Vocal Olympics, Part Deux.

Always smile when you enter a room, dear. It relaxes others AND it lifts the features of the face…Are you an ugly duckling or a swan? Because the choice is yours, you know.  Belief IS half of being.” ~ Anne Bancroft from “The Point of No Return”.

Oh…if only prepairing for a competition were so simple.

How did I get here? L’Ingenue…la jeune fille? When you’re chosen to compete in The Madame Rose Palmai-Tensor Scholarship program or any likeminded program, you quickly find that your musicianship and vocal prowess are only a part of the program. They’re not only looking for a vocal musician, they’re looking for a “type”, a “model”, the complete and total package. If you don’t already fit the mold they’re looking for, you had better get with the program. There’s just one question:  If you don’t know the name of the game, then how does one “get with the program”? Deep down, I had an idea of what that meant, and essentially it meant I was going to go through a complete and total transformation…from the inside-out and from head to toe…and wouldn’t you know it, the clock is ticking and I haven’t a moment to lose. While this overhaul isn’t a requirement of the Board of Trustees of any of the competitions inwhich I’ve had the honor to participate, it’s certainly in the best interest of all competitors to look and feel your very best; in that it helps to improve your competitive edge, in any and all cases.

1. Body Type:   Fit, trim, pleasantly shaped regardless of sex is the desired norm. As a half-joke/half-truth, I was informed that if I could reshape my body to a 36-24-36 frame, that would be “Heaven”…”a dream come true”. No joke. Based on my height, my ideal “target-goal” size was determined to be a size 8…no more, no less. If I dropped below a size 7 or 6 or ballooned above a size 10, I was consider unhealthy, unfit, unattractive and not at all suitable for prime competition. No joke. I was a size 11-12. Not good. So, I enrolled in a self-improvement, modeling course to learn all that I could in order to totally remake and rebuild my life on all levels, from the foundation and templates-up and beyond; or at least to the best of my ability and knowledge, however limited my resources.

2. Beauty within and without:   I took this seriously and stepped it up a notch. I began eating as super-healthy as possible. This meant eating only the correct amounts and portions of food, and learning what that meant for my individual needs, and drinking the right amount of pure, clean water. Living healthy and as cleanly as possible, taking proper vitamins and care is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails as these are all outward signs that your inside is working properly…or not. Did you know that all cosmotologists and beauticians are trained to notice and look for deficiencies to detect early signs of a possible health problem? It’s true. Also, aerobic exercises became my new best friends as I walked, hiked, swam, danced, jogged, played tennis and shot hoops. As an elective, I took Core 1 and Core 2 physical training. My trainer had no shame and was relentless in pitting me and other females against the guys. It’s amazing what you can do when your trainer challenges you in this fashion to reach higher and further than you ever thought possible. This tactic was helpful in sharpening my competitive drive and edge in other areas of my life. I do not love pain, but I wanted to win…so…

3. Media ready:   The uber-fab, iconic Zsa-Zsa Gabor once said, “Dahlings, be beautiful! You never know who’s looking!” This is so true, especially in today’s hi-tech world of camera phones, Smart phones, street cameras, traffic cameras, etc. Virtually any camera that can send an image forever planted all over the Internet, Ethernet, UberNet, OtherNet and AnyOtherNet-Net in a matter of a single nano-second can be your friend or foe. Being media ready means sharpening and fine-tuning every single detail and area of your life down to a single strand of hair on your head. Media ready means retraining your posture and the way you stand, as well as retraining the way you sit and stand and stand and sit from a chair, a car, a table. It means retraining your speaking voice, and your poise and appearance from any and all conceivable angles, figuratively and literally. So, I bought three full length mirrors. I didn’t want to, but I knew the image staring back at me could not, would not lie to me. Try it, and be honest and true to yourself. Don’t run from the image you see. Face it, and from a place of self-respect and love, relearn to work with and on what you see with your own eyes.

4. GREAT Grooming:   This is an extention of number two above, but you’re taking it several steps further and onward. The best and brightest among us know there’s always room for improvement in everyone. The difference is, the best take action and really go to work on themselves and their projects. Not only do they have a plan, but they execute their plan, carry it out and work it to the fullest. Before I could reach my fullest and best potential, I had to figuratively and literally break myself down, from the inside-out. This included taking a sheet of paper, and drawing a line down the middle to list my strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not a swan as yet, but really want to be one, be honest with yourself and find out why. Write it all down and prepare to build on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

5. Color and Contrast…aka Lessons in Scheming:  Ah yes, people do believe what their eyes can see, and wearing an attractive color for the right occasion is a definite plus. Your clothes, shoes, proper hair color to match your skin pigment and eyes, proper make-up color choices for day, career-business and evening wear…it all plays a part. Based on my hair, eye and skin color, it was determined my best choices for career and business were navy, sapphire, royal blue, burgundy, forest green and chocolate brown. For contrast, I should never wear a stark or bright white, but rather a soft ivory, cream, or ecru. For evening, I could select from a whole array of jewel tones. For spring and summer months, I could add lavender and turquoise. I was allowed to modestly wear pearls (any shade), diamonds and my birthstone. My best make-up colors were a soft pink-beige foundation with translucent powder, soft ultra-light pink or peach shimmer on my cheekbones with very little rose contour. On my eyes, I could wear only blues, plums, browns, creams and pinks and absolutely no black eyeliner or mascara. I wore soft sable brown, only. On my lips…for everyday, I wore coral pink and a soft but deeper matching lip liner; and for evening…I favored a deep rose, spice, plum or burgundy lipliner feathered and filled in with a soft, hi-gloss shimmer and shine. Eye and lip color…blend. Cheek and face color…blend, blend, blend.

Golden Rule“Everything is intentional. Leave nothing to chance.” ~ Gianni Versace.

Seriously, I’d spend at least a day or two every week just going over my wardrobe…fixing, repairing, mending, polishing; all of this on top of learning a variety of topics on music and my song material for a competition plus many hours in the library. There’s so much more, but I think you get the picture. The word “sacrifice” doesn’t come close. My hard work did pay off, but that’s a story for another day and time. Til then, shine on you crazy diamonds…til your dreams come true. Love you xo.

Be Blessed,

Keri-Lynn

(Copyright 2014; Nadine’s Enterprises, Ltd., Aurora Borealis, Ltd., Keri-Lynn’s Music, Inc., ASCAP; and Keri-Lynn’s Official World Media; All Rights Reserved. This content contains excerpts from Keri-Lynn’s yet to be titled, upcoming biography, and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, broadcast, transmitted, reused, resold, etc. at anytime, in any way, shape, form or fashion without the expressed, written consent of Keri-Lynn, Nadine’s Enterprises, Ltd. and her attorneys.)

Posted in Keri-Lynn's Music | Leave a comment

Vocal Olympics, Part 1.

So, here I stand. I’m over five hundred miles away from home and all alone onstage with only my accompanist behind me. In order to be considered for this position, I need at least two or three fully written recommendations from my professors who are willing to put their good names and reputations and professions…their word…on the line for me. Before I begin to utter a single note to prepare, they must affirm and confirm that I’ve worked very hard, and am ready and worthy to take part in this prestigious event of a competition. This is not your “American Idol”, nor is it “America’s Got Talent!” or “The Voice”. This is The Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser Scholarship Competition. This is the regional leg of the event and it is fierce. Before landing the chance to compete on the regional level, I had to place within the top four for the city, the county and then the state.

The first part of the competition is steep and  grueling enough. They test you on ear training, sight-singing, scales, music theory 1 and 2; as well as counterpoint and fugue techniques in knowledge and in practicum. Only then are you tested on your practical knowledge of music history, vocal literature, English diction and phonetics, Italian/Latin diction and phonetics, and your choice of French or German diction and phonetics. Then finally, you are tested on your basic knowledge of vocal pedagogy, in knowledge and in practicum.

One by one, vocalists from all over the region (about eight to ten states) are dismissed as they fail to make the cut. Some go home, while others are encouraged to stick around and learn more about their craft by watching those who are deemed worthy enough to continue onto the final round of competition; that is to say, putting everything they know and have learned into practice and a live performance, onstage.

I’m dumbfounded to learn that I, a mere freshman in college with only one and a half years of vocal study under my belt, am among the fortunate few who passed all the preliminary tests; thereby earning my place in the grand finals, which takes place in front of the judges…who are working/paid professionals in their own right…and a jury of your peers; including those who lost. What’s more, I’m the only teenager in the bunch, and I’m competing against college-level juniors and seniors. On top of this, I have suffered asthma since infancy. The heat is on as the clock ticks onward. You listen closely as each second passes. It feels like an eternity, like you’re lost in a time continuum. As I take my mark and wait ever…so…patiently, I feel like a well-trained thoroughbred. Clearly, I’m a dark horse…and I’m about to run for the roses.

I remain calm, poised, confident, pretty and hope my anti-perspirant won’t let me down and reveal what’s truly happening:   Heart pumping…focus…pulse racing…focus…don’t burp…remain focused…everything you’ve sacrificed has come to this…don’t freak-out and remain focused…you only get one shot…remain focused…don’t forget the lyrics…remain focused…don’t forget the rests…remain focused…don’t forget your phrasing…remain focused…I have to pee, again…no, you don’t…resist and remain focused…I ripped my hosiery and I’m under a microscope…you can do this, now, remain focused…”What is SHE doing here?”…I heard that…ignore it and remain focused…”Nineteen? She’s a baby!”…heard that, too…wait, how did she know?…nevermind, remain focused and wait for the judges approval to begin…news travels fast…yes, it does, now remain focused, breathe and wait on your mark…”Fresh from the farm.”…Not on your plate, bud…remain focused…stay on target…stay on task…you’re almost there…now imagine them all in their underwear…SMILE and try not to burst into hysterics…to hell with them…you’ve earned your place…you’ve earned your right…now, REMAIN FOCUSED.

I finally get a nod from one of the judges. This is my cue, and the only cue I’ll get. I’m expected to start within three seconds of my cue, or I forfeit my place to the alternate beneath me. I’ve fought long and hard to get here, and…my apologies to my alternate, but…better luck, next time. I didn’t come all this way to look cute. I came here to win, and…I’m doing this.

I’m taking my best shot.

I nod and smile to my accompanist, steady my nerves, take a breath and open my mouth to sing the first of my six prepared works, “Let My Song Fill Your Heart!”; a lovely Viennese Waltz and art song by an American, 20th Century-Neoclassical-Romantic composer named Earnest Charles.

Let the games begin and breathe……….just breathe.

Thank you so much for reading. Stay tuned for “Vocal Olympics, Part 2″. Til then…shine on, you crazy diamonds and may all your dreams come true. Love you xo.

Be Blessed,

Keri-Lynn

 

(Copyright 2014; Nadine’s Enterprises, Ltd., Aurora Borealis, Ltd., Keri-Lynn’s Music, Inc., ASCAP; and Keri-Lynn’s Official World Media; All Rights Reserved. This content contains excerpts from Keri-Lynn’s yet to be titled, upcoming biography, and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, broadcast, transmitted, reused, resold, etc. at anytime, in any way, shape, form or fashion without the expressed, written consent of Keri-Lynn, Nadine’s Enterprises, Ltd. and her attorneys.)

Posted in Keri-Lynn's Music | Leave a comment

Shine on…

Isn’t this something? Did you ever think in your wildest dreams you’d see this day? I sure didn’t…but some of you asked. So…

Hello world, and welcome. You may call this “Keri-Lynn’s World” or “The World According To Keri-Lynn” or “OMG…hell just froze over!” or scream at the top of your lungs “It’s the Apocalypse!” or whatever you wish. Honestly and professionally, I’m an artist and singer-songwriter, first and foremost; so please understand I have lots of professional and personal business that simply will not take care of itself, no matter how hard I try. I know…but I’ve tried waving my magic wand, and it simply does not work that way. So, I do have priorities, and whether they appear seemingly in order…or not…(work with me, here) they must come first. I want and hope we have at least this much in common.

So many people seem to be writing these days. With so much information out there, albeit some of it miss-information about myself, I’ve decided my purpose will not be to overload you with trifles…but rather to engage, inspire, stimulate, question and, if need be, set the record straight and perhaps at times invoke or provoke so as to cause you or something about or around you to move you…and hopefully stimulate change for the better.

I had full intention to release my first entry…working title, “The Vocal Olympics”…on my Birthday; but with so much going on and so forth, or maybe because I failed to acquire the Herculean gene while safely ensconced in the womb and preparing to make my grand debut (powdering my nose, curling my hair, glamming it up), I prefer to release this maybe on Valentine’s Day.

Yes, I think that sounds about right.

The real question is…are you, my gentle readers, really ready for this? Be forewarned: At times, I may cut “it” to the quick, but only because I’m not afraid to tell it like it is, if and when the need arises. May these times be few and far between, for both our sakes.

So, there it is. Til then…shine on, you crazy diamonds! God speed and may all your dreams come true! Love you xo.

Be Blessed,

Keri-Lynn

Posted in Keri-Lynn's Music | Leave a comment

Keri-Lynn on Pure Gold Radio LIVE!

Talk to Special Guest, Keri-Lynn, @TheKeriLynn , on Pure Gold LIVE at 6:00pm EST on September 19, 2012. Go to http://puregoldpg.com/?p=2153 or visit  http://puregoldpg.com for more details!

Posted in Keri-Lynn's Music | Leave a comment