Karaoke champ kicks it for the kids

For some, karaoke conjures up images of the ubiquitous Japanese "salary-man" or an inebriated late-night stop at a bar with co-workers that you inevitably regret the next day. But for others, karaoke is a serious form of entertainment. It's a subculture with quite a following. Its proponents genuinely appreciate those who can sound precisely like, and effectively mimic the moves of, artists that we all know and love.

Eric Saloy is one such entertainer who regularly appears at karaoke venues around Seattle through On Cloud 9 karaoke. He appeals to audiences with his renditions of Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and James Brown.

Saloy's distinctive, husky speaking voice transforms smoothly to reach the high pitched "coo-s" of Michael Jackson with the self-proclaimed King of Pop's sleek, "Thriller" dance-style quickly at the ready.

With equal ease Saloy can segue into Smokey Robinson. His uncanny ability to imitate has won him the regional karaoke competition recently held at Kelso. This entitles him to represent Washington in the National Karaoke Championship, which was held in Nevada on Sept. 19.

If all goes well for Saloy, the selective world of karaoke will not be the only group of people to know his name.

What started as a simple artist in residence project in the African American Academy, has blossomed into a recording that Saloy says has attracted serious attention from Sony and the Disney Channel for its message of child empowerment. Saloy's song "We Are the Children" encourages kids to stand up tall and demand respect and consideration from adults who should be doing more.

The song denounces violence and hatred while reflecting Saloy's concerns for children forced to cope with issues far beyond their years. Saloy noted that 19 students collaborated with the recording, and it is earmarked for airtime on the Disney Channel this October.

The children participating ranged in age from 4 to 11, and they can be seen performing the song later this year at the "Children Singing for Peace" at the Seattle Center.

Drop a line to Jacqui James through editor@sdistrictjournal.com.

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