By Scott Knutson
Sing your heart out, Provo. Coming soon to downtown Provo is an Asian-style Karaoke lounge. The brain-child of several BYU graduate entrepreneurs, Heart and Seoul Karaoke plans to open its doors this week and offer Provo exciting new experiences behind a microphone. We had the opportunity to interview Brody Horton, one of the owners, about what we can expect from Heart and Seoul.
So, Brody. What is Heart and Seoul Karaoke?
It’s an Asian-style Karaoke lounge.
Hence the “Seoul?” As in, the capital of South Korea?
Yeah. Asian Karaoke is really popular in Korea and other parts of Asia, and it’s becoming popular here in the United States. So it’s a little different style than your ‘cowboy bar’ karaoke – you rent a private room. Here at Heart and Seoul we have four that can seat up to about 12 people. They can be opened up into larger rooms if you want to combine rooms. Up at the front of the lounge, we have a good-sized open area that will have an open stage and will have more of your open-mic style of karaoke.
Well that sounds way fun.
At the front of the space there will be a bunch of TV screens around, and a monitor up there; couches, and tables and chairs; a lounge where you can order food and sing. And it’s all controlled through an app, so you just hop on the queue.
Downtown Provo has a great vibe of, you know, music and restaurants, and it’s getting better and better. But one of the things that’s lacking is more things to do. Places where people can just hang out, take a date, do a group activity, and for an hour or two just hang out and just enjoy music or – obviously – sing.
Of course. The rooms can be repurposed for other things as well. It’s going to have a sound system, microphones, and a TV. If you want to have business meetings during the day and you want to rent a room, if you wanted to come in and study, if you wanted to do an Xbox tournament and you wanted to bring a few Xboxes and rent out a bunch of rooms, you can do that. We’re a really versatile space, with obviously the primary focus on karaoke.
What about bands? Could they come and have a rehearsal space, per se?
Sure! The rooms are not ‘recording-room’ soundproof, but they are more soundproof than your typical room. So if they wanted to rent a room for that, certainly that’s a possibility. Also, the open area has a decent enough space to where a small band could come and have a gig here.
Do you plan on having a lot of gigs here?
It’s certainly a possibility; it’s not something we’ve talked a lot about. It’s one of things that we’re like, “Okay, let’s get open, and see what the demand is.” Also with our location right by the temple, we’ve thought about hosting small wedding receptions, or a lot of wedding lunches.
Now that would be a fun wedding, man.
It’s got all the tools and pieces in place (microphones and TV’s everywhere), and you can live-stream whoever is speaking up at front onto the screens. And we have a kitchen where you can bring in a caterer. We’re hoping it’ll work as a multi-use space, but we’ll see.
That is impressive. You mentioned food. Will you be serving food here, too?
We’ll serve some food here. We’ll have snack trays, appetizers, definitely mixed-drinks (non-alcoholic), fancy sodas. We’ve talked to Bruges, Sub-zero, and others, where you could order food through us, and we’ll just go pick it up for [you]. So if you wanted to get more of a meal, we’ll work with lots of other businesses to provide those.
You guys are in the perfect spot for it, too. There are so many delicious restaurants near your location
Yeah it’s kind of a little-Asia over here. Next door is Osaka Sushi, on the other side you’ve got Lotus Garden, and then you’ve got Pho Plus and India Palace… everything on this block has got your Asian flare. And then you’ve got Bruges and Station 22 that are really close, as well as Oregano down the street, and Joe Vera’s, and a whole bunch of stuff.
Los Hermanos, Marley’s… You guys are in the pocket.
Lots of food around, so we figured, “Let’s not add more food to the mix. Let’s just work with those guys to provide a mixed menu.”
That sounds way cool. What are your price points for Karaoke?
Right now the plan is each room is $50 an hour, for a private room. If you split that 8 to 10 ways, it’s pretty cheap. And for the general admission area, the plan is about $5 a head. Cover fee. And there’ll be specials, but that’s our first indication on pricing, so we’ll go from there and see what demand is like.
That sounds awesome! Looking forward to it.
The grand opening for Heart and Seoul Karaoke is this Friday, September 8th, 2017. For more details, follow them on Instagram @ProvoKaraoke.