Where are you from?
I am from the foothills of the North Carolina mountains, but I also spent my summers in upstate New York about 45 minutes from NYC. I lived in a small town in North Carolina in the Piedmont region all through my childhood & graduated from a very small public high school with a graduating class of about 130 people. The high school was situated between several cow pastures. I started college in Raleigh at a private school called Meredith College, but then I transferred to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. As soon as I graduated from FSU, I immediately moved to Los Angeles & I’ve never looked back.
When did you start singing & what made you choose voice?
I started taking piano at 4 years old. I started playing the trumpet at age 10. I started taking classical voice at age 12. My family is exceptionally musical. My aunt has her Masters degree in Music from Florida State in Voice. My grandfather had an incredible bass voice & so does my father. My sister, who is 1 year older than me, was my inspiration to start singing as she started taking private voice coaching about a year before I did. When I started taking classical voice, I immediately began learning foriegn languages, diction, and classical performance technique. I had an incredible voice coach named Dan Pardue & his wife, Jane Pardue, became my private piano instructor as well. When I went off to college I was undecided in my major. I tried out for the chorus, and was the first freshman to be cast in the advanced vocal group called “Chorale” & I was given two solos. During Christmas break of my freshman year of college, the head of the vocal arts department at Meredith College, Dr. Ellen Williams, mailed me a letter encouraging me to become a music major & join her studio. It made me feel really special, so I declared my major as Music with a focus in Vocal Performance. I auditioned for the chorus of the Opera Company of North Carolina (which has since changed its name & is now The North Carolina Opera Company). I was cast in the chorus & was taken under the wing of the General Directors, Robert & Margaret Galbriath. I became their personal assistant & they offered me a paid internship with college credit. While in Raleigh, a music studio called Punch Pro Productions recorded my voice. The studio owner, Les Hilton, kept in touch with me over they years when he took his recording studio to Los Angeles & put the recording in a soundtrack of an independent film while I was finishing my 2 undergrad degrees at FSU. I finished my BA in Music & BS in International Relations with a concentration in Political Science at FSU & then moved to Los Angeles. I have since been in several soundtracks for independent & feature films. I decided to go back to school to get my Masters degree in Music concentrating on Vocal Performance at CSUN – California State University at Northridge & graduated with a 4.0 GPA in 2014. I am now working on my Doctor of Education at Pepperdine University with about 18 more units to complete!
What other instruments do you play?
I have taken lessons for classical piano & guitar, as well as many years of music history & music theory. However, I really love playing world instruments such as the didgeridoo, and I really love to sing opera while playing the didg at the same time. My all time most favorite instrument to play is my antique, Indian harmonium. I also used to tune ceramic flutes in Downtown Los Angeles called Songbird Ocarina, and I am still very close friends with the owner. I have about 50 ocarinas of different shapes, sizes, and keys. I also play in a handbell ensemble with weekly rehearsals. I have about 4 harmonicas of different keys, and love to just rock out of the harp. I have a few frame drums and a ukulele as well, but I am kinda rusty on those … LOL.
What is your favorite instrument to work with?
I love stringed instruments like the stand-up bass and the cello. I have done some amazing work with a classical harp player, and really enjoyed that collaboration. I had a long time collaboration with a hang drum player a hang drum kind of sounds like steel drum, but is very different & is recognized more as a healing instrument). Honestly, I love working with all types of musicians & if it is rare, strange or weird … even better!
What has been your experience working with VCE?I have had wonderful experiences working with VCE. I was the soprano vocalist for the “In C” performance, which was incredible. I really love the challenge in minimalist compositions, and it was great to work with so many classical musicians from the valley area. I was the soprano for the “Elvis” show we did which was a TON of fun with baritone, Aaron Ball, a dear, dear friend of mine ( and I was a few months pregnant during the performance, which will always be special to me). Recently, I performed a great Aaron Copeland piece with Candis on the clarient & Mary on the flute. It was challenging & incredible to learn. I love a piece of music that challenges me in new ways, and “keeps up my chops.” VCE has been such a great group of dedicated classical musicians that strive to produce intriguing work, while having a ton of fun.
What makes VCE different than other groups you’ve worked with?
VCE is the perfect balance of serious classical musicians and fun-loving, chill, experimental art. I have done a lot of gigs all over Los Angeles, and VCE offers me something special with the laid back vibe, coupled with challenging works of music with trained musicians. Anyone who has lived in LA knows that LA has a lot of flakes, especially people who call themselves musicians. However, the musicians with VCE aren’t flakes. They are hard working, collaborators who are dedicated to their craft & who are willing to be vulnerable, experimental, serious, while having a royal blast while making great works of art together.