Monday, June 30, 2003

That Singing Sensation

If memory serves me well, I began my ‘karaoke career’ in 1998 at Nikolai, a dark but cozy place in Remedios Circle. Now, I’m a semi-regular of Music 21, where I’d sometimes go alone or with various groups of friends just to unwind and have fun. Or practice.

But as a kid, I’d sing at home. Mom and Dad got my big sister a Trebel SAS (Sing-Along System) when she graduated sixth grade, and for the next few years I contributed to a growing number of minus-one and multiplex tapes. My voice back then was this uncertain little creature seeking its place in the world.

My short stint in theater afforded me free voice training and more confidence in singing. At New Voice Company, we had Jai Sabas-Aracama of the UP Madrigal. There was also fellow member Patrice Pacis who at the time was taking her graduate degree in voice at the UST. It was at New Voice where I discovered I was a bass-baritone with an iffy vocal range. This range prevented me from dishing out the male pop songs. The female pop songs proved more comfortable to render.

So my karaoke repertoire covers Barbra Streisand, Zsazsa Padilla, Regine Velasquez, et al. using my normal voice. I cannot for the life of me sustain a decent falsetto. There are a few male songs I could handle, and recently I’ve been adjusting the pitch level four to six keys lower for the Nievera and Valdez ditties.

My friends and I have our standard duets: With Dean, I have Sun and Moon and Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang; with Vin, there’s With You I’m Born Again and Danny’s Song; with Tobie, Summer Nights and I Dreamed a Dream. Meanwhile, I’d play around with some of the solos; I’d cook up new versions of Ara Mina’s Ay ay ay Pag-Ibig, St. Paul’s Only Reminds Me Of You, and even Britney’s Sometimes. Just for kicks.

Like I said, I would go to Music 21 alone for an hour of shameless warbling. For less than P 150, I could experiment with 15 songs at most and sip on an iced tea. On lean days, Music 21 would sometimes give me the large 20-person room. The experience is extremely therapeutic, and I more often go home with a new song in the repertoire or a personalized take on an old one.

But there’s one really great thing about being alone in the karaoke room. I don’t have to tear at scalps for the remote.

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