Maybe it’s my recent transplant to a French city and the influence of my new friends, but I’ve got a serious yen for the mid-century to late 70s chansons lately. This weekend, enjoy Dick Annegarn’s Bébé Éléphant. Thanks to Lu for hipping me to this!
Yesterday was kind of a stressful day. I had to find and photocopy every performance and student contract I’ve collected over the last five years to prove my self-employment on my student loan application. They also need my university transcript, my high school transcript, my notices of assessment from the last five years, and a notarized statement saying I am self-employed.
It’s like they don’t believe me or something…
I was getting all wound up and worried that my application would never be accepted… and then the light from the fading sun outside my window made everything soft and beautiful and my mind became softer with it.
The image I captured during this moment is my reminder to soften and unwind when things start to feel like a hopeless tangled web. Classes start in two weeks so this reminder is a timely one for me.
This is too beautiful. Also Barbara’s eyeliner game is out of control.
I got my McGill student ID card the other day. Now that I have something to hold in my hand it feels real. I’m really going to school less than four weeks. I’m really going to be commuting and packing lunch and attending classes and doing homework and practicing all the time. A lot of people have asked if I’m nervous about the time commitment or the workload but I’m really not worried about those things. I’m at my best when I’m busy and I know how to work hard.
What I’m nervous about is taking such a concrete step towards music. If I was going to change direction in my life, now would be a good time. I’ve already been working in marketing and communications recently so I could study those and try and pursue a career with some job security.
Taking a step in this particular direction is making a commitment to a life of a lot of beauty, really hard work, and sacrifice. And that is really scary. But even though I’m scared I can’t seem to turn away from music. Even though I’m broke I don’t feel desperate enough to abandon my dreams. Maybe that’s foolish and risky but maybe these risks I take now will pay off later.
Anyway studying jazz performance at McGill is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 15 years old and I would be remiss if I didn’t honour my adolescent aspirations while I have the chance.
So far this summer I have spent a lot of time helping other artists with their brands, social media accounts and websites, while mine have gone completely untended. It’s not that I specifically decided to take time off from the internet, it’s just that I didn’t have much to talk about when it came to music, creativity, and my career. I spent the last six months looking inwards and taking care of life stuff. I’m proud to say that I know my way around the kitchen much better than before (although I’m still averaging about one dessert disaster per week.)
With school starting in a month I wanted my website and my blog to feel like a place I could come to tell you about whatever is on my mind (new artists, theory concepts, combo recordings) whenever I have the time to write about it – this was my main inspiration for updating the website.
The main difference between the old site and the update is that I moved the blog off the front page. I did this so that it would be less of eyesore if school becomes too busy for me to update. The other amazing difference is I got all new promo photos! These photos were taken by the incomparable Claude Brazeau.
All this to say, I’m not coming back to blogging the way I was doing it before, but I do want to find a way to include blogging in my regular routine. I may be experimenting for a bit while I figure it out. What do you think of the site update? Please leave your feedback in the comments.
It’s been four months since I officially went on a blogging hiatus. Even though I haven’t left the internet completely I have dramatically cut down on the number of posts I’m making and I have limited myself to only posting stuff related to my career as a vocalist (ie. new releases, upcoming performance, etc.)
Some of you were very sad to see me take a blogging break so I thought I would check in to share a quick jazz and vocal blog round up. So if you miss seeing my posts in your reader, add these fabulous people:
- Jessica Baldwin – singer, pianist, teacher
- Somatic Voicework by Jeanie LoVetri
- Judy Rodman – All Things Vocal
- The Undisputed Champian by Champian Fulton
- A Horizontal Search by Kevin Sun
- Settled In Shipping by David Ryshpan
What are some of your favourite jazz/music/vocal blogs out there? Please let me know so I can add them to my own reader!
I went a little bit bananas this weekend with soundcloud! Over the weekend I was combing through my unreleased demos and live tracks and I found seven songs that I’m so excited to share with you. You can click play on the playlist above and listen to them all. Here are a few details about each tune to read as you’re listening:
1. Watching: This version of watching was recorded in studio at the Banff Centre in May 2012. I wrote Watching just before arriving at Banff so this was my first opportunity to really workshop it. The horn soli was written by Niall Bakkestad-Legare and it still blows me away every time I hear it, especially Rachel Therrien blowing her face off at the end.
2. Drinking Coffee: This song was actually written completely during Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at the Banff Centre. This live version was performed at “the club” at the Banff Centre and it was one of the last club performances of the program. The way the voices and the guitar blend together make me melt, and the energy from Andrew Velez for his eight-bar trumpet is incredible.
3. Little Prince: I recorded this with Chad Linsley last Monday! I wrote a whole post about it.
4. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise: René Gely and I recorded this for a grant demo. I love René Gely’s layered arrangements.
5. Ain’t Misbehavin’: This was recorded live at the Here We Go Again CD release in December 2012. There’s so much nice stuff from this release that I might release a little digital live album. Thoughts? Would you like to listen to that?
6. September In The Rain: This is another collaboration between myself and René Gely. This was recorded as an entry for the Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition.
7. Mushaboom / My Little Suede Shoes: Lucas Haneman and I were invited to be “resident jazz musicians” on CBC’s In Town And Out for their Christmas Eve special and this was our final song. That’s me on shaker!
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to share these little scattered bits of music that have been waiting patiently on my hard drive for years, but I’m glad I did. I plan on recording and sharing more soundcloud singles like these so you can follow me on soundcloud or you can periodically check this page I made for them. Of course, I’ll always blog about new releases.
What jazz standards or other songs would you like to hear recorded in the future? Let me know in the comments.
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of recording with Chad Linsley, a fabulous pianist who loves vocal jazz as much as I do! We recorded Little Prince with music by Frederick Loewe and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. It’s the final song from the 1974 film adaptation of the book The Little Prince. I discovered this song and many others from the film while browsing through a film and theatre music book the other day. I watched the film for the first time on Sunday and even though I knew the plot from the book I found the addition of the music extremely touching, especially the song Chad and I recorded.
I hope our version of Little Prince moves you in the same way. Enjoy!
Hello singers! If you’re thinking about signing up for voice lessons now that exams are over and the warmer months are here then you are in luck because I am offering 20% off packages of five lessons to new students until June 1st.
Here’s what some of my students have to say about their lessons with me:
Renée Yoxon’s enthusiasm for music shows clearly through her teaching. She takes a lot of care to instill good habits, both in singing and in how I practice, so I can grow as a musician. I always look forward to my lessons and would highly recommend Renée to anyone who enjoys singing.
Adam K, age 28
Since I’ve been taking lesson from Renée I’ve found myself excited about everything I’ve been learning. It’s as if I’m finding a completely different singer within myself. I’m so happy that I don’t have to just memorize a piece and get tested on it anymore, Renée actually helps me comprehend all the different elements of what I’m singing.
Judette B, age 15
Renée Yoxon is an excellent voice teacher who is willing to cater her lessons to the particular needs of each student. As an untrained singer who has been singing for years, my needs have been a little scattered but Renée has helped me to understand fundamentals regarding how the voice works and how that fits into a greater understanding of music. She is happy to participate in the student’s development and to allow the student to explore his or her own creative path. She makes herself available and is eager to satisfy her various students. She is a pleasure to work with and a reliable resource.
David S, age 39
Lessons are taught on Sundays in Ottawa for $50/hour and Tuesdays through Saturdays in Montreal and on Skype for $40/hour. Les cours sont aussi disponibles en français. For more information visit my teaching page or contact me. Happy singing!
Thanks so much to Austin for capturing these videos from The Artistic Showcase at Pressed on Tuesday. And thanks to Brandon Wint for being an incredible host and to everyone who came out to support the artists!