Birthday girl! 🎉

We have a JACOPERA birthday today!  The “J” in JACOPERA, our mezzo-soprano, and our “IT” department, is celebrating her birthday!! Ana and I are sorry we can’t be with you, but we KNOW you are having a posh celebration as you frolic around Milan.  One year older, another year being fabulous and a DIVA.  I’m currently at a family gathering in Massachusetts, thinking of you while I sip Chardonnay from California (your home state) and eat Eggplant Parmesan (an Italian dish even though I’m with the Irish side of the family).  I’m sending you a “cheers” and a “salute” from across the Atlantic – see you soon and have an amazing day, Diva!! Tanti auguri, bella!



Part of being an artist is the occupational hazard of having frequent self-doubt, and constantly feeling like you and your talents aren’t enough.  This can be good only if it motivates you to keep going, work smarter, and achieve that ultimate goal.  Most of the time though, (or at least from what I’ve observed) we tend to get into these waves of emotional angst, and thoughts creep in that make us put ourselves down. I want to shed light on the fact that every artist needs to be aware of this type of thinking.  It will chew you up inside if you dwell on what you perceive as shortcomings, because most of the time, no one else perceives them as shortcomings, or even notices them at all.

A few years ago, I was in a voice lesson, and I kept obsessing over all of the things that I felt were “incorrect” during an aria I had just finished singing.  My teacher at the time heard many good things in that aria that were signs of vocal progress, and was amazed that I couldn’t find one positive thing to say.  “Do you treat anyone as badly as you treat yourself?” She asked.  I can still hear her voice saying it in my head. It was such an eye opener.  The answer to that question, is no, of course not.  I’m not as judgmental, nit-picky, and as demanding of perfection when it comes to others’ performances.  That would make being an audience member an awful experience.  If you are TOO hard on yourself, you make being an artist/performer unbearable.  Why do we do this?

All singers have insecurities, I’m sure, whether they are related to outward appearances, the way he or she sounds, the way he or she moves onstage, etc.  There are so many elements that go into being an artist and we all hold ourselves to a certain, perhaps subjective, standard of performance.  However, the more we obsess over these insecurities and allow them to have a big presence in our day-to-day thinking, the outcome is usually quite detrimental, and being an artist becomes burdensome.  Isn’t this your calling, to be a singer, dancer, actor, painter, etc?  Why would you torture yourself constantly?  Our brains’ negative thinking can really do a number on our emotions at times- one thought leads to another and all of a sudden you become the ugliest, worst-sounding, least successful singer on the planet.  The reality of it is that no audience member will be as hard on you as you are on yourself.

So, to any artist who is reading this: As you go through your journey as a creator, check those insecure thoughts and don’t let them consume you.  Be aware of them, work smarter to improve upon them, but don’t waste too much energy obsessing  over them.  You need that energy to create.  The world wants to see what you have, don’t be selfish with your gift.


By the way, you know when you are nervous before you go onstage, but once you are out there, the negative feelings go away and you remember how amazing performing actually feels while adrenaline rushes through you, and it becomes fun?  Hold onto THAT.  The energy connected to enjoyment is contagious – the audience can feel it.  I promise you – you are enough.

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Sunday Dollar Bills!

Make that twenty dollar bills, y’all. The banknote that Harriet Tubman, a former slave in the American Civil War era, will be fronting.  It is a huge milestone that our country is paying homage to an important historical figure who was a catalyst in the fight against slavery and happened to be quite a fierce woman, a Diva, one with characteristics that we honor.

Okay, but Harriet wasn’t a singer.  SO the next on the list is none other than the contralto, Marian Anderson, who will be added to the redesigned five dollar bill opposite of President Abraham Lincoln.  She sang at the Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Center, and most notably, the Metropolitan Opera House in 1955.  She became the first African American to perform at the Met in her first operatic role as Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.  In the years following, she became a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as a “goodwill ambassadress” for the United States Department of State, giving concerts all over the world.

This particular video of her performing “Deep River”, a most beloved spiritual, you can hear the heart-breaking beauty of her unique and rich timbre within her lower range.

A New York Times music critic wrote about Anderson this way: “Those who remember her at her height … can never forget that big resonant voice, with those low notes almost visceral [having to do with basic emotions] in nature, and with that easy, unforced ascent to the top register. A natural voice, a hauntingly colorful one, it was one of the vocal phenomena [rare event] of its time.”

We suggest you hear for yourself, and make your own opinion.

Good night and good luck; in life, love, and prosperity.