OH MY WORD! It’s here! It’s here! Last year I booked some voice over gigs and fell in love. It perfectly combines all of my years of vocal work and acting training. I decided to look further into this field in my new Southeast region of the country and after much contemplation, I’m going for it!
First I took some group classes and had some private coaching locally. I reached out to an amazing voice actor in LA, Greg Chun, to get advice and he put me in contact with Rick Wasserman (voice of AMC, the Hulk, Thor and many many others) at Bookable Voice Over. After discussing the industry with Rick, we decided to put together a Commercial Voice Over Demo….and HERE IT IS!!!!
I’m so excited to share it with you. If you know anyone who would like to hear it, please let me know and I’ll pass it along to you!! Thanks for listening!!
Ending the year with a song and people that fill my soul. This is a silly song and exactly the kind I like to perform! This is Dear Mister Santa Claus at Sonja and Friends Christmas show at The Lemon Room in Los Angeles, CA. Enjoy!
So this month several things happened to lead me to sing this song. First, I was learning a new recording application (I’d been using GarageBand and decided to move to Cubase) so that’s been quite the learning curve. I ALSO got a new space to work in as well. Now I have a whisper booth in my house with a much better mic and all around more pleasant working environment. I hadn’t realized with my sub-par mic, sub-par application and singing in a super live room next to a window made for some pretty interesting distortions in my recorded singing…I would hear them (aka odd intonation issues and mechanical sounding notes) and not know how to remedy the situation so I decided to just put the music out there warts and all. Well..my stuff now is still quite imperfect but at least I’m educating myself so I can be better equipped to do better and be better.
This song selection came rather quickly. I’d been singing several other songs and nothing really seemed quite right. Then the election happened and all the air drained from the room and my body and the bigger notes and bigger sounds I was making the week prior vanished (momentarily…they’re back now) but the point is I wasn’t artistically where I want to be to present this other work. I’m performing in a cabaret at the beginning of December in Los Angeles. It’s a delightful evening of lots and lots of Christmas music. Sonja (the headliner, producer and overall queen) sent me some songs. I was super happy with them but again felt a bit uneasy about one of them. I asked her if I could sing another song and offered a replacement and she said my selection wasn’t what she had in mind for that spot in the show. I adore Sonja with all my heart and trust her judgement implicitly and therefore said of course, no worries, I will sing whatever you want. The next day, however, she sent me this song and I was jumping up and down in my bedroom. It’s exactly what my soul wanted to sing. I recorded it the next day. From SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD by Jason Robert Brown this is Christmas Lullaby. Thanks for listening!
Oh man…what a difference a month makes. I really really really didn’t want to sing another pathetic girl song. Truly I didn’t…but in light of the recent words and actions from a current political candidate and the fact that I’m a mom to a girl, I couldn’t get this song out of my mind.
When I start learning a new song for the month all I can think about is you all…what you’re thinking of me…how you’re judging me…secretly wanting your praise…all at the same time knowing that gets in the way of my process…knowing that that mindset gets in the way of the storytelling…the ART. So I put artificial constraints on these offerings. 1. they are done in one take, no splicing or taking the “best” of portions of the different takes 2. no more than 10 takes. if I haven’t gotten a decent one in that time, then this is as good as I’m going to sing it at this moment in my life 3. all recordings happen on the same day 4. no editing of the audio whatsoever. All this so I can assure myself I am not perfect. All this to assure my focus is on the process and not the product. All this to assure my goal is telling a story instead of trying to impress you all. All this to improve myself as an artist and as a person.
Ya see, I recently read the book “Girls and Sex” by Peggy Orenstein and as a type A people pleaser I am beginning to see many patterns of behavior in myself that put me at risk for being unable to protect myself when faced with dominate personalities whose motives are to humiliate, harm or just keep me from my potential. From a very young age girls are taught that our lives are secondary to those around us. We must bend, cajole and sacrifice so others can flourish. I’m sick of this narrative. It’s not the one I want for my daughter and it’s not the one I want for myself.
It’s extremely difficult trying to forge new pathways in the brain. But it will be worth it. After all, as the old adage says, no one is perfect.
From Pasek and Paul’s song cycle EDGES, this is Perfect. Thanks for listening!
So sometime last year I auditioned for the musical First Date. I was asked to prepare three songs (I think). I went in, sang one song and was told “thank you”…clearly I wasn’t who they were looking for. BUT I loved one of the songs so much I couldn’t leave the room without singing it for them so I asked and they said ‘sure’. HA! It’s one of those pieces I think most of us can relate to sometime in our lives…especially now when we’re in a societal crisis of sorts. We should ask ourselves how we define being safe. What does that look like and how does it actually serve? From the musical FIRST DATE this is Safer. Thanks for listening!
It seems that life is pretty loud these days. Our work life, city life and even social media and inside our own dang heads…everything is so incredibly loud. Here’s a song for you out there who would like to turn down the volume. This is Quiet from MATILDA. Thanks for listening!
(and for you music enthusiasts…this song is so so good. it’s usually sung four keys lower and by a child…it’s the lead character Matilda’s song but it’s lovely in the higher key. the phrasing in the patter part of the song is intentional. tim minchin actually put rests in there…so it’s not me gasping for air…it’s written that way. how stinking cool! and also, the C#m chord after the first ‘quiet’ kills me. so stinking pretty. and i wish i could just post the accompaniment to this song. it tells the story more than the melody does…but the melody sure does give it a boost!)
In July my family lost a very important member. He was the best of us and his loss will be felt for an unmeasurable amount of time. I don’t sing this song well at all (it was originally sung by the genius Billy Porter) but I wanted to sing it for my family. For their pain and for mine as well. This is Awaiting You.
This summer I got to connect with friends who I’ve known for multiple decades. We met as kids and now as adults we were comparing the dreams we had in our youth and how they’ve manifested through time. Some dreams are easily let go, some are sticking around and some had to be reimagined. Life takes us on some interesting paths which isn’t always ideal. But through it all we’re always looking to connect to ways that make us feel present…real. Here is ALMOST REAL from The Bridges of Madison County by Jason Robert Brown. (and if you’ve never listened to this musical…do yourself a favor and get on it. Come for the love story and stay for the haunting cello and musical phrases for days!)
Monthy music offering for May. Like many of you I suffer from depression. I’m always looking for ways to manage it but when you live in a new town and you haven’t gotten that booking call for what feels like the billionth time, the voice can be louder and more out of control. This past weekend I had a wonderful conversation with my friend Sonja who said something I’d never heard…she told me to give this voice a name and ask it questions. Well…at first I wanted to give her a grotesque name to match the horrendous things she says to me but upon further examination I realized she wasn’t this horrible thing, she was a young girl, crouched in a corner like a tiger ready to strike. If I ever saw a child like that I would want to wrap it in my arms and tell her how much she’s loved and how she doesn’t have anything to fear. I would tell her all the beautiful things that are waiting for her if she let go. When something occurs in my life I immediately have a song to accompany it…it plays over and over in constant repetition until I sing it out loud. This time Through the Mountain by Adam Guettel from FLOYD COLLINS played ad nauseum. This is my song to her and now to you. Thanks for the listen.
(In May because of SoundCloud issues, I switched to YouTube. Please subscribe to my channel – Lena Hill)
As I was getting my voice and my psyche back in shape to tackle my art in a more robust way, I decided to sing a song I’d been attracted to for a long time. This song has been in my head ever since we uprooted our family from our comforts of the familiar in LA to the discomfort of the new in Austin. This from the opera Ballad of Baby Doe by Douglas Moore. Here is Always Through the Changing. (and a cookie for anyone who can identify my tips of the hat to the glorious Beverly Sills. p.s. I don’t really have a cookie) (p.p.s. it’s been a few months since I recorded this and I can safely say I sing it better now)