When the bright neon lights blind you, you hear the familiar sound of a 90s uptempo beat sung slightly off key, and your friends burst into laughter and applause raving at your performance, you know you’ve somehow been hoodwinked into performing at a karaoke bar.
Recently I enthusiastically debuted my karaoke talent at Rock Sugar on 8th Street.
I was mortified at first and practically scared stiff as my friends coerced me into singing my first song. After that, I just couldn’t stop.
I spoke with Alyssa Yi, a bright-eyed employee that let me in on what a life in the karaoke biz is like. “We get a lot of people in on the weekends. Karaoke is very popular in the Asian community but we get a lot of college students in too.”
The night started off a bit rocky because we hadn’t made reservations for a private room. Alyssa and her team didn’t want to keep us waiting, so they transformed the main room — conveniently located right beside the bar — into a studio.
Our studio was the first thing people saw when they walked into the bar. We felt we had to set the standard for all the other karaoke enthusiasts that came our way.
The big screen displayed our song choices with the lyrics gliding along the bottom. We had a tiny computer to select whatever songs caught our eye and two mics so we could harmonize. Of course, after a few drinks, harmonizing wasn’t possible.
After a couple Taylor Swift, Linkin Park and Black Eyed Peas songs we worked up our appetites.
Rock Sugar’s egg rolls play a pretty big role in why my friends repeatedly visit the Chinese restaurant. Considering that 98 per cent of the time I crave Asian cuisine, Rock Sugar’s menu was very enticing.
Our group shared the sweet and sour chicken with sides of rice and egg rolls, of course. The food was absolutely delicious and is what I call “broke college student” affordable; it’s as much as you might spend at Louis’ or Subway.
The beauty of karaoke is the fact that you don’t have to be good, you don’t have to be drunk, you don’t have to spend most of your time stuffing your face with food, you just have to be excited.
If you’re completely cool with making an ass out of yourself you will have one of the best times ever. And bring your friends!
I can’t even tell you how amazed I was with my friends’ duet powers. One of them killed Eminem’s verses in “Love The Way You Lie” and another blew me away with what I swear was a perfect imitation of the B-52’s lead singer in “Love Shack”, which I think he should take on the road.
When you go out to karaoke you gain ridiculous amounts of confidence about your stage presence because at the end of the day, you gave your friends a show.
Did I think of seriously recording an album that night? Maybe. Did I realize how terrible an idea that was when I woke the next day? Yes.
I will definitely look back at that night as one where I basked in my psychological celebrity thoroughly enjoying every moment of my 15 minutes of fame.
Photo: Fatuma Adar