Turn Around Bright Eyes
The Rituals of Love & Karaoke
Publication Date: August 2013
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Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I'm always falling in love.
Pick up the microphone.
When Rob Sheffield moved to New York City in the summer of 2001, he was a young widower trying to start a new life in a new town. Behind, in the past, was his life as a happily married rock critic, with a wife he adored, and a massive collection of mix tapes that captured their life together. And then, in a flash, all he had left were the tapes.
Beyonce, Bowie, Bon Jovi, Benatar . . .
One night, some friends dragged him to a karaoke bar in the West Village. A night out was a rare occasion for Rob back then.
Somehow, that night in a karaoke bar turned into many nights, in many karaoke bars. Karaoke became a way out, a way to escape the past, a way to be someone else if only for the span of a three-minute song. Discovering the sublime ridiculousness of karaoke, despite the fact that he couldn't carry a tune, he began to find his voice.
And then the unexpected happened. A voice on the radio got Rob's attention. The voice came attached to a woman who was unlike anyone he'd ever met before. A woman who could name every constellation in the sky, and every Depeche Mode B side. A woman who could belt out a mean Bonnie Tyler.
Turn Around Bright Eyes is an emotional journey of hilarity and heartbreak with a karaoke soundtrack. It's a story about finding the courage to move on, clearing your throat, and letting it rip. It's a story about navi- gating your way through adult romance. And it's a story about how songs get tangled up in our deepest emotions, evoking memories of the past while inspiring hope for the future.
Rob Sheffield had his life pulled out from him 16 years ago when his wife died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. He overcame his grief through singing karaoke, and tells about it in his new book, "Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke." More at NPR.org
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