Choosing Your Karaoke Set List: Three Helpful Song Choice Considerations

Choosing Your Karaoke Set List: Three Helpful Song Choice Considerations

This year, I made a New Year’s resolution to create more opportunities for joy in my life, and what better way to do that than with karaoke?! Since early January, you can find me nearly every Wednesday night at The Pour House in Monrovia. This topic is so near and dear to my heart that I once gave a lightning talk at a virtual company retreat that just so happened to be my first day at that company. The video below provides 3 helpful song considerations for choosing your karaoke setlist. Let’s dive into the wisdom I shared after years of research. 

Lightning Talk: Choosing Your Karaoke Set List 

If you prefer to read what I said in the video:

Nowwwwww, here’s a little story I got to tell about how to karaoke and flow so well.

Welcome to my lightning talk on how to choose your karaoke set list. My name is Rob McBryde and I’m a new project manager at Four Kitchens and a very seasoned karaoke enthusiast.

My Karaoke Credentials

Places Where I Have Done Karaoke

  • Little Rock
  • Chicago
  • Austin
  • New Orleans
  • Nashville
  • Berkeley
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Baltimore
  • Atlanta

Songs I’ve Sang

  • Say It Ain’t So
  • Paul Revere
  • It Takes Two
  • Under the Bridge
  • Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound
  • Mr. Jones
  • I Will Survive (Cake version)
  • Dear Mama
  • Country Boy Can Survive
  • Own Worst Enemy
  • Rapper’s Delight
  • You Never Even Called Me By My Name

Karaoke Origin Story 

My passion for karaoke started in 2014 at DrupalCon Austin. That night I waited too long to build up the nerve to sing (unless you count all of us yelling Friends in Low Places for the last song of the night). I’ve never repeated that mistake.

Since then I’ve sung karaoke every chance I could. I draw from a wide variety of musical tastes, but there are a few guiding principles that inform my song selection. Here are my three ideas to pick three meaningful karaoke songs.

3 Ideas for 3 Songs

1. Favorite Song Ever

First up is your all-time Favorite Song. That song from your childhood that was a game changer for you. You know the lyrics backward and forwards. It gets your heart pumping or fills you with joy.

For me, it was the year 1986. I had just started 7th grade and this weird new album came out called License to Ill. At that point, the Beastie Boys became my favorite band and over 30 years later Paul Revere would become my go-to karaoke jam.

2. Much Singalongability

A 2nd consideration for your song choice is what I call “Much Singalongability.” This is the song that will elicit enthusiastic crowd participation. Simple songs with catchy choruses work well for this one.

3. Something Unexpected

For the advanced karaoke enthusiast, you may have a song in your back pocket that people might not expect. I know a fairly quiet software developer who can belt out Bring Me To Life by Evanescence like nobody’s business.

My go-to for this song is Dear Mama by Tupac.

And there you have it. Three considerations to inspire your next karaoke performance!

My Karaoke Potential playlist on Spotify


Thanks for indulging me in my favorite hobby as of late. I go just about every Wednesday night and have enjoyed getting to know the staff and karaoke regulars, as well as gathering different friends to join me week to week!

Now, I want to hear from you! What are your go-to karaoke songs?

2 thoughts on “Choosing Your Karaoke Set List: Three Helpful Song Choice Considerations”

  1. This is an awesome read (: Because of you I got the courage to sing (maybe a little terribly) some Alicia Keys at my first karaoke experience. Next time I’ll bring in ears and not let the crowd suffer, but I had a blast

    1. That was so much fun! And bringing your own in-ears to karaoke would be next level. I love it!

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