I've noticed lately that the talent pool of good KJ's is getting pretty dilluted.
ATTENTION KJ's: You are NOT the Center of the Universe! Your partons are. If you come off stand-offish and too good for your britches, most new patrons will be too imtimidated to get up for the first time.
I've seen many that try and 'wow' the audience with their talent, only to scare off average to poor singers. They hog the mic and are rather obnoxious.
Fortunately, most of us on this board are not like that...right?
Let me say, first off, that the current shows I'm attending or have attended over the past couple of years have been great! The KJs have been very good to work with, and make it a party. (I especially would like to recognize dishwateralto, a member of this forum, who is moving to Sioux Falls, SD...and is hoping to find a gig there.)
In my early days of singing karaoke, there were a couple of KJs who considered themselves to be God's gift to music (and to women). One, in particular, would sing immediately after someone who received a good round of applause from the bar crowd. I guess he had to show that singer up. Another show featured three people hosting/jocking...and each one had to sing at least once per rotation...even if the rotation was 20 or more.
One more point -- I have done some "emergency" hosting at some shows -- and let me tell you, it isn't easy. I really have an appreciation for KJs who do it well -- and have to put up with the inevitable whining and complaining from a very few but vocal patrons.
Funny. I just went to a show last night where the KJ will do even TWO songs in a row. Then, he'll throw in as many duets as he can - as long as he's the male partner.
Granted, he's a pretty good singer... but it gets pretty old when you're waiting around and around. Oh yeah, he also thinks he's God's gift to women, even though he has a steady girlfriend who doesn't go to his shows. Well, if he ever takes his hat off, everyone will see how bald he is .
Anyway, he always gives me a great intro when I get up there, so I don't mind him terribly that much... "Here's Richard! The guy with the coolest songs for Karaoke! (etc.) But, now I have an expectation that's hard to live up to everytime I get up there! I always try to have something new to wow the audience with.
DALE i don't know if i qualify as someone you are talking about, but i want to say that i take the SHOW seriously. unlike some KJ's that work in my area, i show up on time when i'm supposed to be there, i do a complete sound check every time ( bar's equipment-other KJ's different nights)because i hear complaints about how other nights sound awful compared to my nights. i know i fuss too much when it comes to the sound, but i remember as a singer going to places that had bad sound and how it made you want to leave. when the show begins i see to it that each singer sounds ok according to their abilities and voice. i don't play music in between songs because i feel that it detracts from the singers and they're not here for that.i play some dance music at the end of the night and the place really hops.i get a lot of compliments about my shows and i usually react by saying that i love doing this, which is true.i usually joke around with lite banter between songs and i make sure each singer gets applause. sometimes i joke about the selection a singer does,but i usually get a good reaction from everyone,even the singer i talk about.For instance, i started a new show at a different bar this past week, a small place- holds maybe 60 people tops,ended up with about 20 singers, all stayed to the very end, the owner told me she felt bad because a couple complained that they were used to coming in later and sitting wherever they wanted, but that night they had no place to sit. one guy was called about 5 times from the back of the bar for his first song, and he said that he couldn't hear too well because he worked in a steel mill. the next time i called him up i said, ok we have Kevin, our deaf steel worker returning to the stage. well everyone howled and when he got to the stage he shook my hand and laughed saying over the mike i like this guy already.he was ready, though, the next time i called him up, he practically ran through everyone getting to the stage. i then announced that Kevin suddenly recovered his hearing, and that everyone should go to church tomorrow and say a thank you for divine intervention . this with a guy i never met before.i don't compete with other singers no matter their talent, because by coming back to my shows, they're saying all that i need to hear.
Posts: 219 | From: Hamilton,Ontario,Canada | Registered: Feb 2000
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Billy, you don't sound like the kind of host Dale was referring to. I think most of us singers wish there were more hosts like you that care about what the show is about. Some hosts are just there to collect a pay check, and couldn't really care about how the sound is, or to god forbid, make the singers feel like they are welcome in that bar. I for one, don't have the time for karaoke shows where the host thinks he's there to perform for the crowd. As I've said before, I don't begrudge KJ's singing, but no more than any of us.
While i'm thinking about it, Billy, send me an email with where you'll be through the week, if anywhere. I'm off the last 2 weeks of June, and might just feel like making a little road trip.
I guess I'm lucky. All the karaoke shows I attend have good, experienced KJ's. Granted, some have a better sound system, or better song selection, but they all run a fair rotation. Their singing is average, though I can think of a couple that are better than average, but they don't over sing. I do however feel that KJ's should stay out of the rotation if it exceeds 10 singers. Some do, some don't.
Posts: 397 | From: Strongsville, OH | Registered: May 1999
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Yeah, I thought twice about posting the bald comment. It's been predicted that I too may go bald... But, this guy thinks he's so cool, I couldn't resist. He always wears his hat on backwards like some gangsta, but I know the truth to why he wears that hat!
Posts: 1487 | From: Irvine, CA, USA | Registered: Jun 1999
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Heh, I too am a little sparse when it comes to the big hair thing, but hey, I keep it short and I it's cool in the summer
I wasn't talking about the KJ that takes the SHOW seriously...but the Mr. Big Ego or Miss Me hosts. that';s all. I take my shows seriously too. I'm a stickler for sound and try and make each singer sound the best he/she can sound.
Frankly, I think the best way to deal with hosts like that is just to ignore them....not to glorify them with a topic. It just presents a negative image of karaoke to newcomers.
No offense, Dale, but what's up with the empty negativity, anyway? I noticed the last two topics you posted are all about bagging on other KJs, which doesn't seem like a good way to promote cooperation in an industry that already has an professional relations problem.
We all know that KJs like that exist....guess I just don't understand the point of belaboring it and getting people all stirred up without providing any useful information in the process.
If you actually want to solve the problem, then try reaching out to those KJs and providing an example of "good KJing"...maybe they'll pick up on it....but inciting singers to talk sh*t about KJs (no matter how bad they are)...does nothing but make the situation worse. - L .
I have to agree with Leigh, if you don't like the way a person runs their show, ignore them and don't patronize their place of business. If everyone that goes to his show feels the same way, eventually the owners are going to start looking for a new KJ. If they are stupid and don't look for another host, just thank your lucky stars, cuz it sounds like these folks are running people off to your show. GaryC
Posts: 426 | From: Oklahoma City, Ok | Registered: Jan 2000
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Yeah Dale, I know several KJ's that think they are the show. Any KJ that sings more than once or twice a night is not providing a karaoke service. There's no place for ego's in karaoke hosting.
Posts: 1 | From: Holland, MI, USA | Registered: Jun 2000
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I always say: People come to your shows to listen because of the good singers, and they come and sing because there are bad ones...
Posts: 176 | From: Alliston, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 1999
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Well, Gil, I had an experience last Saturday night where the singers were so bad, my date and I opted to leave.
Why? First, the singing was so obnoxious as to be offensive. As bad as body odor! The KJ and one woman could sing. Second, I was reluctant to get up and do my best. I like to go to clubs where the singers raise the bar, not lower it.
NOW, I AM NOT TOO GOOD MYSELF!!! But I was clearly better than these folks. Frankly, by singing my best, I felt they felt I was trying to "show them up"..
One or two songs per NIGHT? Sure, on those rare occasions when when the planets are aligned in the proper formation and I have 15+ singers, then I'll drop out of the rotation. But, for the most part, the small venue in which we perform, usually has a small clientel. If the evening starts with 5 singers (me & my wife included) then we're really kickin' it! We both stay regular in the rotation UNTIL the last 30-45 minutes of the evening, otherwise, the patrons won't have a chance git another drink OR make room for anther drink!
I personally don't mind the KJ taking a turn in the rotation. Around here, most do until the rotation becomes fairly large (15+). As I said in my earlier post, in the early days at one venue, the KJs sang a lot...so much so that we were lucky to sing twice...
Usually when running a show, it depends on the audience and whats goin on, i have a limit on when i sing, i usually set the mood with the first song, there is usually a bridge where the music allows you to welcome people, asking to grab a book, sign up, ect, ect, the first rotation is close to 5 singers, so i'll sing another song, by then, the rotation grows to close to over 10, i usually don't sing again, until at a certain point of the night, friends in the audience ask if i'm going to sing again, i usually tell them if its too busy then i can't, but if the list of people is respectable, and if there is an abundance of people who keep asking, i'll on occasion do one of my "signature" songs, that gets the crowd motivated and having a good time, thats my job, sometimes the place i'm working wants me to pick up the pace, and that doesnt mean dance music interludes, i try my best to balance the songs and the singers fairly, which is not easy, but it can be done.
Posts: 135 | From: mechanicsville, virginia | Registered: Aug 2001
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Speaking for myself, I usually start the night off, UNLESS I've got people banging on my head to start. Then obviously they want to sing worse than me! LOL!
I will keep myself in rotation until about ten singers, and then yank myself after that, and only sing if someone asks me too (SERIOUSLY, not an ego trip).
The singers are there for themselves, not you as the host. I like to sing something to pick up a night that may be dragging (I usually have mix music for that!), or for duets with someone , or whatever.
Different kind of disease on this front - one KJ in town plays the popularity contest with the regulars - he's a middle aged guy, but seems *really* chummy (hopeful?) with the 20 something females...
Me and another guy went to one of his venues, sat through three full rotations (if you could call them that) before we were called up, while he kept hauling people out of their seats to sing that hadn't even submitted a tune - repeatedly. I think the guy's faves must have sung 4 times before either of us got up...
Eventually, my friend went up to him and said - hey look, I know I don't have what you're lookin' for - but do you mind if I sing?
In so cal we have to be kick ass kj's or else we will be replaced by every tom DICK and harry that charges 50 bucks a gig. I've held on to my gigs for years cuz i'm a freakin pro!!!! And when I do lose a gig to one of these cheap replacments I always get that phone call after a few months, " Christopher PLEAZE come back. Kills me every time.. peace love and Rokkenroke
Posts: 57 | From: Santa Fe Springs Cal. | Registered: Jan 2002
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I've got a question and not wanting to start a new thread for it here it is. For those of you who have been doing shows for a while now, (me-only about a year), what is your take on using props and the such. Do you as kj's tend to be in the background and let the singer have the spotlight or do you "preform" with them? I know most will go out with the wireless and work the crowd during known favorite sing-a-longs but I'm more interested in whether or not you lay back or become part of the show. I'm at a point now where I need to decide which direction I'm going to take with my show and insight from more expeerienced kj's is greatly appreciated.
Posts: 902 | From: Joliet,IL.USA | Registered: Oct 2001
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hehehe flameslayer...i'm not sure as to respond to question 1, 2, or 3
We're very much a part of the show in so far as: 1. we never sit down (many kjs in this area sit behind a table) :O 2. we usually dance, clap hands, make eye contact with the crowd 3. we grab a tamborine when appropriate
BUT...we do not sing over the singer...this is THEIR moment in the spotlight. We don't let others grab a mic and sing univited either. They must have the permission of the singer. We'll shut the mic down on any gate crasher and refuse to bring it up unless permission has been obtained.
Our singers wait for a long time for their turn. We add to the atmosphere but do not take over the limelight.
One show we attended, I was horrified when the KJ (an obnoxious, load-mouthed, foul-mouthed "fun" guy) bellowed along to any song he felt like jumping into. I was truly stunned :O
We don't encourage people to sing louder than the singer on stage. But, we are ready to jump in briefly to provide a starting key for a stuggling singer, or sing behind them until they get their bearings.
Ultimately...no matter how much support is provided, the support should be relatively invisible...this is THEIR moment to shine!
I nener sing with the singer unless asked. Sometimes I do have a problem sitting down during the show. But my day job involes alot of standing and walking. You sit down and they are all over you, so by Friday night, I'm a little worn down. But I try to be up and moving. But I don't dance! Don't want to scare people off (it's not a pretty sight! No rythm in the feet!)
Posts: 342 | From: Indianapolis, IN USA | Registered: Nov 2000
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I try to model my show from the best parts of the one's that I enjoy the most. I sing the first song to start the show and then make the introductory announcements and sing another to let the slips pile up. Then I'm done unless I run out of slips. I warn the crowd that they'll have to listen to me sing unless they keep the slips coming. Usually this isn't a problem. I fuss with the sound for every singer to try to get it as best as it can be. If a singer really tanks a song I try to come up with a a funny quip so as not to discourage him/her. The other night a guy came up and tried to sing a rap tune with a lot of words moving quickly and he tanked it. I explained to the audience that Joe(not his real name) had just come down with a bad case of caucasian and hopefully it will clear up before his next song.
If someone needs help starting the song I will get them going by singing it in there ear. But them some can't get the right note even then. (Hate it when that happens)
I don't believe in music between singers. Its a distraction and prevents the singers from hearing the snide comments from the tables they pass by as they get up to sing. (j/k)
quote:Originally posted by rokkenroke: In so cal we have to be kick ass kj's or else we will be replaced by every tom DICK and harry that charges 50 bucks a gig. I've held on to my gigs for years cuz i'm a freakin pro!!!! And when I do lose a gig to one of these cheap replacments I always get that phone call after a few months, " Christopher PLEAZE come back. Kills me every time.. peace love and Rokkenroke
Do you go back, rokken?? I have a problem with going back after the owners or management kill the gig. I know I'm right, but it feels sometimes as if it's blackmail. "Either do it my way or I'm outta here!"
The reason I feel so strongly is this just happened to me. The owners of my gig just killed it... and now they're deliberately going with someone else that's pretty cheesy. Just terrible selections... has all masters. And kisses people's arses!! OMG!
Anyway... I let it be known that even if they changed their minds, I wasn't going to go back. Now however, I'm not so sure.
I know if I do go back, things will be different and strained. Maybe even more problems than when I left!
Our experiences have been mostly positive. We've chased, been offered, and lost gigs. That's just business.
We too have felt the effects of piracy: the value of the service has been greatly undervalued due to pirates undercutting both legit and illigit competitors. We have bid for and lost gigs to pirates more than a few times. Happily, no bar has jumped at a pirate offer to "replace" us
Not surprisingly, our best working relationships have been with clubs that approach us. They already know what we do and how we do it and are willing to work with us. In the beginning, we chased gigs and found we constantly had to "re-sell" our service to the owner/manager.
Based on this, our strategy has become rather simple. We do our job and we do it well. Word of mouth travels fast. Now we take only the gigs we really want. We will turn down a gig if we do not like the atmosphere enough to invite our regulars to join us or if the management/owner appears unreasonable/difficult. It is a demanding enough profession, that we will not complicate it further with strained or difficult relations with the client.
We back our clients 100% and they in turn back us and support our decisions. With any luck, we will not have to "settle" for anything less.
Just keep doing the best job you can do and trust that your track record will become your calling card...or better yet...your answering machine
thanks Chris! It's appreciated. Very much the same as my philosophy, I just wanted to know about if you lost a gig and then they call you back. Suppose it is about the circumstances...
What happened is the bar chose a regular over us... and that just irked the hell outta me! They wouldn't back our play, and I finally quit the scene there altogether. The final stab in the back is when I addressed the issue in a confidential letter, and the sonofa*****s let him read it!! They had already broke the contract (course I heard about this at the end of the night, not before!! LOL!), but that broke my trust... I told the bartender that I wouldn't be back.