Karaoke at home seems to be norm during this pandemic
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
Karaoke is an activity enjoyed by many including myself. I have not been able to sing karaoke for several months due to the pandemic. Now it is just singing in the shower or singing in my car with motorists giving me strange looks—along with the occasional one-finger salute. The latter happens to me regardless of whether I am singing or not.
Many people have not been singing at karaoke bars, but instead have been singing in the privacy of their own home—well sort of. In May 2020, a woman named Patricia Faith began singing on her Vancouver balcony at 7 pm to pay tribute to frontline workers. It was a noble and caring gesture from the heart, but it would soon ignite wrath from her neighbours who felt she was singing too long for their liking (Faith sang for 20 minutes every night). Faith told CTV News Vancouver that she was stunned to hear about the criticism of her singing: “Doctors and nurses are healing us, and they deserve 20 minutes a day,” Faith said. “I can’t heal the sick, but I can sing, and if my singing brings hope and joy to them, then I want to carry on doing that.”
Notably, singing with groups of people can be a great way to combine social connections and improve one’s mental health. A 2015 study conducted by Canterbury Christ Church University discovered that people who sang in groups showed a significant improvement in overall mental health and wellbeing—including lower rates of depression, stress, and anxiety. As well, the study found that group singing helped people cope better with isolation and loneliness, which can be just as harmful as not being physically active.
Morgan Hannah, Life and Style Editor for the Other Press, says she loves to sing karaoke because of the camaraderie that comes from singing with a group of people. “I think it’s how everyone drops their guard, comes together, and just sings with abandon,” Hannah said in an email interview. “No one cares how you sound—if you’re great, everyone praises you. If you’re not so great, everyone sings along with you. Karaoke is the perfect opportunity to try a new style and have fun with it in a relaxed environment with very low stakes; it’s inexpensive and easy-going.”
Hannah also says the overall mental health benefits that she gets from singing cannot be overstated: “Either way, singing has always been such a stress reliever, mood booster, and way for me to check-in with myself and see where I am at—if I am still singing, I must be doing something right.”
Ryan Yip, a Vancouver resident, also loves singing karaoke. He says singing is very therapeutic and also concurs that singing with groups of people is a good way to help solidify human connections. “The reason I love karaoke so much is it feels good,” Yip said in an email interview with the Other Press. “It really pulls you into the now, the present. I also like it because you generally get better over time and it’s nice to hear that improvement. Compliments from fellow singers and fellow patrons are also nice to hear.”
I love to sing karaoke. One of my favourite places to sing karaoke was at Kamei Royale Japanese Restaurant on West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver. The last time I was there was in November 2019—four months before the start of the pandemic. But I hope to sing again one day when a vaccine is finally discovered.
Karaoke is meant to be enjoyed by many people. And due to the pandemic and lack of proper social distancing inside bars and restaurants, many people are choosing to stay away and sing at home. The other option is to rent out a private room at a karaoke place or sing karaoke at a friend’s house. These are very unprecedented times and with so much uncertainty, singing at home is a better option than to not sing at all.