Telling someone in an a cappella group to sing karaoke can seem like telling a Major League Baseball player to play a game of kickball, or trying to sell Philip Roth on the idea of guest writing an episode of Gossip Girl. It’s a silly, layperson’s take on something similar to but not quite the same as what the seasoned pro is all about.
The thing is that sometimes simpler is better, and performing under the most lax conditions possible can be remarkably good for you.
Build your confidence. Singing among people who aren’t trained as such, or who don’t look upon singing as a career (or even a serious extracurricular) can help you gain some perspective on just how special your art is and how exceptional your talents are in an everyday setting.
Sing what you want to sing. A cappella groups need to think critically about song selection so they aren’t arranging songs that have been sung to death, performing something that just doesn’t translate well to a cappella, or making choices that will have a negative impact on their larger image as artists. Karaoke strips away everything that’s serious about a cappella and let’s the singer sing whatever he likes, however he likes. While engaging in song should, itself, be a pretty liberating experience, singing karaoke can underscore how often we settle for treating our passion like a job, and don’t get to do what we’d really like with our talents.
Be less careful. Karaoke is all about having fun. In my mind, the people who don’t “get” karaoke aren’t the bad singers, but rather the people who are too careful with their harmonies, diction, and tuning. A karaoke performance is the perfect time to let loose, sing like a star and rediscover what you loved about singing in the first place.