Tag: etta james

Spring Recital 2012

My teacher Amanda and I

As any reader to this blog knows I take voice lessons. Amazingly enough I have been taking the lessons for the last 6 years! My teacher is Amanda Crabb and I work with her through Hale Center Theater Orem.  Its a drive for me but I signed up when I lived in Orem and Amanda and I have become so close that I couldn’t go to anyone else.

After 6 years of singing I have practically exhausted the broadway cannon so lately I’ve been trying some other genres like pop or jazz.  Its been a lot of fun.  I’d be able to do even more if I could play the piano.  I’m pretty good at finding back tracks but I wish I could play the piano (and yes I own one but can’t really play it!).

It might seem strange to you that a grown women takes voice lesson for no practical reason.  It is something I do that is purely selfish.  It makes me happy and that’s enough of a reason for me.  It all started when I was super unhappy with my work and life in 2006.  I needed to find something to think about besides work.  I think I went to a show at Hale and saw the ad for lessons and I figured ‘Why not?  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  Why not?’   So I started.  My first teacher was Dallyn Bayles and then I got Amanda about a year later.

Taking lessons is one of the most satisfying things I do.  Each week is a like a little pep talk where I get so much positive reinforcement ( you know how some people are fans of tough love.  Me, not so much).  Anyway, its so gratifying to hear a song the first time through and its awful but after a few weeks its passable.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to win American Idol or be on Broadway but I don’t think people would cover their ears when they hear me sing either.  For years I was told that I didn’t have a pretty voice, that I wasn’t good enough to ‘really sing’, so for me finishing a song is a affirmation of the dreams I had in high school that were stomped on by unforgiving teachers.

Because of the negative feedback I’d received as a child the first time I sang in a recital I was so nervous.  I told Dallyn that ‘I’m an adult and you can’t make me sing’.  The funny thing is I’ve now found after 12+ recitals that it is something I am actually good at.  I always have my best performance in recital and the theatrics are easy for me to get into.  (It makes me want to do another play.  I’d love that).

Today was our latest recital and trying to do something different (and feeling a little bit bold) I chose to sing the Etta James classic At Last.  I mentioned I was preparing for this performance in a previous post.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/at-last/

It is a big song and in a jazzy style that I have never sung in before.  Because it is so recognizable and such a diva song I started to get a little nervous.  I wondered ‘Why did I have to pick such a difficult song?’ and I had visions of my first recital crash and burn.  Of course, the practice before my recital I made every mistake in the book, forgetting words, voice cracking, you name it.

Like I said, its not perfect but it shows a lot of improvement.  My teachers were super pleased.   Dave even had his mouth agape at the middle section.  He gave me a high five and said ‘now that’s how to belt!”.  Amanda said she was ‘blown away’.  This made me feel SO GOOD! I’m on cloud 9 right now!

So, here’s the performance.  I think the middle of the song is particularly strong.  Enjoy!

If you want to see my improvement take a look at some of my previous recital posts.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/over-the-rainbow/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/christmas-recital-2011/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/voice-lessons/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/my-favorite-things/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/summer-recital/

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At Last

So as I’ve mentioned several times on this blog I take voice lessons.  I have for 6 years.  Recently I have run the gambit of Broadway songs I am interested in singing (in fact, most of them I’ve done 2 or more times).  I have 7 anthologies from Hal Leonard and have gone through most of them thoroughly.

With the death of Etta James I decided to shake things up and sing a jazzy song- At Last.  While I am no Etta, Ella or Beyonce…I did my best and have learned a lot from the song.  Its fun to do something different every now and then.

Here I am in my mediocre version.  I know its not great so I really don’t need constructive criticism (My one soft spot is my voice. I don’t take criticism of it very well). Also the recording isn’t great and the backtrack I found is cheesy and electronic.  Oh well! Just tell me if you like parts:

What are some other songs from this era that might be fun? I was thinking like a Billie Holiday, or maybe Ella Fitzgerald.  Like I said, I’ve drained the Broadway cannon and am looking for other genres and styles that might be a challenge, that would be fun.

I usually don’t think of myself having a pop or rock vibe in my voice but it might be fun to try a few things.

I’ve done some country- Dixie Chicks are a particular favorite as Natalie sings right in my range. (I’ve done Wide Open Spaces and Travelin Soldier).

I also love Sara Barielles and did Gravity for a recital.  Soulful girl music is my favorite from any era.  I’ve done Carol King, Linda Ronstadt. The only ‘opera’ I’ve ever done is Think of Me but if there is a song in English I might be willing to give it a go.

I’m up for anything.  I’m so grateful for my lessons.  The other day my teacher said ‘I’m really glad I know you’ and I feel the same way.   Its a blessing in my life to have a creative outlet and a chance to bond with a dear friend.

She’s going to China for 2 weeks so I will miss my lessons but hopefully I will have a bunch  of new songs picked out when she returns.  Suggestions please.