When I was young, I’d listen to the radio, waiting for my favourite songs. When they played, I’d sing along…;it made me smile… Indeed, music and songs have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have been listening to songs and singing them since I was young, and never mind that I don’t sing so well. As Rhett Butler would say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

…..I can still remember my first Karaoke experience like it was yesterday. Stella’s brother had a pub, some kind of a joint venture with his friends…and she kept pestering me to go! Ka-la-o-kay? (Overseas, they would pronounce it as “kay-ray-o-key”) No, thanks!!! Wild horses wouldn’t be able to drag me anywhere near the place. But her persistence paid off, and finally, I relented…

Footnote: The photo has been blurred to protect the innocent! LOL!

I would not say that it was the greatest mistake of my life but it was disastrous, to say the least! I sat there the whole night, declining every invitation to sing…and Stella certainly wasn’t one to take “No!” for an answer…so again, I was persuaded and gave in! I chose one of my evergreen favourites, “The way we were” by Barbara Streisand…and when my turn came, I went on stage… Good grief! It was not the right key (I think they had the Andy Williams’ version!)…and I struggled on…and the deejay changed the key in a desperate attempt to get it right for me…but it was all in vain!! Being one heck of a greenhorn at this thing, I ended up even more confused!!! I did not know how I managed to squeal through the whole song without getting a single note right. I was positive there were smirks on everybody’s faces and I could imagine the thought running through their heads, “Where did this constipating cow (…or bull? Cow is female, right?) come from?”

Well, the word “defeat” has no place in my vocabulary…so I had to go back there to redeem my reputation.  After the horrendous debut performance, I was very much wiser…and chose to sing the “safe” songs like those by the Carpenters (Yes, I did!!!) and the rest is History!!! For one thing, I really hated it when I was singing on stage and everyone in the pub would croak along…so loudly that they would drown my singing!!! Anyway, eventually, I progressed to more challenging songs…and one fella commented, “Why do you keep singing those songs that people don’t know?” I just smiled and thought to myself, “That’s the whole idea! Now at least I can hear myself sing…and all of you will have to sit there and listen, like it or not!!!”

These days, my usual repertoire comprises Joshua Kadison’s “Beautiful in my eyes“, Kenny Rogers’ “She believes in me“, Rod Stewart’s “Have I told you lately that I love you?”, Willie Nelson’s “Always on my mind“, Jim Brickman/Martina McBride’s “Valentine“, just to name a few…and for obvious reasons, I would be careful to steer clear of songs like “I believe I can fly” and “Flying without wings” (Imagine everyone thinking in their heads, “Gosh! Even with wings, he can’t posssibly fly!!!” LOL!)…..Well, for one thing, after all that “public show of talent on stage”, I became more confident…when I had to speak in public, emceeing at grand functions, presenting papers at seminars and singing – anytime, any place!!!

I guess there’s a lesson to learn from all this – Don’t give up! If at first, you fail, try and try again!!! And do remember…never try to bite off more than you can chew!!!…..So anyone for Karaoke? As in the words of another Carpenters’ song, “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing…sing a song!”