You’ve all seen the videos. James Corden plus a surprise celebrity musician guest (or group) singalong to their biggest hits while the host of The Late Late Show chats with his subject in a comfortable, disarming setting.
The fun part, of course, is the singing. Forget that Corden is stage school trained and that he has no problem hitting the notes you can’t reach; ignore the fact that you’re unlikely to have Stevie Wonder, Adele, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers in your car at 7am.
If you’re heading on a road trip with friends, or even just heading to the mall, you’re bound to be singing to the tunes blasting out of your car radio, whether they’re coming from the radio or they’re tunes you’re playing on your smartphone through the car’s stereo system .
So why not capture you and your friends in the act? Make your own carpool karaoke videos and stick them on YouTube!
Safety Advice: Don’t Touch That Smartphone!
Okay, the idea is there: the seed is planted. But you don’t want to be doing anything just yet. After all, handling your smartphone while driving is distracting and, more importantly, it’s a driving offense – it could land you with fines, disqualification, or even a jail sentence if you’re caught.
It is incredibly dangerous to drive without giving your driving your full attention. You might die; someone else might die. Don’t do it.
So if you’re going to start your own carpool karaoke, make sure your passengers are in charge of the phone and stick to singing in slow traffic or traffic jams, for extra safety.
Setting Up Your Carphone Karaoke
The first thing you’ll need to do is choose how you’ll play the music and how you’ll film it.
You have two choices: play the music on one device (typically your phone) and record on another (perhaps a second camera, or dashboard-mounted sports cam), or do it all with your phone (or small tablet). As long as the smartphone or tablet has a front-facing camera, and you’re using a suitable app (see below for choices) then you’ll be fine.
You’ll also need something to mount your phone, tablet, or GoPro-style sports cam with.
While some DIY options are available, we’d recommend using something designed specifically for the device. In the case of a phone, a dashboard mount (or windscreen mount) with a gel-covered vacuum suction cup is most likely to deliver safe, stable results. You’ll find a lot of good options on Facebook for all popular (and a few rare) models of smartphone, phablets, and small tablets.
Choose Your Music
There’s no point going into this half-cocked. If you’re planning to record yourself singing along to your favorite tracks in your car, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have those songs synced to your phone.
Whether you’re syncing music with iTunes (and you can use this with Android devices as well as Apple) or you’re preferring to stream music over the cloud (Amazon Music is a popular option, especially if you buy CDs as MP3s of your discs are automatically added to your account), you’ll need the tracks saved to your phone.
So, select those great, popular singalongs that people will love to put their hearts and souls into, and when the traffic grinds to a halt, hit play!
But You’ll Need an App…
If you don’t want to pay for an app and want to simply record your performances as you sing along to the radio, you can use your smartphone’s video camera app. However, if you’re looking for something that provides music and auto-tune to make your carpool karaoke a bit more special, several useful apps are available on Android and iOS.
For Android, Karaoke Sing & Record will record your voice only, while Red Karaoke Sing & Record and Sing! Karaoke by Smule offer video recording. The Voice: On Stage – Sing! meanwhile is a tie-in app for the popular TV show, and also has video recording built in.
Oh, and in case you missed it: let the front seat passenger deal with pressing buttons on your phone, OK?
Your Own Carpool Karaoke!
Despite the production that clearly goes into the popular Carpool Karaoke feature on The Late Late Show with James Corden (although, I always preferred Craig Ferguson), you can replicate the results with just a mobile device, an app, and a strong song selection.
So, go ahead, and give it a try! Stay safe, drive responsibly, but enjoy your carpool karaoke. Upload the results to YouTube and share on Facebook to entertain your friends — and feel free to share them here, too!
If you need to run into car trouble while out and about singing, check these essential sites to help car owners fix issues .
Image Credits: oneinchpunch/Shutterstock