We hope you’ll take a moment to get to know us!
Davin Youngs, Founder & Owner
Where are you from? I grew up in a small yet musically supportive town called Otsego, Michigan. I moved to Ohio where I graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and then made my way to Chicago where I received an MA in interdisciplinary studies from DePaul University. Chicago has been home sweet home ever since.
Why do you teach singing? In short, I believe the voice lesson experience can change people’s lives. That might sound like a big statement, but I’ve seen it happen over and over again. To be able to participate in that with singers is an awesome privilege.
Ok, but what qualifies you to teach? Well, I’ve spent time learning from smarter, wiser voice teachers than I, like Elizabeth Mannion, Richard Miller and Jeannette LoVetri. I am a Somatic Voicework™, The LoVetri Method level III certified teacher, a member of The Voice Foundation, Performing Arts Medicine Association, and NATS, from whom I recently won an independent teacher fellowship.
I’ve also been doing this for over 12 years, teaching and coaching over 1,000 singers in that time. But most importantly, I know that I don’t know it all! I’m committed to continuing to learn so I can better serve our clients.
What singers are you into? Hmm, well the list is very long, but to name a few… Thom Yorke, Bjork, Jeff Buckley, Laura Nyro, John Legend, Chet Baker, Sam Cooke, Thomas Quasthoff, Natalie Dessay, Beyonce, Jessie Ware, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder… I mean, the list could go on forever.
What are your strengths as a voice teacher? I’m flexible and I make the process fun. As a young singer, I trained operatically, but these days I specilize in Contemporary Commercial Music. I am commited to understanding what makes for healthy singing in all styles. Finally, I’m not afraid to be very honest with my clients… but always with kind delivery.
Missy Wise, Voice Associate
Where are you from? I’m originally from the “friendliest city in the South”, Minden, Louisiana. I moved to Shreveport, LA to go to Centenary College of Louisiana where I obtained my Bachelors Degree in Music, Vocal Performance. I stayed there for 5 years after I graduated teaching voice and working as a musician. I relocated to Chicago and I love it here!
Why do you teach singing? Singing is my FAVORITE thing to do. When I’m not singing, I love to help others discover new things about their voice that they may have never known before. Music is a powerful tool & I can’t get enough of watching people’s lives change because of it.
And what makes you qualified to teach? I had excellent teachers, coaches, & mentors while at Centenary who showed me how it’s done both in theory and practice. I’ve been teaching over 7 years and am a member of NATS.
Since moving to Chicago, I’ve been learning from and working alongside Davin to make sure we’re on the same page with our teaching and become a Somatic Voicework™, The LoVetri Method level I teacher.
What are your strengths as a teacher? I have a passion for honest storytelling through song, so I love coaching students on how to connect to a piece on a deeper level. Whether it’s pop, musical theater, aria, jazz, rock…whatever! There are important story to share with your voice.
What kind of music do you listen to? Good gracious, all kinds. I love jazz, the Motown era, musical theater from any decade, opera of any sort, most anything written in the Romantic era, soul, funk, gospel, singer/songwriters…I’m telling you, there’s not much I don’t love.
Do you do any singing professionally? Absolutely! I recently performed in Big Noise Theatre’s productions of HAIR and Legally Blonde as well as Stage Center’s production of Bonnie and Clyde. In the past I’ve been fortunate to play such roles as Amneris in “Aida”, Eva Peron in “Evita”, and Mother in “Ragtime”. I’ve also had success as a singer/songwriter. I have two albums on iTunes & plan on releasing a third within the year! Check out missywise.com for more info.
Alison Wedding, Voice Associate
Where are you from? I was born in Ohio, but moved to Dallas, Texas when I was 5. I usually refer to Dallas as my hometown, although Los Angeles, Melbourne, Australia, and Brooklyn were all places I lived in and called home for quite a few years. And now, of course, Chicago is my new home!
Why do you teach singing? One of my greatest joys is helping and witnessing a client find freedom and authentic expression with his/her voice. I love watching the growth a person experiences on their musical journey, and it never ceases to inspire me and teach me as well.
What qualifies you to teach? I have been performing and recording professionally for over 30 years with such artists as Gerry Mulligan, Dianne Reeves and Andy Summers and Theo Bleckmann. I have also been teaching all over the world for over 20 years and am also a Somatic Voicework™, The LoVetri Method Level I teacher. In addition to teaching here in Chicago I am currently an Assistant Professor of voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
What are you strengths as a teacher? I have the ability to relate to each client right where they are and I truly care about each individual’s journey. I am able to help singers discover new areas in both their musicality and their instrument, and also help uncover what is already within that might have been hidden.
The music I write and perform is a real hybrid of styles- I have a jazz background, but am also a singer/songwriter, and I delve a lot into the world of improvisation (including scat and other forms), which I love to explore with interested singers.Improvisation can open a lot of doors in a person’s songwriting, expression, and can help conquer anxiety when performing.
What have you been up to professionally as a singer? You can visit alisonwedding.com to check out some of my latest recordings or read more about me over at wikipedia. I am currently writing new material and hoping to record my 4th album in the next year! I am also really enjoying singing jazz standards again.
Kathryn Bartholomew Fehr, Acting Associate
Where are you from? I was born and raised in Indiana. I graduated with my Bachelors degree from Purdue University, and after moved out to the Los Angeles, then later up to Seattle. After some years of living on the West Coast, I went to graduate school in Kansas City, Missouri at UMKC. Once I’d earned my MFA, I moved out to Chicago and have been living here for over five years.
Why did you land in Chicago? I spent time on the West Coast, and my husband grew up on the East Coast, so we felt that Chicago, being a big city with a wonderful arts scene that neither of us had experienced, would be a great place in the middle to move. It has proven to be just that!
How would you describe your coaching style? I believe in Self. What makes you an individual is what will connect you to a character and given circumstance in a truthful way. I believe that Acting is doing. If we understand what we want, we can make choices about how to get it. Those choices reveal our creativity at work. I like to see what each artist brings to the table, and I work to inspire them to think outside the box, within the circumstances of the material.
Where are you acting and directing? I regularly act in theatrical productions here in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. I founded Linchpin Theatre and as Co-Artistic Director, I act, direct, and produce. I also am a company and staff member of Oracle Theatre here is Chicago as well. I am always learning, always growing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Taylor Snooks, Studio Manager
Where are you from? I currently live in Alsip, Illinois which borders the city on the south side! I went to Marist High School in the city and then went on to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I considered just about every major under the sun until finally landing on Political Science, with minors in Psych and Spanish. I don’t really know where that degree with the nice price tag fits into my life yet, but I guess I’ll find that out one day. After graduating from WMU last year, I moved back home and have been working as a Nanny, and now studio assistant as well!
Tell us about you and singing? For starters, music has always been a huge part of my life. I spend almost every waking moment listening to it. I was good at sports, but I wasn’t in love with them like I was singing. The second I had a moment to myself, or was home alone I would belt out whatever tune was in my head. And that tune was almost always of the Broadway genre (probably whatever Sutton Foster was doing at the time).
After high school I was done with sports but I continued on as a closet singer, fan-girling over the latest Broadway cast album. I realized that when I sang, my throat would hurt to an unusual degree. I sought out a voice teacher in Michigan who I worked with for about a year on and off. It was great and I found myself making progress, but I had to move back home. Then after a bit of research… I found Davin Youngs Voice! Working with you and Missy has really changed me as a singer. I figured out that the way I had been singing was not doing my throat any favors. Before coming here, I had no idea the many technical aspects to singing. Realizing this made my lessons a difficult process but a fantastic one. I’m unlocking parts of my voice I never knew existed! It’s the greatest feeling in the world, finding my sound, truly.
What are your aspirations as a singer? I am a hardcore Broadway fan-girl so musical theater is somewhere I would love to be. That kind of music just elicits a very strong emotional response with me, especially Broadway singers like Kelli O’Hara! I almost always cry when I hear her sing! It’s just so amazing to be able to hear a story through a song and connect with it, and my dream is to be able to give that gift to someone through my own voice.
Why are you working at Davin Youngs Voice? Besides the fact that I get to work for the most talented singers (seriously guys it’s not fair), I wanted this job because I love being around music and like-minded people. Everything about it is great, from the location, the Fine Arts Building, the two studios, etc.
I also love what you do here and I’ve had such an amazing and beneficial experience, I plan to help out as much as I possibly can so you can continue to give those experiences to a lot of other people!