As a classically trained vocalist, who has performed at the Kennedy Center, Tina now focuses on popular music alongside her husband in their duo 2 from the Heart, creating acoustic versions of new and classic pop, rock, country and R&B favorites in the Washington, D.C. area.
Tina, thank you for sitting down with us. To start, in your opinion, what are a few ingredients that make a memorable vocal performance?
That’s a good one! I would say a captivated audience, soaring vocals and many song requests!
What do you consider a performance SUCCESS and please tell us why?
I consider performance success making a genuine a connection with the audience. When you play a show thinking no one is paying attention, but at the end the audience comes up to say how much they connected to your music, naming areas of songs they specifically enjoyed. That is when you know you have performance success.
What is something that’s worked for you in reaching a larger audience?
Open Mics have been great way to expand our audience as well as build relationships and support other musicians.
What is an area of your singing that is a unique or different that you would like to elaborate on?
Another question might be - how do you capture people’s attention? I’ve always tried to learn vocally challenging pieces to pull in the audience’s attention. People say my intonation and articulation are superb; where you can understand what I’m singing and that I take care to nurture every word or phrase. I think it makes a nice emotional connection. I feel that in a time where you sort of sing to fit the style, the craft of singing, along with the words can get muddy and indiscernible. My voice training gave me a strong foundation in good singing that never left me even when I moved to contemporary. I think that sets me apart when 2 from the Heart do our live shows and I see people I don’t know come to the stage with their phones to record. I still think it’s the voice that sets you apart from others – it is that true emotional, human connection that we all share, but some have a gift to make that connection a bit more than others.
Great! Name one singer who has who has influenced you and what it is that makes them stand out?
If I woke up one day with Christina Aguilera’s vocal range and performance style, I wouldn’t complain. Like it or not she has been a vocal and performing powerhouse and has been criticized over and again, and I admire her because she keeps doing her own thing.
What is the biggest challenge to breaking out and sharing your music with new people?
Consistently creating inspiring and interesting content, including new songs, on our website and social media creates a connection and attracts a larger audience – which I have to admit this is still something I am learning though trial and error.
We have all had them, but can you name one performance fail?
Absolutely! Once at a very emotional benefit concert, I went to great lengths to set up a song with the audience, but then drew a complete blank when the music started. Finally, I just had to move on – I felt like such a dunce; fortunately, we crushed the next song.
What is the most important lesson you have learned about social media?
Keep your politics out of it and focus on the music!
What is some of your favorite vocal gear and why?
We recently added the Boss Acoustic Singer VE 8. With options and effects for both guitar and vocals, it creates a much fuller sound in our live shows.
I always love with the results I get with my Seinheiser 835 microphone. Reasonably priced and reliable German engineering.
I highly recommend the IK Multimedia iRig Duo (new found!) for easy recording of guitar and vocals on the go!
What is a musical lesson that you had to learn the hard way?
Overbooking – We did five shows over one Memorial Day weekend – three in one day! We were so tired by the end of the long weekend, but so glad to say we did it.
What is a vocal-singing lesson that you had to learn the hard way?
Talking way too much before a performance wears out my voice – now I just politely smile and nod.
Can you offer some good advice regarding vocal health?
Yes, get your rest! Sleep is your biggest ally and don’t take it for granted.
Tell us about some of your favorite music to listen to?
I’m a classic rock girl at heart and I love David Bowie, The Who, The Rolling Stones, but in an instant, can switch over to Christina Aguilera tunes for vocal gymnastics. More recently, I love Brandi Carlisle, Avett Brothers and Head and the Heart.
Tina, thanks so much for spending some time with us.Finally, what question do you wish we asked you today?
What would my older self tell my younger self today?
My older self would say don’t wait to pursue what brings you joy. If you feel passionately about something don’t let fear or sense of obligation hold you back. Get started right away. Do one thing that leads to your goal and then another. Start stacking the building blocks to your success. Years ago, I told myself that I had plenty of time to pursue music, which was only covering up a fear of failure that was hard to overcome. It wasn’t until a I faced an illness that threatened my vocal chords that my thoughts transformed. Without a GREAT surgeon all could have been lost. After that time, I have never looked back on if I should pursue my singing goals. I sing to inspire and I couldn’t be happier pursuing music – it brings great joy!