Karaoke has been a staple in the Gladstone’s Melody Bar for over 20 years. It’s a Queen West constant, attracting countless regulars, travellers, group parties, and bar crawls. Although the night of singing has always started with regularity—every Friday & Saturday at 10:30pm!—parts of the show have also changed over the years.
Since last Spring, Fameless Karaoke has featured a new cast of rotating hosts who each bring their own style, energy, and talent to the stage. This blog series helps us all get to know them a bit better (though chances are you’ve probably seen them around on the town anyhow!)
Everyone, meet Scotty!
Hosting karaoke at the Gladstone basically means performing for hundreds of people every time— do you do other types of performance outside of being a karaoke maestro?
Outside of Karaoke I try to do as much as possible. I host other events at The Gladstone like Trivia or the Oscars. I do sketch comedy with Your Huckleberry Friends when I can, that’s probably my favourite thing that I do. I’m dipping my toes into the Bar world. I just won my first cocktail competition, didn’t expect that to happen.
What’s your go-to karaoke song to sing?
Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon for sure. I don’t think I personally that I’m that great of a singer, but that’s one song I know I can murder. If the energy is lagging in the evening, it’s great to have a banger in your back pocket to bring it back up.
Are there any sleeper karaoke hits that surprise you?
I don’t think it has as much to do with the song as it does the person. People are creative and fun and sometimes they just surprise you. I love when a lady busts out a rap song and kills it.
Why do you think karaoke has such enduring cultural appeal?
I think karaoke is fun! It’s that simple, everyone inherently loves music, and what’s not to like about sharing choice tunes with a room full of strangers. Whether you sing or not it’s fun to have that group experience. It’s also an opportunity to have your moment. I think that’s my main job as karaoke host, just let people have their moment. I think too often it becomes too much about the host. I don’t care if anyone thinks they can’t sing, I just want everyone to have a good time. Take this opportunity to make some friends, show off your dance moves and personality. If karaoke was just about the best singers there we would charge cover for this weird collective concert experience.
How do you find karaoke changes as the night goes on?
Honestly people are pretty cool for the most part. The after 1am crowd gets the place jumping, makes the dance parties happen. They’ve usually tipped back a few and that’s when more of the group numbers show up. You can count on Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Believing and at least one Spice Girls rendition with a bunch of pals. As a caution: after 12:30am, put in your song requests as a group because that’s when it’s busiest, people have been waiting and this is your best shot at getting your group up on that stage.
Any profound thoughts on the relationship between karaoke, confidence, and alcohol?
The holy trinity. I feel like we all search for balance within the holy trinity. It can go so wrong, or you can find that sweet spot where the magic happens; and if you don’t hopefully you’re too drunk to care! Good luck to you folks. You’re doing God’s work.
Do you have a favourite karaoke story from the Gladstone?
I was hosting after Ru-Paul’s Drag Race. Just a note this night was country themed. It was just starting to pick up when one of the hosts, Allysin Chaynes, a beautiful drag queen, came up with a guitar and did an impromptu acoustic performance of Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. Also one time a very nice young woman brought me a sandwich. Made my night.
What’s the connection for you between hosting and your “day job”?
The main connection between my day job and KJing is that I’m a full time bartender at the Gladstone Hotel itself. I’ve been gainfully employed by the Gladstone in some capacity for 5+ years! Second longest job I’ve ever had. I’ve been performing in some capacity for the last decade or so. I think it’ll always be a part of my life.
Even when Scott isn’t hosting, you can be sure to catch him at the Gladstone working one of our many other events! We always have something fun on before karaoke, whether it be live music, a screening of Rupaul’s Drag Race, or Trivia. Stay up to date with our events calendar for details. Tune into this blog as well for more on all the exciting entertainers, musicians, artists and karaoke hosts we work with.