I've never done karaoke. I'll hum a tune sometimes to myself, even articulate one or two lines occasionally. In my car, if I'm alone and the windows are rolled up tight, I'll sing at the top of my lungs. There's no danger there that my tragically tone-deaf caterwauling will hurt anyone.
I've attended karaoke parties and requested songs and cheered my friends and watched from the couch as others picked up the mic. Under my breath I might sing the backing vocals just low enough that nobody can hear. I've even gone to karaoke bars, including one that karaoke-obsessed author Rob Sheffield highlights in his book Turn Around Bright Eyes (one of our Best of the Month in August) as his favorite New York City spot. Again, I sit and I watch and I listen.
There's something about Rob Sheffield, though. In his writing, it's a combination of his genuine adoration of music and his admission of having not the greatest voice himself and his own history with karaoke. In person, it's his endearingly quirky presence, the contagiousness of his enthusiasm, the authenticity of his desire to help others find happiness where he has.
After all, here we have a rock critic giving us, well... explicit permission to suck at singing and still have a good time. He's like a walking talking hug of a human, assuring you that how well you sing is irrelevant; what matters is how you feel when you sing.
See for yourself. We caught up with Rob at Book Expo America to talk about all of this and more.