Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Aid Kit Concert

On November 17, after coming home from my sister's 50th Birthday Party Roger and I had the privilege of attending the concert of Swedish band, First Aid Kit. They are a delightful sister duo that sing pop/country/alternative fare and put on (as my niece Jesii would say) a show that was quite magical.
 Roger introduced this band to me about a year ago. He is always on the lookout for new bands and they resonated with me from the start. They are young, but seem to have a mature musical sensibility. Other artists I respect, like Jack White, took notice of them early on and they have opened for him in the past. The crowd was just delighted with the whole show and very into it. I loved the atmosphere and how these young performers were able to captivate an audience who politely and gradually pushed closer and closer to them as the show went on.
Being mostly a live vocal performer myself, I know how difficult it can be to sing in front of an audience. Things go wrong in a live performance. Forgotten words, notes may be a bit off key at times and fatigue can set in. Live performances are not perfect. Not like a studio, where you can do take after take and choose the best one and then if needed a studio technician can tweak things to make it sound fuller, more in tune or add (the all too familiar in today's popular music) auto-tune for affect. Many popular artists today sound very different from their recordings because of these factors. So, it is refreshing to hear a band that sound very close to their recording. They don't need much tweaking because the have the vocal technique in place. These girls sounded great. Not perfect, but I loved the imperfections. Nothing too obvious or way off key. Just the sound of two people singing live and doing a bang up job of it. Especially since they do tight harmonies for most of their songs. They made it look easy and above anything, they were having fun.

Above is a photo of them singing without the mics. Everyone had to be very quiet and it was one of my favorite numbers of the night. Especially when they had us join them in singing. I love how music can bring a crowd of strangers together in a very intimate way...magical.

Here is a sample of some of their vocals on one of my favorite songs they sing, Emmylou. Ivy and I sang this song for my recital this year. It was a pleasure working on this song and it holds some very dear memories for me. If you get a chance, research this band and take a listen. If they come to your town to perform, I strongly encourage you to go see them. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Salt Lake City Recital

Due to illness I had to postpone my Salt Lake City Recital by three weeks. It was frustrating to deal with a cough/cold in the interim, but things worked out for the better since some family members and friends who couldn't make the original date were able to come on Sat. It meant a lot that we were filled to capacity. Next year I will either have to spread it out over two nights or move out of my studio to a bigger venue. I love doing it in my studio, so I think the option to do it on two different dates will be the best option.

I had been pretty ill so there were some residual things like an occasional dry cough and more phlegm than normal, but all in all I realized as I rehearsed going into this that as long as I warmed up more than I usually do and got a strong connection in my first bridge that I was good to go. It is always interesting to me how singers find ways to work around illness to get through a performance. And I felt blessed to have the education I have in singing so that I knew what my voice needed to get through this particular repertoire.

I still had the shakes when it came to playing guitar, but that will fade the more I perform and play in front of an audience. As the saying goes, "fake it til you make it!", that definitely applies to me and my relationship with the guitar in performance. I have loved developing this talent and will continue to practice every day and find opportunities to play so it becomes second nature.

As usual, I was freaking out a little a few hours before the performance. Many of you know that back in 1999 I lost my voice completely due to a traumatic event in my life and it has been a LONG road back to being able to sing again. I feel like my voice is stronger than it was before my trauma, but I still have this little warble/crack thing that occurs seemingly out of no where. It adds stress as I prepare to perform because I feel it sounds like weakness in my voice or that I made a mistake. It was happening during warm ups and Roger had to 'talk me off of a ledge' and calm me down. I am so grateful for the love and support he gives me every day, but especially when I am having moments of neurosis, he knows just what to say.

By the time I performed I was ready to go and had the mind set of not just singing and entertaining this audience, but to share my God given gift. We all have our gifts and they are meant to be shared. I was focused on that and everything went off brilliantly. It was a very special night and I can't wait for the next one.

Here I am afterward with my sisters Franci, Lissa, my mom Lajoy and Annie.