Monday, September 24, 2012

Using Your Voice For A Good Cause

When I am given the opportunity to share my voice on behalf of a good cause that I believe in it makes having the talent to sing extra special. I just posted this song on YouTube that I hope will help a family in need. Enjoy!!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Staying Vocally True to the Character

This summer I had the privilege of playing Amanda in Private Lives. Here I am pictured above with Nicholas Dunn as Elyot. The play is not a musical but the characters sing. Noel Coward was not only a playwright but a composer and lyricist as well. When I hear one of his songs it embodies the feel of the 1930's. He wrote in a time right along side, Porter, Berlin, Gershwin and Rodgers & Hart. Lyrics from this time period were unbelievable especially compared to what pop stars belt out today. 

The main theme in Private Lives is a song called "Someday I'll Find You". The Lyrics go like this:

Someday I'll find you
Moonlight behind you
True to the dream I am dreaming
As I draw near you
You'll smile a little smile;
For a little while
We shall stand
Hand in hand
I'll leave you never
Love you forever
All our past sorrow redeeming
Try to make it true
Say you love me too
Someday I'll find you again

It is a beautiful little song and was written by Coward for this play in which he knew he would be playing opposite Gertrude Lawrence. So, in a way, he wrote this song for her. She was one of his dearest and closest friends. They were the original Elyot and Amanda.  With this knowledge I wanted to make the song special and at first I was going all out and singing it like I would a vocal performance for a recital or musical theater play. But, before we started rehearsals it hit me, I shouldn't be singing this as "Tamari", I need to be singing this song as "Amanda".

I had to give way to the character and honor the fact that she probably wouldn't be as trained as I am. I felt it would be more interesting and cohesive to have her sing lovely, but not "full out" or in any way that would be perceived that I was hanging up Amanda for a moment while Tamari belted out this tune...and now back to Amanda. It was a bit hard for me to not show off vocally. Would I be able to find a balance that would work? Would my ego be able to take it?

I remembered a good friend of mine, who is a musical theater actress on Broadway now, who had to make this choice for a character in a play we did together years ago. We heard after one of the performances that a lady made the comment while leaving the theater, "She was great, but they should have gotten someone who could sing!" The fact was though, this character was not supposed to be an accomplished singer. In real life my friend has one of the best voices I have ever heard, but she chose to sing as the character. I thought her work was brilliant and her choice to stay true to the character inspired me. 

In the end I feel that I did find that balance with Amanda. The transitions from dialogue to song back to dialogue were seamless. AND I have to mention the dialect...a heightened Standard British that also had to be consistent when I sang. I think the dialect helped though because it reminded me that I was playing a character. (no surprise there) So, when you are approaching a role in a play where the character sings here is my advice: Keep the voice consistent with how the character would sing it and not how you would sing it. Give up the urge to "show off" and stay true to the material. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Songs I Love to Sing: Happy Working Song

I want to start a little series on this blog called "Songs I Love to Sing". It will include songs from past recitals, or that I record on the spot in my own studio, that bring me pure joy when I sing them. The first one to kick off this series is Happy Working Song, from the movie Enchanted. My vocal coach, Brodie Perry, introduced this song to me and it was (and still is) such a blast to sing! It was a break through song for me because I was able to learn how to manipulate my voice through my first bridge with it sounding seamless. This song is a bit like doing vocal acrobatics for me as I go from chest up into my mix and back down again very quickly. The placement helps. I chose to go with a more forward sound. I wanted the essence of a traditional Disney Princess, but I like to think I bring an edge and a touch of sarcasm to the performance as well. Not taking the Disney Princess thing too seriously, but having fun with it. This was recorded in the fall of 2010. It is great to revisit some older recordings and see how far I have come. Most performers don't like to see/hear themselves in a recording but I like to think of it as not only archive material, but a chance to learn from what I hear and see. Like an athlete, I will watch and see what I did well and what I can improve upon. Enjoy!!