Creigh Reipe never expected to get a big break through karaoke. The junior audio engineering major and country-rock artist has been writing and performing his own songs for years. A return to covers, however, gave him an opportunity to perform on a national stage.
Reipe is now a semifinalist on ABC’s singing competetion “Karaoke Battle USA.” The competition, now in its first televised season, crowns the king and queen of American karaoke. The winners earn a free recording from Hollywood Records and a trip to Ireland to compete in the Karaoke World Championships.
“I’m really hoping this helps me for the better,” he said. “I’m really hoping my name will be familiar to more people in the music industry.”
Reipe was encouraged to try out for the show, with a friend’s encouragement and after one of the show’s producers found his recordings and videos on MySpace. After trying out, he qualified for the east regional competition in New York City. He was given two songs to perform: Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis.” Before his performances, he was blown away by the talent he was up against.
“I didn’t know if I had the talent to impress the judges and make it to the next round,” he said.
The judges disagreed. After his covers, a three-judge panel, including a former Rolling Stone editor and a Billboard #1 artist, called him “the complete package.” They put him through to the show’s semifinals in Los Angeles.
“I was in total shock,” he said.
Reipe, one of two east semifinalists, then competed in the next round at the House of Blues in Los Angeles this summer. The results of the show, ones which Reipe cannot disclose, will be shown on the remaining episodes of the season.
Beyond the competition, Reipe sees himself as a original singer and songwriter. A artist mixed between country and rock, he claims some of his biggest influences from artists like Phil Vassar, Jason Aldean, and Josh Turner.
His journey in songwriting began after his father died of lung cancer in 2007.
“That was kind of the inspiration for me,” he said. “He was really into music and really supported me as far as performing was concerned.”
He hopes the platform of this ABC show will help him take the next step in Nashville’s music industry. Reipe plans to begin playing area venues this year with a new band.
His current position is one he knows his father would be thrilled with.
“I’m sure he would be extremely proud of me being here and in Nashville, especially. It was always something he wanted to do.”
Reipe will appear on the semifinals of “Karaoke Battle USA” on ABC Friday night at 8 p.m. CST.