For as long as I can remember, I've been obsessed with singing. I have sung most major styles and felt what that means inside my body physically and emotionally. I've studied in depth for years to become as proficient as I am at teaching function. And I love nothing more than "getting" a singer: understanding who you are, and helping you to bring that forward vocally.
How I Got Here.
I grew up in a musical family and performed locally throughout my childhood and teenage years. I studied Vocal Performance and Theater at a small university in Texas. These years were filled with singing choral, classical, musical theater, country, and some Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keys. I was very talented for my age. I was an excellent belter, which I had learned by mimicking country and broadway albums.
But I always struggled to sing classically, though I was very dedicated to my practice and was a straight A student. In my college program, when I'd try to sing my coloratura rep, it was physically painful and did not sound good. I was the first belter my voice teacher had ever worked with, and as brilliant as he was, he was only winging it with my belting. And no one on faculty understood why I was unable to sing classical music well. It was highly frustrating as my lack of ability to master classical rep led me to feeling like a partial failure in my chosen field. I knew I was intelligent and talented, but I felt inadequate and blocked.
Then I moved to Chicago and quickly found work in a professional country band. The irony, right? I continued performing in the local professional scene as well as traveling the country in a touring band - covering everything from the 60's to now in R&B, Pop, Rock, Country, Punk and Dance. Along the way I found master teacher Jeanie LoVetri and her body of work: Somatic Voicework (TM). I was so drawn to this work because it teaches teachers to put the singer's goals first in vocal education. Previously, I had only met the idea that you must sing classically first, or you are not a "real" singer. Jeanie was the first person in my experience to acknowledge that each style of singing is it's own sport, requiring it's own unique-to-self brand of athleticism. It was here that I learned that the coordinations required for high belting are in direct opposition to those required for a classical soprano. She described how and why - I began to take a new command over my voice.
As the world turns, it becomes more and more apparent how outdated (and problematic) the "you must sing classical first" mindset is, but having navigated my own way through that has given me the compassion to treat each singer with the utmost respect - even those who are complete beginners or who have extremely difficult problems to work through. I am in a unique place of both having always been a very talented singer and of having gone through four years of feeling and being inadequate in my singing. Either way, I pretty much know where you're coming from. I see each student as an intelligent and complex individual who should be commended for having the courage to learn a new and difficult skill, or work through old stubborn problems. It is not your job to sing well on your first lesson or to mask your inadequacies. It it is my job to help you understand and navigate your voice, and I enjoy doing it in a supportive and respectful way.
After being a student of Jeanie's for 6 years now, and in my second year of her faculty development program, I have finally gotten a pretty large grasp on the wild animal that is vocal pedagogy -- this deep listening, looking and empathetically feeling what is happening in a singer's body -- is not something you can pick up in a weekend workshop. It's something that at first looks like magic. The fact that this master teacher could hear that a singer had tension in the tip of their tongue, for instance, seemed like an impossibility to me. But after six years of intense study with her, and as many working with various singers in this way, the curtain has been pulled back for me, and I continue to learn.
I use the concepts of Somatic Voicework as I work with a singer on the function of their voice. I use the playlist you supply me to get an overview of how you feel about music. I use my experience of living as a singer to understand how gravely important it is for your voice to express itself as you ask it to. I use the countless hours I've spent listening to and mimicking various singers to get an internal map of how these sounds are created. Which coordinations produce the sounds of that genre? Which emotions make that feel possible and not silly? I use my experience in live bands, tours, recording booths, films, theater and choirs to know the important components of each.
I continue to gig locally in Chicago with various professional bands. I'm rehearsing for a band that has me singing Whitney, Mariah, Christina, as well as as well as another band that has me singing Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi, and Heart. On my own time, I sing a myriad of styles and keep up with current trends. Though I've written lots of music in the past, I am now beginning to write for myself as a solo artist as well. I am only at the beginning of this endeavor, but it is the most grounding and rewarding experience.
I'm a lifelong student - always taking classes that build my interests. My curiosity keeps leading me. Currently, I'm working with a creativity coach to help draw focus to creativity for it's own sake. I prioritize balance in my life and I know that it is more important than our results-driven society admits. I know that the more I continue to develop myself, the happier I will live, and the better I will be in our sessions -- and I make a commitment to that.
That's me in nutshell.
I look forward to hearing what you're about.