Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The SingSnap stalker...

It's gonna be a two'fer Tuesday on the ol' blog today.  I have a lot to write about and, when that happens, I have to get it all out.  Writing blog posts seems to be my reason for being, besides providing a modicum of entertainment for people on SingSnap.com.

One reason why I don't mingle much on SingSnap...

SingSnap.com is an online karaoke site.  I've been a member of it since 2006, although after the first two years, I took a long sabbatical.  I went back to the site in 2012 when a once regular reader of this blog told me he was curious about my singing voice.  I had actually forgotten about SingSnap, having given it up in 2008.  At the time, we were enjoying our first tour in Germany.  In those days, I was too self-conscious to practice singing in our house, knowing our neighbors could hear me.  I "went blue" (stopped paying for a subscription) and the site fell out of my consciousness for four years.

Then one day, an Irish guy named Paul, who used to regularly read and comment on both my blog and Alexis's, read about how much I enjoy making music.  He wanted to hear a sample of my vocals. I hesitated for a few days, since I had totally forgotten about SingSnap.  I wasn't sure how I could arrange to make a recording.  It was before I'd learned how to use Garage Band.  Then, like a bolt of lightning, it came to me.  I reactivated on SingSnap and it's been a time drain and mild obsession ever since.

SingSnap is mostly a great tool for me.  I use it to practice my skills and stave off boredom and depression.  I don't use it to socialize, though, and rarely listen to other people's recordings.  Every once in awhile, I'll do a duet with someone or invite them to duet with me.  One time, Bill and I even met a guy from SingSnap when we visited Vienna.  We went to a karaoke club and sang together for a few hours.  But, although a lot of people hang out on SingSnap and make friends there, I mostly keep my activities on the site solitary.  Most of my recordings are public and I'll share some with friends who aren't on the site, but I've even mostly stopped doing that, since most people either assume I'll sound terrible or they think I'm showing off (which I'll admit, I probably am...  sue me).

Because I'm reticent on SingSnap and don't interact a lot, I get the feeling that some people on that site think I'm a snotty bitch.  This was especially true last year, when a small drama erupted over duet etiquette.  I dared to complain about some guy's incredibly rude conduct on an open duet he did with me and got a ration of shit for my trouble.  I ranted about that situation and a few others on my music blog, so I won't rehash it here.  I'll just say that ever since that little drama, I've been careful not to say too much on SingSnap, lest people get the "wrong" impression.

There's an unofficial "code of conduct" on that site.  If someone duets with you, people will think you're rude if you don't comment or offer thanks.  However, it's been my experience that a lot of the comments are canned and/or insincere.  In fact, I suspect a lot of people comment, but don't actually listen to the recordings.  To me, it seems like a waste of time to be insincere.  When I offer a comment that's more than simply a thanks, it means I have listened and enjoyed.  And most of the time, even when I only offer thanks, I've listened.  The exception is when someone does a shitload of duets and can't actually sing.  Bad singing is actually painful for me to listen to, so I won't listen to a half dozen duets by someone whose singing sucks.  But I will usually listen to at least the first one.

Recently, I've gotten some private messages from a couple of men.  One guy joined me on an open duet I posted.  I thanked him for singing with me and that apparently made him decide he needed to assign me a song.  I came home from being away for the weekend to find the following private message from him.

I don't go on SingSnap on the weekends because that's time I spend with Bill.  On that particular weekend, I was out of town.  I was a little put off by the guy's messages, though, because I hadn't even seen the first one when he sent the second.  It wasn't like I didn't answer for weeks.  It had only been a couple of days.  At the time, I had even posted on my profile that I don't use the site on weekends or holidays.  I have since deleted most of what was on my profile because I was getting private messages about THAT, too.

Fortunately, that particular fellow got the hint and has left me alone.  Honestly, it's not that I don't appreciate compliments or people who want to duet with me.  It's just that some people seem to have an attitude that because they leave me a compliment, that obligates me to thank them by doing duets I don't want to do or interacting with them.  And if I don't want to, that somehow makes me a bitch.  

Yesterday, I got another PM, this time from a guy who just likes my recordings.  He had some interesting theories about why I don't interact much on the site.

This guy is pretty nice.  I was initially slightly irked by his PM, but then was warmed by his response.  I don't mind interacting with people like him.

I realize I probably come off as a snob and/or a primadonna.  Those who know me personally know that I probably do have a snobby side when it comes to music.  It's one of my passions.  Karaoke, while always a lot of fun, can get kind of "sensitive" for some people.  In fact, some people get downright pissy if you deny them the right to use your recordings as they see fit.  

Before SingSnap, I would do karaoke in bars.  I love singing for a crowd, but some people seem to think if you're a good singer, you shouldn't be doing karaoke.  While most people love it when someone sings well, there are a few who get upset about it.  I find it's usually the "queen bees" who are like this.  They feel threatened.  It was actually the same for me when I studied voice in college.  Singers can be very competitive, and insecurity, immaturity, and jealousy does rear its ugly head.  Some people are also quick to strike down anyone who realizes that they have ability and has the temerity to acknowledge it.  Don't ever mention it aloud or someone will quickly accuse you of being "full of yourself".

I like SingSnap because it's private and it's a good tool for my mental health.  I don't mind going to karaoke in a bar because there's usually beer there and that helps me cope with off key singing.  If I'm sober and sitting at home, I don't see why I should be expected to listen to other people's recordings unless I truly want to.  I pay money for SingSnap and it's supposed to be enjoyable; feeling like I'm forced to listen to recordings and leave comments makes it seem more like a chore.  I don't expect people to listen to my recordings, although I really do appreciate it when they do.

There's another very good reason, though, why people should be very careful about interacting on karaoke sites.  Sometimes, people on those sites are legitimately wacko.  Case in point, yesterday I learned about a man named Levi Aron, who lived in Brooklyn and was active on the site during my four year hiatus.  Mr. Aron is currently in prison for murdering and dismembering an eight year old Hasidic Jewish boy named Leiby Kletzky.  He was given a forty year sentence for his crime, which if you ask me, is not long enough.  

Gruesome story...

Levi Aron was obsessed with karaoke and spent many hours making recordings on SingSnap (which has since pulled his profile).  Although he was tone deaf, he fancied himself a great singer.  Apparently, he even thought he had a shot on "American Idol".  There is a video on YouTube of a very tone deaf guy named Levi doing karaoke, but I'm not sure if it's the same dude.  Either way, he wasn't just someone enjoying his karaoke and mingling with others.  People who duetted with him on SingSnap have commented that it gives them a chill to realize just who their partner was.

Because we have no way of knowing what kind of people are behind the screen and because sometimes people on SingSnap tend to be "touchy" about interactions, I do mainly keep to myself.  Singing is a very personal thing for some folks and people can get sensitive about it.  I find it's better not to invite drama by talking too much, at least not on SingSnap.  I'm content to just sing, mostly for my own mental health.  If people like what I do, great.  But I really don't want to end up with my feet in someone's freezer, so I do keep to myself.  Sue me.

I have another topic to write about, so I'll be back later with another post.


  1. The drama never ends there... I just try to stick to my circle of friends and enjoy the experiences we share. Venturing into the wilds of the message boards usually ends badly for any of my expressed opinions

    1. Oh yeah. I very rarely comment on the messageboards unless it's for something really generic. I learned my lesson a year ago. There are some very nice people on that site, but there are also some legitimately nutty folks, too. There have even been a couple of times when it's felt a little like being in a bar. One guy used to PM me somewhat often and I got a sense of the way he must treat women offline. In a word, he was a real "dick".

      I'm proud to have you and Amy as friends, though. Someday, I'm sure we'll meet in person and do some karaoke offline.

    2. And... as an aside, that story about Levi Aron totally freaks me out. Makes me glad I wasn't active on the site when he was around.


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