Big Stars Have Karaoke Roots

Karaoke: Courage in a Nutshell
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Karaoke is the ultimate weekend or after work pastime for those who want an audience slightly bigger than their bathroom showers allow. While many performers simply sing cover songs at their local bar for fun, karaoke has catapulted some singers into super stardom.

Arnel Pineda Arnel Pineda is living proof that karaoke dreams can really come true. The newest front man of the legendary rock band Journey was discovered when videos of him singing cover songs with his former band The Zoo went viral on YouTube. Neal Schon of Journey contacted the then aspiring singer, and the rest is history. Pineda released his first album with Journey, "Revelation," in March 2008 and has been touring with the band ever since.

Mary J. Blige Mary J. Blige was not always known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Before the platinum albums and Grammys, Blige was an unknown singer from Yonkers, N.Y., eager for a big break. Blige got her chance when a recording of her karaoke cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" fell into the hands of Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell. Blige has since recorded nine studio albums and is currently working on her tenth.

Tommy DeCarlo Whoever said you have to give up on your dreams? Tommy DeCarlo didn't, and now he's a part of the band Boston -- all because of karaoke. When he got his big break, DeCarlo told "Good Morning America" that he had always dreamed of becoming a rock star but his big dreams at the time were not enough to pay the bills. Instead, he worked as a credit manager of his local Home Depot in Charlotte, N.C., all the while singing his favorite Boston tunes. His daughter later uploaded videos of his karaoke performances to MySpace, which caught the eye of Boston founder Tom Scholz. Now DeCarlo is living out his dreams as Boston's front man.

Taylor Swift The girl with the angelic face and the emotionally earnest lyrics is among the list of singers who got their start singing karaoke. At the young age of 10, Swift was a regular participant in karaoke contests in her hometown of Reading, Pa. A year later she made her way to Nashville where she handed out demos of her performing karaoke songs to record labels. Even though she was initially rejected by the labels, her efforts were not in vain. She was later invited to sing the U.S. national anthem at the US Open Tennis Championships, which helped generate some buzz for the young star. Now 21, Swift has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide.

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