Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm going to do the thing you're not supposed to do ...

... I'm going to change something on my 30 Before 30 List.
Before you shout, "Cop Out!" let me explain. I'm not changing this one thing because it's impossible to do. I know how to make it happen but I haven't been too excited by the thought of it lately ... and the truth is, something else came to mind and I want it on my list quite badly. It's a pretty trivial thing but it is so in tune with my personality, relevant to my Filipino culture ... and well, it would just be so much fun trying to check it off my list with all my friends! So here goes, I'm making it official:

21. Record a song.
21. Find my go-to karaoke song.
This is me at a bar in Charlottesville belting out Borderline—my go-to song when I was 3. 
Help me find a new one before I turn 30!

If you're Filipino or good friends with someone who is, you would know that we LOVE us some karaoke. The Philippines is a country that takes karaoke so damn seriously that men have been shot over terrible renditions of Frank Sinatra's My Way (see this New York Times article on the infamous "My Way Killings" if you find that hard to believe). In the last decade, at least 6 deaths have been attributed to fights that broke out due to someone butchering My Way. Filipinos do not mess around when it comes to karaoke.

I've loved karaoke since I was a 3-year-old not much taller than our "minus one" machine, torturing family members with repeated renditions of Somewhere Out There and Borderline. But somehow, I never found a go-to song between then and now.

The thing is, finding a go-to karaoke song is not as easy as it sounds.
  1. You have to find something that's within your voice range. That cancels out a lot right there because I am neither Beyonce nor Mariah Carey. This is the main reason why Somewhere Out There and Borderline don't cut it anymore.
  2. The song has to go with your look and vibe. It's easy enough for me to sing, say, You Know I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse. But it doesn't feel right; it's like putting on ill-fitting leather pants or a temporary tattoo. I think a certain bad-ass quality is necessary to belt out some Amy Winehouse, and I just don't have it. Feigned innocence is more my style ...
  3. If you want to get the crowd behind you, it's gotta be FUN. It has to be a crowd-pleaser, something everyone wants to sing along with! 
So here goes, I'm adding the karaoke song quest to my list and will be hitting up the karaoke bars in NYC and in Manila on a mission to cross this off my list. It's gonna be fun!


  1. Crap! I have sing karaoke in public on my list because I've never done it before, but now I'm TOTALLY stressed out about finding a song. Range I can get; attitude I can get; but a crowd-pleaser too? That's HARD!

  2. I used to rock out to Bon Jovi at karaoke. Crowd pleasing. Plus you can always demonstrate your air guitar during the guitar solo. Can't wait to hear what you picked!

  3. Mine are anything from Alanis Morrissette, the Cranberries and Madonna's La Isla Bonita. Ha!

  4. Sonja - I'm sorry I stressed you out! Well, maybe crowd-pleaser is not essential, I am just an over-achiever at karaoke. I can't help it, I'm Filipino!
    Things to Do - I actually have grown to like "Living On A Prayer" but the chorus kills me! You're right though, air guitar's a definite plus!
    Teeyah - ooooh La Isla Bonita's a good one! I'm gonna look into those singers and see what I find. I do love "You Oughta Know" too, though the lyrics scare the crap out of me

  5. The hilarious thing is that I just posted something on my site about filipinos loving karaoke. Remember the days before MagicMic and we had those HUGE cd's. I don't even remember what they were called. I used to sing "Somewhere out there" and "La Isla Bonita" all the time too.

    Besides Madonna and Gloria Estefan, I also love singing to Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, Let it Be (The Beatles), One of Us (by Joan Osborne), What's Up (4 Non Blondes), Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield), and Torn (Natalie Imbruglia). Hope you find your go-to song.

  6. Cece - That is funny! Haha do you mean laser discs? I actually went to a karaoke joint in Seattle and died laughing when the host brought out of one of them gigantic discs. Thank you for all the suggestions! Don't know if my voice range can handle them but I will definitely try. Awesome blog you have going, thanks for stopping by!

  7. Yes laser discs! We had one that you had to manually flip to go from Side A to Side B.

  8. OMG talk about a blast from the past! Hahaha ...

  9. Funnily enough, I've never sung my karaoke song in public--I haven't yet found a place that has it on the list! The Divinyl's "I Touch Myself"! It pretty much fulfills your first and third criteria. I don't quite know if it goes with my look and vibe, but there is humor in irony!

  10. Haha Tish that is such a good one! Oh reminds me of the good old San Mig days ... you're right though, it's a tough one to find in karaoke bars. Just for you, I will give it a whirl ;-)

  11. For some reason, I always sing Bitch by Meredith Brooks whenever I go karaoke. Hmmm... what does it say about me then? ;)

    Though I am not one... really not! :) I'm gonna have to find one too and change that. ;)

  12. Hahaha this song (along with Alanis songs) are best sung with a big group of tipsy girlfriends!

  13. Some suggestions..these songs doesn't really need a big range of vocal chords hehehehe. You can imagine yourself sitting in a wooden stool with your guitarist in a mini stage belting out these songs ala MYMP's Juris (in tagalog slang - swabe lang):
    1. Crush - Jennifer Page
    2. Buses and Trains - Bachelor Girl
    3. Killing Me Softly - Lauryn Hill

    putting in some OPM (not sure if they have OPM songs in NY hahaha - but If you are using Magic sing/Magic Mic..around 98% these songs will be there)
    4. So Slow - Freestyle
    5. Everyday - Agot Isidro

  14. ooh I had to look up some of these songs on You Tube, hindi ko na maalala! Crush is pretty good actually. Funny enough, I have been to a few karaoke bars here in the States that had a Filipino section in their books! Kaya lang no one will sing with me except the Pinoys ...


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