na Magiar is a classical crossover singer who is breaking new ground in her home of
Argentina. From her humble beginnings as a chorister she quickly became a soloist in the first opera choir in her city. “It was my first contact with classical music,” she tells us. There Ana was first exposed to the great operas and the music of composers like Verdi, Mozart and Puccini. Her education progressed with the help of prominent instructors. “I started taking master classes with important teachers including Omar Carrion, Salvatore Caputto and Tarja Turnuen.” Their tutelage allowed Ana to develop her voice to its full potential. “My musical life has always been strange!” Ana shares. It has been difficult for her to find a single genre that could define her. She has “nourished many styles.” In her native Argentina, Ana was exposed to the classical crossover genre through performers like Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. While many Argentinians enjoy the music of these performers she tells us, “There are no artists in this genre. Sadly it is not yet widespread in my country.”
For Ana the genre was the perfect solution to her eclectic love of many sounds. “Thanks to Classical Crossover, I find the possibility of embracing each of them.” She has since become an ambassador for the genre and is known as one of the most successful Latin crossover artists.
Ana’s training in classical music helps her create the music she loves. She tells us that the classical crossover techniques “Allows more voice flexibility. You can further enhance the style on the crossover side, but I think it is thanks to the opera technique that it can be accomplished.” She enjoys being able to play with her voice and create new sounds and colors. Some of the artists that continue to inspire Ana are Sarah Brightman, Lisa Gerrard, Anna Netrebko and Loreena Mckenitt among others. In the future, “I would love to work with Alessandro Safina, and it is a possibility in which I am currently focused.” Ana performs original music by the composer Graciela Murano who she says is an “extraordinary pianist and composer from our country. She has the sensitivity to channel through music and songs the emotional values such as love and the spirituality of man. It is always a challenge to get to meet the expectations of each composer but for me it was a beautiful experience.” When it comes to keeping her voice in top condition Ana says there are “no secrets.” Rather simply, “I try to rest well, drink plenty of water. And I like to take a moment alone with the venue before each show.” She especially values live performances. “To me a very particular visual energy only happens during a live show. When you choose to do what you like and concentrate all your energy into it, it just flowers. And it is impossible not to feel its fragrance and admire its beauty.” Ana stays upbeat positive when it comes to the ever changing nature of the music business. “I think the music business has evolved along with the growth of technology and with everything change has its advantages and disadvantages. I choose to focus on the positive market there is today for live entertainment.” She shares this exciting news with us, “I am currently working on a new album. Under a Neoclassical concept with my own compositions alongside a Finnish musician.” The experience has allowed her to fully express her creativity. Ana is also continuing to organizing future performances of her Classical Crossover repertoire.
To learn more visit anamagiar.com
Fans may recognize Rachel from All Angels or one of her many stage performances, recently in Rock of Ages and the Sound of Music. With her big smile and honest performances Rachel’s fan base continues to expand.
Like with many Rachel’s love for music started early. “Growing up in Malta was lovely - I had a very happy childhood which was full of music. Malta has influenced my music and my love for the arts in a very profound way.” She took ballet, piano and also drama lessons. “One day (at approximately age
eight) I went to an audition for Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat here in Malta, got selected and loved every second of the performances! I knew from that moment that I loved music and the stage!” That first audition lead to many more and at twelve Rachel made her professional
debut as Annie. She also began to study with soprano Gillian Zammit and performed in numerous other workshops and master classes. “I kept on taking part in national theatre performances throughout my teenage years.” Her first degree was in Psychology but “Once that was done I knew I needed to follow my true passion which was singing.”
Rachel continued her education in England completing a Master’s degree in Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting. “I had just turned 20 when I moved to the UK so I was already quite mature and ready to explore what living overseas was like - I was very eager to learn and focus on musical theatre full-time. Being in the UK brought a deeper level of maturity and knowledge to my singing where I could focus on my passion full-time.” After graduation Rachel landed an agent which opened doors for her to appear in shows and eventually replace Laura Wright in All Angels. Still at times Rachel was homesick. “It was only when I was living in the UK that I realized how much I missed certain things I had been taking for granted - family, the sea, the weather, friends, the close proximity of everything, the security.... I would often write songs in the UK about how I longed to see my boyfriend (now husband) or how I was missing my family and friends in Malta.” Despite the difficulty of studying and working so far away Rachel insists that she “thoroughly enjoyed” the experience. She tells us, “Now that I am married and once again living in Malta, I try to visit and perform in the UK whenever I can.” One of Rachel’s best memories from her UK years is her time with All Angels which she says was “one of the most exciting and thrilling experiences of my life.” For her the journey began as a fan. “I remember purchasing All Angels' first album when it had first been launched and I was immediately interested in this sound. I bought it when I was attending a random singing course in the UK and would have the CD on repeat back at home when I returned to Malta. I had never realized that classical-crossover was my niche until that very moment when I heard the blend of their four beautiful, pure voices.” Nearly four years later Rachel was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to audition for the group that influenced her so greatly. “I remember reading about the audition to join the All Angels quartet whilst browsing through The Stage newspaper in the park. It said that one of the girls, Laura Wright, had decided to leave. After a few weeks of nerve-wracking auditions, I
couldn't believe that I was the chosen soprano to complete the new line-up!” The friendships were instantaneous. “I immediately clicked with the other three girls - Daisy Chute, Charlotte Ritchie and Melanie Nakhla - and just found it so strange that I was actually once their no.1 fan, owning all three of their albums.” She describes the other members as not only great friends but “incredibly down to earth and so funny!” After joining Rachel was quickly learning the soprano parts to their repertories as well as learning new material. She was also “trying on new performance outfits, sitting at meetings with management, doing photo shoots and interviews, recording new tracks and travelling to new performance destinations. As luck would have it, I was very unwell for my first concert with the group and could hardly speak let alone sing but I tried to take care of my voice as best I could and somehow, a voice managed to come out of my mouth. That first concert was held at the Leicester Square Theatre in London and I still remember thinking that even though I was so unwell, I had thoroughly enjoyed the performance so much and I just couldn't wait for the next one.” For Rachel some of the highlights with All Angels include performing at Wembley Stadium for the Champions League Final 2011, TV appearances on BBC1 and Channel 4 as well as the Classical Brits and being featured on the EP “Starlight.” As for countries? “I'd probably say Los Angeles and Spain but as a venue I would definitely say Wembley Stadium for the Champions League Final 2011 and the Royal Albert Hall!” Yet as much as a whirlwind as these events were one of Rachel’s fondest memories is when she performed with the girls at her own wedding “as per my husband's request!” Rachel recently released her debut album, “Forever Yours” and it was all about achieving a sense of intimacy with her audience. “My
main thought throughout the recording process was that I wished for the listener to feel as though I was singing right there next to them in an acoustic, raw, natural setting. I wished that my passion for live theatre and music would really come across. All instrumentation on the album is also live, featuring some of the best Maltese musicians on the island.” She hoped to touch the listener with a carefully selected track list that combines both her passions, musical theater & classical crossover. “Being a religious person, I also wished to include a couple of traditional spiritual tunes.” The album features some of her “all-time favorites” and others that are less familiar to audiences. “All the songs mean something to me and each have a special place in my heart. All the songs were chosen with a particular thought in mind - a few years ago, when the idea to create the album came to mind, I realized how fortunate I am to have had some amazing and inspirational people in my life. Some of these beautiful people are still with us and very much a part of my life and unfortunately quite a few of the others are no longer with us but I treasure them having been a part of my life very much. It's thanks to these angels that Forever Yours came to life.” She discovered the title track while studying at GSA and quickly “fell in love with it and its message. That song encompasses the message of the entire album.” She also carries special memories of “It’s a Rosebud in June” from her first singing teacher and “Scarborough Fair” which was arranged by David Downes. “I was fortunate enough to get the blessing from Sir David Downes to record his beautiful arrangement and have it on my album.” Choosing a favorite isn’t an easy task since she loves them all, so instead we’ll settle for her favorite to perform. These are: Memory, Pie Jesu and Someone to Watch Over Me. “I simply get transported to another land when I sing ‘Memory’ - the lyrics are so meaningful and so easy to relate to by so many people. ‘Pie Jesu’ is the hymn I sang at my dear uncle's funeral and the overwhelming emotion I felt when I sang that song for him is one I will never forget and I will always have present when performing that song. ‘Someone To
Watch Over Me’ is so much fun to sing especially to a live audience. It's a cheeky yet romantic song. I love that Gershwin era and sometimes wish I was born in it!” One of her humorous behind-the-scenes moments was “trying to get the massive harp into the recording studio. We recorded in a small studio, which was fine for most other instruments...but this harp was so huge and we had a good laugh trying to wheel it in.” Fortunately, it all worked out in the end. A cold made “All I Ask of You” and “May It Be” the greatest challenges of the album. Other commitments prevented rescheduling “there was no other option than to record the songs on the given days. Inhaling was a major challenge but we got there in the end!” After the recording it was time for the launch. “The Malta launch took place in August 2015 at Maria Rosa vineyard and the UK launch took place in October 2015 at The Pheasantry in London. I was very used to performing as a solo artist in Malta but suddenly performing as a solo artist in the UK was very new to me. The whole process of not only performing but also of recording solo projects was new but exciting.” Of course she missed her All Angels friends. “I missed having the girls fooling around in the studio or during rehearsals or having the on-stage banter and creating beautiful harmonies, however, this was a new and exciting time and I was all for it. I felt a greater responsibility to have satisfied listeners and also learnt much more as an artist.” In addition to her new foray into recording Rachel has continued to make a home for herself on the stage. One of her most recent roles was Regina in Rock of Ages. “It is so much fun to play - she's like a crazy, overly energetic Chihuahua! It's a very different type of show for me but fun nevertheless.” Of course Annie will always “remain close to my heart” but another all-time favorite was Cathy in the Last Five Years. “I loved the music and the story-line. As a character, Cathy was quite complex and so interesting to play. Presently, I am in rehearsals for The Sound of Music. I am playing the iconic role of Maria (no pressure
there!) and the show run begins this October. This is definitely one of my dream roles and I can't believe I am getting to perform this part! Other dream roles for me would be Cosette and Eponine in Les Miserables and Glinda in Wicked.” She keeps her voice in shape with “regular lessons.” In Malta were temperatures are frequently hot and humid it may seem crazy not to have the air-conditioning on full blast but, “I try to avoid them at all costs. When it is inevitable, I try to stay as far away from it as possible and always have a scarf or cardigan handy - even in 35*C + weather! My routine for maintaining a healthy voice is to drink lots and lots of water, not to shout, not to stay around cigarettes and other fumes, to avoid caffeine and to have lots of fresh ginger & manuka honey. I also enjoy drinking 'throat comfort' tea and ginger-lemon tea.” Rachel cannot picture herself completely away from music. “I guess if I could no longer be a singer-musician, I would be a full-time singing tutor.” She was previously the Head of Music at Masquerade School for the Performing Arts in Malta but had to stop “due to my solo projects and performer commitments.” Rachel says, “I love working with kids!” In addition to singing Rachel also plays the piano. “I love playing the piano and I aim at
finding more time to hone my piano skills in the coming year.” Another surprise? “I've just bought a ukulele and decided I must try to learn how to play it within the coming months.” Rachel has also written several original songs. “I occasionally perform them at live, local concerts and have recorded a few of them but I never officially released them due to other commitments at the time that needed to take priority. However, I have just embarked on a music video project - filming is to take place approximately during the end of October. It is thanks to fans and their financial and unending, moral support that this music video will be taking place. This music video will be created for one of my more recent original songs called Let You Go. So keep your eyes and ears open towards the end of this year!” With her genuine passion for music and kind spirit Rachel is a breath of fresh air. She leaves the following with our readers: “Sometimes, the reasons we may love music so much may be to escape the problems of life but we can also use music and its messages to help solve and deal with those problems. Let's use music and allow it to teach us to be kind to each other, to swallow our pride and help our neighbors, especially in such trying times.”
Learn more at rachelfabri.com
Watch the latest video posted on their facebook page, a live performance of their original arrangement of "Nothing Compares 2 U," and you will see two performers who can't keep their eyes off each other. Every breath is in sync, and at times, their synergy is so complete that they seem to be one body in two forms; singing with two voices, but joined at their elemental core. This is BRAXI Music, a husband and wife classical crossover duo based out of the Netherlands, and inspired by "true love, divas, drag queens, glam rock, & Bocelli." "We watch Rupaul’s Drag Race on a regular basis, and are constantly impressed with the performance level of these ‘lady boys.’ Their looks, their attention to detail, the way they have no fear of going over the top- its inspiring! Glam Rock does the exact same thing, with iconic artists like David Bowie, Freddy Mercury, Cyndi Lauper, Meat Loaf, all pushing the boundaries with their looks and performances; something that has become very important to us. And if you listen to the musical compositions of these artists, along with many others in the Glam Rock world, you can hear brilliance, sometimes symphonic sounds that, if arranged in a slightly different way and translated into Italian, could very well be considered 'classical.'"
The story of Brandi (nee Russell) and Max Himmelreich could be the lyrics of a sweeping, romantic ballad. After completing her contract with the Holland America Cruise Line, Brandi moved from America to the Netherlands to pursue a relationship. Although that love story was not to be her happily ever after, it did lead directly to meeting Max, when she joined the cast of a dinner theatre of which he was already a member. Max: "I remember very vividly taking the tramline to work, knowing that day a new colleague would join us who had won POPSTARS. I had never seen the show, so I had no idea what he/she looked like or sounded like, so in the spirit of collegial sparring, I was looking forward to the challenge. In the tram I saw this massive head of curly bright red-hair in front of me, I of course assumed she was in the industry. So when I saw she was exiting the tram at the same stop I knew that was her... She must be going to the Dinnertheater. I got there first, and when she entered and introduced herself, we got along right away. So, we met through music, and at the dinnertheater had the opportunity to sing together... I couldn't think of a more natural process, and it continues to strengthen our relationship every day." Specifically, the duo credits the song "Vivo Per Lei" with making them realize they had
a special connection and potential as not only a romantic couple, but also a powerful performance partnership. Both members of BRAXI boast very extensive resumes that led them to this point in their careers. For Max, his interest was fostered by his family, who were all involved in music in some way or another. He joined local musical theatre groups, which were founded by his father, then branched out into dinner theatre, cruise ship tours, and even modeling, which he credits for helping him "be comfortable with standing out, and to not only rely on things Iâ€™ve trained very hard for like singing and acting. But to truly accept who I am, what I
look like and what I do and especially to enjoy every moment. At the end of the day, the most memorable artists, or successful people in any aspect of life, are those who stand out by being themselves. It seems like such a repeated and dragged out statement, but finding out who you are and accepting who you are - are two very difficult things. A performers' mind has a default setting full of self-doubt. For most performers, conforming to something that already â€œworksâ€? is much easier than having a long look in the mirror, seeing what you might not like, choosing to embrace it and making it work for you. " Brandi has a long list of credits to her name, from the Pensacola Children's Chorus to
studying classical voice at age 14 to attending the University of Central Florida to study in a BFA program for Musical Theater. Writing is one of her hobbies, and she wrote cover stories for the city-wide GLBT newspaper in Orlando, FL, as well as writing and performing one of the official songs for Stockholm Pride 2010. She won "Popstars" (a Dutch TV series) in 2008 and also fondly recalls a performance as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. "I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek comedy of the musical, and the soulful music that drives it. The absurdity that little Audrey gets eaten by a plant from outer space and sings the last song as an actual PART of the plant just made me laugh and enjoy every single performance. As I get older, however, I really love the idea of sinking my teeth into deep characters, with so many built up emotional layers that would challenge me as an actor. There are two roles that I would LOVE to play: Sally Bowls from Cabaret and Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard. Both of these characters have tragedy surrounding their lives, and have used their performances to escape. Both searching for love, both devoted to their art, both with mental challenges that taunt their
existenceâ€Ś. I would really love to delve into their worlds. " After winning Popstars, she was signed by major record label Warner Music Benelux
and also had a contract with the producers of the show. "It was an incredible experience, life changing. However, the songs were chosen for me, the looks were chosen for me, and the way I was being developed felt wrong. After one year, I separated my contract with them in order to find my solo sound. I made a pop/dance album that I am still incredibly proud of, called Reinvented, though at the time it never really took off. I was so young and didn’t understand the music industry, especially in The Netherlands. I expected the industry there to be as boisterous as it is in the USA or the UK, but it was the opposite. Anything that ventured outside of these strict boundaries they placed on the performers was considered wrong, over-produced, over the top and ‘trying too hard.’ I actually fell into a depression then, because the same people who told me the year before that I was great, were telling me this year that I couldn’t sing. It beat me down and made me lose faith in my abilities." A mere two weeks after their marriage, Brandi and Max set out on a three-year adventure of performing abroad in theatres, onboard cruise-lines, and at high-end resorts. Their family jokingly called it a "paid Master's degree." Max says, "It pushed us to use every chance we had to try new things, write/perform new songs, discovering ourselves in new looks and outfits. Since Brandi and I were both classically trained as vocalists as well as actors, but also had an established career in contemporary music, we found common
ground in our fascination for the old and the new." Referring to their growth as a performance team and a couple while traveling during those three years, as a springboard for advice to other artists interested in the traveling lifestyle, Brandi says, "Whether you're traveling together or alone, I would say, embrace and enjoy every moment. Be ready for some bullshit along the way and don't give yourself any excuse EVER to give a performance less that everything you've got! Part of the journey is strengthening your endurance and pushing yourself to breaking point. Take good care of your body, since few other lines of work requires you as much to be in good health. Sometimes it's like a big party, but take care of YOU as much as you take care of anything else. It will be respected more, than being careless. Keep your eye on the prize! The prize can be big, and it's easy to say that the prize is fortune and fame. Unfortunately, if you look at the job that way, you have a great deal of competition. Instead, aim to be happy and proud of your work and yourself, that way your only competition you'll have is yourself." Now, as a duo with two singles to their name and an album on the way (to be called "Musical Esemplastic," on which you can expect to hear songs in English, Italian, and Swahili), BRAXI is dedicated to not only pushing the boundaries of the classical crossover genre, but striving to promote equality, acceptance, and education through their music, as well.
"Both of us grew up being bullied, teased, and beaten down for having big dreams, being ‘different’ and theatrical, and therefore we will always try and use our music to give hope to others feeling the same way or experiencing the same (or worse) things. " A casting call for a music video was posted on their facebook page, requesting dancers who were comfortable with GLBT themes. "[The casting call] is for our music video for the song “Breathless (Senza Fiato).” Through the dance and music in the video, we hope to show that love can be a beautiful thing, no matter who it is between.” “I really believe that love can and should be celebrated, and if anyone can find the love that Max and I share, be it two men, two women or a man and woman, it should be celebrated and not shunned. There is so much hate in the world, and I choose to move forward with love. " BRAXI is also working with a US-based charity called AO Music, which helps children in under developed countries across the world have a musical education. They will be filming a video clip for the Swahili song "Kuimba" in the Caribbean rainforest and with children on the island of Saba. Proceeds from the venture as well as a percentage of the sales from the single will go towards AO Music's charitable endeavors. "The songs on this album are true messages of hope, love, and fighting through the darkness; some of them have even been our
therapeutic way of dealing with things in our past. They were all written with the idea that the listener would FEEL something when they hear it the first time. There are many layers to each piece, which we hope will make our fans want to hear them over and over again to find that 'something new.'" The list of influences they name is allencompassing. John Mayer, Coldplay, and Adam Levine impact Max's songwriting, and both members mention Sia as a leading pop icon. Max emphasizes that he grew up listening to legendary artists such as The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra, as well as hearing classical music (Bach, Mozart or Debussy) played around the house by his parents. Brandi pays tribute to great divas of the past and present, including Kate Bush, Bette Middler, Lady Gaga, and Sarah Brightman. They drop names such as Phil Collins, Brian May (of Queen), and Andrea Bocelli as dream collaboration partners. Max: "I'd also like to give a special mention of a Dutch artist named Theo Nijland, who during my Academic years was a great mentor and inspiration." While music is their primary focus, BRAXI always looks for additional elements they can incorporate to broaden the audience experience of "BRAXI" as a complete art form. In the future, BRAXI hopes to develop a large theatre tour, "together with two dancers and an aerialist, truly ‘crossing the classics’ in music and dance." Even now, they incorporate dramatic makeup in their photos and performances, feeling that
"It is another art form that we can use to complete the ‘experience’ of BRAXI (not to mention the fact that it is so much fun)." In addition to independent makeup brands that they have discovered, their primary loyalty is to MAC cosmetics. Brandi worked with them as a makeup artist and knows their products inside and out and respects the high quality of the brand. Also, she says, "I know the company donates a lot of money towards people infected or affected with HIV and AIDS, so I don’t mind spending that extra few dollars." The theme of individuality and staying true to your personal vision is a recurring one with BRAXI. After her experience with Warner Music Benelux, Brandi credits Max with helping her find her true identity once
again. "When Max and I met, he helped me to build up my confidence again. When we began making music together, that was when the pieces began to fall into place. But in The Netherlands, it was difficult for us to experiment and find our sound, for the same reasons I just told you. So we decided to take time outside the country, as much time as we needed, to study, experiment and search for the ‘secret’ of our music. We did this by performing on cruise ships, which allowed us to see many different part of the world, and gave us a new audience every single week. We would listen to the local music in these new countries, watch street musicians perform, and listen to the lyrics and languages that expressed how each country felt. We would train vocally everyday with online vocal lessons, and
spend late nights engulfing ourselves in the music of our influences. Then onstage, every week, we would change our show, experiment with vocal arrangements and visuals to see how each audience reacted until we found the perfect balance. This is how we developed our sound, and how I found the joy in my work again. " Though they personally compose their own lyrics and melodies, they place a high value on collaboration. "We feel that having that one extra ear outside of our own can help take our music to the next level." They make their musical choices not based on what is popular or will "make money" in the industry, but rather what they feel will most truly represent them as artists, and what will push the boundaries beyond what is expected. When trading vocal lines between the English so-called "pop" melodic line and the "Italian operatic," they easily trade back-and-forth themselves, ditching the classical-crossover stereotype for a Broadway-styled male vocalist and an operatic soprano (though when the song is served, they do adhere to that pattern.) Rather, they choose to arrange the song according to the story that the melody and lyrics tell. They know how their voices fit best together, and that determines the arrangement they perfectly customize for each song, with an ear towards ultimate emotional impact and what they want the listener to feel. BRAXI tells it best in their own words:
"We have been told many times by our fans that they never thought they liked opera until they came to see us perform, and that opened a door for them, in fact most of them tell us they now visit the opera house on a regular basis. This makes us wonder, if someone were to do the reverse of what we are doing, perhaps they could also broaden the minds of those audience members who have never listened to contemporary music? We strongly believe that the future of music is genre fusing, and would therefore love to see an artist from the classical world meet up with an EDM DJ. I bet it would sound pretty amazing. " Max: "I can imagine that many artists affiliated with the classical variant of crossover would visually like to represent a more subtle and toned-down look because they think itâ€™s what the audiences expect from a classically trained singer. And yet, Brandi and I have consciously chosen a different path. To turn heads and to reach out in unexpected ways to audiences. We've really taken our time experimenting with the effects of different visual and musical genres. It took us quite a while to figure out what BRAXI really was, and luckily we were both very happy when we did. In the end it wasn't so much a choice, but more like running into the dark and seeing what we'd bump in to. I'd like to think it's worked out pretty well. " Brandi: "We both had interests and respect for classical music we were younger. It wasnâ€™t until I ventured away from it that I realized how much I loved it and missed it in
my musical career. Because Max had this natural talent for opera, it was a very easy choice to put it in our music. We both loved it and felt like the classical elements really added a new level of beauty to the new music we were making. " Max: "I think the core of what BRAXI is us just being Brandi and Max. Because we insist on being ourselves, and we're 'many facetted'. We love the art of creating and nothing feels better than working together. All the people we've worked with and will work with in the future will inspire us and help shape our musical-output. " Brandi: “I hope to always grow in our music. When I hear recordings from a few years ago, it’s amazing to me how much our voices have grown, how much our actual sound has changed. We hope to continue along this path, always experimenting with our voices and different sounds influenced by the cultures we experience. This is the excitement we hope our fans will jump onboard with: you never know what surprises we will throw into our music and performances…." The title of the upcoming album, "Music Esemplastic" (expected to release worldwide in early 2017) is inspired by a word-of-theday that happened to flash across their studio screensaver. "When recording the vocals for “IL NOSTRO AMORE,” the word Esemplastic came up with the meaning: Def: adjective: rare; Having the ability to shape diverse elements or concepts into a unified whole.
We looked right at each other and knew it. This is exactly what BRAXI does, but with music! And so, Musical Esemplastic was born." BRAXI is booked for a show at the Albany Theatre in Coventry on the 21st of January, 2017, in addition to a few other UK theater dates, and will be headliner entertainment/guest acts onboard various ships and resorts worldwide throughout the year. They have set their sights on participating in the Eurovision Song Contest; having nearly reached the goal twice in the past, they are placing their hopes in a recently written song that they feel will be perfect for the multicultural competition. BRAXI admits that, “Another goal that we would absolutely drop everything for, would be to sing in Cirque du Soleil.” Brandi auditioned 4 years ago and are currently on a waiting list/database, but the idea of BRAXI working together with Cirque is something “that remains a huge dream." I can do no better than to close this interview with, once again, words from BRAXI themselves: "We realize that we have chosen a road not yet travelled. It might be more difficult to break into mainstream music scene; it might mean we have to work harder to gain respect from the classical crossover fans and industry professionals, but it is the right path for us, and we believe that audiences are ready for something new. We are 100% true to ourselves and strongly believe that
once people open their minds to our glam-rock, drag queen and Bocelli inspired music, they will never look back." - braximusic.com
Scarlett Quigley first bounded onto the classical crossover scene with the release of her debut album, “If I Only Had Wings.” With her lovely voice and youthful energy she quickly found a supportive audience for her growing talent. Getting to that point though has been the result of hard work on Scarlett’s part and also the assistance of dedicated mentors. The first of these was previously featured as our cover star and is none other than Rebecca Newman. “I met Rebecca over social media. She discovered me and initially asked if I would be interested in being a part of a music video she was making. We communicated via Twitter, Facebook and emails were exchanged. I was thrilled when she asked me if I would guest at one of her shows.”
The relationship continued to blossom and Scarlett tells us they got along very well. Rebecca saw a special “sparkle” in Scarlett’s voice and offered to help mentor her. “Rebecca has helped me to develop my confidence when performing by bringing me some fabulous performance opportunities. She also created my debut album 'If only I had wings' and came to the studio with me to stand by my side.” It was also Rebecca who created a website for Scarlett and continued to offer advice. For Scarlett she is “such an inspiration and a massive help along my musical journey and I'm so grateful to her for her help.” We discuss her album which Scarlett says was a “fun and interesting project to do.” As her first release Scarlett learned quickly what the recording experience is like. “As much as I enjoyed doing it, it taught me how
tiring making an album is. We recorded the album in just two afternoon sessions at the studio so it was quite full on.” She readily acknowledges that there’s “a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes” but also that “it is worth it” as her fans would readily agree. After recording Scarlett first saw her album at the launch concert, “It was incredible to actually have in my hand.” As her artistry continues to develop Scarlett hopes do something “challenging” and “brand new” when it comes time to her next record. “I love learning new things and I'd love to surprise everyone with something different to what I usually do.” It will be exciting to see how these desires materialize on her next release. Scarlett studies voice with Robert Johnston, an international tenor. He is the choral manager of the BBC singers at the British Broadcasting Corporation. “I was introduced to him by the composer Chris Broom who thought he would be a good coach to take me forward. After a meeting and assessment with Rob I was delighted that he was keen to take me on.” Given the names in his roster of students Scarlett tells us she was “over the moon” that was interested in teaching her. “I have been seeing him for just over a year now. I think we work great together and he's so much fun to be around. Yes, we do all the serious stuff but we have a giggle too!” Scarlett has been described as a “natural performer” and she continues to charm new audiences and has also recently toured. It’s something she takes very seriously. “I prepare for my concerts by doing lots and lots of practice.” For Scarlett preparation includes breathing exercises, vocal warmups as well as carefully study of her
repertoire. “I love being prepared for a concert as there is nothing worse than worrying last minute. You can never help being nervous but you definitely don't want the added pressure of being unprepared. I love the performance itself but I have to say, my favorite part is at the end. Now this may sound strange, but when I know I've done it and all the audience are clapping it's the best feeling in the world.” Scarlett has performed with another of our feature artists, Alessandra Paonessa. Again their “Oceans Unite” concert was thanks greatly to the assistance of social media. “We organized the concert over the internet on Facebook and Skype. It was so lovely to meet Alessandra and we got on incredibly well and had so much in common.” It also made it special to finally “put a face to the name.” She describes the concert as an “incredible experience and it was wonderful to duet and share the stage with such a talented performer.” Fans will be happy to learn that the duo plans to reunite sometime in the future. “We hope to be performing together again soon so watch this space!” Thanks to the variety in the crossover genre, each performer has their own specialty. “I like to challenge myself and am told I have a powerful voice so love to sing a good operatic aria. I am a very emotional singer and like to throw all my emotions into my performances. I try and make sure my live performances are captivating and tell a story. I equally like to sing a good classic song for example Moon River but with my own classical twist and deep soprano tone, as well as giving my own interpretation of the piece. I am very lucky to be sent original pieces by composers that haven't been
released before. For example I was the first artist to release Dolce Vento by Chris Broom on an album.” Since then the song has been recorded by several sopranos including Alessandra and the tenor, Jonathan Antoine – the singer who just so happens to be an inspiration for Scarlett herself. “I really admire Jonathan Antoine he is a little older than me but still young. I think we are similar in personality; in fact we actually have the same birthday! I can really see how he has grown as an artist and I hope I can follow in his footsteps. One day maybe I'll even sing with him!” Scarlett is currently taking a gap year from her studies. “This will allow me to focus on my performances and allow me to do more as college five days a week was quite restricting. I feel like I have more freedom now to do more things. That's not to say I won't be furthering my education at
university in the future but right now I'm just taking some time out.” When it comes to her music her family and friends are unfailing supportive. “They all say they are really proud of me and that means a lot. My Mum, Dad and Grandma especially Not that they are biased,” she says tongue-in-cheek. “I could not go without mentioning the amazing Quigletts.” The Quiglett’s are Scarlett’s band of supporters. “We got the name by combining the Lett from my first name and the Quig from my second name,” she tells us. “The support I receive from the Quigletts is incredible. It is this support that makes me strive to succeed. Without people supporting you, coming to your concerts, buying your music and just giving encouragement you cannot grow as an artist. I really mean it when I say the Quigletts mean the world to me.”
Fun Facts with Scarlett One of my middle names is Bertha after my Great Grandma who was also a soprano. I used to think Brussels was a sprout! Even though I sing Opera I listen and sing along to all the latest chart music like any other teenage girl. I have an absolute wicked sense of humor. I told the whole of NCS that what I had learnt from the three weeks of boot camp was I could now get ready in an hour instead of three!! I mean what else was a diva like me going to learn canoeing, mountain climbing and sleeping rough. Scarlett’s interview was thanks in part to requests from our readers.
Featuring Latin classical crossover singer Anna Magiar on the cover, Braxi Music, Rachel Fabri and Scarlett Quigley.
Published on Oct 9, 2016
Featuring Latin classical crossover singer Anna Magiar on the cover, Braxi Music, Rachel Fabri and Scarlett Quigley.