Host Spotlight: Mike Ingrum
Name: Mike Ingrum
Company: Emerald City Entertainment
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Marital Status: Happily Taken
Shows: Wed – Dezi’s Bar & Grill
Tues/Thur/Fri/Sat – Buzz Inn Smokey Pt.
Day Job: Spirit Halloween Store
Mike, How long have you been hosting karaoke? Going on seven years now.
How many locations have you hosted? Too many to count. I can count at least 30 venues between Washington and Montana.
Why did you become a karaoke host? I started choir in middle school, became classically trained in vocals and acting. My first karaoke experience was at a Denny’s lounge in Everett with Rick and Michelle Chase, and I became a Karaoke Junkie. I moved to Montana, where I was given my first shot at hosting. I managed and hosted in Montana for four years before moving back to Washington and starting my own karaoke company.
What type of music do you enjoy singing? Everything from Toby Keith, and Axl Rose, to Cee Lo Green, and Frank Sinatra.
What CD is in your car deck right now? Voltaire – Hate lives in a small town. If you’ve never heard him, I highly suggest a listen.
Your favorite entertainers/performers? The list is very long, but I truly love the lesser-known and locally famous bands and artists. Voltaire, Nigel Mustafa, Ravages of Time, the list goes on.
If you could sing with anyone (past or present) who would it be and why? It would have to be Conway Twitty. He was one of my Grandfather’s favorite singers, and I just love his voice.
Who’s been your biggest musical influence? It would be a tie between Rick & Michelle Chase for exposing me to karaoke, and my Grandfather for encouraging me to continue with singing after high school.
Do you have a musical fantasy? Nothing I would admit to in public… Oh, it’s not that kind of fantasy? Then I got nothing.
Any memorable stories that you’d like to share? I had the opportunity to sing the National anthem in Hamilton, Montana in front of 1,500 people at a demolition derby. I had ten minutes to get ready because the first singer never showed and their backup system failed. I was shaking so bad I sang the entire anthem in vibrato.
What is the best feature about the Karaoke Magazine? That is an easy question; Rocky & Kristine’s Karaoke Corner. They always have important and interesting topics, and are always pertinent to our industry.
Do you play any instruments? Only the soundboard. I’ve been a Sound Tech for bands in Montana and Washington for almost five years.
Type of music generally performed at your location(s)? Anything! Literally anything.
How many songs in your karaoke directory? Without repeats I’m somewhere around 20,000
Do you prefer one karaoke manufacturer over another? I like Sound Choice and Top Hits, but all the manufacturers are pretty good.
Do you or have you sung in any groups/bands? I used to sing with a group of friends in our garage, and played Phantom in a community theatre, but that’s as far as I ever got.
Do you enjoy karaoke contests? I’m not a huge fan. It’s a temporary boost to a venue, but when the contest is over, it’s never fair enough for everyone, no matter how impartial it is.
What about karaoke do you dislike? If you read this magazine, you know that the worst problem in our industry is the rampant piracy of karaoke disks. Piracy has forced legitimate karaoke companies to lower their prices in order to compete with the hosts with less overhead. Piracy has taken away our ability to purchase the volume of new music we were used to. I used to be able to host five nights a week and not have to work a day job. Those days are gone, until firm regulation is established in our industry. I applaud Sound Choice for taking a stand against the illegal companies out there.
How would you improve the karaoke industry? In the days of digital karaoke, and the death of disks just around the corner, I would suggest independent identification numbers imbedded into each copy of a karaoke song assigned to the company that owns it. This would make it simple to identify all the legal hosts out there.
What’s unique or special about your karaoke show? First thing you’ll notice at my show is that there are no slips or pens. I believe in one on one contact with every singer. We make karaoke a personal relationship between the host and the singer. They are more than customers, they are all friends. I have the best karaoke singers in the area. I host a yearly BBQ where you will meet singers and bartenders from all of our shows and venues. Second, is that we take a two-song break between rotations so people can go out to smoke, get a drink, or hit the restroom without worry of missing their turn in the rotation. We all know that is exactly the time when the host calls your name, right?
How would you describe your favorite karaoke singer? I can’t describe a single person as a favorite singer, it’s the variety of people that make the perfect night. Every person holds a piece of the perfect karaoke night. Every singer that walks through the doors of my show is part of my favorite crowd.
And your least favorite? People who are overly critical of other singers, come in with bad attitudes, or are just plain mean. I love people who love fun, music, and good friends. We are all part of that big dysfunctional karaoke family.
Would you like to say anything to our readers? Ask your local host if they are running legal copies of their music. If they are they won’t be offended. Educate yourself. There was an amazing article in this magazine about it just a few moths ago. An educated crowd is a powerful thing. It helps our industry, and your local hosts to buy new music more often. Keep singing, and I’ll see you at the show!