Arina Domski is a pioneer of classical to break stereotypes ,to go beyond the borders of the genre.” crossover music in her native country of Ukraine. “I started to practice music Once Arina discovered her passion for when I was 8. It was children's choir and classical crossover it took time to build a I was the soloist in it. Later there was team that understood her vision even a short period when I was teacher and could help take her to the next level. in it,” Arina tells us of how she began “Analyzing this genre, I have understood that there are not much her career. “Being a “I always dreamt of singers in the world who make member of the children's creating something their music like Brightman. choir I was travelling all my own but at the Most of them simply copy over the world and what their colleagues did and same time I wanted they actually become copies participating in different contests and festivals. I it to be connected of them.” Being a mere copy was singing varied music, never appealed Arina. “My with classical aim is to become a true starting with the church music. I wanted to performer of this genre.” liturgy and ending with the break stereotypes, folk and modern music.” One of the ways Arina seeks go beyond the to make her own product is by Arina’s education borders of the creating a unique continued at Gliere where genre.” image. “The more me in the she graduated with a musical product… the better I degree in voice. “At that feel it and share it with the audience. I time I started to take part in different design all my costumes by myself. Of song contests.” She performed different course, I get help from designers who kinds of music and searched to find the help me to bring my ideas to life. But I genre that felt like home. To earn an come to them with my own ideas, that's income she worked as a backup vocalist why I am so harmonious with my looks. at recording studios and also performed The same happens with musical pop music in nightclubs. material, photo sessions and videos.” A defining moment in her career came She shares some of the behind-thewhen Arina received a CD of Sarah scenes secrets from her “Ti Amero” Brightman. “It was then that I realized video. “We shot this video in winter 2012 that this genre is very close and in Crimea (Ukraine) at - 15 C… It was interesting to me. It perfectly combines very cold which made the shooting classical and pop music.” Unlike her process more difficult. The whole colleagues Arina had no desire to shooting took 3 days. First day our pursue the operatic stage. “I always cameraman fell with the camera into the dreamt of creating something of my own water, he was totally soaked but he but at the same time I wanted it to be didn't let the camera out of his hands. connected with classical music. I wanted Because of severe cold we also had
also had problems with the technical
problems with the technical equipment.” Unbelievably no one got sick from the experience. “All the team was so taken with the process that we all were working like one.” Arina has reworked songs like “Un Bel Di” from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. She describes her process: “Ideas come to my head, my inner state guides me to the right musical state. I am in a constant search for something new.” Arina does not believe in separating her artistic self from her regular persona. “If I do not perform, I still do my job. My ordinary day starts with sports as physical training is very important for good mood and feeling. I believe that an artist must always be in good shape. Apart from the body, an artist also needs to train the vocal cords.” She loves to read and has a collection of books about art. Arina also enjoys going to the theater and movies. Charity is another important aspect of her career. “Every year on the 14th of June, at the World's Donor Day, I conduct my social campaign "Give blood to the country". I am proud to be a blood donor, there is a huge lack of blood donors in Ukraine, especially today, when thousands of people get injured because of the war in Ukraine, and I believe that every healthy person can help others by becoming a donor.” Arina has recorded an album but rather than release it all at once we can expect to see a series of singles. “The album is ready. However, it's more interesting for me to release singles with the video
instead. This spring I will present my fans a new single and a new video.” Want to learn more about Arina? Visit her official website: http://www.arinadomski.com/
Margaret Keys is an Irish classical crossover soprano. With a clear, warm voice and charming persona it is easy to understand the success she has achieved. Margaret grew up in the city of Derry in the north of Ireland. “I come from a family of 4 children, one of which is my twin sister,” she writes. Her childhood was filled with music. “I studied piano, singing and cello whilst at school and took part in many festivals and productions throughout my school years.” Originally Margaret trained to become a teacher but after receiving a scholarship to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music her plans evolved. After graduation she perused a career as a primary teacher but was sure to make time for musical ambitions. She was soon seen on stage in My Fair Lady and a Miracle in Ballymore. “As soon as I graduated from music college I auditioned for both of these roles. Within a few weeks I was offered both parts as well as being offered a job as a music specialist teacher in Ireland. I wanted to accept both of the roles but knew that with the daytime job I would need to be exceptionally well organized.” Juggling both wasn’t an easy task but it was effort well worth it for Margaret. “Eliza in My Fair Lady was a dream musical theatre part and my role as a young Irish girl in A Miracle in Ballymore enabled me to call upon my acting skills, as it was primarily a play, although I also had to sing in it. I suppose looking back these roles were the catalyst to me launching into a full
time professional performing career.” Eventually Margaret had to make the decision to choose music or teaching. “As that side of my career became busier I decided to leave the classroom teaching and concentrate on singing and performing.” Margaret was invited to perform at big events in New Zealand, Australia and even the United States. One of the events called the Lakeside Proms saw her perform to an audience of 35,000. The performances did not go unnoticed. She was advised to record a demo and send it to Universal records. “I was invited to a few meetings and was then offered a deal with Universal.” She released a full-length album entitled, “Legato” that reached No. 14 in the charts. “It was an honor to be sitting in the charts as an individual artist alongside some heavyweight music artists. My album was sandwiched between Michael Jackson and Black Sabbath and that felt pretty surreal.”
The album led to high-profile television to move in relation to the story of the performances. Though exciting song I’m singing.” Another highlight of Margaret calmly prepared for them the preparation is choosing a wardrobe. same way she always does. “The first “That’s a nice part of my job as I’m very thing I always consider is the song much a girly girl!” choice. What works in For Margaret there is a live concert setting something particularly doesn’t always transfer “For a recording artist special about performing in the same way for a for a live audience. “I love people will listen for the TV broadcast,” she to get to know the voice first and probably shares. “Usually you audiences, both during look at your appearance are asked to sing one and after concerts. Being song for a TV and image secondly. an Irish girl I do like to talk Broadcast so the song Image is a very personal and have a little bit of needs to have the thing…. for me, the voice banter now and then. ability to connect with is always the deciding Whilst they are ultimately a wider range of factor not how you look!” there to hear you sing, I audience. Therefore, I think it’s important for generally them to get to choose know you as a something person too.” that is well known.” She So whom has offers a bit of she been most insight for excited to meet other singers. and work with? “A good TV “That’s a really performer tough question sings to the as I have had audience but quite a few also needs to moments when be aware of I have felt a little where the star struck. I cameras are. have had the With this in opportunity to mind I always perform with Alfie Boe, Russell Watson make sure to have a good technical and Paul Potts and have performed in rehearsal taking note of the camera some fantastic concert halls with great angles and working out when and where
orchestras. Recently I have been involved in concerts which involved celebrity guests and stars from the stage and screen which have been great moments and have given me memories that I hope to share with my own children one day.” One of her personal highlights was a recent Christmas concert with Julian Fellowes, writer of Downton Abbey. ”He is the ultimate gentleman and so very down to earth, which is something I really admired about him. He is very intelligent and shared with me a lot of knowledge about the industry. I was also delighted and very humbled when he openly stated, “The night belonged to Margaret. What a talented young lady”. That will stay with me forever. It’s such a tough industry but when someone of that caliber takes the time to mention you in that way it makes it all worthwhile.” Although most widely recognized for her
classical crossover efforts, Margaret has a special place in her heart for musical theater. “I grew up watching all the musicals with my grandfather and I suppose I began to look up to the original musical stars like Julie Andrews and Kathryn Grayson. My style icon was always Audrey Hepburn and I particularly loved the film version of ‘My Fair Lady’. Although Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon I loved to watch her for the sheer grace and elegance that she brought to the role.” Dream roles include Christine in “Phantom of the Opera” and the title role of the magical nanny in “Mary Poppins.” In addition to her musical activities Margaret has been invited to model. “I am first and foremost a singer and performer but sometimes I am asked to model or wear a brand for a particular event or magazine publication.”
Margaret enjoys the fashion side but admits, “It can take a little getting used to.” Her focus is clear. “For me, as a singer, it is always firstly about the voice. For a recording artist people will listen for the voice first and probably look at your appearance and image secondly. Image is a very personal thing. The style of singing that I perform probably suits a more classic look. When people hear a classical voice they more than likely relate it to long, flowing dresses. It really depends on the individual but in this industry we are constantly reminded of the term “the full package” so I suppose, particularly in concert settings, it can be an added bonus if you make an instant impression when you walk on the stage. However, for me, the voice is always the deciding factor not how you look!” Margaret’s determination is seen in the development of her own production company. “I created my own production company MKeys productions a few years ago. I staged several productions
and worked with children aged between 6-18. I am a huge supporter of the arts for children and have since become an ambassador for HRH Prince’s Foundation for Children and Arts. This allows me to work and encourage the arts for children, in particular those who are disadvantaged.” She also has resumed work as a vocal coach. “Teaching and performing are my greatest passions and so the fact that I can combine the two by bringing my own knowledge and experiences of the arts to children and young adults is an added bonus!” When asked about the future Margaret tells us, “I have always tried to set myself goals and work towards dreams and ambitions. I think it’s important to do this as it gives you the drive to keep going in an industry that can be quite tough. However, that said, I have learned to realize that it’s important to enjoy everything that I am presently doing. I lost my father very suddenly last year and that has put a lot of things into perspective. I have been so fortunate to
date with my career and have had great opportunities to use my singing and turn it into a profession. Everything else from now on will be a bonus!” This year will be a busy one for Margaret. “I have quite a lot of events, TV appearances and concerts coming up this year, which I am very excited about. The next will be a Gala Concert in London, where I will be performing alongside Classical Brit nominee and West End leading man Robert Meadmore.” Margaret also promises that she is working on releasing new material within the UK Market.
To keep up to date with her career, visit Margaret’s official website: http://www.margaretkeys.co.uk/
its beauty in certain passages but are not used overindulgently. This sounds like it belongs Album Review on the soundtrack of an Anne of Green “The Ivory Lady” Gables type film. Beautiful.
“The Ivory Lady” from Dr. Fionnuala Moynihan is a family affair, with her siblings featuring on several tracks. The genuine love for the Fionnuala project is evident in the music. Although The poignant “No Moynihan Fionnuala has Frontiers” is next and established herself as a the inclusion of guitar force to be reckoned with makes it especially regularly performing works enjoyable. “Anach by the classical masters, this Cuan/Rosc Catha na Mumhan” album is more of a celebration of her begins quite solemnly but takes on a roots. lighter tone towards the middle. The rolling piano brings to mind scenes of The title track was penned by her the sea. This is followed up with a real brother Diarmaid Moynihan and is a favorite, “The Parting Glass.” Her lovely lyrical piece. Finnuala has a brother Donncha is once again on guitar gentle touch that is soothing to the ear. and his playing truly is lovely. They “Lokrum Prince” is a romantic blend wonderfully together. composition by Fionnuala herself. Although most of the album features “I mo Chroí go Deo” is another original traditional Irish instruments, this piece is from Fionnuala this time a sentimental all about the piano. Lush strings add to piece written for her parents. “Inisheer”
features Fionnuala’s father on the accordion and is a nice relaxing piece you can imagine yourself listening to while seated around the family hearth. “Cath Chéim an Fhia / The Butterfly” is next and it builds beautifully from the simple strains of the flute to pipes and of course piano! “Mo Ghile Mear” is gorgeous and features piano only. Fionnuala’s playing is delicate and filled with meaning. Fans of Celtic Woman would doubtless enjoy this heartfelt rendition. It is followed by “Ar Eirinn Ní Neosfainn Cé hÍ / Kings of Laois.” The final piece on the album is “Red is the Rose/Will You Go Lassie Go” with strains of ‘Loch Lomand’ in variation. The beloved Scottish melody is a good way to end the album. In general “The Ivory Lady” is a very pleasant album. Fionnuala is an accomplished pianist (it is well worth visiting her website to listen to her classical recordings) and this album
gives her an opportunity to show off another facet of her talent. Her characterization is perfect for the Irish melodies and her strength as an arranger is also evident. The beauty of the album lies in its simplicity; it never overwhelms the listener and keeps the spirit of the pieces alive.
Recommended for: fans of Celtic Woman & the Piano Guys Order your Copy Today: http://www.fionnualamoynihan.com/
There are moments when as a musician you become discouraged. When you ask yourself the question ‘Why do I keep doing this when nothing seems to be happening?’ I’ve had my share of those moments and was feeling discouraged as I prepared for the interview with Barbara. Listening to tracks from the beautiful self-titled album helped put me in the mood but I still felt quite nervous. I was kindly patched through by Barbara’s manager Cynthia and was immediately put at ease by the friendly voice on the other line. Despite her success Barbara spoke without any airs or graces as we exchanged pleasantries about the weather. For those unfamiliar with the beautiful Latina soprano we start at the beginning. Barbara is very much the product of her upbringing in Guadalajara, Mexico. “I belong to a traditional Catholic family,” she says sharing how Guadalajara is a “very cultural” city. As a young child her mother took her to painting and dancing lessons along with music classes. Barbara started playing the piano at age six. In addition to this Barbara grew up hearing classical and opera music from her mother’s collection. “When I was growing up I thought that the music that everybody listened to was operatic and classical,” she says and I can’t help but chuckle. She was later introduced to other music by her friends and peers but wasn’t moved from her first love. “For myself it was a lot of fun being a fan of
Placido Domingo and Maria Callas instead of other kinds of music… I fell in love with that music since I was a little girl.” Can she pinpoint a favorite opera at that early age? “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I had a favorite opera,” she exclaims sounding like a child asked to choose a favorite toy. “I had many operas that I love. I really like La Boheme and La Traviata.” The operas continue to be favorite roles to perform to this very day. She did have a favorite work however, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. “That’s what I used to sing when I was little in the car. If my mom played that one I would sing with the soprano all the time – even though I didn’t know what I was saying or anything.” Quite unusual for a young child - a fact that did not go unnoticed by her mom. Barbara describes her mom as “tickled that I was singing in that fashion” at a precocious age of five or six. I’m impressed. The soprano part is noted for its high tessitura. From the age of six onwards it has remained a favorite of Barbara’s. “That’s my favorite work ever,” she says definitively. The journey from being a little girl singing along to classical music on car rides to an opera singer commanding the stage was not one that came easily. “In Guadalajara it’s difficult when they ask you ‘what are you going to do.’ You can’t just answer ‘I want to be an opera singer’. You have to say I’m going to be a doctor or lawyer.” She admits the
clique nature of the claim but for her it was a very real experience, “You don’t think of dedicating your whole life to music, you can’t think about it.” Barbara credits her mother for helping her make it where she is today. “I had the great blessing of having a mother that observed and made some very important decisions and supports me.” Barbara’s mother knew she was an artist. “Thank God everything was there for me to make the right decision.”
proper academic background.” Wise words especially considering some of the largest divisions between classical and crossover enthusiasts stem from lack of knowledge about each other. For Barbara making educated decisions is a way of life. “With everything in life you have to have good preparation.” As a woman clearly in charge of her own career, Barbara rejects the notion that many have of waiting to ‘be discovered.’ “You should not be going about life expecting to be found or discovered,” she says. “You have to make your own path.” She recommends that not only musicians but also everyone should have a proper education.
Barbara pursed her undergraduate degree in Guadalajara and then moved to Houston to study voice at the graduate level. After auditioning she was granted a full scholarship from the After graduating wither her Master’s University of Houston. The experience degree, Barbara has continued to was a transforming peruse opera. Her favorite “You should not be one for Barbara. “A role is now Mimi. “I don’t going about life formal education is know whether it’s the way it expecting to be found something I would moves or the character,” she recommend to or discovered you have says. “It’s a very comfortable anybody,” she role and it’s very sweet. I to make your own encourages without think it’s the role that I first path.” hesitation. “It’s fell in love with.” Her other absolutely necessary. favorite is Violetta from La Traviata. “It’s The academic preparation makes you a more about the whole work and the complete musician. No matter what playwright and everything. I love the genre you are going to do.” Barbara psychology of that character. When you offers some seasoned advice for those read the book by Alexander Dumas, singers questioning whether to pursue (author of Camille) you discover a whole opera or classical crossover. “I think that new world... and the approach when decision of what kind of singer you are you’re singing – you know that there is going to become comes after your so much more than the surface of this preparation. You can’t make an character.” educated decision if you don’t have a
Her research into the story that inspired La Traviata is very much characteristic of Barbara’s musical learning process. “It’s not an easy process – of course you wish you could just get the same results just by listening to the piece but I get very passionate about knowing what the composer might have been thinking, feeling or going through the moment he was writing this. I love to know about the life of the composer and if I can know about what the poem or book was about that’s even better. You go farther from the surface when you know this.” Barbara has been praised for her passionate renditions and given the amount of time she puts into each song it’s easy to see why. Once she has researched a piece she then attempts to relate it to her own life. “That makes a difference,” she says, “I think the audience can see that. I feel that I have something extra to give.” Barbara’s career took a temporary hold when she adopted her daughter. “This career is difficult because life happens and then you have to make decisions on do I want to be a mother, do I want to be a wife, do I want to do all these things? Sometimes you don’t have the opportunity to be all of them.” It is a struggle often felt by those in artistic careers. “I had to make a very hard decision to leave the stage for a while to be a mother,” Barbara say’s honestly. “I think taking time to stay with my daughter when she was little and to be a wife has made us a better family. It has
created a trust that we have for each other now that they have to be without me for long periods.” Reestablishing her career was not an easy thing to do but Barbara is happy that she did it. “Very often the right decision is not the easy decision.” At the moment she feels she has the “best of both worlds.” When I bring up America’s Got Talent and how she decided to peruse that she laughs. “You know it’s not really a decision that you make to go ‘Oh now I’m going to become this singer’. It’s when you give life the opportunity to decide for you and it’s the greatest thing you can do.” The little girl who grew up singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony would “never in a million years” have imagined this is the path life would take her on. She was looking for auditions for opera companies when she found out about America’s Got Talent auditions in Houston. “You have to send the check, you have to look for the auditions, pay for the trip, do all that stuff to get one audition, if you are very lucky, and you just have to keep going like that.” It is a process that is daunting for anyone. When it came to America’s Got Talent Barbara says, “The great thing about this was it wasn’t going to cost me money. I thought ‘Might as well!’” She never knew it would change her life. “You are one in one million people and then they say yes and people start voting for you… It’s a turn I didn’t plan but it is one of the greatest blessings ever.”
Barbara came in second on America’s Got Talent and so was not immediately signed. She says it was a blessing because she had the freedom to do whatever she wanted, “To go the direction I wanted to go.” In true Barbara style the album that followed was a labor of love and much diligence. She herself went about contacting the producers and setting things in motion. The self-titled album was a completely independent project that was recorded at Abbey Roads with the London Symphony Orchestra. “It took a long time,” she admits. “It takes hard work to find the right path.” After the recording was completed Barbara met Cristina Abaroa who owns the indie label Moon Moosic. The relationship has turned into an important one for Barbara providing support while allowing her to be true to who she is. “I’m extremely happy because it gives me the kind of freedom to be the artist I want.” As for the future Barbara says, “I try to stay very faithful to what I am, to my operatic training.” She continues to include opera numbers in her concert repertoire. “Music areas are usually very jealous and you have to dedicate to them full time. Right now classical crossover has big things that are happening and are absorbing my full time and I have to dedicate myself to this classical crossover music that I am singing with my operatic technique.” However she remains very grounded in who she is as a performer, “I am an
opera singer.” Classical crossover music however has also made an impression. “I’ve also discovered something in the classical crossover world,” she shares. “It’s amazing and very empowering and it is the relationship – the intimacy with the audience. Opera doesn’t give you that intimacy because you are usually a character,” she explains. “When you are singing classical crossover you are singing a piece that is 4 minutes and you are not a character, you are yourself. You have an amazing opportunity to explore the microphone that allows you to do things you wouldn’t normally do when you are singing an opera. And I fell in love with the genre.” For Barbara it’s not about choosing one over the other. “Both worlds have wonderful things... the great thing is I don’t have to choose one over the other.” At the moment Barbara’s focus is on career developments in classical crossover but she says whenever operatic opportunities arise she will be sure to take them, as it is her “first love.” As a Christian performer faith is a big part of Barbara’s life. “I try my best to make everything I do revolve around God,” she says sincerely. “I think that our main goal as human beings is to give glory to God and I try with my singing to give glory to God.” She believes her voice is a gift and that “it has a purpose.” She also believes in giving credit where it is due. “I cannot take credit for the blessings I have – I have to give the credit back. And of
approach combined with a God given course if along the way the applause beautiful voice are trademarks that will happens, well it is welcome and it never go out of style. makes me very happy but it’s only a loan while I’m here and while I have it. And while I have it I want to make sure I keep it well and I give “I cannot take credit for the credit to the one that blessings I have – I have to deserves it.” As to what is happening in the future Barbara laughs with excitement. “Many things. Beautiful things are happening. Huge surprises especially in the Hispanic world.”
give the credit back. And of course if along the way the applause happens, well it is welcome and it makes me very happy but it’s only a loan while I’m here and while I have it. And while I have it I want to make sure I keep it well and I give credit to the one that deserves it.”
She promises that we will soon learn what they have been planning. The announcement will come via social media and of course her official website. She hints that, “I am going to be exploring a world that I would have never thought about and I am very excited about.” She says the wonderful surprise is “just around the corner.”
Whatever it is it could not come to a more deserving recipient. Barbara is one of those inspiring, beautiful people who make me excited to be involved in music. This afternoon her special brand of magic was just what I needed to inspire me on my own journey and I trust that you the reader will be likewise motivated. Barbara’s kindness and passion as well as her scholarly
Learn more about Barbara at her official website: www.barbarapadilla.com and don’t forget to order your copy of “Barbara Padilla” today.
My family and friends are well familiar with my particular love for Celtic Woman. My father dutifully would join me for a viewing of each new release. Although all the women in the group help create a unique sound and exciting show, Lisa Kelly was always my favorite. She lit up the screen with a big genuine smile and a warm voice and an obvious passion for music that always inspired me. I continued to follow her career after she left Celtic Woman, and had hoped to meet and study with her when she set up the Lisa Kelly Voice Academy. Although circumstances did not permit me the opportunity I am thrilled to be able to share this interview with you. “I grew up in a really musical household,” Lisa begins. “Both my parents sang and were in community theatre together and my granddad was an actor so I was always around theatres and stage and everyone sang in our house.” At the ripe old age of twenty-two Lisa made the decision to leave her job in computers to become a professional singer. “It was no surprise to my parents and they fully supported my decision. In some way I was probably living out their own dreams,” she admits. The road to becoming a singer is never an easy one and Lisa dealt with her share of rejection. “It’s never easy and you never get used to it but I don't remember ever feeling bitterly disappointed that I didn't get a particular role. I firmly believe that things happen for a reason and what's meant for you won't pass you by. I always tell students that not getting a particular audition doesn't always reflect on your ability.
You are just not what they wanted on that day.” Lisa found success in musical theatre and performed in shows such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Chicago, Chess, Oklahoma, West Side Story & Grease. Lisa also became part of the musical sensation “Riverdance” and served as their lead vocalist for five years. During her years with Riverdance Lisa met David Downs who was working as one of the shows musical directors. David worked with Lisa on her debut solo album “Lisa” that was released on the Celtic Collections label in 2003. Lisa is best known for her involvement in the group Celtic Woman that began as a one-night only television special and turned into a sensation that has spanned multiple albums and tours and even more television specials. The group has since sold millions of records and has performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall (which eventually was deemed too small for their crowds) and Radio City Music Hall among others. Throughout the years touring with Celtic Woman, Lisa was one of the few principles that remained in a cast that continues to change to accommodate personal lives and careers. “I think the rotation of people brings a freshness both on and off stage. I understand that it's hard for fans though if their favorite no longer tours.” This is true, while I definitely enjoyed seeing the group perform at Radio City Music Hall it remains a disappointment that I was never able to watch Lisa perform with them live. “I enjoyed the mix up of cast. And genuinely every girl brought something new and different to the
table. The last group I toured with obviously holds a special place in my heart.” The long tours were no doubt difficult but Lisa took it in her stride. “I think your body and voice have their own little plan when you are on tour. I can count on one hand the amount of times I was sick on the road. And I toured for 11 years. However once the tour was over, I would end up being sick for a while.”
The announcement was a bitter disappointment to fans but it opened the door for many other young students to experience her special brand of magic. Lisa and her husband soon announced the founding of her own school, The Lisa Kelly Voice Academy. “I've always wanted to teach. And I have always wanted to share the things I had learned from performing. But the idea for the school was really a spur of the moment decision. Both Scott (my husband) and I are extremely hard workers and if we say we're going to do something, we do it and we give it 100%.”
Lisa is the proud mother of four children, three boys and one girl. Her husband Scott Porter was also a dancer in Riverdance and the CEO of Celtic The school is a labor of Woman. Together they love for both and is “I try to show all my took their family on the located in Peachtree, road. “My children loved students that and also Georgia. Lisa hopes to being on the road but in try to instill a belief in instill in her students the fairness they knew themselves. Confidence important of hard work. “I nothing else. They all toured from the time they is key. Truly believing in think some people assume you just stand were born. So they knew yourself and knowing up there and it all comes the routine and were so that YOU are what sets out naturally. They don't amazing out there. It's you apart from everyone understand the physical not easy on moms work your body has to do though. I found it hard. else” to get those sounds out. But then all moms find it I try to show all my hard. In some ways, the routine and students that and also try to instill a discipline of touring certainly helped. I belief in themselves. Confidence is key. see the difference in my children who Truly believing in yourself and knowing toured and my one little one who didn't!” that YOU are what sets you apart from After a decade of performing with Celtic everyone else.” Woman, Lisa decided to leave the group Her program is slightly different from the permanently. “I was tired,” she explains. traditional conservatory. The official “I had been on the road for 11 years and website states “The Academy is felt that I had done all I could do with founded on a non-competitive Celtic Woman. I really wanted to be at environment, one where there is a home with my children and let them unique place for all its students to grow enjoy their childhood in a more stable and evolve under the professional family unit with me and their dad.” guidance of its outstanding teachers.” Each program consists of a mix of vocal
training and coaching. “We strongly believe there is no point having a beautiful voice if you can't sell the song. Our passion is performance.” The program is also geared towards helping students with less confidence. “We teach in small groups. This has been the most helpful thing for shy students. They start off terrified but within a few weeks they are full of confidence. Once you overcome the fear of singing in front of a few people, you can pretty much sing in front of anyone.”
Lisa shares some words of advice for new teachers. “Stop looking for perfection. Instead find the heart and soul in their singing. That's what forms a connection with any type of audience.” Of course that is exactly how she has built her own career and retains a loyal following. She says, “I love to sing and there are very few songs that I don't like. I'll always find a story in a song, even if I have to make it up!” Although known as the “Broadway girl” of the Celtic Woman group much of Lisa’s training has been in classical music. “I trained Lisa’s passion for “Having a good work ethic classically all my life so music education is I am very comfortable is super important to me. evident. “I love teaching singing classical songs the little ones because I've worked really, really but I performed an if you get them early hard to get the things I operatic song in a enough, they have no concert before I left for wanted in life. Nothing inhibitions. And if you Riverdance and it was can nurture their came easily. I think that the most daunting thing enthusiasm, you can leads to a great sense of I have ever done. My build their self-esteem accomplishment. I have no heart just doesn't lie in so that they believe opera. I love listening to they can do anything. regrets.” it though.” As for future And that's what you performance want them to thing. opportunities in musicals Lisa jokes, “Aw Have them strong enough that nothing I'm so afraid that I'd be cast as the can tear them down.” mother or grandmother at this stage!!! Of course not every child is destined for But I love musicals so never say never.” musical stardom and by Lisa’s Known for being a strong woman Lisa standards that’s just fine. encourages others to go after their "I know that some of our students will dreams. “I think it's important that you never sing and perform outside the four work hard and you go after what you walls of the Academy. That's ok. Singing want. Male or Female. Anything worth gives people emotional freedom. It having is worth fighting for. Having a challenges people and everyone has a good work ethic is super important to different reason for coming to the me. I've worked really really hard to get Academy. We can all still learn the things I wanted in life. Nothing came something from the person standing easily. I think that leads to a great sense next to us and to be honest that has of accomplishment. I have no regrets. been the success of the Academy so far.”
I've learned from every disappointment.” In addition to her work at the Lisa Kelly Voice Academy, Lisa has continued to be involved in performing events including her concert “The Voice of Ireland” with fellow Celtic Woman alum Chloe Agnew and Paul Byrom of Celtic Thunder. In 2014 she released a Christmas single entitled, “Christmas Everywhere.” Lisa hopes to share more new music with us all in the future. “I would love to do an album. It's definitely in the cards. At this point, it's just finding the time.” To learn more about the Lisa Kelly Voice Academy visit: www.thelisakellyvoiceacademy.com/
Before Lucy Kay stunned judges with her rendition of “Vissi D’Arte” my friend Chantelle Constable recommended her for this magazine. I remember being impressed by the voice and the beautiful woman I saw. It is wonderful to see how her career has progressed in the short time since then and I am happy that Lucy was willing to speak with us.
When it came to choosing a university Lucy spent months preparing audition material with her singing teachers Pamela Cook and Elaine Guy. “I chose Tornami a vagheggiar from Handel’s Alcina, In the Seraglio Gardens by Delius and a fun piece Chacun le sait from Donizetti's Fille Du Regiment. We felt all of these pieces showed off most of the vocal techniques I had already Hailing from Nottingham, England Lucy learnt as well as different styles I could Kay was inspired to sing by Charlotte adapt to and characterization.” Her first Church. It was a discovery that audition was for the Royal Conservatory dramatically impacted her. “I was really of Scotland. “By the time it came round lucky and it was my saving grace and to my audition I had my negative head life changer,” Lucy says. She joined the on as per usual.” Whatever nerves she Cantamus Girls Choir which helped give felt the faculty heard a young woman her confidence and a supportive who they thought would be an excellent environment for her addition to their program. passion. Lucy also “To my surprise I was “I don’t believe the began to study voice offered a place right there on listener should need privately. She grew to the spot and was told not to to know everything love a variety of bother with any other college classical and crossover auditions as this place was about a song or aria performers including before they enjoy the for me. I felt so overwhelmed Maria Callas, Amy that someone would ever music, some people Nuttall, the Opera say that to me and so cried... Babes, Katherine (no surprise there!) and just want to feel Jenkins and the band accepted.” The result was something” G4. well worth the difficult audition process. “I’m so Although many children glad I did and overcame my are discouraged from singing classical demons to be able to audition for a music at a young age for fear of place at such an establishment.” damaging their voices, Lucy believes they should be encouraged instead. Lucy thoroughly enjoyed her experience at the Conservatory and blossomed “Their minds are like sponges, they can under their expertise. However, at heart take information and instructions in she always knew the operatic stage better than we can at our age. Why wasn’t her calling. Lucy felt a desire to deter them from pursuing a route that pursue the commercial side of classical can be potentially life changing for them. music like Charlotte Church and other My life would have been completely performers she admired. Her decision different had I not been encouraged to was met with some resistance. pursue classical training.”
“Unfortunately there were a lot of people who told me what a big mistake I was making. I’ve found a lot of Opera students/singers really dislike the commercial route and think it’s a way of cheating yourself into the industry. My opinion on this is that Opera and Classical Crossover both have their own categories; they are two completely different genres of music,” Lucy states adamantly. “Opera is sadly viewed elitist even today, of course that’s not true because anyone can go and see an opera! But it’s the way Opera stars like Kiri te Kanawa slate classical crossover artists for ruining traditional opera. We've just made our own genre and not tried to create a bad name for Opera at all, classical crossover artists are simply bringing the most favorite Opera arias/Popular songs to an audience that would rather see a concert and be entertained rather than sit through an entire Opera trying to work out what is exactly going on or what they're singing about.” Lucy believes the music should be accessible to the public regardless of their knowledge about opera. “I don’t believe the listener should need to know everything about a song or aria before they enjoy the music, some people just want to feel something, an emotion or to remember a distant memory just by hearing a piece of music.” It is her goal to make her audience feel something. However, Lucy wants to be clear that she has nothing but respect for those pursing an operatic career. “It’s incredibly difficult and you have to be technically on the ball and be very tough for that type of industry, I’m not sure I would last one day of it to be truthful but
that’s why I chose the route I did.” For Lucy it’s all about understanding ones limits and choosing a genre that you love. “There’s no point pursuing a career in something if you're not passionate about it. I believe Opera and Crossover artists need to have a lot more respect for each other and their genre. We are all helping to make Classical music more accessible to the public.” Lucy was given quite the platform to introduce many people to classical selections when she auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. “My BGT audition was probably one of the most terrifying auditions I have/will have ever done. To know that you have 4 celebrities who could press their red buzzer at any time during my performance was daunting enough but then add in the 2,000 members of the audience and cameras recording your every move/sound. I did stand there and think ‘Oh my gosh, what am I doing? I could really mess everything I’ve worked so very hard for.’” Nerves plagued her during the audition, as did self-doubt. “ I wasn’t happy with my performance and was completely convinced I would be buzzed out or given no's but the audience and judges reactions proved me wrong.” Indeed, the gamble certainly paid off and gave Lucy the chance to pursue the type of career she had always dreamed of. She is her own worst critic claiming, “I’m very hard on myself and still won’t ever let myself forget how rubbish I sang in my first audition. I use that as a reminder to never let my fears get to that point again where it is trying to take over my whole body and voice.”
The audition was certainly a learning experience but Lucy admits, “Nothing could have prepared me for that day.” She decided to change her mind about her original audition song and it ended up being a blessing. “I think it actually set me a part from other classical singers who had been on before. I took a piece of opera probably 80% of the audience wouldn’t have known and gave them an emotional connection... or so I’ve been told.” Lucy placed second on the finale and her life became a whirlwind. “It’s a bit surreal actually because I feel like I have the best of both worlds because I’m able to live a double life as it were. I still live in Scotland and everyday at home it’s just like it used to be before I entered BGT and then when I go to work I’m singing to hundreds/ thousands of people or on the radio/ TV and at events. So I’m kind of balancing them both pretty well... so far!”
classical charts immediately upon its release.
Lucy’s personal favorite from the album is Song to the Moon. “I just felt at peace and it was quite atmospheric to record. I kind of lost myself in the music. The most memorable has to be 'Softly awakes my heart' right at the very end where I sing 'Samson, I love thee.’ I remember really struggling to get the right sort of emotion into the sound and so I had done about 10 retakes. Suddenly I wrote down my “We all hate parts of partners name 'David' over the top of the name our body or feel Samson and then closed self-conscious at my eyes and imagined this was the very last time I’d times but believe ever get to say I loved him me there isn’t one to his face and I managed person in this world to get an outpour of emotion during that very that doesn’t think like that, it’s natural. line.” Mission accomplished. “Emotional Everyone is stuff singing!” Lucy says with good humor. beautiful in their
own way no matter shape or size; we need to embrace who we are for what we are.
Lucy is now management by Jonathan Shailt and is signed to Sony Classical. The pressure was on to release her debut album but it wasn’t her first time in the studio. “This is actually my second time recording an album as I used to be a part of The Cantamus Girls Choir for 13 years and the choir was signed by EMI.” But this time the success of the record was completely on her shoulders. The public was firmly on her side and the album “Fantasia” went to No.1 in the
Since her success on television and in the charts, Lucy has been establishing herself in live performances. She recently completed a tour with Andrea Bocelli, which was quickly followed by another with Collabro. “I have absolutely loved both tours. Meeting one of the most iconic classical crossover artists in the world and even better getting to sing with him was a complete honor and one I’ll never ever forget.” The tour was not without its difficulties, every night it takes a special strength and confidence
for the performer to get in front of a live audience. “Knowing I was about to sing in front of about 20,000 people at the O2 arena was, well, terrifying! It got better as each night went on and when you meet the whole crew and start to get to know them you really then feel more comfortable and part of the team.” One of the most memorable moments for Lucy was a rehearsal with Andre Bocelli in his shower! “At one point his wife walked in and my I was so worried about what she would be thinking as I raised my hand to wave and say ‘HI’ but she had obviously seen it all before and smiled, greeted me and sat down. I believe it was the acoustics in the shower were just right for what we needed during our rehearsal!” she laughs. Lucy found her groove and was ready to enjoy the tour with her fellow Britain’s Got Talent alumni. “Half the time the boys would be messing about so I decided to get them a few times with my pranks. It’s safe to say we had convinced Matt that the Usher Hall in Edinburgh was Haunted and tied string to his bottle of water backstage and just as he was about to pick it up for a drink we'd pull the string and it would fly across the floor... he was petrified and ran half away up the steps leading onto the onstage stairs.” Lucy acknowledges the importance of letting go. “I think without all the fun it would have been very tiring and difficult to get through. Vocally its extremely tiring and really you get into the touring bubble mind frame so you need a lot of things to keep you stimulated so you don’t lose the plot! I had a fantastic time and I’m so
sad it’s over.” She is looking forward to more touring opportunities in the future. Although our main mission is music, Classical Crossover Magazine is also keen to promote a healthy body image whenever possible. We asked Lucy for her thoughts on this very important topic. “Everyone in this world is different, we are all unique. So why do we have to conform to other people’s ideas of beauty standards? Most women are meant to be curvy, we have hips to bare children, we have breasts to feed them and we have everything else that they need to be created and grow inside of us. We are made this way, we are women.” Lucy goes on to remind us the importance of balance. “I make sure I exercise so then I can pretty much eat what I want. I’m curvy but I’m healthy. From a very young age children and teenagers are subject to the content published in magazines. A lot of articles slamming the famous for putting on or losing weight, they even write about the latest trending diet to get you to look like those size 0 models. Our children learn from our actions, what they see and what they hear. It’s no wonder there are a lot of young girls suffering from Bulimia or Anorexia. We all hate parts of our body or feel self-conscious at times but believe me there isn’t one person in this world that doesn’t think like that, it’s natural. Everyone is beautiful in their own way no matter shape or size, we need to embrace who we are for what we are.” During her time on Britain’s Got Talent Lucy shared about her experience being bullied. If she could go back and give herself some advice at that time it would
be “to have more faith in yourself.” She explains, “I used to be such a negative person, even though I never gave up I would always go through my life in anything I did with a big cloud of doubt and negativity. I’ve now turned into such a positive person after BGT and now believe that anything is possible you just have to give it a go and believe. IF things do not work out for any reason, then it was never meant to happen. An old Scottish saying 'What’s for you won’t go by you' and it’s so true.” She believes that everything happens for a reason. “I was meant to have gone through the dark times to come out on the other side. It defines you as a person, I’m much more stronger, independent and determined. I also feel like my bad experiences can help others, to know that they aren't alone in this and that you can get through it. So many people are testament to that.” Good things are indeed on the horizon for Lucy. “I’m excited about 2015 because there’s talk of making another album which is to be more Crossover type music rather than just Opera which my first album mainly was. I've also made a pretty daring image change as I now feel I’m able to show the public just who I really am and get away from the
stereotypical image classical singers are given. 2015 is the year the show the general public a new breed of classical! I always like to push the boundaries so I hope people like what I do once it’s released! Fingers crossed!” Lucy gives us a peak at some of her ambitions for the future. “My plan, aim and dream is to become an icon for a new breed of classical, not following trends or stereotypes.” She hopes to take her music to an international stage and perform in as many countries as possible. “I want to share my music with everyone who will listen. I want to make people happy, I love meeting people after concerts and hearing their feedback and to what they'd like to see me do/sing. It’s for the people so I love listening to their ideas and involving them as much as I can. Let them be a part of my dream and music... as they are the only reason I am where I am today,” she says gratefully. “They help me live my dream and enable me to have a job! I quite like just having a general natter with them too!” “Fantasia” is out now from Sony Classical. Order it now from: www.lucykaysoprano.com Fans can also help support Lucy’s new album effort on the platform: Pledge Music.
Spring 2015 of Classical Crossover Magazine. Featuring cover star Barbara Padilla, Lucy Kay from Britain's Got Talent, Margaret Keys, Lisa K...
Published on Apr 13, 2015
Spring 2015 of Classical Crossover Magazine. Featuring cover star Barbara Padilla, Lucy Kay from Britain's Got Talent, Margaret Keys, Lisa K...