Now if I asked any normal person off the street what opera is they would most likely rift off some type of operatic notes, or reference Phantom of the Opera because I mean, it was on Broadway (Duh). Like most classical music the true nature and skill of opera is lost amongst the top 40 hits blaring through the radio, but be ready to bow down bitches because marie-claire is about to catapult opera into the modern age. With one of the rarest vocal ranges, a contralto, and a grace beyond measure, mc, as she is fondly called by her friends, is one of dopest vocalist you will ever hear. We started our chill session with mc at her NYC vocal training with legendary opera singer, Patricia Wise, where we bared witness.
Credits: Dress by Onyii & Co. Hair by Lux Beauty - Victoria Flores Hair Styling by Amoy Couture Hair
Contalto: the lowest female vocal range.
Aria: a long, accompanied song for a solo voice, typically one in an opera or oratorio.
Here’s what we learned about opera during her vocal training:
The amount of breath needed to sing an opera aria is ricockulous because of how long the notes are. Basically you need to be able to take in air throughout your entire upper cavity.
You may have natural singing talent, but that don’t mean shit. It takes years, YEARS, of studying and discipline to learn how to properly sang out Louise.
Most people are not multi-lingual and don’t understand a word an opera singer is saying, so it’s the job of the singer to convey the emotion behind the words so it transcends the language barrier.
Until the early 1970’s black singers were not really seen in the opera genre until David DiChiera of the Michigan Opera Theatre pioneered efforts to bust those doors down.
After seeing her in her classical environment we took her to the most level playing field we could think of, a karaoke bar.
marie-claire was born in Dominica West Indies and moved to the Bronx, New York as a child. With a recent emergence of African-American performers reinventing classical art forms such as Brown Girls Do Ballet, mc is for sure a great role model for young ethnic females everywhere. mc’s encourages young ethnic women to embrace their difference because it’s what makes them stand out and bring unique innate talent to the table. This classic bad ass puts her money where her mouth is with her philanthropic efforts which include raising funds for disadvantaged Dominican youth through the Year of the Child concert. She has also shared words of encouragement with female victims of sexual abuse in Dominica, Jamaica and St. Vincent. In March 2014 mc was honoured by the Williamsburg bridge chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for her service to her community as part of Women’s History Month celebrations.
Sure, marie-claire may be classically trained by Maestro Guido Caputo and Maestro Frascati of the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, but this diva has a love for all types of music. mc even has a sassy habit of doing opera mash ups with different genres of music. In fact, I first became a fan of hers when I was invited to see her sing at a show where she was accompanied by jazz musicians. I mean why not? The US is basically a melting pot, blending ourselves to create a culture that is uniquely our own. Not only has she mashed up opera with jazz, but she also has dived into hip-hop. Rob Stone, a San Diego based hip-hop recording artist, features marie-claire singing a haunting melody on his debut record called “Chill Bill”. The song will be released in April on Vice TV, but lucky for you CMB got the hook up so you can take a listen right here.
Sony Music Projects out of Comfort Zone.
See Rob Stone perform LIVE May 15, 2017 at PlayStation Theatre in NYC.
My ask from the bass gods is that in the future, some smart producer will merge her booming voice with some wobbly bass, creating vibrations that will shake us to our core. Yes, this is a hard *wink wink* situation to all EDM producers to get on it, I am rooting for Bassnectar, but that’s just my personal obsession.
If this makes you intrigued about opera and the incomparable marie-claire, which it should duh - get fancy with it, throw snazzy threads on, and catch her on May 15 at the Friars Club from 5:30pm - 7pm. She will also be at a Master class with her other vocal teacher, the renowned Carole Farley, on May 25, from 6:30pm - 10pm, at Christ and St. Stephens Church. The cherry on top is that is free for audience members, yes New Yorkers, something free in this concrete jungle.
More on marie-claire: http://www.marieclairemusic.com