APP CULTURE

Meet the karaoke stars of Smule

Tap to read about the singing app that propels its users to pop stardom.

If you thought karaoke was about belting out an vaguely tuneful rendition of Come on Eileen then it’s time to re-educate yourself.

Smule is a hugely popular karaoke app. You choose from thousands of hit tracks and record your version of the song on video, for the benefit of the app’s entire community.

Smule’s superstars, some with more than 200,000 followers, have made friends across the world, gone viral, and even launched singing careers. Many of them sing duets with each other on the app.

Download the app, put on your headphones and start singing. You will be able to hear the instrumental track along with your own voice (and every time you hit a bum note).

When your recording is finished, you can add filters, polish the audio, and post. Other Smule users can leave comments, join you in a duet. Perhaps you could be the next big Smule star.

Here, three of the app’s most popular performers – Em Rossi, Tom Bleasby, and Mariah Belgrod – explain how Smule has transformed their lives.

When did you try Smule for the first time?
Em Rossi: I heard about it through a family friend. I submitted my music and I saw an artist’s dreams of having fans sing their song back to them.

Mariah Belgrod: I did my first song in my pyjamas on my couch the summer after graduating high school. I was just having fun.

Tom Bleasby: I found it during my first year of college. Right away, I was hooked.

How do you choose a song?
Bleasby: Sometimes I’ll browse the songbook for an hour looking for the right one.

Belgrod: My parents listened to classic rock like Pink Floyd, Queen, and Journey when I was growing up, so that’s where I get a lot of my power ballads.

How do you get ready to sing?
Rossi: I do covers once a week. I treat it like any performance. Having practiced the song, I warm up, check my settings, then hit start.

Bleasby: I usually warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. I do a range of scales and tongue trills.

Belgrod: I’m spontaneous. If I hear a song on the radio and I'm feeling it, I just go for it.

What if you mess up while performing?
Bleasby: I usually need two or three takes before I nail it.

Belgrod: Sometimes when I know I hit a note flat or I flubbed a word, I’ll still post the video. I rewatch it once. If I look like I’m enjoying myself, I feel like other people will enjoy singing with me.

Rossi: I’m a perfectionist. I want to make sure it’s something the fans will love. If I think I can do better, I’ll try again.

What opportunities has the app given you?
Rossi: Smule’s opened doors for me that can be pretty impossible for independent artists to reach.

Belgrod: I’ve been nominated for a music award, I was in Smule's first national commercial, I’m working on my first album – and none of these opportunities would have come if I hadn’t downloaded the app.

Bleasby: It’s because of Smule I ended up going on the The Ellen Degeneres Show and that I ended up doing The X-Factor in the UK. I’ll be singing on the app for the rest of my life.

Songs by the artists

    Smule - The Social Singing App

    Sing and Create Music

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