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Karaoke means many things
to many people.
Thank you to all who have shared
their personal stories with us.

 

Outside of a dog,
a book is man's best friend.
Inside a dog,
it's way too dark to read.

"Come listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed..."
Karaoke Stories
Coyote Don't Need A Full Moon To Howl
Music has been a part of my life since the very beginning. When I was just a few months old, my Mom would take me to Choir Practice with her and as long as there was singing I was quiet but as soon as the singing stopped, my crying would begin. Luckily for Dog and Pony patrons, I've outgrown the crying when the singing stops. My first karaoke experience was in Campbellton, New Brunswick (my hometown) when "way too many beers" led to an incoherent version of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) that is still talked about on the streets of Campbellton. (There really isn't a lot of excitement in New Brunswick.) Karaoke re-entered my life when about seven years ago my annual birthday tradition happened quite by accident. After "way too many beers" at the Royal Oak, my friends and I ended up at a bar that was doing Karaoke. I decided that every year would be a Royal Oak-ee birthday celebration, and the addiction began. And then a year ago, I was told about Dog & Pony Sound and the addiction became full blown. The past year allowed me to get rid of any inhibitions that I may have still had about singing in public ( a few rounds of Dar-E-Oke will do that to you.) and to meet some of the best darn singers in Ottawa. So here's to many more years of Dog & Pony and the rest of the barnyard. I'm happy to be a part of it. Terry (Coyote)
Music Soothes The Savage Wildcat
Once upon a time, there was an evil tyrant on the throne. Oh wait, wrong story. You want to know about me - and why I'm so weird. I'm not sure, really, I mean, I've had a mostly normal life. I was a rather outgoing child, involved in youth choirs for church and school. I always loved music, I always loved to sing, and even agreed to try piano lessons, though that didn't work out so well. (Practice was boring!) Believe it or not, I was a boy soprano. Then came the fun, parents divorced and within a year, I'd been moved hundreds of miles away from my friends and family, taken from the world I knew to a new one where I didn't really fit in. I went from outgoing to shy almost instantly. Still, I was in Concert and Stage Band in Grade 9, as well as the church choir. There, of course, my confidence in my ability to sing died a horrible death. I had a soprano solo coming up for Easter Mass, and by the middle of Lent, I couldn't make the high notes anymore. Come the start of Grade 10, my voice had went from the shrill thing it had been to the nearly subsonic thing it is now, bringing me a lot closer to Leonard Cohen than any other singer I could name at the time. The final blow came when I tried out for the school musical and they put me in the band instead of giving me a part. I stopped singing. Or, at least, singing where anyone could hear me - after all, music was always my friend. Stayed in band, even wrote some songs for some friends of mine who had a band, hell I was even in all of the non-musical school plays - but I wasn't singing in public anymore. Of course, without a soundproofed room (or several), not singing where anyone could hear me was impossible. Peoplewould hear - family mostly, but a few friends and later, my roommates. My family would insist that I sang well,but I never bought it - I thought they were biased, and what's more they just wanted another voice at the singalongs we'd sometimes have. I always felt that I had to drop things so far down to reach them that they were no longer recognizable. Still, comments kept coming, and over time I guess I started to think that I wasn't totally terrible. So, years passed, and the idea of going to do Karaoke had been worming inside my skull for a while. The thought of belting out a song I loved with a proper accompanying track and a mic and all was just sort of cool - and what's more, I loved to perform (I mean, I was even doing Improv when I was in high school!)... But I was terrified of the crowd - or more accurately, my thoughts as to what their reaction to my singing would be. Finally, after years of that (including a whole lot of arguing with myself), I agreed to go with a bunch of friends to a Karaoke show. It took a lot of pressure from my friends (and from myself) to get up there, and I think only the overall low quality of a lot of the other singers let me get up. (Thinking "at least I won't be the worst one here", I guess)... I think the first song I did was "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors. It was a song, of course, that I'd been practicing for years (without really thinking about what I'd been doing), and, much to my surprise, I didn't suck. Of course, considering the other people about, that may have been relative, but there it was. I'd gotten up, and having done it once, I was able to do it again - and did. I had a blast that night, in a horrible hole in the wall in Vanier. I was back the next week. And the week after, though by then I couldn't take that place anymore. I wasn't hooked yet, but it certainly became a fun way to spend an evening. Then, however, I went to O'Brien's, my first Dog and Pony show, in May of 2002. There was this amazing, wondrous book just filled with music, and so I sat down, went over it and filled in some song slips. Once I'd handed them in, I started to listen to what was going on around me, and suddenly I wished I could get my slips back. I felt like I'd been called up from the minors and that these were the big leagues. There were these absolutely amazing singers, including the hosts, and I was just some jerk who still didn't really believe he could sing. I think I was even more nervous going up there at O'Brien's than I ever had been at the other shows I'd been to. Yet, when I was done, the ice had been broken, and I was hooked. I was going weekly, a "regular". I was addicted. As time passed, I started making friends with the hosts (Christopher and Danni are wonderful people) and with other regulars, and in some ways found that I had more in common with them then I did with the friends who sometimes came with me. We shared the bond.... we shared the music, and it was good. And now, I get to share the music with rooms full of new people, too. ~Neal

Reflections Of An Uncommon Gecko
I've always grown up with music in my life. My father, a Toronto musician, always played jazz music at home. In my early years, I'd spend some days listening to Sharon Lois and Bram records; on other occasions, I heard the tunes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tony Scott, Charlie Parker, Spike Jones, and Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. Also, my mother has always harboured a love for music; however, her tastes gravitated towards soft rock artists from the 50's, 60's and 70's like Johnny Mathis and Harry Chapin. Occasionally, she played the music of Barbra Streisand, and I endured these sessions with humour and grace. Beginning in my seventh grade year, I played the trombone in both classical concert and stage jazz bands. Despite a traumatizing incident at the Carleton School Board in Grade 8 (you'll just have to ask me about that after a few drinks), I have always enjoyed playing in bands. Many of my music teachers introduced me to a wide array of bands and musical genres. In fact, Jim Smith at Greenbank Public School introduced me to Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper. In spite of my musical interests, I was never keen on singing in school. One day in 1993, an epiphany occurred when our stage band conductor, Geoff Linklater, crooned a few ballads: I realized that singing could be a calling. My introduction to karaoke came at the tender age of 12 on a spring day at The Rideau Centre. The facility set up a booth that allowed people to sing a song and record it on a cassette. At the time, 12" laser discs with lyrics were unknown; singers were handed a lyric sheet as the staff hoped for the best. I decided to try Billy Joel's Uptown Girl. I massacred the song by singing a verse that didn't belong, and created further damage as my voice cracked while singing a line. Despite these technical errors, the people running the booth still thought it was good and played it for everyone else to hear. Surprisingly, the crowd didn't laugh at me- in fact, they kindly applauded my efforts. My first karaoke bar experience occurred in Montreal in the summer of 1993, at a club that boasted the perfect mix of atmosphere, alcohol, and good singers. Ever since then, I've been a karaoke slut. When I entered college in 1994, I enrolled in radio broadcasting courses that further stimulated my interest in the concept of stage performance. As the years went by, I sang more, and my singing improved. In the summer of 1997, I won a prize for best rookie in a karaoke contest, and in 2001, I cleaned up with 3 awards at the First Annual, and only, PMS awards at The Polo Lounge. I first met Dog and Pony at the Polo Lounge in January 2002. I am not sure what initially drew me to them; perhaps it was their HUGE song library or their gold lamé table cover. Regardless, I am still a big fan, and I endeavour to expand my repertoire and discover neat fabrics too. I've always admired Dog and Pony's ability to work a room and inspire confidence in reluctant singers. They truly have brought a sense of community, camaraderie, and friendship to the world of karaoke, and I am proud to associate with their efforts.

~Adam

Delaney 'the hawk' Delivers His Bird's Eye View
With a love of music that was almost inborn, I set out to experience every opportunity that presented itself to me. As a child, I was fortunate enough to travel to other countries performing with The Eramosa Youth Choir. Having completed all eight High School music credits by grade 11, I needed to replace the empty space in my musical life, so I co-opted part time as a studio musician. I was able to work with a variety of talented professionals and, on the rare occasion, even allowed to perform with them on stage. The vocal training I completed with the Royal Conservatory of Toronto left me with a classical voice that didn't seem to translate beyond the multitude of Kiwana's festivals and numerous musical
theatre experiences that I took part in. Of course, what I really wanted to sing was Pop and Rock songs, but somehow they would always come out sounding like Arias. Not surprising then, that my first experience with karaoke was horrendous. There were very few songs that fell into my vocal range or style, and the ones that did, nobody seemed to want to hear. After a few intermittent attempts, I had given up on the whole concept for several years... Then... there was Dog and Pony Sound. It was blind luck and happenstance that I actually discovered them at all. Recovering from back surgery, I was walking around the neighbourhood one evening and decided to stop for a drink in the only bar that I knew in the area. Lucky timing on my part, perhaps divine
intervention? Since the bar was closing, it was the last night for karaoke in that particular location. I don't remember singing that night, but I definitely enjoyed being there. I do remember talking to Pony and getting the feeling that their karaoke shows were different from anything I had experienced in the past. It was a while before I actually went to another show, but I was very glad that I did, it was a unique circumstance to me. People were supportive and encouraging. You didn't have to be the best
singer, which was good because I wasn't and I'm not, but it is something that gives me a great deal of enjoyment. Normally, being placed along side of such strong singers (and there are a lot of them), it is easy to become intimidated and give up. At every other karaoke show I attended, the hosts never seemed
to care about the people getting up to sing, and quite often I would overhear many disparaging remarks. But Dog and Pony Sound was different, they were caring and reassuring, truly
professional, yet a whole lot of fun. I began to go to more and more venues and discovered that many people were drawn to this particular Karaoke Company. The diversity of people that would gather at these events surprised me. Drawn together by this wonderfully strange thread that is Dog and Pony. Each new location was very different, but like
a family get together, you could take comfort in the fact that you were amongst your own. Add to this, an incredible selection of many styles of music, exceptional attention to being fair and ethical, and the fun, party atmosphere they create, it is no wonder why Dog and Pony Sound have been voted 'the best karaoke in Ottawa'. Through them, I have developed a confidence that I didn't possess before. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of karaoke past, The Hawk has been born. I am honoured to be among the already
large, and continuously growing, family of Dog and Pony pals in the city of Ottawa. ~Delaney
Kamikaze Karaoke Kitty... Hit and "Miss"
Hi, My name is Moe, and I am a Karaoke junkie. Come, sit closer, and hear the tale of how a good and innocent young girl was lured into the dark underbelly of the karaoke world, and how, after losing her karaoke virginity (at about 18) became the notorious Mistress M- Kamikaze Karaoke Junkie (a.k.a. Miss Kitty). Once, a fresh-faced and still somewhat naive young girl moved to the big city of Ottawa, after spending her teen years in Vermont, where cows out numbered people 3 to 1. She attended Ottawa U, met new people and discovered the real joys of Ottawa; beavertails, kissing on both cheeks, 1st of July on the Hill, and karaoke. She found a little spot that offered karaoke. It became the most happening place around every welfare payday. As a student working clothing retail (earning less than many welfare recipients) it suited her budget. It was good! Cheep beer and a karaoke songbook- who knew it could beckon so many? It started as a Wednesday thing, then a Tuesday-Wednesday thing then a Tuesday-Wednesday-Sunday thing... Then "life" happened (as it oft does) and Moe was forced to secure a "real" job and cut back even more on the "entertainmen" budget... Flash-forward a few more years, this young girl, now transformed into a financial professional, was bored out of her mind. She yearned to feel passion again, to perform, to live out loud. Although she scoured the city for places to sing, she felt consticted by her "interesting" tenor voice and confined herself to singing "The Rose" (down 3 semitones of course). It was getting old. Then, one Friday night in the spring of 2002, "it" happened; little bar, great book, even greater KJs; oh she felt the passion! The addiction returned with a vengence, back for good (or as long as Dog and Pony have a show on the road!). You know, what they say is true: "Karaoke can turn a "virgin" into a "junkie" in under 30 minutes!" ~ Moe (Kitty)
A Lil Mouse Squeeks The Truth
I never really thought I could sing. Not in front of people anyway, and don't even think about putting me on a stage. So what happened that I'm hanging out in bars just waiting to get up onstage and belt out a tune? It all started in April 2006. I was new to town, and had made a few friends. These friends went to a place called O'Briens on Friday nights. I had gone to a concert, and the friends I was with wanted to go to a bar for a beer. My friends had said to try to come by, so I suggested that bar. We went, and I discovered a place I could really be myself. I wasn't brave enough to sing that night, but I vowed I would go back. The next Friday came, and I (not so bravely) got up and sang for the first time. Ok, so it sucked. But as I got comfortable and made friends, I realized that I was getting better. My voice was stronger, and I was getting compliments from everywhere. It was amazing, and I was having a ball. Soon, I felt weird if I missed a Friday. Like something was totally missing from my week. Flash forward about a year. O'Brien's is a fixture in my life, and I'm having a grand ol' time. Coyote has been bugging me to go out and get to some other venues, see some different people, try a different night... so I talk Chick (Kim) into coming with me to the Cock n' Lion on a Thursday. All of a sudden, my love for karaoke turned into an outright addiction. I hit as many shows as I could in the next week. I played my little heart out, and loved every second of it. I really became the Mouse of Dog and Pony Sound... and darnit, I want to stay. For me, karaoke is as much about the people as it is the music. I'm not the best singer in the world, but the other Pals (and people in the bars) make me feel like I am. I have such a great time at the Dog and Pony shows, no matter what venue I'm at or who is hosting. It's this big fuzzy family, and I'm part of it. It's such a great thing, I don't ever want to lose it.
~Emily (a.k.a. Mouse}

An Ocelot of Fun
t would be impossible to tell you when I figured out I loved to sing. I've always be that person who randomly bursts into song, which is sometimes a little startling for the person next to me! I grew up singing along to Oldies 1310 in my parents' car on our way to some hockey or soccer tournament in the middle of nowhere. To this day I still enjoy going for a cruise for no better reason than to roll down the windows and turn up the tunes, and look out when me and my girls get together with a deck of cards and a couple of Zep CD's! Imagine my delight the first time I got to sing with a microphone in my hand! I wandered into the Brig a couple years ago and fell face first into a pile of Dog and Pony awesomeness. I was fortunate enough to have Dog as our resident KJ on Thursday nights, and it wasn't long before you could find me there every week. Strangely enough, for those of you who've already met me, my first karaoke performance ever was Angel…. Yes, the Sarah McLaughlin song. With time though, I started choosing songs that helped to expand my vocal range. I discovered that not only could I sing on key (sometimes), but that I could really project!

And then one fateful day, I thought to myself… maybe I could do Dazed and Confused. I did. I loved it, and since then I've been exploring my love of classic rock from a whole new perspective. Karaoke is a rush. It's a great time on more levels than I could express in only three paragraphs, and its ideal for crazy cats like me who love being in the spotlight. Thanks for making me part of the family! ~Carly (a.k.a. Ocelot}
Rasta Reminisces
While working outside Halifax, NS as Club DJ in 1994, the Owner announced to the crowd, that *I* would be running some Karaoke shortly (they had just added a Karaoke system to the club). I resounded "NO, I am a DJ, not a Karaoke Host... I don't do Karaoke!!" He quickly put his hand over the microphone, and said "Who Pays You?", and sheepishly, I said "You Do" and he went right back to announcing the start of the Karaoke Show (with me hosting it). I didn't want to be the host, to start singing myself until the requests came in. I don't mind when I have a belly full of Black Rum, but not working a show! Times change, my own "Dancetime DJ Services" grew to include Karaoke as well as being a Dance DJ, although the latter is my forté. Since I mostly do mobile shows on Weekends, I made my own "night out" on Thursday nights, and I took a liking to "Moetown Karaoke" (www.geocities.com/moetownkaraoke) in Lower Sackville, NS, and on occassion, I hosted shows for Maurice Aucoin (The Persuaders). Since I am presently working in Ottawa, returning to Halifax for my DJ Gigs, I was introduced to the Dog and Pony Sound following it from The Ugly Iguana to O'Briens (and places in between), and will likely checkout the new location where the The Hound is hosting.

I claim full responsibility for getting Black Rum back to the bars,...ah.. Black Rum, the drink that creates singers. I am more of an Entertainer than a Singer, but when you think I sound good.. we are both getting tossed for being ripped. ~Rasta
Elly's Pony Tale
I grew up singing. I sang in the car, bath, with ther ecord player, for the family. Once I discovered I could make noise with these pipes, I didn't stop. I sang with the Nepean Youth Choir, Central Children's Choir, every school I went to, I was in the choir. I grew up and got a car and sang in it a lot. You do get used to people looking at you when you are wailing away in your car at a stoplight! Finally, I got old enough to go to bars. The first bar I went to that wasn't a dance bar with drunken friends that I had to drive home, (argh!) was a bar that had Karaoke. It took me 6 weeks to decide that I had enough guts to hold a microphone and sing into it. That was the hard part... the microphone! Just like a fairy tale, the spell was broken, I was suddenly going to karaoke 3 and 4 times a week, and more often when I wasn't working. I Love to sing, love karaoke.I became addicted but have not enrolled in the 12 step program as I have no wish to be rehabilitated. But I have put the addiction under some control, and hopefully will be able to capitalize on my habit. (ok just to feed the ponies!). ~Elly
A Cougar In A Scotty Suit Tells All
I can't remember a time that I wasn't singing. As a boy soprano growing up, if I wasn't singing liturgical music, I was sing show tunes. If there was a choir to be in, I wanted to be in it. I took music lessons and started playing instruments when I was 7, and it just rolled on from there. If there was a musical, I wanted to be in it, if there wasn't a part for me, I still wanted to be involved (ie:lighting, sound etc.). Karaoke has been a late introduction into my life. In early 2001, I was "dragged" to a small café on Bloor Street in Toronto. That was it. I got the bug. I was hooked. Within months, all of my friends and my free time included karaoke. When I was transferred to Ottawa, I was heart broken. It just wasn't the same. I couldn't find what I was looking for - what I had back in Toronto. I had met Danni and Christopher at another karaoke show once. I had wanted to go to one of their shows ever since but just never found the time. Then, one Friday, in a desparate attempt to find somewhere to sing, a friend suggested a spot. Well, to my great surprise, Danni and Christopher were the hosts. I had a blast. I had finally found what I was looking for. Karoke has allowed me to meet some of the nicest and most interesting people I have ever known. From day one, Danni and Christopher have been great to me, and I am very proud to call them friends. So it was a no brainer for me to joing the gang at DOG & PONY sound, and I am looking forward to pressing forward with them and continuing to make DOG & PONY sound the best damn Karaoke Show on Earth! -Scotty
Pass The Gator Aid
I grew up listening to Garth Brooks and other country stars thanks to my parents. Then one day we got a tape of songs from '63 and I was hooked to the old faithful songs of my parents' youth. In Grade 12 I started listening to Oldies 1310 on the radio and could sing along to all the songs which further implanted the timeless nature of a good song. That was when I realized that music will
play a big part in my life. "My life is like a movie and it needs a good soundtrack". I've always loved to perform in front of an audience and so the idea of karaoke seemed like the greatest thing on earth. Which it ended up being! So I went out and found a fake ID so I could
sneak into the bar and belt out a tune or two. The moment that I realized how astonishing karaoke was when I did 'I Love Rock n Roll' by Joan Jett with some lady I met that night in a little hole in the wall place. Since then I have gone to karaoke whenever I could. I moved to Australia for a year and tracked down a show there and brought a little
Canadian flare down under.' When I moved back from Australia one of my good friends, Jeff, told me about a karaoke show within stumbling distance of my house. So of course next chance I got I went down to the Brig where
I met Dog for the first time. It didn't take long for me and my friend to become regulars there. I love going cause even after I sucked it up everyone would still clap politely well I took my seat to down another glass of 'courage', and decide on the next disaster... ~Steve
Leave It To Beaver
I remember clearly the first time becoming a musician appealed to me. I was in Grade 2, and I was visiting a friend who had just started taking accordion lessons. Cool. It wasn't long before I hit
my first musical hurdle - how to play both hands together - the left pumping out a basic pattern and the right holding simple notes. My Mother sat with me for (what seemed like) hours counting
and coaching while I sweated through"Over the Waves". She had taken piano when a child, and understood that sometime you just need to work at it. I went on to plunge headlong into music
- guitar, keyboards and composition. I started singing, and my family cheerfully bore the brunt of yet another learning curve inflicted on the household. They thoughtfully provided blunt constructive kitchen criticism. It helped me improve.
I first became committed to the central tenant of my musical philosophy, "music is not a spectator sport!"; when I was running my first church choir. People wouldn't join because they "couldn't sing".; My comeback became a mantra - "You show up. Getting you to sing is my problem".; I think everyone should sing, and sing often. Singing somehow connects us to ourselves, each other and our collective journey. Ultimately, it isn't about how you sing, it's about how you live - and singing makes you feel more alive. Last and least, of course, singing is how you get to be a better singer. I remember how I found Karaoke. My first wife and I had split - and pretending neon signs were interesting while I looked awkward in a single's bar was just wrong. Hanging out at Karaoke
was the cure. I had something to do - I could read the song book. Cheer people on. Show off sometimes, and laugh at myself when I bombed. It was fun, and friendships formed almost automatically. My daughters loved to sing, and it became a favorite outing, and a source of fond memories. My oldest, Beth, bringing down the house at eleven years old nailing Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go
On". Beth and Rachael winning a duet contest singing "Goodbye Earl". My daughter Brenda, who has cerebral palsy and faces many daily challenges, singing her favorite Shania Twain tunes at a kids afternoon hosted at Obrien's, grinning with delight and oblivious to all else. On our first date, Wendy wanted to hear me sing, so I sang my heart out and we danced the late night away. Somehow, through a long line of Karaoke outings,we got married. Go figure.

Finding Dog and Pony was like Jim Belushi hearing James Brown in the Blues Brothers. They weren't my first Karaoke venue - far from it. By February 2002 I had 'done' Karaoke worldwide on business trips, not to mention taking in plenty of local shows. I had observed a wide range of quality and fun factor in Karaoke - so I decided to search out the best. Google turned up a review that gave them top marks, so I headed out to O'brien's to check them out, and have never looked back. I've admired their professionalism and wit, fun loving charm and enjoyed their genuine ability to make an honest connection. Years ago I wrote this testimonial: "Simply put, the most fun, professional, put together Karaoke service I have ever encountered. Great sound. Professional handling of the rotation. Great selection. Warm relations with the patrons.
Willing to go the extra mile. Best kit packaging of their 'book' for the singers. Great online support in their web page. 10.0 from six judges, and no media second guessing."
~The Beav
Roy Transforms
y story goes back to the year 1954. I was just ten years old & how my cousin who was sixteen said Roy..you`ve just got to listen to this new kid from the south who sounds so different. He's being talked about everywhere. So I did & that was it, for this "southern kid" was Elvis Presley! I went out & bought his very first album. It was simply called"Elvis Presley. I still have it today & yes it's wore out & my name is scratched all over the front... but oh! what treasure! When my parents would leave the house I would turn every light out in the house & play that record over & over & over. I used to drive my father crazy at other times too. In 1956, when Elvis starred in his first movie " LOVE ME TENDER ", I wasn't allowed to go the movies at night. The "ROXY' was clear across town & things could get a little rough. My dad said NO!!! you can attend the matinee Saturday. Well, I was twelve yrs old & I wasn't going to Elvis with kids! So I rebelled against my dad & snuck off to see Elvis. I loved the movie & decided to stay for the second showing. It was late after a long walk home. I didn't dare go into the house so I went across the street where my old school house was. It started to rain I was freezing sitting on the front steps of that school. Around 1:00 am I said well I better get this over with & walked into the house & who was sitting at the kitchen table..yup! my Mom & my Dad! All my Dad did was look at me puzzled & walked up the stairs to bed stopping long enough to say to my mom...you handle him..I give up! I realize this a long story but it shows my love for Elvis Presley that it made me a "rebel", sort of anyway. I then pursued music & had my own bands but they just couldn't play the background music like Elvis had. I gave up at wanting to sing Elvis music until this Christmas when my wife bought me a VocoPro Duet karaoke machine & since then I have become Elvis again. My past rushed back! I turned all the lights out once again. I sang Elvis. I sound a lot like him singing & I thank God for that gift. My friends, relatives all want cassette albums. After all these years my dream has come true. Only you singers out there know what I mean when I say what a feeling that brings. There is actually a lonely & indescribable emotion that comes when you sing, especially a balled in which every emotion is stirred. Now, I can leave my children a piece of my life. Now, maybe they can understand my love for music, singing & Elvis. Maybe, just maybe if you have someone who misunderstands your love for singing, etc., they can read this & have just a little better understanding of it. I `m 58 yrs old now but at least for a little while I'm a teenager again. What a wonderful gift I've been given by almighty God. ps: Now when I sing in public I dedicate "LOVE ME TENDER " to my Dad & whisper to him....Dad! You were right! I was too young! I love you! forgive me! ..and this song is for you! - Roy T
Spencer Remembers
I have been KJing for many years. I am located near a college that has a large handicapped attendance.

I' ve had wheelchair-bound people at my shows ever since I started, but this one lady "sang" karaoke for the first time last week. Her name is Faye and she, like many of her peers, is wheelchair-bound. Unlike her friends, however, she has absolutely NO voice! Her voicebox simply doesn't work. A friend of hers came up with her to hold her microphone and she has one of those keyboards on her wheelchair to communicate with people. She has no use of her hands, so she types on the keyboard by using a special headband with a long stick on it to push the keys. While she was unable to make anything her than grunting sounds, I was saddened but uplifted by her willingness to be ridiculed in front of a usually very drunk crowd. She sang her song until it was over, then wheeled back to her table with the rest of her friends. The applause was deafening! I nearly cried on the spot! These drunken animals recognized her inability to vocalize yet they thundered applause when she finished. It really made me feel very good to know that Faye and her friends feel comfortable enough to get up in front of people and "sing" their songs. I always try to accomodate them by widening the aisles, and asking people to show a little extra care when they are there. I'm very pleased that people of all types are able to participate. -Spencer Martin
Diane Dishes
Once I was out singing at an establishment that was EXTREMELY LOUD!

There was the cutest couple dancing on the dance floor the entire evening. They danced to every single song that was sung. They were both hearing impaired and enjoyed that establishment because not only could they "Feel" the music to dance to, but they could "See" the words on the screen and know what they were dancing to!

The entire evening the young woman was signing all the words that she read on the screen to her dance partner as they danced. It was absolutely beautiful to watch! Being the smart-*ss I am, *evil grin* I decided to have a little fun with her when my turn to sing came up. I got up to the mic, looked right at her and dared her to sign my song to everyone. (of course you know what I sang LoL) I sang I Touch Myself by The Divinyls! She had a good laugh and signed throughout the entire song, all the while dancing very seductively around her friend SHE got enormous applause and screams of approval... haha forget the singers... she was the best entertainment all night! It was that night that I discovered that KARAOKE was for more than just the hearing community. What more perfect place for her and her friends than a place where they can READ and FEEL the entertainment!

-Diane
Shine The Light On Shawn
I never even KNEW I could sing until 1992! I was SHOCKED!

After going through a really crudy marraige and a nasty divorce, I decided to start living again. I started going out with my best friend again. She took me to all kinds of cool places, introduced me to neat people, taught me how to FLIRT again, and how to generally just enjoy what life had to offer. One evening, we were at a little hole in the wall bar called "The Over The Hill Club" in Seagoville, Texas. A man named Michael Harrison and his sweetie-pie wife, Dena, owners of Mom & Pop Productions (out of Dallas), were hosting a karaoke show. I had never even heard of such a thing! These sweet people convinced me to get up and give it a try. After a couple of drinks, I said to myself, "Shawn? What do you have to lose?!?!" and I did it! My very first song I ever sang was "Fancy" by Reba McEntire. I didn't miss a note! I was absolutly SHOCKED! I think the audience was, too... I received a standing ovation (and several drinks to boost!) I WAS HOOKED!!! The feeling that came over me during those few minutes up on that stage was something I had never experienced, and I wanted MORE! It was better than CHOCOLATE, SEX, AND ROCK & ROLL put together! (Basically, I think I'm talking about adrenaline *smile*).

After a few months of singing twice a week with Mom & Pop, a man named Joey Triplett, who's band played a lot at Over The Hill, asked me to sing with his band. I accepted. We were together for about a year, then I met the man who would be my 2nd husband and father of my 2 beautiful boys, and I quit the band in lieu of my man and my family.

In 1995, we moved to Gun Barrel City, Texas to live in the house my Dad started building in 1973. I had my sons, stayed home for a LONG time, then started feeling restless. I had to start singing again. I missed it terribly! So, we found a babysitter and started going out once a week to karaoke shows so that I could get my "fix." After a while, in September of 2000, I was offered o KJ job with Denim & Diamonds, which is a karaoke company based in Dallas, but doing one show here in Gun Barrel Citym (60 miles away). I accepted and quickly got more shows in my area. It was a HUGE sucess. Now, after almost 2 years, I am venturing out to start my own karaoke show, "Limelight Karaoke."

The most rewarding perk about my job is making people smile, whiether it's me singing to them, or watching them shine...it makes everything, good and bad, about the job worth it. -Shawn Chappell (aka: Karaoke Pixie)
Karawolf - No More Lone Wolf
Prior to becoming a karaoke regular, I was in a rather unfulfilling marriage (I was in hell, OK?!?! ). I went nowhere, had no friends, spent my days off in front of the tube. Were it not for my guitars and my desire to one day be in a band, I might've cracked. Her "highness" ALLOWED me my fantasies, but if they were to come to fruition, they'd be without her. I'd like to say I'm gonna miss her....not. When I discovered karaoke, I found something BETTER than the petty differences that plague band membership. I became an addict. Better yet, I got a life!! I also met my wife who mothered my daughter...what better reward could you ask for! -The K-Wolf
Diputs= stupiD? I Think Not!
I have always loved singing, was in a couple of garage bands during my youth but started having memory problems after dabbling with some illegal substances. Have never been able to truly recover from that and it made singing from memory somewhat difficult. Karaoke brought back all the joy of singing without having to remember the words to the songs. -Diputs
Connie Sings Out
I was also very timid as a child. I was afraid of everything, dogs, stairs, mean kids. I spent a lot of time playing by myself. When I was very little I used to sing at the kitchen table and my mother would tell me to stop. I would tell her that I wasn't singing at the table, I was singing at the clock. I would face the clock on the wall at sing to it. When I was about 5 a neighbor heard me singing in the backyard. He told my mother that I was good and that I would become a singer when I grew up. I was always exposed to lots of music. Many family members are singers, or play instruments of some sort. When my sister and I were about 8 and 10, we would sing on my uncle's tape recorder. We sounded really good and I'm suprised that my mom never tried to get us on one of those Sunday afternoon TV variety shows. She probably figured I would freak out because I was so timid. I didn't discover karaoke until I was 40 something. I always loved to sing, but didn't know how I sounded, until I heard my voice over a microphone. I was most impressed at the clarity of my voice and that I sounded much younger than my speaking voice. I still record my singing and always trying to improve. -ConnieOnce I saw a woman get up to sing "Don't Cry Out Loud". She was maybe 30 and very attractive. When the music started she placed the microphone on a nearby table and begin to sign the words (not sing). She had lost her ability to speak at the age of seven but not before she had decided to become a singer. She had always dreamed of the chance to get up on stage and express herself with her own voice, silent though it might be. This was her moment. The entire bar that night was moved by her dedication to following her dream. Karaoke changes lives. -Connie
Grateful Shares His Gratitude
With the release of Duets, it made me recollect my thoughts on the whole concept of Karaoke. So, I was curious as to the actual personal, psychological benefits of singing Karaoke that anyone has experienced. I have another topic I'd like to post on what actually motivates you to sing and why you do it, but I'll post that one up later. This topic is somewhat "touchy-feely", but what the heck! Here's my story … I was an extreme introvert growing up as a kid. I rarely talked and primarily kept to myself. My peers would ditch school to go to the beach, while I'd only ditch so I could hack on my computer all day. I remember one summer my father enrolled me in a "computer camp." One night, they had a dance as an activity, and I was absolutely petrified! So, I went to a payphone outside the dance hall and pretended to be talking to my father to avoid going inside, where there was a strong likelihood of having to dance and/or talk to someone. I stood there all night talking to a dial tone until the dance was over. Ridiculous! When I was 19, I got my first job doing technical support for Bally's. I would go eat lunch in my car every day because I didn't know how to socialize with anyone. Whenever a coworker approached me and said something like "How ya doing?", I'd always respond with a wrong answer such as "Not much." Duh. I had absolutely no communication skills whatsoever. I couldn't even look anyone in the eye. I was terrified to even call someone up over the phone to give them technical support. If someone told me a dirty joke, I'd blush. It wasn't until I was 20 when I had my first date! Now, 10 years later, all that's has changed dramatically. Over time, I became quite the party animal and become more and more sociable. I'd look for ways to interact with people. Over the last 3 years or so, Karaoke has really helped me break a lot of those barriers. Most of my long-term friends are totally shocked that I can get up on stage with such ease. Nowadays, I'm more outgoing and uninhibited than they are! I'm the one prodding them to put a song up. Also, it has really helped me get over fear of public speaking. Two years ago I was asked to do a 30 minute presentation at our company's all-associate meeting… in front of everyone. It was also going to be videotaped. I was thrilled to do it and wasn't nervous at all! In fact, my presentation was rated the best out of all of them. I did it on the fly without hardly rehearsing beforehand. Who would have known? So, this is one reason why I'm very grateful for this avenue of expression. For me, it's become a tool to help me overcome my social fears, and it has totally helped me become more brave, outgoing, and uninhibited. Granted, most of this came subconsciously. It wasn't until after the fact that I realized what impact Karaoke has had on my life. -Grateful
And The Tony Goes To....!
Karaoke fulfills my musical dreams without all the headache of doing it for real. I get 15 minutes a week in the limelight without the hassles. And if by chance I muck up a song no one writes bad things about me in the paper the next day. -Tony
Ye Olde Geezer
I've always loved to sing. During high school, I was in the school choir and sang in a "folk group" at church. In college, I took a break from singing to concentrate on my radio career. But after college, I started singing in a small church group, then with a civic chorus. Then came karaoke -- and it has been both "fun" and "satisfying." It's fun -- because I get to sing some popular stuff...and it's satisfying, because I have always been reticent about singing solos in a concert setting. Karaoke has also brought me out of a shell -- in radio, you are in a small room talking to a micropphone, while at karaoke, you're virtually "out there" alone. And when the applause comes -- what a rush!
And that's my .02... -Geezer
Ring My Bill
I think karaoke has been the biggest confidence builder in my case. I used to be very shy even though I've been in entertainment all my life!! Even when fronting a band for many years, I had at least four other guys on stage with me and as a DJ in radio, well no one could see me, could they? With karaoke, you're all alone out there and all it takes is a little applause and encouragement and BINGO, your whole outlook changes!! -Bill Schwentner
Kev Rocks!
! I've been singing karaoke for about 6 or 7 years now. My mom got me and my wife to come to her boyfriend's bar to check it out. I was amazed because I had never seen it and she would get up there and sing. My wife kept trying to get me up there but I was to afraid I would mess up. I kept going back for about five weeks before I finally got up the courage to try it. I was hooked like a fish! I had always wanted to front a band and it's still my dream...But for now it's KARAOKE and it rocks and the people love it... so until I find a nice tight band, this is my stardom. And it feels great when they scream and clap for you, a great confidence builder..DID SOMEBODY SAY KEEP ON ROCKIN'? -KevRocks
Smitty Tells All
It satisfies my need to perform for an audience; It's relaxing; and it enables me to meet like minded, biologically accommadating members of the opposite sex. -Smittykj
Sweet Mysteries Of Music
I have a step-brother that I take out Karaoke singing with me whenever he calls and asks. Mike (aka Ramblin' Rosco) had a pretty serious head injury from a motorcycle accident when he was only 16 years old. For some time he was partially paralized all down the left side of his body. Over the last 30 some years he has regained most of his motor skills, but he does have a little bit of a limp. The part of his brain that was injured is the same part that is affected in people with epilepsy, so he has to take medication to prevent seizures. His memory is greatly effected and he has difficulty holding a conversation. He often stutters, rambles or mid-sentance he stops because he completely forgets what he was talking about. I feel so bad for him when he is trying tell me a story but he can't get his meaning accross the way he wants to. His appearance and demeanor look sometimes like drunkeness to people who don't know of his affliction. Music (and Harley Davidsons ) are his whole world. The man can sing! Even though he can hardly speak a whole paragragh without stopping, he can sing beautifully without a stutter or a pause! I am truly touched when I hear him sing because I know how happy it makes him! I've been told that singing uses the other half (creative half) of the brain, and that is why he can sing. I guess is is sort of like the singer Mel Tillis who stutters when he speaks yet sings beautifully. -Diane
Star Light Star Bright
Karaoke has allowed me to touch and be touched by other people in my life. I have made and sadly lost freinds over the years who karaoked with my husband and I over the past decade. I have REALLY enlarged my circle of aquaintances from karaoke. I can't go anyplace with out seeing somebody who knows me from karaoke as well as other involvements in my life.
As a child I was very insecure but long before karaoke, that changed. Karaoke has given me the chance to entertain people like they were my guests at my own private party, and earn a good and fulfilling living for my family. -Karaoke Star
Metalroke
As a teen everybody was getting into bands to get chicks. I had so many chicks I had to get into a band??? But I sick and tired of the bass player on drugs, guitar players that were alcoholic , drummers beating people up you get the picture. With karaoke I am able to rid myself of most of that kind of dysfunction. In that aspect karaoke has been a life saver and a dream maker. peace love karaoke -Metalroke
A Holiday To Remember
I live in Britain, 3 Years ago my wife Elaine and I decided to holiday in America for the first time. We decided on New England to break us in gently. I contacted the local chat sites to get some hints and tips for what to do etc. I received an Email from Sandra also UK asking if I received info to pass on to her and vice versa... Well eventually after exchanging regular Emails I asked when are you going and yes you've guessed it the same time as us. Where do you live? Turns out 6 miles from me... spooky. anyway we decide to meet in America (Capt Parkers pub in West Yarmouth) KARAOKE freaks they were we got a guided tour of all the bars in the area tourist or not.. Eventually Sandra's Husband Andy persuaded me to debut in Buds Country Lounge in Hyannis he accompanied me with What A Wonderful World and left me alone on stage half way through. (Learning to ride bike comes to mind) I was off the buzz of the applause was great. I must say though American Karaoke fans are more appreciative of people willing to "give it a go". So we returned again to Cape Cod 2000 and Andy planned all the venues again and San Francisco and Monterey 2001 (Marriott Hotel excellent venue in Monterey. There are great voices out there (not me), not famous because they don't fit into producer Boxed Minds!
Anyway thanks America for making 2 Karaoke singers Andy McQueen & Larry Bartle very welcome. Best Wishes all for the future and keep those larynxes belting them out. One negative note Andy wants to ban "I will survive"!
-Larry
A Real Ciffhanger
When I started singing at karaoke shows, it was an outlet for musical expression that had been closed off since early college days when I used to be in various bands. Once my educational load became too great, I had to give up music for a while. Karaoke enabled me to satisfy that urge without having to dedicate half my life to it at the time...
Now.. I host three nights a week, and it rewards me financially as well as musically -Cliff
Karaoke? Absolutely!
"... what brought me to karaoke? Like most of you, I simply love music! I have always enjoyed listening to music, singing with the radio (and the shower thing). But, the thought of singing alone, in front of a crowd, was absolutely frightening to me. My first experience with karaoke involved a business relationship. Working in a high technology company I became involved in a project with a great deal of interaction with a Japanese firm. During the project I was invited by our Japanese partner to a karaoke bar in Los Angeles. Throughout the entire evening I was uptight and nervous. So, when it came time for me to sing I just couldn't do it. I knew that my host was disappointed and, needless to say, when the project was over our companies never did business again! Since that memorable moment of discomfort I find myself working full time for a Japanese firm doing business in the U.S. To say the least, I did not want to offend another person. So, I forced myself over the karaoke hurdle and "squeeked" through. Now, I can't get enough.I have certainly received more than my share of happiness from singing on stage (karaoke guests are so generous with their praise). But, most important is the self confidence I have gained knowing I can survive a performance. And, from a business perspective, I have greatly improved my presentation skills. I would like to thank two people in particular for bringing karaoke into my life. First, to Gina who first put me on stage and sang "Margaritaville" with me. It was great fun. Second, to my wife Annette, who continues to encourage me to sing because she knows how much it means to me and she recognizes the benefits I receive from karaoke."-Dale Christensen Reprinted with the kind permission of Dale Christensen
Dale Christensen is the Host of Karaoke atAbsolute Authority]
Shona's Swan Song
many words and ideas ring true to my experience with karaoke.
but here is my delightful story.

The year is 1993 .I was in a bad marriage. miserable. yucky. It is Christmas time. One day i was working from home, as my daughter is sick. On tv is a show called "Lunch Television" a little local show provided lite fair between noon and 1.
One of the segments unoffically titled "pull-the-unsuspecting-guy-from-the-audience-and-give-him-a-microphone-and-see-what-happens" comes on. This hefty guys gets up and starts doing karoke like he had been doing it for the last four lifetimes. he is completely natural. completely confident. completely great. a karaoke god. I fantasize that i am not in this wreck of a marriage, and that this guy is my husband. i dare myself to call the station and try to get this guys number.
i chicken out. I figure that he is already married with 3kids... why would he be interested in me? Fast foward 7 years. the marriage is over. I am at a bar with friends and single. I am introduced to a great karoke host... i am impressed.
we date. and he meets my daughter. she loves him. he asks me to marry him.
i say yes...
fast forward 1 more year.
One day he says he wants to see a tape of something he did on tv about 7 years ago.
and yes, virigina there really is a santa claus...it was him... my karaoke god. that is my story -shona p.s. we will have a karaoke wedding, (with an open ice cream truck!) ~Shona
What Really Matt-ers
For me, it saved my life!

I had fallen into a dreadful melancholy that was so severe, I honestly wasn't aware of it until it passed! I had been dateless, and nearly friendless since I moved up here to the Pacific NW. If it weren't for my mom and brother up here, I would have left long ago, despite it being so damned gorgeous. My brother wanted to take me to a karaoke bar "to meet women" (LOL!), and to keep the peace, for he could be SUCH a whiner, I went along. I found myself looking in the song book over and over (longing for the ol days when I used to be in Accapella Choir), and found myself longing for that Friday to come around!! One Friday was special. My brother wasn't feeling good, so he and I arrived in seperate cars. I began to get REALLY drunk, and I was in a great mood. My brother ended up bagging, as he was ready to ralf. I decided to stay, and that eventually gave me enough courage to fill in the slip. The KJ was too cool. I handed her the slip, nervous as hell, and told her that this was my first time doing this. Giving me an evil grin, she asked if it was my first time SINGING karaoke. BAM! I got the joke, and laughed my head off. It relaxed me, and I felt WONDERFUL about it. I don't think (In fact I know I didn't) do Elton John any favors by singing his song, but IT WAS FUN! I turned in my next slip right away, and two hours later, I sang my next song. The KJ and I developed a great friendship, and she encouraged me to come to THURSDAYS as they were routinely slow (about 15 singers aver. rotation) and I would get in more than two songs a night. As it turned out, I wasn't doing anything on Thursdays either. Flash-forward to six months later: I'm a regular at the bar now, people wave at me and call my name (aka the TV show 'Cheers') and suddenly I feel like a god! The sobering thought was when my friend Rachelle (the KJ) told me that I walked in the bar like I OWNED it, but before, a few months ago, I was the MOST TIMID BIG GUY she'd ever seen. Flash-forward two months later: The Weekend KJ quits, and Rachelle maneuvers me into telling the owner that I was interested in the position. Two mins later I had the job as the owner really liked me. Now, two years later, I run my own company (partnered with a great friend)... But it was very sobering to realize that Karaoke really saved my life... I came to that decision when I was told that I STRUTTED in my hangout... I began to really think on it, and realized how happy I was. Thanks for letting me ramble!

-Matt
Sarah Smiles
I was always the shy and reclusive child. I had few friends, since we moved around, not a lot, but just enough to have to start over one too many times. Being the "new girl" in sixth grade (the last big move) in a non military town (previously, we moved with my father in the army until my parents' divorce) and set amongst peers of a higher tax bracket- I was easy prey. They wore designer labels, I wore sweats. High school changed a lot for me. I fell in love with the stage when I was in the chorus of "Fiddler on the Roof" in my Junior year and when I auditioned for the musical for my senior year, I landed the coveted role of Marian Paroo, the female lead role in "The Music Man". Then, I found Karaoke. As a quick fix between roles, I frequented Karaoke bars. I went to one so often, I was offered a job, and here I am today, working in one of the best Karaoke locations I've found thus far. (Not to say that anyone else's place is lesser, just that I've found my place for now to grow from). Another exciting development is after touring casting offers, I found a production company with, you guessed it a script about Karaoke (don't worry, different theme than Duets) and they offered a role to me. All they need is to get approved for their completion bond. Filming is scheduled to begin in Jan '01, providing the cash flow and I'm off to Colorado Springs to film my first movie. It will be independent and I'm not sure about distribution, but I'll keep you all posted.
Karaoke has been a wonderful path that I was fortunate enough to take. It has definately been a springboard to which my life is launching from. -Sarah Mc
Dan The Man
I was the kid who always had an "F" in public speaking. The first time I tried to give a speech in grade 3, I cried the rest of the day, and never gave another speech until grade 9. Now I won't shut up. I started singing at karaoke almost 10 years ago, and have met many friends through it. I am always being recognized when I'm out on my courier run, and get lots of compliments. I will never forget the time I tried to explain to my mother on the phone what karaoke was. She's like, "So, you, who never spoke in school, gets up in a bar, full of people, some maybe with weapons, and sings, and the music is played on a stereo, and the words are on a TV?" "Yes, mom". -Dan
Ryan's Point To Ponder

My story doesn't go back very far, and probably won't be enteraining to the hardcore karaoke crowd at all, unless you are into the nostalgic mode of "Oh, I remember those good old days".

I was sitting in the seediest bar of town, and in my town, they are ALL seedy bars. Karaoke was running and I was drinking, without even a thought of going on stage and making an ass of
myself in front of a bar full of low lives, and bikers, all of whom would probably kick my a*s. But alcohol is a weird and wonderful evil. So I got up on stage, after a healthy many ptichers of beer, and began to belt out "Kiss from a rose" By Seal. Now you may not know this, but this song is very hard to do well. At least, it was hard for me seeing as the only singing experience I've had before that was watching the Toronto Blue Jays win the World Series back in '92. So I horribly sucked, and was definitivly booed off stage. However, I was not beat up (good thing).

So months later I again happen to be in a karaoke bar, and decided that maybe I would give it another shot. This time I didn't get booed off stage, and actually, a few people clapped (probably drunk, but they still count). And then began my 3 year and counting addiction to karaoke. I now currently am a KJ and have been approached by many a band needing a lead singer, but I've become kind of a symbol in the local bar. Most of the crowd knows that I was once a horrible singer, and now I've become quite the crowd favorite.

Wow, this story is too long. Uh the moral is sing karaoke and you can be a star too. Plus girls buy me lots of drinks and they can for you too.

Keep singing.
~Ryan

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