When you are singing karaoke, one of the best genres to do is R&B! It is a great style for those who want to show off their vocal talents and vocal range. Even if you can’t sing, it always gets the audience excited! We asked Shawn Leonhardt from 30 Day Singer and Guitar Tricks for the 15 best R&B songs for karaoke in a variety of skill levels and singing situations.
Some notes on singing R&B Karaoke
There are few different musical styles that can encompass the R&B genre, one popular aspect is the original Rock’n’roll or it can mean the more modern soul inspired heavy backbeat styles that dominate the airwaves. They both have a similar link of gospel inspiration, which means vocals are an important aspect and the chord progressions can often be more complicated.
In some genres like folk, country, metal, and pop we can have simple or even strained singing. And this isn’t a judgment on genre quality, just simple facts of how people use their vocals. But with rhythm and blues it is very important to give a great and emotional performance to pull it off right. If you want to show off your singing chops, soul and R&B are the way to do it!
However, karaoke is also for fun and many of these songs can get a karaoke party started even when not sung perfectly. Some can even be fun to attempt for the worst singers, trying to pull off the melisma of Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey can be a blast. The examples below are some of the more popular and successful tunes you can sing to in the R&B genre.
And of course there are more than 15 great R&B hits for karaoke. Many of these artists and their contemporaries have other great selections. Just keep in mind that you often want to pick a song that the crowd may know. There are times you want something unique or new, but usually we want to pick crowd-pleasers! And as always, it’s a great idea to do a few vocal warm ups before hitting the karaoke stage.
15 Best R&B Karaoke Songs
1. Tired of Being Alone – Al Green
Al Green has many great hits for karaoke and he is one of the singing pioneers of the modern R&B and soul genres. It’s an older hit, but still fits perfectly for younger audiences. If you can pull this song off you will impress the crowd for sure, to do it properly, it will require lots of practice!
Sing Tired of Being Alone karaoke here.
2. Single Ladies – Beyoncé
Most Beyoncé songs are perfect for karaoke as they are very popular and she is one of the biggest names in R&B. Her early work with Destiny’s Child or the later solo work is often great to sing alone or with more people when necessary. “Single Ladies” is very upbeat and mostly not too difficult, it’s a good way to get the crowd excited even if you aren’t the best singer.
Sing Single Ladies karaoke here.
3. Kiss – Prince
Prince has a lot of funk and R&B songs to sing and Kiss is probably the most fun. You don’t necessarily have to sing in falsetto, this song is more about syncopation. It’s catchy and the audience will love it, there is even a nice guitar solo for your own version of a Prince inspired dance. Remember singing this song is all about getting the words at just the right… moment.
Sing Kiss karaoke here.
4. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
This is perfect for showing off your vocal talents and letting that vibrato go! It’s a popular and beloved tune that can often be a karaoke staple. Remember this was an original country song written by Dolly Parton, so if you don’t have the abilities for a full R&B performance like Whitney Houston, you can tone it down a little!
Sing I Will Always Love You karaoke here.
5. Lean on Me – Bill Withers
There are two versions of this song, one is slower and more somber from Bill Withers, and the other is the 80’s Hip-hop influenced hit by Club Nouveau. The latter is usually more popular as it is easier to sing and more upbeat. But it can be up to you depending on the crowd and situation for the version you want to sing.
Sing Lean on Me karaoke here.
6. Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse had the music world cornered with her blue-eyed soul and powerful R&B voice. This song has some heavy material but presented in quite the jazzy and clever manner. Of course there are other songs by her that are great to sing for karaoke and if you can handle her vocal style you can also likely sing other songs by similar artists like Adele.
Sing Rehab karaoke here.
7. No One – Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys also has a lot of great R&B hits to choose from, if you think you have the vocal skills to handle it. This love ballad is perfect for when you want to show off a little and since the crowd will love it, it is a great selection. R&B is certainly not an easy genre as this song shows!
Sing No One karaoke here.
8. Wonderful World – Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke is one of the godfathers of soul and R&B and his music is perfect for older generations. This one here is one of his easier hits to sing, and it is a nice medium tempo love ballad. Great for a karaoke moment where you want a song that is not too sad or upbeat, just a pleasant tune!
Sing Wonderful World karaoke here.
9. Try – Pink
Pink is often labeled as pop rock, which fits, but many of her songs also have a heavy R&B feel. This one is a popular love ballad for those who want to sing something with a heavier emotional tone. Some parts are more talk-singing, and then places like the chorus are harder to do, but it isn’t too fast and may be a great selection for your karaoke turn.
Sing Try karaoke here.
10. About Damn Time – Lizzo
This Lizzo song clearly has some strong language so you will have to gauge the place and time to sing it. However, it is very popular and will likely get many to sing along. Keep in mind this music is a mixture of funk, rap, and soul singing so you will have quite the vocal workout to pull this one off!
Sing About Damn Time karaoke here.
11. The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
The R&B genre is often heavy on the love and dancing, but sometimes you just want something laid back! The reason this Bruno Mars hit is so chill is that it has reggae and pop vibes mixed in. The lyrics go a little fast at times but mostly it should be an easy song to do at karaoke.
Sing The Lazy Song karaoke here.
12. 7 Rings – Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande is another artist that straddles the pop, dance, and R&B genres, and this song here even has trap beats. If it seems familiar and easy to sing, that is because the song is sampled from The Sound of Music. The song has a mixture of speaking and light singing so it is suitable for beginner and intermediate skilled vocalists.
Sing 7 Rings karaoke here.
13. Take a Bow – Rhianna
Rhianna has a lot of songs that are perfect for the karaoke singer that wants to impress. This ballad is not one of her more upbeat examples but it is a very popular breakup tune and many will sing along with the chorus. The difficulty of this song increases as it gets near the end and builds.
Sing Take a Bow karaoke here.
14. Hey Ya! – OutKast
This modern classic is a soul, funk, and Hip-hop number that is not too hard to sing compared to other songs on the list. It’s very upbeat despite the heavy lyrics and will get your crowd going. The main difficulty is keeping up with the speed and pace of the song, and the best part is the “shake it” section, if you like to dance while singing this song is perfect.
Sing Hey Ya! karaoke here.
15. No Scrubs – TLC
If you are singing with more than one person in the group, this classic is always a hit. TLC has a number of great 90’s R&B tunes for those that don’t want to sing alone. And because this song is so well known you will likely get the audience to even join in.
Sing No Scurbs karaoke here.
If you know the audience makeup of the party or karaoke contest you are going to be singing at, you can make a better selection based on the era. Otherwise the 15 R&B songs on this list will be some of the best to choose for any karaoke situation. Just remember that this genre is harder to sing, so whatever you want to try, be prepared as possible if you want to impress the audience! Of course you can practice singing at home or have your very own karaoke party with Singa.
Need more inspiration? Check out our list of the 100+ best karaoke songs of all time here.