::: A YEAR IN REVIEW :::
Happy New Year! I hope 2014 was a good year for you, full of happiness, inspiration, and music. I remember flying out to Los Angeles in February, on a journey to explore their music scene, and telling my dad as he drove me to the airport, “I want to be in airports more this year.” I was fortunate to travel to Los Angeles, Montreal (the home of my heart!!! (I used to study opera singing there at McGill University, and if you want to hear me in recital singing Rachmaninov, click here)), the Poconos, San Antonio, and Seattle for music and personal excursions. It’s been a shift of a year – a lot of small steps in building my love – writing the music that I sing. I’ve spent more hours than ever before in the studio writing music; I started a regimen of writing/practicing three hours/day (though that’s a tough goal to keep). Stay current with me through this journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Some highlights of the year: releasing the Just You music video, performing my Grand Prize-winning song Lionheart at the WAMMIES (The Washington Area Music Association’s annual awards), performing at the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival, having Gypsy jazz shows at the big NYC venues Terra Blues and the Manderley Bar at the McKittrick Hotel (home of Sleep No More), playing a wonderful show both in a community cabin and on a boat in the Poconos, teaching songwriting to kids amongst great musical colleagues with Kid Pan Alley at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, collaborating with emerging NYC fashion designer Jamie McCarty for video and photo shoots, styling wardrobe and aesthetics for fashion photo shoots in NYC, shooting photos with Rick Perez and Kyle Blair, and buying my first non-Gypsy jazz guitar – a Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II – one that feels so good under my fingers and sounds so sweet 😉
My 2015 resolutions: work smarter, not harder & stay disciplined in the quantity of writing music – quality will come. Appropriately, the chorus from Lionheart is: My fear of light fades away from me / shooting, moving through me blazingly.
Mostly, I’d like to thank YOU for listening and for your support and encouragement. I feel extremely blessed for all of these opportunities and none of it would be possible without you. I want to express my gratitude to you who showed your support by coming to concerts, purchasing my albums, ‘liking’ and interacting with me via social media, and even just being a friend and believing in me. It really means the world to me and I am forever grateful.
::: ALARKE :::
::: @ COBRA CLUB 1/ 14
& CAKE SHOP 1/28, NYC :::
Two shows to kick off the new year: January 14th at the Cobra Club (lineup TBA) and January 28 at Cake Shop (sharing the evening with Justin Hood and Special Guest). These shows are the heart and soul of the music. I’ve been working with a choreographer to go through dance moves for the live performances. I’ve also secretly been practicing Michael Jackson’s dance moves in my studio. :-O It’s getting real.
::: GYPSY JAZZ :::
::: VIDEO FROM TERRA BLUES :::
A solid group of Gypsy jazz musicians (Pooquette – violin, Darius Scheider – guitar and vocals, and Jay Sanford – bass) and I played a show at Terra Blues on October 8 andhere’s a video of our night! This January I’ll post more of the videos of the night to myGypsy jazz channels on YouTube and Vimeo. Check out what other videos are up there and subscribe. <<<>>>
::: ALARKE :::
::: LIVE VIDEO :::
My bandmates in Alarke, Clint Greenlee (bass & synth) and Kyle Hutchins (drums), and I linked up with some friends to film a live set of my original tune, Mignon, and a Lauryn Hill (swoon) cover of Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. We set up a performance space in my warehouse kitchen in Brooklyn. We installed lighting rigs and had three cameramen. I (not so) secretly wanted to ensure our dear Christmas tree was shown in the background, even though we didn’t want it to be a seasonal video. That Xmas tree is just endearing, that’s all. The videos will be released in this month. Keep an eye out! FYI, I have other videos posted on the Alarke YouTube and Vimeo channels. Subscribe to those, too. <<<>>>
::: 20 SOMETHING PROJECT :::
I’m happy to be a part of the artist collective Pennigan Productions’ 20-Something Project, which is a collection of conversations with young New York City artists. This series of interviews represents a voice of the generation. A clash between idealism and realism has overtaken our lives. Who will win in a society that encourages wealth and utter commitment to climbing ladders? These handful of artists are in New York City trying to find success in the visual and performing arts. Although they express themselves in different mediums, what is success? What does artistic expression mean if you can’t afford your rent? What is the difference between the goal to make art versus the goal to make money making art? Does the business ruin the creation? The 20 Something project will explore these questions and more.
We live in a city where you are defined by your job. When meeting someone new one of the first questions you are asked is what do you do? The 20 Something Project is trying to change the conversation. Rather than what do you do? What are you about? This project inspires an opportunity for artists to come together and build off one another to create unique successes.
I went to their studio and we chatted about what it means to be an artist in NYC. In these interviews, I feel slightly airhead-y and disconnected in my thoughts, but you get the general idea. Maybe I’m too serious here and need to just LIGHTEN UP! But also, maybe the burden of being an artist in a city like NYC makes you tough like metal and STRONG LIKE OX.
VIDEOS OF OUR INTERVIEWS:
Music video collaboration
20 Something Project Interview
::: TEACHING :::
Some of you may not know that I have been teaching singing for 8 years now and songwriting for two, and I really love it. With a background in classical vocal training and on-the-job live and studio experience, I have developed a very specific approach. My teaching is an integration of the speech singing technique (which is very visual and instinct based) mixed with the methodology of bel canto singing technique that I studied when I trained to become an opera singer. As for songwriting, I’ve been teaching withKid Pan Alley and privately, and have some awards for my songs with the Washington Area Music Association and the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest. If you ever start feeling an inner urge to take lessons in singing or songwriting, don’t hesitate to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I teach in NYC, the Washington, DC area, and on Skype.