Singin' in the rain
After DJ nights, the current fad to rock the town is KJ or karaoke jockeying, finds out SYEDA FARIDA
"IT'S COOL," says Venkat, software engineer from IIT Kanpur. And he is referring to his first experience with karaoke at Café Coffee Day, Jubilee Hills recently. He chose Hotel California. Ditto, agrees Sarah, a student from St. Stephens who did a great job with her rendition of Zara zara. "It is a good concept. I have never been to a karaoke before. It's different from singing for a live band," she says. Agree folks in twin cities seen crooning Toni Braxton, Bon Jovi and Beegees' hits on KJ Nites.
After DJ nights, the current fad to rock the town is KJ or karaoke jockeying. A popular concept overseas, where music buffs gather at exclusive pubs and sing their hearts out, today karaoke gigs are popular in music stores, pubs and coffee bars in the twin cities.
"It is improving by the day. We have 25-35 year olds, taking up the mike. There are places in Mumbai, which specialise in karaoke. But now the concept has takers in town," says Sanjay Bathla, partner Bottles & Chimney. "You have karaoke pubs in South East Asia, from where we took the idea. We have been doing karaoke in Pune over the past seven years. And decided to bring it here," says Mohan Ram Reddy, partner 10 Downing Street.
Come Thursdays, the pub is choc-a-bloc with karaoke buffs. The frenzy heightens after 10 p.m. and a pitcher. "We have people who exclusively come to sing. They don't simply come to have a drink but come to relax. Singing helps them do just that," says KJ Anand at 10 Downing Street who got hooked on to the concept in Chicago.
One of the factors behind the popularity of karaoke is the effortlessness that goes with it. "You play VCDs with lyrics that come up on screen as the minus one (minus vocals) are being played," explains KJ Anand. Live entertainment is how KJ Subz from Bangalore describes the fad. "This is a more interactive affair where the audience gets to participate. It's not about singing properly but about having fun. And its non-threatening," he adds.
Apart from helping unwinding and doing that solo without any inhibitions; karaoke has also served as a platform for launching many artistes. "Singers at a karaoke show in Bangalore were spotted by remix producers," says Subz. Agrees Mohan Ram Reddy, "we had Channel V Coke Pop Stars participants coming for karaoke." Also, music buffs can look at KJ-ing as a vocation, for which the criteria are, "you have to be a good MC and sing reasonably well," says Anand.
The good news for crooners in town, on the anvil is the karaoke carnival, this time from Café Coffee Day. "It is going to be a talent hunt where we will be picking up the best karaoke singer. It would be the first karaoke event to be held in the city, slated for this November," says Thomson Baby, city manager, Café Coffee Day.
If you wanted to sing that Toni Braxton or Air Supply track badly, this could be your chance to do it and win a bag of goodies. A lot can happen over coffee as they say.
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