Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Bertok.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kara. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started singing karaoke when I was two years old on my grandmother’s 8-Track karaoke machine. You could say I got hooked at a pretty early age. I’ve always loved performing and singing. I was never that kid singing into a hair brush… I had a legit microphone with an orange foam top. While I always loved to sing, after college I worked for various companies in marketing and advertising. At one point, a roommate of mine was looking for a job. She saw a posting for a karaoke bar in NYC (where I lived at the time) that was looking for a karaoke host. So I went to the interview/audition for the job and got it! After working a 50-60 hour work week I would head to this bar after work on Friday night and host karaoke until 4 am or 5 am. I LOVED it! Eventually, I moved to DC and finally Los Angeles where I got back into hosting at a few different bars on the west side. This whole time I was hosting karaoke but working for someone else.
I always wanted to start my own business but I never quite knew what I wanted to do. When I lost my full-time job a couple of years ago I made a list of things I thought I was good at and things I loved to do. They say do what you love… and I love karaoke. That’s when Kara Karaoke began! I love watching people let their inhibitions go and having a blast! I will often sing if I need to get the party started – but you know it’s a really good party if I don’t have to sing at all! It’s just a happy coincidence that my real name is actually KARA,
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I really love where I am right now. When I look back at my life I, of course, have had struggles like anyone else. I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 20 years old. She loved to hear me sing. We had a really special connection to music. I had some vocal issues after she passed and didn’t sing for over a year. Or more like I couldn’t sing. I found out I had nodules on my vocal chords. It would take another year of voice therapy to be able to fully sing again and in a healthy way.
In my career, I felt a responsibility to always work towards raising awareness for breast cancer. I even started producing a fundraiser in New York called Karaoke for a Cure. After a few layoffs, I realized I could work doing something I personally loved and still give back to the community. I now mentor an amazing teenager whose mom is a breast cancer survivor. I still feel grounded in the cause and can continue growing my company professionally.
I continue to learn how to grow my business every day. This is definitely a niche industry I chose. I recognize that. Some months I’m swamped and have gigs every other day and the next month I barely have any gigs at all.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Kara Karaoke Entertainment story. Tell us more about the business.
I hope my business is pretty self-explanatory! Kara Karaoke is a mobile karaoke host and DJ. I am hired to provide karaoke for private parties and corporate events. I bring all of the equipment including multiple TV screens for the singer(s) and audience as well as two microphones for duets and group numbers. These parties can range from a 12-year-old’s birthday party to a company retreat. When I host karaoke I’m not just calling people up to a stage to sing I’m hosting the party from start to finish. I’m getting the party started and ensuring every party guest has a blast… even if they don’t want to sing.
I am most proud of the customer satisfaction I’ve received. We all love praise but to hear a 12-year-old tell me I was the best part of her party or a grown man tell me he’s never sung karaoke and he had the time of his life… nothing compares.
I’ve seen a lot of karaoke hosts in action and everyone has their own skill set. I would say what sets me apart is my unnatural obsession with karaoke. I just love it and I think it shows! If I’m not singing along you’ll probably find me dancing on the side of the stage or with the audience. I also don’t take it too seriously. I’m a classically trained singer but I would much rather belt out a Journey power ballad. It’s just about having fun!
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Haha. Well, I would say the best luck is my mom naming me Kara and introducing me to music. My grandma was a singer and pulled out that karaoke machine when I was a kid to teach me the fundamentals of performing. What I didn’t realize until later in life is that those silly moments singing to my family and eventually on a stage gave me the confidence to speak in front of a crowd. I still, to this day, get nervous before every gig but I’m able to channel that energy into making sure everyone in the room feels supported whether they’re on the mic or banging a tambourine.
I also have to give a lot of credit to my husband. I actually never wanted to move to LA. I came here when I lost my job in DC and my only sister who lived out here insisted I move nearby. She was pregnant at the time with her first baby. So I moved to LA and in with my sister and her husband… but only for a few weeks since the baby was coming soon and I couldn’t crash in the nursery anymore. I landed in Santa Monica, a month later my niece was born and just two months after that I met my husband. He’s the one who really gave me the confidence to pursue karaoke as a business.
It’s funny how life happens.
- Website: www.karakaraoke.com
- Phone: 424-291-0504
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karakaraokeent/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KaraKaraokeEntertainment/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/kara-karaoke-santa-monica