The greatest karaoke singer in the world sings at Two Friends Patio Restaurant in Key West, Florida. His name is simply "Stan" and every Friday and Saturday night he lights the stage on fire with dynamic performances. If you aren't lucky enough to see him in person, the Keys Live live stream on YouTube is your only alternative. Watch. Wait through everyone else's attempts at entertaining. You will be amazed.
Who is he? What drives his passion for singing? Sea Creature Media was lucky to catch up with Stan after a performance for this exclusive interview.
Hi Stan, do you need a moment to collect yourself after that song? That looked exhausting!
No sir. Let's roll. What do you want to know?
First, introduce yourself and give us a quick bio.
My name is Stan and I am a proud Conch. I worked for many years as a commercial real estate lawyer, retiring in 2015 to devote my time to my two passions: karaoke and writing.
Writing? What kind of writing do you do?
Poetry mainly, but I'm working on my autobiography right now. It's called "Sing It Again, Stan" and it's going to be a tell-all.
A tell-all? Can you give us a little sample?
For free? I'll let you wait to buy my book when it comes out like everybody else! I will say that I have crossed paths with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Calvin Klein, Weird Al, Paula Deen, Tom Brady, and Venus Williams. I sang with some of them, drank with all of them, and punched one of them square in the nose.
Are you a fan of Ernest Hemingway?
Good writer, terrible singer.
That's fair. Let's talk about the song you just sang, And When I Die. Written by Laura Nyro and made famous by Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Why that song?
Why? It's a damn good song and it speaks to me. Laura Nyro wrote it when she was 17 years old. Blood, Sweat, and Tears took it all the way to #2 in 1969. The lyrics "Now troubles are many, they're as deep as a well, I can swear there ain't no heaven, but I pray there ain't no hell" get me every time. I cry, but I dance through my tears.
Your dancing is exquisite. Where did you train?
I studied ballet at Julliard, but most of my training occurred by watching street performers and mimes in Paris, London, and New York. I don't like to be constrained by labels. I dance how I feel and I feel how I dance. What can I say?
I detected some soft shoe, tap, hip hop, and square dance steps in that performance.
Again, labels aren't my thing. Sorry. It's all dancing to me.
Your singing style can go from very soft and vulnerable to raucous and rowdy. Do you have your performance mapped out in your mind before you start singing?
I go into this in my book, but I'll touch on it now. Yes sir, I have a rough blueprint of what I want to do. I work on songs at home on the piano in an attempt to master the subtle nuances. Some view karaoke as just something to do for fun once in a blue moon. I see it as my lifeblood. I need to do this every weekend. The microphone needs me and I need it. We are a team.
Can we go over some of your other song choices?
One Way Out by the Allman Brothers.
That's an old Sonny Boy Williamson song made famous by Florida's own Allman boys. I sang that for Gregg Allman once at a private function. He took me aside afterwards, looked me right in the eyes, and said that it was hands down better than their version. I do that song as a tribute to him.
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones.
Simply the greatest song of the 1960s. There is no debate. Jagger and Richards created a sonic masterpiece that hit #1 in the summer of 1965 and stayed there for 4 weeks. The lyrics might seem abstract, but they resonate with me. I have lived this song. I want this song played at my funeral. I am this song.
Your Mama Don't Dance by Loggins & Messina.
This is a song that somebody asked me to sing on a dare. I tried it and fell in love with it. Simple as that. Next.
This is one of the first songs I remember ever hearing in my life and it fills me with bittersweet memories about my youthful days. Key lime pies and butterflies in the afternoon sun. The innocence of childhood vanishes like clouds after a thunderstorm. Time passes and we are left all alone.
The Green Acres Theme Song by Vic Mizzy.
Television theme songs are one of my favorite musical genres and the one from Green Acres is always a crowd pleaser. Vic Mizzy also wrote The Addams Family theme song. He was a genius.
Thanks, Stan. Anything you'd like to leave us with?
I'd like to extend an invite to everyone to come down to Key West and drop by Two Friends at 512 Front Street on Friday or Saturday night. Or both nights if you can. I'll be here and I'll be singing. Not sure what song, but I'll be singing. I would also like to add that I love everyone, regardless of who they are. I embrace all of humanity in a great big hug from the depths of my soul. Thank you and I will see all of you very soon.