Open Mic Night

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© Jennifer Soltren; Please visit her site!

Over the summer, I inherited a guitar, a rather nice one. I learned to tune it myself using an iPhone app only to learn that it needed new strings (and that was five months ago). Before I uprooted myself from New York and flung myself into a new, temporary life in Atlanta, Georgia, I started making a list of songs I wanted to learn (both playing and singing). The hardest part of this process is that I wonder if I will ever manage to get over my stage fright to practice above a whisper.

Truth be told I went to many a karaoke event during my time in Japan, but I never really enjoyed singing. I am insecure about voice and the limited range I have, but I forced myself out of my comfort zone to appease my colleagues (and gain social acceptance). The only time I truly enjoy belting out tunes at the top of lungs is in my car with the volume up and the windows down (and no one around). Now that my life is starting to develop some semblance of order, I figured I should revisit my dream set list and see how much work I have ahead of me.

{Dream Set List}

If a song piques your interest or tickles your fancy, simply click on the title. Artist titles will redirect you to their official site when possible. If you want to watch all the videos first and read my comments later, check out my Dream Set List.

“Glitter in the Air”P!nk – Guitar? Piano? I don’t care. If I could belt out the bars of this song at some junction of my life, I will be eternally grateful. I saw her perform this song live at Madison Square Garden in October 2010, complete with swinging from silk attached to the ceiling.

“Love Story”Taylor Swift – Call me an old softy, but despite being nearly twice this girl’s age, I want to learn the tabs and get my teenage girly on with this little tune. If I can rock a corset and a country twang, even better.

“Someone Like You” Adele – For every girl who loved a guy (and he turned out to marry someone else), there is simply something that resonates within in this song for me. Maybe it’s her voice or her way indirect way of thanking the guy who broke her heart, but I can’t shake it from my mind.

“Angel Standing By”Jewel – This is one time favorites (since sophomore year of college), and one of the front runners for the “If I ever manage to get a guitar…” task list. Though it was never formally released, much like P!nk’s “Glitter in the Air”, it has been performed live on multiple occasions, and is one of my favorites. I wonder if my voice could ever go that high…

“Electric Twist”A Fine Frenzy – Picking one song by AFF was so tricky, but I figured I needed something with energy to help offset all the mellow (and melodramatic) songs listed. The video is fun and bouncy, and I think Alison Sudol is totally adorable (and I love her quirky cute fashion).

“Not Fair”Lily Allen – Oh Lily, you’re oh-so-gutsy, and I don’t ever think I would have the nerve to sing any song from your catalog, but if I could, I would select this little gem. I love the retro country western variety show seting (although Allen hails from England). I think this swings in the complete opposite direction from A Fine Frenzy, but it’s the subtly of her words I love.

“Sweet Escape”Gwen Stefani (Ft. Akon) – I have been a fan of hers since I was fourteen and No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom was the first CD I ever bought. As much as I love Gwen’s lyrical mastery, I don’t have the speed to many of her older tunes (especially those from ND). There is something sweet and saucy about this song, a complete mixture of coy and alluring, which I’ve always liked.

“Thinking of You”Katy Perry -It’s a terribly sad song, and a sadder video, but I love it. It paints a portrait of a time long gone, but one which could be easily paralleled today. The first time I watched it, I felt my gut twist and my eyes water when I finally realized what she was singing about. It is one of her purest and sincerest songs to date.

“Força”Nelly Furtado – I don’t know Portuguese, but I would learn it for this one. Nelly’s mixture of English and her native language is seamless and I don’t know how anyone could listen it to and not want to get up and dance. I feel the energy of a soccer match or even the World Cup pulsating underneath it.

“Chasing Pirates”Norah Jones – I would have to work on my breathless, bluesy, Marilyn Monroe voice for this one. Norah’s lovely, and the pace is slow enough that I should be able to keep up. Picking one of her songs was also tough because every single one of them seems out of my range. 😉

“Worn Me Down”Rachael Yamagata – She’s got lots of pretty piano songs, but I wanted to pick something that was a little edgier and stronger. At some point or another, everyone who has ever been the rebound relationship or the person after a particularly difficult breakup knows this feeling.

“Celebrity Skin”Hole – I saw Courtney Love perform this live when I was in college. I was extremely envious of the girl in the pit who got to keep Courtney’s guitar, after she unplugged it mid-song and handed it to her.  I remember the energy, the tons of red and pink confetti, and the wishing I could have been closer to the stage.

“Valerie” Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse – I’ll admit that the first time I heard this song it was performed by Naya Rivera (Santana) at GleeLive at Radio City Music Hall. I should have known that this song was one of Amy’s final gems. I really love both the Mark Ronson remix and the Glee version.

“My Immortal”Evanescence – This song made the scene back when Ben Affleck debuted as Daredevil, and everyone saw Jennifer Garner as Elektra. I never saw the video until tonight, but I love the black and white vision. I do like the rock part of the video which isn’t in the original album release.

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