My parents say I was singing before I could talk. My Mom loves to tell the story of when I was 5 and we went to an outdoor restaurant on vacation. There was a man there providing the live entertainment and he asked if anyone wanted to come up and sing. Without hesitation, I ran right up to the stage and told him my name, age, and that I would be singing, “Ten Minutes Ago” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella. It just continued from there. I began voice lessons at the age of 12, performed in every school musical, did professional theater every summer, All-State choirs, and sang in churches and at numerous weddings throughout middle school and high school. It was no surprise to anyone that when the time came for talk of what I would study in college, music was the only thing I considered.
I studied classical voice at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. All of my training up until that point had been classical and it’s where I excelled. My thought process was, “If I study classical voice, then I can learn the voice so well that I can eventually sing anything.” My time at Belmont was spent singing from sunrise to sunset, and sometimes even into the night. I sang in the SATB choir called Chorale. I also was in a larger Oratorio ensemble, studied privately with the amazing Jocelyn Fisher, and performed in the school operas. I was learning so much, but my primary focus was on how to use my head voice. I grew to have a very strong head voice, which came in handy for all of the classical singing I was doing.
After graduation, I spent a season singing with the Nashville Opera, and had the best time, but quickly realized I didn’t want to perform in operas for the rest of my life. I loved opera, but not enough to go to grad school, and from there I wasn’t sure what I would do with my degree. Years later my husband and I joined a church and I began leading worship. I quickly fell in love with leading worship and songwriting and was involved in both on an average of 4 days a week. When leading worship I found myself wanting to use different parts of my voice so I didn’t sound so classical, but I simply didn’t know how. My voice was getting tired very quickly and sometimes I felt hoarse after I would sing.
Since joining the team at Jacob Burton Studios I have learned so much about my voice and how to coach others wherever they are in their vocal journey. I have learned ALL about my chest voice, which I was rarely ever using, and how my voice was built to use both chest AND head voice. I love singing with my chest voice now. I have worked hard to build it up, which in turn has given me power in singing that I never knew I could have! I can not only sing lower, but I can sing more powerfully in my higher register and have even learned to use my mix voice up to a G5! I went from singing arias, to Ariana Grande 🤯! I think for me the most exciting part is that my voice doesn’t hurt or feel tired easily, and I am singing songs I had always just assumed I would never be able to sing.
Growing up as a head singer I picked the higher soprano parts every time. I was Galinda, but never Elphaba. Well, not anymore my friends. I can defy gravity with the best of them! I highly encourage anyone who thinks they have hit a wall or “just can’t sing” certain songs, to keep believing in your voice and working hard to get there. I will forever be a student of the voice, which is why I love coaching so much!