Sunday, January 22, 2012

On my bookshelf these days

I just finished reading the classic Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre for the first time. I loved it. It's not my typical book of choice, but I've been wanting to read it for years (It's one of my mom's favorites). The thing that always stopped me was that it is a massive 552 page novel. And it's definitely "a journey" as my mom puts it... not a crazy page turner at first and not one you want to read in 3 days. But alas I made it through and enjoyed the journey. If you haven't read it, you should.

My reward for finishing Jane Eyre is moving on to my latest purchase, Patti LuPone A Memoir. If you're not familiar with Ms. LuPone's work, she's most known for her Tony Award winning performances in Evita (1979) and the revival of Gypsy as Rose (2008).

I've already read the first three chapters and I'm hooked. The very first quote at the beginning of the memoir got me:

"It's a curious thing. I suppose most people think of artists as impatient, but I don't know of any first-rate artist who hasn't manifested in his career an appalling patience, a willingness to wait, and to do his best now in the expectation that next year he will do it better."
-Mark Van Doren
(from The Dialogues of Archibald MacLeish and Mark Van Doren)

The very fact that Ms. LuPone chose this quote to start her book gives me a hint that this is going to be a good one. I'll tell you more as I keep reading! But so far, I can relate to a lot to her life... falling in love with music very early in life, being involved in school choirs, studying music in college and having a problem with judgement and not fitting the "mold" the school put on her. So far so good.

More to come :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Performers and Competition

It's weird. Sometimes I feel like I picked the wrong profession. Don't get me wrong - I love music. I can't help but want to sing all the time. (Seriously... all the time. It's probably annoying). But being in music means being around musicians (or those aspiring to be in the music business) all the time.

I have to tell you. I love performing. I would be holding a microphone, standing on a stage all the time if I could. But sometimes I really dislike performers. It's more the arrogance and pride that bothers me. This is not to say that all performers are arrogant and prideful. But so many times in my life I've been paired with other artists to put some sort of show on and there is this weird vibe between us because the other person feels like we're in competition. Whether they think they're a better singer, choreographer, teacher, organizer, whatever. And I'm not saying they are not better - but when you are teamed up, you are working towards the same goal - putting on a great show!

SO. Where was I going with this? I feel like there are so many amazing performers out there. We don't need to compete with everyone we meet in this business. I don't care if you can sing a High C. So can I. If you are a great singer, I will respect you for it. Let your skill win me over, not your talking yourself up (because that won't win my respect). Let's just be encouraged and inspired by great performers! Don't knock other people down and compare yourself to them. Learn from them and get excited about getting better yourself!

Okay, my rant is over. :)

If you want to hear some great music and see some awesome performances, check these videos out. I've been totally obsessed with watching the old Kennedy Center Honors tributes on youtube lately. The links are below. Enjoy! And be inspired!

A tribute to Jerry Herman

A tribute to Barbara Cook

And if you need a good laugh, no one can compare to the comedy of Victor Borge :)

Happy Tuesday!