I'd always thought I could sing, perhaps not like Pavarotti, but sing and hold a tune for sure. And I assumed that, should I ever decide, in some moment of madness, to enter the X Factor, then undoubtedly I'd win and become a huge overnight sensation. It's not so much an 'ego' thing or smug self confidence, just a hunch that I should be good at something and that singing should be it.
A little while ago, a member of the family persuaded me, after three too many vodkas, to try karaoke. And that night, in front of an inebriated crowd who clearly had poor taste in music (and, it has to be said, equally dubious taste in fashion), I discovered a whole new world of singing. It was freeing. The audience were kind, if a little indifferent - one of them even applauded.
My public performances since that initial concert have been rare and sporadic, until two days ago when I discovered Singsnap, a website that describes itself as "the karaoke party that never stops!". Hmm, I thought, that sounds like fun, perhaps I might find other sensational singers like me on there.
The idea is that Singsnap supply the backing track and you sing through your computer, all online from your own armchair, it's very clever. The result is a karaoke video of your performance to share with the whole world.
What's not to love?
Well quite a lot as it turned out.
I decided to give it a go. I sat in my office, adjusted my chair to the right height for the built in webcam and microphone of my desktop - and scrolled through the many backing tracks on offer. For some unfathomable reason I selected Elton John's 'Your Song'. The music started. I pressed the record button on the screen and sang my heart out. It was great. Feeling very satisfied, I couldn't wait to see what it looked and sounded like. While I sat anticipating the big reveal, the Singsnap website grandly informed me that they were mixing my track ready for playback. Exciting stuff. I imagined the reaction there would be from the 'Singsnap community' and even talent scouts who would be clamouring to sign me up.
Then it was ready.
I pressed 'play' and saw myself on the screen, looking a little surprised. And ouch - bad lighting! I could see big bags under my eyes. It wasn't looking promising.
Then the music started and very quickly the horror began. In a moment of terrible realisation, I became aware that I sounded truly awful. Even though I wanted to believe that it was due to Singsnap's 'state of the art' software, I was painfully aware that the horrible noise was in fact down to me. That's how I sound. And it's not pretty.
The longest three minutes and fifty eight seconds ensued as I sat squirming, open mouthed, watching my deluded self paying homage to Elton John.
Then, thankfully, it ended.
"Ready to share?" asked Singsnap cheerily (and with an air of sarcasm I thought). I was presented with options to upload my embarrassing video to Facebook, Twitter and countless other social media sites where I could be humiliated and ridiculed by strangers from all over the globe.
As if the awful revelation that I really can't sing wasn't enough, Singsnap wouldn't even let me delete this piece of art, informing me that it would remain in existence for ten days presumably in case I lost my mind, decided it suddenly sounded great and wanted the world to witness the nightmarish debacle that I had just seen and heard.
Knowing that the video still exists somewhere in cyberspace makes me deeply uncomfortable.....
It became clear however that I was not alone. Some poor souls had not realised they could make their videos private, and as I browsed through the catalogue of catastrophes that were the latest offerings from Singsnap's karaoke community, I realised that some of them were even worse than mine. No mean feat.
Needless to say, I won't be sharing a clip of my karaoke video here or anywhere else. Now I have to face the fact the my singing career is over. Like Marlene Dietrich I will disappear into the shadows and become a recluse.
But here's an odd thing, I haven't deleted my Singsnap account. There's something strangely alluring about their website that draws me in. Perhaps it's the voyeurism, watching other deluded souls as they realise they can't hold a tune either. Or those who cling on to a belief that they really sound amazing. And others still for whom it's all just a whole lot of fun (which I expect is actually the aim of the website). And it is fun. There are even some half decent singers out there.
Now that a few days have elapsed since my Singsnap initiation and my video is firmly tagged for permanent deletion, I'm thinking that I really wasn't the worst singer on Singsnap after all. No really.... perhaps comparatively I was even quite good. I've since discovered other karaoke websites, where apparently people who don't make the grade at Singsnap find their niche.
It's a scary world of scary singers out there. And it's a world where I seem to fit.
Maybe I should give it another go....
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