DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 17
November 11, 2014
Yesterday, Missy and I met up to do a little business planning and reflect upon the last year. Missy is approaching her year anniversary (in February!) at Davin Youngs Voice and the number of singers who have come through the door to work with her is pretty incredible. Morgan Cohen started with Missy In February of 2013 and has been consistent ever since. She even did voice lessons via Skype while Missy was away performing in Ragtime. So, we are so excited for you to get to know her and have her tell you more about her journey as an actor and now singer…
Davin: Morgan! Could you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from? What fills your days? etc.
Morgan: I am a west coast born and bred actor. I moved out to the midwest to attend Knox College in Galesburg,IL. I graduated with a BA in Theater and then moved to Chicago. I took an acting sabbatical when I moved here, which is a nice way of saying I did everything possible to avoid being an actor- but avoiding being an actor didn’t work out very well for me. About three years ago I actually woke up in the middle of the night with this panicked epiphany that not acting was making me a miserable human being. Finding my way back had it’s ups and downs, but now my days are now filled juggling rehearsals, day job, auditions, performances, lessons, and classes- and it’s glorious.
Davin: Good for you! I just wrote about this in my last blog. It’s amazing how that nagging feeling won’t go away. So, why voice lessons? How’d you end up studying with Missy?
Morgan: Singing was always something that I thought I would do “one day”, but never really pursued. I did a series of really tough auditions last year, and I came out of them feeling very empowered. I felt a tremendous desire to challenge myself and tackle some of the things I had been putting off, like learning to sing. Before my first lesson I thought I would have to try out a few different teachers before finding one that I clicked with. But not ten minutes into the lesson Missy and I immediately bonded over our shared life long love of Sondheim musicals, Disney songs, and southern colloquialisms. Missy is always so encouraging, even during tough session, she will point out the progress I’m making and it keeps me going. Its has also been of immeasurable value to have a teacher who is also a working artist. Missy knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the casting table, and I really feel like I can apply what we work on in the studio to my work in rehearsals, auditions, and performance.
Davin: It’s so important we feel connected to our teacher and coaches. I’m so glad you two have connected. Can you tell us a little about the process? What has it been like and what kind of improvements have you noticed?
Morgan: Its awesome, and it’s hard, and I love every second of it. Singing is helping me find new ways to use my voice that go beyond my comfort zone. What really surprised me is that singing has changed the way I approach my work as an actor. My voice has become a check point for me, I can get a really good idea of where I am that day and whats happening throughout my body based on my voice. Even though I see Missy every week, there are times I’ve scheduled in an extra session because I was in a funk, or having a bad day, or because I was nervous for an audition. Singing is like a reset button for me. It puts me back into this really good place and it leaves me feeling better about the world.
Davin: You are speaking my language. Love it. What would you say to someone like you who wasn’t sure about digging into the process of improving their voice?
Morgan: Take the leap. Its scary to sing out loud with another human being in the room, but the studio is truly a safe place. I never thought I would think of my voice cracking in the middle of a note as progress- but low and behold I get excited about those moments now. The roughest moments when nothing sounds pretty are the best. They are the times when I know that the lessons are working, and my voice is finding its way and fighting it’s old habits to become better. Its a wonderful moment when singing becomes fun and joyful instead of stressful and scary. And, as a bonus, you develop a private collection of corks and pencils with your bite marks all over them.
Davin: Ahaha. All of our students will know what the corks are about. So, What’s in your singing future? Where do you see singing fitting into you life?
Morgan: Singing is an important part of my career. It’s a really powerful tool in my actors toolbox, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But there are certainly more singing challenges I want to tackle in my future. I’m (slooooowly) learning how to read music, and I really want to learn how to sing with others- learning to work with someone else’s voice and energy in the room is totally new to me and sounds like great fun.
Davin: Thank you so much for your consistency in this process. We’re so glad to have you in the studio!