Many people sing in the bathroom because the hard wall surfaces, often tiles or wooden panels, and lack of soft furnishings, create an aurally pleasing acoustic environment. The multiple reflections from walls enrich the sound of one's voice. Small dimensions and hard surfaces of a typical bathroom produce various kinds of standing waves, reverberation and echoes, giving the voice "fullness and depth."
Likewise, when those who enjoy a hot bath inhale the air of the bath, so that the heat of the air enters their spirits and makes them hot, they are found to experience joy. It often happens that they start singing, as singing has its origin in gladness.
The bathroom singer is an ironic reference to mediocre or amateur singers.
The main thing about playing the guitar, though, was that I was able to sit by myself and play and dream. And I was always happy doing that. I used to go off in the bathroom, because the bathroom had tiles, so it was a slight echo chamber. I'd turn on the faucet so that water would run – I like that sound, it's very soothing to me – and I'd play. In the dark. 'Hello darkness, my old friend / I've come to talk with you again.
"Weird Al" Yankovic in fact in 1979 recorded his first single, "My Bologna," in the bathroom across from the California Polytechnic State University student radio station where he was DJing at the time. "There's More to Life Than This", the fourth track on Björk's 1993 album Debut, was recorded live in the toilets of the Milk Bar clubnight, London.
In popular culture
- In 1987, a regular viewer competition called "Singing in the Shower" was included in The Wide Awake Club
- There is a track "Bathroom Singer" on Arno Hintjens' 1988 album, Charlatan
- The song "Singin' in the Bathtub" first appeared in the 1929 film The Show of Shows. It was sung in numerous Looney Tunes animated shorts by characters such as Tweety Bird and Bugs Bunny, and has more recently been performed by R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders and John Lithgow.
- A collectible: 1961 Barbie Vintage Fashion: "Singing In The Shower" robe
- Reviewers of the 1991 film The Adjuster mention that "the film also pays fairly serious attention to the question why people sing in the shower."
- One episode of The Flintstones ("Flintstone Canaries") features Barney Rubble being able to sing quite well in the shower (even hitting a note that only dogs could hear). Fred Flintstone convinces him to try out for a talent show, only to learn that outside the shower Barney has no singing ability whatsoever.
- In an episode of the animated television series Recess, it was discovered that Mikey had an awe-inspiring singing voice, but he could only sing in the school bathroom. A substitute teacher helped him find the courage to sing in front of an audience, which led to his performance at a school function.
- In an episode of The Simpsons ("Homer's Barbershop Quartet"), Barney Gumble is found singing traditional Irish music on the floor of the men's room at Moe's Tavern. He is quickly chosen as a replacement for Chief Wiggum, whom their agent, Nigel, thought was "too Village People."
- In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin McCallister records his uncle singing in the shower with his Talkboy, along with some threats when his uncle sees him. He then uses the tape later in the film to trick the hotel staff into thinking that his uncle is present in the shower of his hotel room and consequently scare away the hotel staff.
- In the pilot episode of Glee, Finn Hudson is discovered when singing "Can't Fight This Feeling" in the locker room shower.
- Sahara TV channel in India has started a reality show for singers named Bathroomsinger.
- In The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen began a Bathroom Concert Series where guests on the show would come into one of the studio's bathrooms to sing a song with her, usually accompanied with the guest bringing their own instruments to play.
- Bathroom Divas: So You Want to Be an Opera Star? is a television show of Bravo! Canada.
- Shower (film) features bathroom singing.
- To Rome with Love (film) features bathroom singing.
- In one episode of "American Dad!" Hayley demonstrates the ability to sing eloquently in and out of the shower, Roger then uses her talent to make his failure of an attic barroom a success.
- "musiciansfriend.com" "Studio Tech Tip – Taming the wild bedroom"". Musiciansfriend.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- "Ibn Khaldun, ''Muqaddimah'', section "The influence of the air (climate) upon human character" from Ch. 1". Muslimphilosophy.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- "Simon and Garfunkel quotes". Freespace.virgin.net. 1964-02-19. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- "Wacaday - 20 Best Bits of Wacaday". Brillianttv.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- The Adjuster (1991) at the Internet Movie Database
- "Review/Film; Some Serious Singing in the Shower", May 30, 1992, The New York Times
- "The Flintstones: Season 4, Episode 6".
- Bathroom Singers on Reality TV show in India
- Indian TV Channel announces its first reality show, Bathroom Singer
- Jearl Walker, The Flying Circus of Physics