2007 Voice of Pride winner Randall Garland doles out advice for this year’s contestants
It’s Dallas’ hottest amateur singing tournament. And each year, the competition gets more fierce. Voice of Pride is like a queer version of "American Idol" — where karaoke champs test their mettle and chase after the $5,000 prize.
Randall Garland won the 2007 Voice of Pride. During the day, he works as a mortgage underwriter. But last summer, Garland’s nights were spent flexing his gospel-meets-country pipes. During competition, he belted out Keith Urban and Martina McBride songs at The Rose Room and Buddies II.
Since preliminaries just started — Wednesday was at Sue Ellen’s and Thursday at Rush — Garland offered five suggestions for those trying to nab the 2008 VOP tiara.
1. BE REAL: Nothing is more apparent to your audience than a "fake" performance. The power behind a true heartfelt performance is irreplaceable. Everything about your presentation needs to be you.
2. CHOSE A SONG THAT FITS YOU: Your song selection is a critical. Pick a song that you not only like, but one that you can relate to and believe in. When you deliver a message that comes from the heart, then it’s even easier to "be real." Also, pick a song that the audience is familiar with. Original tunes or songs that are unfamiliar make it an even bigger challenge for a crowd to warm up to you. Please — make sure the song that you like is a song that you can actually sing. It needs to be in your vocal range and you must, must, must be able to sing the song in pitch. Trust me when I say, no one likes to listen to a singer who’s out of tune.
3. MAKE SURE THE VENUE IS RIGHT FOR YOU: The venue you select to compete at is also important. Remember that you are "performing." So you have to be cognizant of they type of audience that you will be singing to. And make sure the song selection is appropriate for the venue. For example, I would never sing the song "I Was Born A Cole Miner’s Daughter" at Station 4. But a kicking version of Madonna’s "4 minutes" would definitely be more suitable for S4.
4. ATTIRE IS IMPORTANT!: More importantly, attire that fits is important.
Make sure you wear something that’s comfortable, but appropriate for the performance. The competition is a lot about marketability — so shorts and flip-flops would not be considered appropriate for a performance (unless you’re Kenny Chesney in one of his infamous beach videos).
Make sure you are dressing for the occasion: that means, in clothes that appropriately contour your body. This is a vocal performance, not a circus. Wearing outfits that look like you broke into a locker at the Rose Room is not appropriate either. You should sparkle on stage, but it should be through your vocal ability, not your costume.
5. BE NICE: My final thought is really the most important one. Remember that this is a competition, and the top performer of the event will prevail. Being mean is a sure fire way to boot yourself right out of a title. Ask yourself this, "If you hear someone speaking ill about another person’s performance, what do think they said about you when you accidentally hit the wrong note?"
June 8 at Pekers Bar, 2615 Oak Lawn Ave Suite 101.
June 9 at Mickey’s, 3851 Cedar Springs Road.
June 10 at Havana Lounge, 4006 Cedar Springs Road.
June 11 at Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road.
June 12 at Buddies II, 4025 Maple Ave.
June 16 at The Tin Room, 2514 Hudnall St.
June 17 at Dallas Eagle, 2515 Inwood, Suite 107.
June 18 at JR.’s, 3923 Cedar Springs Road.
June 19 at Barbara’s Pavillion, 325 Centre St.
June 23 at Kaliente, 4350 Maple Ave.
June 24 at Alexandre’s, 4026 Cedar Springs Road.
June 25 at Illusions, 4100 Maple Ave.
June 26 at Dallas Woody’s, 4011 Cedar Springs Road.
June 29 at Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road.
Check in time at 9:30 p.m.; start time at 10 p.m.
For more information, visit Dallasprideparade.com/voiceofpride/
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 6, 2008.