Q. When did you first realize your passion for singing?
A. It actually started way back. The first time I ever performed in front of anyone was in Kindergarten. There was a graduation at my school, and I had to sing a song called "Light the Fire Within." Afterwards, my teacher, Ms. Anna, told my parents that they should encourage me to pursue music. When I was seven, as I got more and more into music, I began to take piano lessons.
Q. Is anyone else in your family musical?
A. My mom is an incredible piano player. She was in jazz bands all over the world and she toured in China. She's an absolute god when it comes to playing piano.
Q. What are your goals as a singer?
A. It's much easier for me to look at things from a long term perspective, but on a short term basis, I want to move up here to Boston and continue to work with Bristol doing artist development. In the long term, I'm definitely not trying to be the next huge thing. It's such a difficult goal and I just don't think it's that realistic. There are millions of people around the world who are super super talented and most of them never go anywhere. I'm trying to make money doing my thing. I don't want it to be at the point where I can't walk down the street without a camera in my face--but at the same time, I'd like people to know who I am.
Q. What were you looking for when you first came to Bristol?
A. It's kind of serendipitous, how I found Bristol. I went to Berklee for their 5 week summer music program. My mom called me on move in day and said that her friend Ric owned a studio in the Berklee area, and that we should go say "Hi." So she came up, and we went over to visit. Ric had actually been her voice coach when she was younger. We talked a little bit, and I decided to take voice lessons at Bristol while I was staying at Berklee over the summer.
Q. Did you look anywhere else for vocal training?
A. I was already taking voice lessons in New York, but my teacher taught more in the style of musical theatre. I had to audition to work with him in NYC. He said he would train me in piano, voice, songwriting, all this stuff, and that he had this really great "plan--" but a year and a half goes by and I haven't progressed at all. I had not learned one thing. And at the end of the summer I decided to stay with Bristol. I worked it out with my school in New York to be able to come up to Boston on Fridays to train with Ric.
Q. What did Bristol provide to you that your other voice coaches did not?
A. Its definitely a structure thing. With my old vocal teacher, he didn't have a plan. He didn't have a program. There wasn't any set standard way of learning or teaching. Then I came to Bristol, and everybody here has the same program. You learn the four tones. You learn the open and closed vowels. You learn all these pieces that nobody ever really put together before and it's all in this one program. You have level one, level two, and its just such a structured thing that literally no one can fail. I'm a person who needs structure.
Q. How has Bristol's artist development program helped you?
A. Artist development is so cool because you have all these people out there who are trying to become famous, and they have no idea what to do. You take any sort of music industry business class, and usually in the first class you start learning about contracts and riders, but its like, wait, how do I get there? At Bristol, they do not skip a beat, ever. They are right on target and give you a list of all these points you should be working on and you'll rate yourself from one to ten. And it's things like, do you have a website, do you have a twitter, have you booked shows--and you just run up the steps. But it's such a gradual, perfect progression between each step that you can't miss.
Q. What challenges have you faced in the programs here at Bristol?
A. Well the whole first part of artist development is figuring out who you really are as an artist. Who you want to be. Who you want to be perceived as. And that part was really hard for me because I saw all these people who were already famous, who I really liked, and I said to myself "What they're doing is really cool, but thats not who I'm trying to be." And so April and Katie would both ask me "So who do you want to be?" I had a really difficult time answering that question. This program brings you from looking at a giant wall to really zooming in and saying ok, this piece, that piece, this piece, this is what I'm looking for. You create this whole look for yourself. It makes you feel like an individual artist, like you're not being compared with anyone else.
Q. As an artist, who do you aspire to work with?
A. My absolute dream is to, someday, at some point, sing with Christina Aguilera on stage. Her personality, her voice, she's just such an incredible artist. She's indescribable. Some of the notes that come out of her mouth leave your jaw on the floor.
Q. What is your style like as an artist?
A. A lot of things factor into how people distinguish you. For some people it is their voice, especially for singers like Christina or Mariah. But I think that with me its going to be mainly the music and the lyrics. My lyrics, from what I've written so far, are very different. I'm not the type of artist where every line's a metaphor for something else and the lyrics are super deep, but I'm not the poppy artist just singing about love and relationships either.
Q. What message do you want to send out to your fans?
A. I know its kind of cliche to be that person who girls look up to and say "I can do it too," but in a way thats kinda how I want it to be. I really want to get my message out there and I do have a lot of different messages. My biggest message is that I need people to wake up. There are people out there who get up in the morning, go to school, or go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, wake up the next day and do it all over again and they never question it. Ever. They do the same thing day in and day out. My biggest point and my purpose in my music is to wake them up and say "Hey! Take a look around for a second. What's really going on here?"
Q. How has the Bristol Method helped to train and advance your voice?
A. At my old "recording studio" it was just memorization of songs over and over again. Bristol breaks it down into the fundamental components of singing. All I ever have to do when I listen to a song is say, "Ok, what tone of voice is that in? Is it a whisper, is it a low-bright?" There's only four tones, so it's not that hard. Then I say, "What note are they singing?" Then, "What vowel are they singing?" And BAM, I get it! There's also this amazing breathing technique CD that's so easy to follow along to, and makes it dirt easy to solidify all the singing fundamentals.
Q. Have you received any awards or accomplished any special achievements in your musical career?
A. Yes! sang with James Barber, who is a broadway theatre star. He was The Beast in Beauty and The Beast on Broadway. He was at my mom's work one day, and my friend and I were there, and we were just goofing around singing "Baby Its Cold Outside." Then James Barber got off stage during his sound check and asked us what we were doing Saturday night. I think I almost died. This is the kinda thing that happens in movies, not in real life! So we ended up singing with him at a restaurant in NYC that weekend.
Q. What types of recording have you done?
A. The only thing that I have recorded thats purchasable is my track, "The Christmas Song," on Bristol Entertainment's Christmas CD, Boston's Best Holiday Hits. I got to work with Chris Billias on this song and that was such a blast. I had only recorded one other time, which was when I was at the program over at Berklee. That's the only track I have right now, but there are more in the works.
Q. Why would you recommend Bristol's voice program to other artists? Why is it worth it?
A. It has a standard way of teaching and learning. There is no other program out there that breaks it down so perfectly that anyone can absolutely, one hundred percent, without a doubt, improve the quality and tone of their voice. When you come to Bristol and you do the program, in your first lesson your whole mind is blown. Especially people who have been taking vocal lessons for a long time. You come to Bristol, you take one lesson and you never look at singing the same way again.