emotional reward attached to celebrating the song in the company of others who enjoy it as much is beyond measure. Over the past few months, I’ve seen people from all walks of life grab a microphone and become visibly happier. That means actors, models, musicians, office goers, and everyone in between. I’ve made my favorite karaoke memories too. There are several of them but nothing beats the emotional state that I was elevated to when a pregnant lady blessed me for singing to her unborn child.
It may warrant a mention here that singing is a right brain activity. So karaoke once a week (or more) helps balance out left brain activities such as logical thinking. But that’s what science has to say. Your heart will tell you that you can only stay young as long as you enjoy your life. And karaoke is a great means towards that end. You don’t really have to buy my words. Here are testimonials by others that you may trust.
Rosemary Fernandes [Actor, Model, and MTV Splitsvilla Contestant]
I'm one of the biggest karaoke addicts that there is. Honest to God, I chart my day’s schedule in a way in which I can attend karaoke at any place in the suburbs... be it Three Wise Monkeys on Sundays, Three Wise Men on Mondays, The Den on Tuesdays, Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesdays, Three Wise Men again on Thursdays, and Blue Phoenix on Fridays. The first time I attended karaoke in Mumbai, to my utter astonishment, I found a massive crowd there. The KJ was surrounded by people trying to queue their songs in. And that’s how it has been ever since. In the past few months of attending karaoke, I have made so many friends... so many with a musical background and so many working professionals who are just a fan of music and alcohol. People from all walks of life bond over music. Hence, karaoke is so wide spread in Mumbai. I never knew there are so many singers living in Mumbai. It’s crazy to even talk about how ashamed I feel to sing in front of them. But that hasn’t stopped me so far. And honestly, I don’t think it ever will [Rosemary smiles].
Kevin Ramon [Rock Singer]
I was excited about going to the karaoke night at Hard Rock Café Andheri the moment I knew it was happening. 2Blue was going to host it. It was through his Facebook update that I got to know about the event. I’ve always been a karaoke person but just in my room. It’s actually how I practice singing. I don’t perform to an audience on a regular basis. I guess that’s why I was very excited. There weren’t too many people when I entered. There were some girls singing some pop songs. Soon, the place was filling up. More and more people were stepping up and singing their songs. Some were really good, others were… well, not bad. One of the best things about karaoke is that you hear people sing songs from so many different genres back to back. It’s just so much fun. The crowd was very appreciative. I wanted to sing a song that would be fun for everyone. So I chose ‘Highway to Hell’ by AC/DC. Honestly, it was also because I knew 2Blue is a big AC/DC fan and he would probably join me. So I grabbed the microphone, the song started playing and just as I thought, people started screaming from the moment I sang the first line. Then 2Blue joined in and we got up on stage together. This was the first time I met him and now I was on stage with this famous guy. A lot of people said nice things later. I even made a few friends and needless to say it wasn’t the last time I performed at Hard Rock Café. 2Blue soon invited me to guest-appear at his shows at Hard Rock Cafe Mumbai and Pune. So believe me when I say that one karaoke night can change a lot of things. I’m a living testimonial, you see [Kevin smiles].
Convinced yet? Great! I’ll see you one of these Wednesday nights at Hard Rock Cafe then. Just wave out like a 14 year old would [2Blue smiles].
Image Courtesy: Personal Facebook Profiles
Article By: 2Blue
2Blue (a.k.a Tirthankar Poddar) forayed into the Mumbai rock circuit in 2000. Having gained notoriety for his powerful high-pitched singing and on-stage charisma, he was soon invited to sing for Vayu. After 5 years in Vayu and countless monumental shows, 2Blue formed the hard rock band Zedde (pronounced z?d). Always a man for his heroes, the self-taught singer attributes his vocal prowess to his childhood heroes: David Coverdale, Joe Lynn Turner, Ian Gillan, Ronnie James Dio, and Bruce Dickinson. For him, if a thing was good once, it always is.
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