One day a colleague of mine asked me when I felt the most joy; without hesitation, I replied “When I’m singing.” I love singing in the car, in the shower, in musicals, while walking down the street. Most of all, though, I love to sing karaoke. For years, it had been my goal to karaoke in all 50 states, but I had stalled at 21, plus D.C. (and two Canadian provinces and seven countries).
Then, in February 2016, my best friend lost her life to cancer and I decided to go for it. I took a 99-day road trip to sing karaoke in the Lower 48, then topped off that epic journey with karaoke trips to Alaska and Hawaii. But somehow, I wasn’t done. I was driven to write and the result was my book, One Nation Under Song: My Karaoke Journey through Grief, Joy, and America (Inkwater Press, 2018).
I’ve always enjoyed the vibe in karaoke bars. I see them as an interesting slice of Americana, even though karaoke clearly has its origins in Asia and remains a stronger component of cultures there (I’ve sung in China, South Korea and Vietnam). This trip was not only about singing, but the experience of sharing music and community with others.
This blog documented my journey, and will continue to be a place where I share my connection to karaoke and other things that bring me joy.
Thanks for joining me!